What would you say is “real” about chronic illness?

July 10, 2014

I thought about starting this blog for a while before I actually did it. What finally pushed me to get started was one too many “inspirational” stories. You know the kind. Someone who had a leg amputated climbs a mountain and we should all be inspired blah blah blah. Now, I think it’s great that someone can do that. What bothers me is that it gives the impression that 7-10-2014 5-46-47 PMwe can all get over our disabilities if we just try hard enough. Yeah. That’s just not how it works.

I didn’t know how many others felt the same way, but I wanted to write about the reality for me. I wanted the people close to me to understand a bit more about how it really works. And at the same time, I wanted other people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to see that they weren’t the only ones suffering on the couch instead of climbing mountains. It turns out I wasn’t the only one who felt that way; my most-viewed and most-commented on articles are the ones about things we don’t usually discuss publicly, like pooping on a guy during sex, boob growth from Prednisone, feeling guilty about making others worry, the frustration of not knowing why I feel so crappy, the frustration of seeing doctors who won’t or can’t help. I bet you’re nodding along to at least one of these. And I bet at one time, or maybe even before you read this, you thought you were the only one who felt that way. I know I did. It’s sad how alone we can feel with these illnesses.

That’s one reason I love the idea of a bunch of people sharing stories all in one place. Blogging is great, but I think we all know it can be hard to follow multiple blogs. And when you don’t even know what’s wrong with you, how do you know which ones to follow? That was my problem for a long time (but with books, in the days before blogs came out.) Plus, maybe I’m old-school, but I love the idea of a book. So I don’t know about you, but I’m going to participate in this project for an anthology about chronic illnesses. The hard part will be deciding what to write about! There are so many possibilities to choose from!

I don’t usually write posts about projects like this, but I also don’t usually participate in them. And this is also my way of helping out with a signal boost. Anthologies usually don’t get published unless there’s significant participation (dozens or even hundreds of articles submitted) and under “How you can help” she asks people to pass along the word about the project, so at least by writing this, I’m doing my part (plus I’ll post to Facebook and Twitter, too.) If you want to help spread the word, you can share the link to this blog post or to the project itself: http://chronicillnesstruths.tumblr.com/aboutthebook

If you’re thinking about writing, consider this line taken from the “How you can help” section at the end: ” If you want to see more voices like yours in books like these, here’s your chance!” That’s good enough for me!


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