Giving My Mind a Break From the 'Chatter and Clatter' of Virtual Chronic Illness Communities


One of the wonderful things that has come from living with a rare disease is finding new networks and friends in the chronic illness community.

Before becoming disabled and unable to work, I had no idea about blogging and online support forums, and believe it or not, I never even had a Facebook account.

Fast forward to today and I am now fully entrenched in a whole new world of blogging network groups and online support groups, either as an active member or as an administrator/owner. Add in Twitter accounts linked to my blog, Facebook pages for my blog, my personal Facebook account, writing for The Mighty and other publications and all of a sudden my sedentary, chronically diseased life is full of nonstop chatter and clatter.

From morning ’til night I am involved in some way in one of these “chatter” type activities. I love it. There is no denying that. I love sharing, learning and supporting. However, even when you enjoy something there is still the danger of overload and burnout.

I have to constantly rest my body because of my physical disability, but what about my mind? Do I rest that enough?

I asked myself that question this morning and very honestly answered, “No, I don’t.”

I wonder how many others in the chronic illness community who are bloggers/writers, administrators or active members of support groups are feeling like their minds are just a little too full of chatter and clatter?

As I quietly mused upon that question, clarity began to surface.

It’s OK to switch off. It’s OK to have a “chronic illness” free day each week. In fact, to do so will mean you will add more value to conversations the following day. You’ll approach situations with better clarity.

It’s OK not to blog for a week or two. It’s OK to step aside from forums you perhaps feel are not right for you anymore or they have just served their purpose.

It’s OK to say “no” if asked to be involved in something new within the chronic illness community that would just overstretch you.

It’s OK to commit to one or two things solely and just give them your all. In fact, it’s probably better to do that.

Turn down the dial on the chatter and clatter. Listen to the quietness when you do that. Take a deep breath and just enjoy that moment when you let your mind switch off from the social media world.

Ahhh… it’s so refreshing. Clarity is a wonderful thing.

I’m going to make some changes. I love my forum and that’s my number one priority. I do though need a day off once a week and I’m going to take it. No set day as I want the freedom to go with the flow a little; after all, I’m medically retired so surely the regimented lifestyle should be a thing of the past.

I want more time to quietly write. Writing helps me relax. For me it is a reflective process but when there is too much chatter and clatter filling my mind it’s hard to even think of what to write about. Thinking time is essential for clarity to emerge and writer’s block to be broken.

So I shall still happily immerse myself in the chatter and clatter of the chronic illness networks and communities I love. However, I will now also be making every effort to ensure I take time out each week to clear my mind and enjoy some clarity of thoughts.

If you are feeling like chatter and clatter is overwhelming you, I’d encourage you to switch off for a moment. Think about how you can better manage your time and involvement in social media activities and networks. Assess what’s working for you. Is it still relevant to your needs? Do you need to make changes? Is it adversely affecting your health?

Give yourself permission to seek some quiet space. I’m so glad I have. It has been such a refreshing experience to have a reality check and make changes to how I manage my writing commitments, my blog and forum.

I feel like I can breathe again in the quiet times of no chatter and clatter. I finally feel like I have clarity.

Follow this journey on Medical Mystery Musings.

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Thinkstock photo via YekoPhotoStudio.

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