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

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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.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 5, 2016
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