It is day 4 of National Health Blog Post Month and today we talk about how we go about choosing what we share and what we omit from our writing. When I first started writing, my mind was flooded with ideas. I didn’t really know what to do with all of the emotions and feelings that were being stirred up in me from the previous day. Initially I just thought I would remember what I wanted to talk about the next time I sat down to write but when I realized that I usually had ten more things on my mind when it came time to blog, I decided I would email myself from my phone anytime a topic or train of thought entered my mind. I find that when I am trying to fall asleep at night, my mind wanders and that is usually when I come up with a topic or two for the next day.
When I first started writing, I wrote my whole story out as an overview of what I had been struggling with for over 12 years. I didn’t write it in blog form; I just wrote it and then put it as a “note” on facebook for everyone to read (http://keepingthingsinsideisbadformyhealth.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/a-little-bit-about-me/). At the end of that story, I mentioned how I planned to go more in depth about some of the experiences I had and the psychological ramifications that come alongside of living with inflammatory bowel disease. Once I saw how much support I got from sharing the hell I had been through and continue to endure each day, I started this blog a week later with the intent to try and live my life as an open book. Keeping my life and what I was going through a secret was too stressful and caused me an enormous amount of anxiety over the years. I needed so badly to alleviate some of that stress and once I started opening up, I have found it impossible to stop. I realize just how much I kept inside all of these years and writing each blog post has helped me to understand not only myself better, but the other people in my life as well.
My mom is a private person and initially didn’t want me to talk about some of the things she felt were too personal. However, now that she sees how great it has been for me to open up about anything and everything that I feel like getting off of my chest, she doesn’t mind. In addition to having ulcerative colitis and having 14 major operations, I also deal with chronic daily migraines. Until a little over a year ago, I had been taking a lot of prescription pain killers to help me get through the day. I was just in so much physical and emotional pain and wanted so badly to be normal and do things other people my age were involved in that I didn’t care. I also built up an enormous tolerance to medications since I required pain medication so frequently after surgeries and various other things I’ve had to endure. This was something my mom didn’t want mentioned and I tried to tell myself that having people know I used pain meds as a way of coping was not how I wanted to be thought of. As I came to more of an acceptance of myself and shared with some friends individually that I used to self medicate, I saw that everyone understood a thousand percent. I was never really someone who cared about people knowing although I definitely didn’t advertise it.
After I got the “okay” from my mom to write whatever I wanted and not to worry about filtering anything, I started writing about everything. Once I saw I could write it and share it with the world, the topic sort of became expunged from deep inside me. I also remember what it was like before I was able to have a voice of my own. I clung to this one girl’s (Sara) videos and blog posts (www.inflamed-and-untamed.com) because they were so relatable that it made me feel so much less alone. Her videos and writing validated my feelings and made me feel like everything I was thinking and experiencing was perfectly normal. Prior to watching her videos or reading other blog posts, I always felt like there was something wrong with me for not being able to accept my diagnosis and move on with my life. Sara showed me that I wasn’t alone and is now one of my best friends. Her story, although different, brings up a lot of the same emotions that I have. It is honestly because of her that I now have the mentality of if I can help one person know they are not alone by sharing what I have gone through, then it was well worth it. (http://keepingthingsinsideisbadformyhealth.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/one-year-ago-today/ )