This is a guest blog post by Sheryl Chan from A Chronic Voice. Read on to find out why you should write your way through chronic illness, and discover more about Sheryl below!
Blogging about chronic illnesses can be hard work. For some, the exposure of their privacy or the intimacy of the topics can be a
deterrent. Others struggle with expressing their thoughts, or posting content on a regular basis. Vicious, unconstructive trolls who don’t even bother reading are an energy drain. Usually, it is a combination of all of these factors. So why do we even bother?
To begin with, people with chronic illnesses are the minority of the population. Every single voice counts, if we want to make a difference. Many of us struggle with feelings of anxiety and guilt. We feel like a burden to our family and society, and that we don’t deserve help because we are ‘defective’. As a result, many of us remain silent for the entirety of our lives, and nobody even knows.
The Power of a Single Voice. Your Voice.
When one person with chronic illness speaks up, they become an advocate for many others who are like them. He or she isn’t the only
one suffering with this condition out there. One voice is equivalent to
hundreds, thousands, even millions. Imagine that. Your voice has power and purpose. Use it for good.
A Journey of Self-refinement
Apart from that, I find that writing on a consistent basis has actually made me a better version of myself. How so? It forces me to face my fears, by digging them out from the recesses of my mind. Proper
digestion and dissemination takes time and effort. It organises the chaos of my thoughts, which usually results in an organic plan or solution.
To write is to be present and mindful. As I type, I am focussed on this very word in the moment. It forces me to slow down, to think, and reflect upon myself. The interesting thing is, I may think that I’m writing about different topics each time, but they usually lead back to the same path. Polishing various aspects of myself as a person results in the total wellness of my entire being. When I put my words to digital paper, I am making a subconscious commitment. “This is what I think. This is who I want to blossom into.” Over time, my thoughts evolve and become more refined. What we think about shapes us in the end.
Its Roles in Humanity & Society
I also find that often people don’t mean to be rude or insensitive, but are just ignorant. While ignorance is never an excuse, often they aren’t even aware that they’re hurting someone else. They say things like “I’m so OCD” in a humble brag. Meanwhile, some people with real OCD are considering suicide from the mental torment.
It is our duty to speak up for ourselves, because we know what it feels like best. Your doctor is the trained theorist and expert in providing treatment, and should be your trusted advisor. But you are the
experienced navigator and survivor of actual events, as well as the leader of your own life. Chronic illnesses are complex and no two cases are the same. We need to listen to as many perspectives as possible, because each one adds a little colour to the overall picture of understanding.
Provoke thought on our mortality. Highlight hidden flaws in society. Restore faith in our humanity. Standby to catch those who might
fall next. Share real life experiences. Provide credible resources. Encourage empathy. Reduce ignorance. There is so much power in writing and reading. So why not write?
My name is Sheryl, and I live with a host of chronic illnesses. I have had a mini stroke at 14, multiple blood clots, a gore-tex band for a heart valve, seizures, scars all over my body from various surgeries and more. I would like to share my experiences with you, in hope that it raises awareness on silent disabilities, and to let others know that they’re not alone in this.