I am blogging for Invisible Illness Awareness Week on the topic of: why you fight for awareness as an illness advocate (or just some man or woman who likes to make some noise)
I fight for awareness for many reasons. When I first started this blog it was more an online journal for cathartic reasons. Where I could post information that interested me as well. Have a record of my progress or lack of. However, as time goings on you see so many people struggling as you do. Who benefits from the information you provide. Who relates to the struggle.
So I look at it this way:
- This is part of my story. Unvarnished, often blunt. This is the chronic pain lifestyle. Something people can often relate to. If someone doesn’t have an illness I hope they can grasp it a little better.
- sharing information. There is a vast array of information out there, but only a fraction of it is good sourced information. I like to dig up research. I blog about research that interests me. On my Facebook page, I am more likely to broaden my scope to articles about studies rather than studies to make it more approachable and because journalists get access to it in its entirety. But often provide the original source if people are willing to look into it. I do research when I post informative memes with source info. I know a few quality sites that I go to for good information on migraines for sure, as I help admin a migraine Page and Group.
- Connecting with the community. It is important that we have a place to gather and share our own stories. This why I have a Facebook page, help run another and help run a group. I create images that express the experience of migraines and chronic pain and chronic illness that share that sense of connection. So people can know they are not alone in feeling the way that they do. I help with safe places for us to gather to talk about migraines so we can seek out comfort or ask important questions.
- I know that chronic pain is dangerous. I know it can cause suicidal ideation. And suicidal actions. I have been there. It is very important we raise awareness and understanding that pain, but itself, can kill if not treated adequately.
I truly want to do what I can to bring awareness out there. To communicate with others. To spread knowledge. To have them understand they are not alone.