Why do I spend my precious energy blogging about living with chronic illness? Why do I create these resources?
Because I can’t bear the thought of people having to go through what I did. It took years to be listened to and diagnosed. Even longer for any improvement (which I had to manage myself).
The most comforting sentiments for me to find are, “I believe you”, “I understand” and “here’s what helps me.”
Also, while there is not a cure (and the number of people with chronic pain and fatigue is growing), there are many practical things we can do to reduce the impact of our symptoms on our daily lives. It is these practical things I share.
I choose to write positively, proactively and from my experience. Which doesn’t catch all the views. I choose not to play that game. And hope that whoever needs my work will find it. No negative hashtags and no straight up rants (this is my personal choice, I need to focus on the positive). Definitely not using the word, or implying, cure.
How did I start blogging about chronic illness?
My blog started in 2013 when I was utterly alone in managing an extreme flare up of every symptom while pregnant with my first son. I started sharing my journey in simple diary-like entries, in case it helped others who felt alone too.
This evolved to sharing tips and tricks of what I had learned.
As I improved enough to sit at the computer a little more, I began sharing the research I was devouring in an effort to find an answer. This is where my posts got more in-depth. And I wrote my books.
It got to a point where I was answering the same questions over and over. And I had services to offer people (coaching and yoga teaching).
The road from realising that offering these services and marketing them properly was long. Imposter syndrome with a capital I came into play. Who am I to offer this?
The answer is – the person who everyone asks anyway. Who has done loads of research and so many personal experiments it isn’t funny. The person who genuinely cares.
This work is done alongside my four small children and my own health journey. And that is perfect.
What is this work?
The blog! Melissa vs Fibromyalgia is home to over 300 posts all freely available with many practical tips. So much work goes into every single blog post, I couldn’t even tell you how many hours I have spent on this.
My YouTube channel with over 150 videos, also freely available.
Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Fatigue and Insomnia eBook and worksheet bundle. This is my whole journey wrapped up in a bow tie and then practical worksheets to help you start enacting the tips I share.
Yoga designed especially for people with chronic pain and fatigue. The Foundations of Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue is your complete beginner’s guide to starting or adapting your yoga practice. This is my pride and joy – yoga designed to be accessible for people with chronic pain and fatigue.
Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia eBook and worksheet bundle. My journey through four pregnancies with the limited research available and other women’s stories in a tidy document plus worksheets to help you enact the tips I offer.
A couple of Facebook groups – Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia and Yoga for the Chronic Life. The Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia group is now run with a load of moderator/admin support because there are so many women in the group. I am so thankful to the team who help keep the group a safe and supportive place.
What is next?
Continuing the work in the most sustainable manner possible. You may have noticed that I offer free and paid offerings. The paid offerings are as accessible as possible.
I have noticed two important things in the past two years. One is that those who commit in some way – time or money – are more likely to receive benefit (by doing the work). The other is that if I don’t make this work replace my part-time job, then I must change how much I offer. I let my health decline trying to do it all last year. And that doesn’t serve anyone.
How can you support people blogging about chronic illness?
Like, subscribe, share and comment on their work. This helps others find the work. It also costs you zero dollars.
Purchase offerings that appeal to you and you will use.
Donate – either periodically or on a recurring option.