Why I Write About Illness, Even When It Makes Me Uncomfortable

It Makes Me Uncomfortable

To be honest with you, revealing so much about my private life makes me very uncomfortable. I often hesitate for weeks before hitting the “publish” button. What business is it of a stranger to have a piece of my life? Why would anyone care about my problems when they have their own? I also fear projecting the wrong image; I am not seeking attention, pity or aid (well, more aid from the government would be nice…).

Revealing All Your Vulnerabilities For the World to See

To provide insight into life with chronic illness is to put all your vulnerabilities on public display. Granting strangers access to your personal space goes beyond your closest circle of friends and family. It means showing them the fragments of a broken body and the ugly wounds that will never heal. It means revealing just how non-independent you are and how much help you actually need to “adult.” This might become a consideration for a wide scope of activities, from selection as an employee to a travel buddy.

Writing forces you to come face to face with the subject on hand, scouring it in search for its essence. You milk it for all it’s worth and package it. You offer it to all passersby for free, with the hope that they will take a sip towards understanding.

Blogging about ill health is to set a public alarm clock that reminds everyone of your infirmities, and, in turn, theirs. I do notice that people around me are paying more attention to how I am feeling, and I am deeply grateful for that. Yet at the same time it makes me feel sad that I’m viewed in a light I wish could be brighter.

So Why Write at All?

Despite all these (maybe silly) concerns, I feel it is an important job. It is something only I and others like me can do, and there aren’t that many of us out there. If not us, then who?

Many good people are afflicted; disease does not pick and choose and can strike without rhyme or reason. I write to provoke thought about our humanity, and with that, the need we have for each other in this world. Who else can you turn to, should you be dealt with such a card in life? I hope to contribute to this community that feels like family, and strengthen the safety net to catch those who might fall next. We understand pain and just how bad it can be.

We need to write to raise awareness on silent disabilities. There are too many “normal”-looking people who are struggling with circumstances beyond their control to ignore. We need to write in a bid to forge a more harmonious society. We need to serve as living reminders that we are all the same deep inside. We need to write to encourage thought and empathy for everyone around us and to learn to make less ignorant judgments.

I need to write because I can. Because some of those like me cannot and are unable to express their pain. I write so that loved ones who want to understand can begin to understand. I write in hope of a better world to live in – for the healthy and ill alike. Utopia might be impossible to achieve as a constant or final state, but even a glimpse of it can change the world. And guess what? This power is inherent in you and me.

This article originally appeared at: A Chronic Voice.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Illness

two female friends sitting on a couch with one resting her head on the other's shoulder

The Best Ways to Actually Be Helpful to Those Struggling With Illness

Over the past several years, my life took some unexpected turns as I struggled with various medical issues including Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and digestive tract paralysis. The journey from fighting for a proper diagnosis to enduring countless tests, procedures, medications, therapies and hospitalizations to facing the depression and frustration that [...]
women looking at New York skyline

4 Little Things You Can Do for a Chronically Ill Friend

As a person with chronic illnesses, here are four little things I’ve found that you can do for a chronically ill friend. 1. Let them vent. Don’t try to tell them it’ll all be OK or that you understand. I can tell you that is not what they want to hear. They want to hear [...]
woman relaxing on her back in a grassy field with an open book on her chest

5 Positive Lessons I've Learned From Chronic Illness

Illness is one of the most challenging events you will ever experience in your life. It doesn’t discriminate and impacts all ages, races and genders. Each and every day can bring about something new, something unpredictable. Everyone’s body is different so no two people – even with the same illness – will experience the same journey. [...]
woman gazing longingly out her bedroom window

Transitioning From Adolescence to Adulthood with a Chronic Illness

No matter how old you are, it is dreadfully difficult to live with one or more chronic illnesses. The hardships we experience are far beyond the boundaries of what a healthy person could even try to understand. From the abundance of medications to the collection of medical specialists, we differ greatly from our healthy peers. As a person nearing the end [...]