October 30th, 2012
Image credit: doug88888 on Flickr
When building relationships and coexisting with fellow humans in life – there is conflict, disagreement, and a divide between how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you. In this week’s Health Activist Tweetchat let’s focus on the latter.
We often find ourselves having to speak out about what is true about ourselves, our health, and the communities we advocate for. This is because there is a lack of awareness, understanding, or compassion amongst the general public. Have you ever been told that “At least you don’t have [___ condition]” or that “You’re lucky you’ve got a good disease”? Have you ever been judged for seeking certain treatments or advocating for a certain cause? What about facing stigma for misperceived causes for your symptoms? Have you ever been blamed or felt another condition was blamed because of incorrect information or myths?
October 24th, 2012
Image Credit: Michael of Scott on Flickr
When tough stuff arises in life – we are inclined to analyze it and try to make sense of the chaos. Almost instinctively, we wonder, “why is this happening to me?” And, often, the answer isn’t what we want it to be. But that doesn’t mean we can’t rewrite the answer over time. It takes a lot of healing, rewiring, and acceptance. This moving post by Courtney explains how she rewrote aspects to her story – just by rephrasing her experiences and reinterpreting events. Just by trying to look at things in a different way – we can change the way we see ourselves and the course of our lives. It’s not easy – and it takes time. But it’s possible. Thanks for sharing this with us, Courtney. –Amanda
October 22nd, 2012
We have another Tough Stuff topic to discuss this week – that is relevant to both the patient community and individuals with significant online footprints. We’ll be discussing planning for end of life.
Now, for the most part – we don’t discuss EOL or death. We’re more focused on living well and making the most of each day. And that’s ok. Life is complicated enough with balancing life as a patient, friend, family member, parent, employee, and online health leader. You’ve got a lot going on – and stopping to think about the big “what ifs” can be scary and even counterproductive at times.
October 19th, 2012
In this post, Health Activist Jane Waterman chronicles her experiences with the depths of depression and living with invisible illness while pursuing ambitious career dreams. Her struggles are difficult to read but relatable to those who have lived with unresolved symptoms and painful side-effects. Though her journey was not easy, it is a testament to the process of healing and the work that goes into maintaining hope and finding solace. Thanks Jane, for bravely sharing your story with us. –Amanda
October 18th, 2012
We have an interesting post today that is perfectly timed in light of all the political debate coverage of the past few weeks. Politics and religion – two topics that definitely fall under the Tough Stuff Umbrella. We would like to thank Sara for bringing this topic to the forefront and sharing why she does what she does as a Health Activist. It’s a great reminder that we all have our own backstories, our own experiences, and our own beliefs that inform our lives and the decisions we make. They are as intricate and inexplicable as anything – and yet, so deeply personal and thus: controversial. Sara’s post reminds us that we can all be different and have our own views and still aim at the same awesome goals of advocating and helping others. –Amanda
October 16th, 2012
This post explores a taboo subject of death. Through Ms Rants’ calm, thought-out perspective – thinking about death becomes less scary, less forbidden and feels “okay.” As a part of the human experience, death is a constant. In her post we see why discussions of death have a place in our world – not only in our families but in our health communities. We raise awareness, break down barriers, and expose what’s been hidden when it comes to our lives – why not think of death in the same way? Thanks for musing with us, Ms. Rants! –Amanda
October 12th, 2012
This is a beautiful post on the immensely difficult experience of dealing with depression amidst an autoimmune disease. Karen’s prose makes you feel like you’re beside her in the doctor’s office just wishing, willing the pain and anguish away . But though she struggles, her story is one of triumph and perseverance. Bringing awareness to the mind/body connection and how important it is to find the help that you need, I think you’ll be moved by this piece and should definitely share it with your community. Thank you so much for writing it and sharing it with us, Karen. –Amanda
October 10th, 2012
This post is a difficult one to read. It chronicles an immensely difficult experience to go through and eventually write about. Thank you to Amy K for being so brave as to go there. Even though we know that sharing is the first step toward awareness and feeling less alone – that doesn’t make it any less challenging to do so. But when we can start by saying, “This is real and something that many experience in silence” – we make a difference. Each post like the following is a big step toward breaking that silence. Hearing first-hand accounts is invaluable. If we can begin to do to provide a safe space for people to speak openly about this and similar struggles, perhaps others can begin to seek healing. Thank you again for your courage, honesty, and openness, Amy – this is a beautiful, though heartbreaking, post. –Amanda
October 8th, 2012
This is a wonderful post that speaks to an experience many of us go through — facing the decision to double-down and push through … or give up on a dream. When faced with a life-altering situation such as the diagnosis (and symptoms) of a chronic health condition – everything is effected. The path you thought you were on becomes a new journey with more uncertainty than ever before. Then there is mourning – the loss of your dreams, of the self you’ve come to know, of the life you’ve led. Sometimes this calls for some serious soul-searching. But then – new things can arise. You can find new strength within and new plans can manifest and there is space for new dreams. This guest post is by Lauren Erbach – a lovely Health Activist in the IBD community – who shares her story about her dream to complete a triathlon and her eventual decision to do what was best for herself and her body. She also shares tips for others of us wondering if a decision we’re making is the right one. Thanks for sharing with us, Lauren – and encouraging hope and self-reliance through the retelling of your own quest to do what was right for you. –Amanda
October 5th, 2012
Today we have Guest Post on Stoptober and the challenge of quitting smoking — and how to approach it from the perspective of a loved one who wants to encourage someone in their life to quit. These are difficult conversations to have – but below are really great tips for starting the discussion and how you can help someone stop potentially destructive behavior. This isn’t a subject we’ve covered before so this is a great opportunity to learn more. It fits in really well with Tough Stuff Month. Thanks to James at Dr Ed for reaching out and sharing this post and infographic with our audience! –Amanda