Why I think more folks with chronic illness should blog

Several days ago this blog had an anniversary: 9 years! It’s hard to believe that I have been writing about chronic illness issues for 9 years and people have been reading it. In those 9 years I have written 769 posts. WOW! And in those 9 years I have learned a lot about the benefits of blogging about chronic illnesses.

I have learned that this is an excellent outlet. On this site I have written about my fears and learned that I was not the only one with those fears. I have written about my pain, fatigue, and other symptoms and have learned that I was not the only one dealing with those symptoms. I have written about medical trauma, embarrassment, harassment, and more. Again, I learned that others experienced those same things. I have also written about supportive friends, caring family, great doctors, and others, and found joy in others’ stories of similar experiences. This has not only helped with the loneliness and isolation that I, like so many others with chronic illness, experience, but it was also extremely validating.

I didn’t know many people with chronic illnesses when I started this blog. Slowly, I got to know my regular commenters. I now get excited when I see a comment from Lorna, Cordelia’s Mom, Tamara, Karen J, and others who I feel I have come to know in some small way. Making connections is hard, especially for those in a community where so many are not able to connect due to the very issue that makes them search out connection in the first place. Blogging gave me a way to reach out to people around the world and have people reach back, all without leaving our homes.

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So often we are left on our own to figure things out. Doctors aren’t helpful, or the help we need is outside their area of expertise. I have written about so many things that I struggled with and I received a lot of good advice from folks who have actual lived experience. You gave me tips on transporting a wheelchair, getting a bidet to help with my sore butt after too much wiping (thankfully that’s no longer an issue now that my food problems have been sorted out!), dealing with inconsiderate strangers, and more. Blogging has brought me so much useful information. Thank you for that!

Most surprising to me were the therapeutic benefits of blogging. Living with chronic illness is hard. I was able to vent when I needed to vent, without judgment or burdening a friend. I said things that I probably wouldn’t have told another person. I was used to hiding so much, and suddenly I had an outlet. It was like a public diary at times. Making this blog anonymous gave me a freedom that I had never experienced and I was able to open up. At first I just opened up a little, but to my shock, those most difficult, most private posts were the ones that people most appreciated. I got so many comments from folks saying that they wished more people would discuss those topics. That encouraged me to write about them a bit more. And then more.

This blog gave me the chance to practice that openness. As I became more comfortable writing about my symptoms, fears, and diagnoses on this anonymous blog, I began to slowly talk about those things in person also. Bit by bit it became easier, and now I am a fairly outspoken advocate. I highly doubt that would have happened without this blog.

Blogging isn’t for everyone. I have more recently done some work under my real name. Under my real name I write, speak on podcasts, and have even done a few videos. They are all so different, and I can see why each is both loved and hated by various people. I’m a talker, and I prefer talking in general, but when it comes to my chronic illnesses, I definitely prefer writing. That just works for me. I also prefer reading blogs instead of listening to podcasts or watching videos. But each has its benefits.

Maybe something else works for you. Despite the title of this post, I don’t think that blogging is necessarily best for everyone. But I do think that many folks with chronic illnesses can benefit by having some sort of blog, social media channel, YouTube vlog, or other way of sharing.

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And beyond each person’s individual benefit, I believe that the community as a whole benefits when we write and talk about our chronic illnesses. Our community is marginalized. We feel isolated. Too many people pretend that chronic illness doesn’t exist or isn’t important. Government programs do not support us, laws do not protect us. We face discrimination and worse. Communicating with each other and with the world will help. It will help the individuals who are also feeling marginalized and it will help society in general.

So if you have ever considered starting a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel, or anything else, why not start today? You can start for free with very little time commitment. If you’re not sure where to begin, please reach out to me (msrants@gmail.com) and I’ll be glad to help you!

Thank you for 9 wonderful years. I look forward to continuing to write and communicate with you!

4 Responses to Why I think more folks with chronic illness should blog

  1. You mentioned me in the post! Awwww. Yours was one of the first blogs I followed when I first started on WordPress, and I’m glad I did. As you’ve pointed out, blogging can be an outlet, and it’s also a great way to make online acquaintances. So many times, my readers have pulled me through the down times. In fact, recently I received an email from a long-time blogging friend who became a little concerned about something I had posted while in a bit of a funk. (Everything’s fine BTW; there was just a bit of a family issue which has been resolved.) That emotional support is priceless, as I believe you know. Keep on blogging. I’ll be here reading and commenting.

    • chronicrants says:

      Thank you so much for your support all of these years. I’m so glad to hear that blogging has been beneficial for you, too. For me, it makes a difference sometimes to know that there are people out there expecting to hear from me, at least occasionally. At the very beginning, when I was posting every day, it forced me to think, reach out, and address the things that were on my mind. I’m glad that your recent issue was resolved, and I hope that you’re doing as well as possible these days!

  2. Tamara Epps says:

    Thank you for the mention! I think I’ve been following you for a few years now at least, you’re one of the very few blogs I still subscribe to (not because I don’t enjoy the others, but because I only have streamlined my email to help me manage my energy better), and while I don’t always read posts when they come out, I keep them in my inbox until I’m ready for them.

    Lately I have been thinking about returning to blogging. I stopped because I ran out of things to say, but I miss running a blog and creating a community. My main issue is, if I do start blogging that will be my main activity each week, and that’s fine if I can get everything out of it that I used to, but it’s quite a commitment. My other issue is in not sure I want to write about chronic illness, but the truth is that’s primarily what I know and have experience with; not to mention I’m still not sure if I have enough to write about. I know the only way I’ll find out is if I try, and when I’m ready I’ll let you know. 🙂

    • chronicrants says:

      Tamara, I’m flattered that you’re still following my blog after all this time! I know that blogging can be a huge time commitment. This one has been ok because I only write when the mood strikes and I don’t always include photos. I had another blog for a while where I was trying to produce content regularly and it was stressful trying to keep up with it.

      As for content, I hear you! Maybe you could open it up? Maybe chronic illness + a hobby or interest you have? That way if you don’t feel like writing about chronic illness one week, you could write about cooking, crochet, home repair, or whatever it is you enjoy. Just a thought. But I’m sure you’ll know when the time is right to pick it up again. And when you do, I’d love to support you! 🙂

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