The prompt for day 10 is about whether or not we believe people should talk about their health and the health of their loved ones on facebook. Before I started writing two months ago, I always thought that it was absurd to post things about your health for the entire world to see. After all, what goes on with your body and mind is private. I would often see random things that people post and just laugh. However, these past couple months have changed my opinion on this. I don’t think people need to post every single cold or cough that they go through but the people who have chosen to share their health in a public venue regarding serious illnesses are people to be looked up to.
I mentioned in a previous post that I used to watch a girl named Sara’s videos and read her blogs. I also talked about how it was the only thing that really validated how I was feeling and made me feel a lot less alone. I think it really comes down to what you hope will come from writing about your health in a public venue. I think most of the people who talk about their health in that way are people who are trying to make a difference. They are also people who need an outlet for their own emotions. I have realized the more people talk, the more it gets other people talking. After I started writing early in September, I received an outpouring of messages. There are a couple messages in particular that stick out in my head and make me feel grateful that I have the ability to write and to open up like I have been able to do recently. One was from a girl I went to elementary school with that I haven’t talked to in probably ten years. She admitted to me in her message that she had an eating disorder after I talked about how difficult managing my weight and food intake has been for me after I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I also received a message from an old friend struggling with crohns disease who told me that she also had some issues with prescription pain medications. She told me that it was like she could write every single thing I said. It made me feel good that my writing helped to make those people feel less alone.
I remember all too well what it was like for me before I had a voice of my own. I needed other people to share their stories and experiences. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone and the way I was feeling was understandable. I needed to see that there was at least one other person who understood what I was going through. The more I talk, the more open I am, the better I feel. I have also noticed that by being open, I am essentially opening the door for other people in my life to be open to me about whatever issues they are dealing with.
No one wants to hear someone complain on facebook about a cold or something insignificant. Seriously….there are far too many people who think they need to document how they feel hourly for everyone to see. I think those people really bother me because I know what it like to actually be sick so the fact that someone is complaining about a cold is beyond me. I am always sympathetic but I have been met with too many ridiculous comments comparing what I have been through to having food poisoning so I have very little tolerance for other people complaining on facebook about things that don’t matter. However, when people take the time to share their experiences and stories about illness or situations that greatly impact their lives and the lives of countless others, I think it is commendable. I needed to see that other people understood what I was going through before I had the courage to open up myself. People need to talk and be open about their diseases because it paves the way for others to talk and start the healing process.
“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will help somebody else.”-Iyanla Vanzant