The great thing about being involved in online health communities is that I’m always learning something new. Today is a really exciting day for me personally because it is not only November 1 (the beginning of my favorite time of year), but it is also the start of National Diabetes Awareness Month AND Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Day (another post to come for more on that!). To add to that excitement, I just found out that WEGO health is doing a blog carnival for National Health Blog Post Month, which is, you guessed it, November!
If you follow my blog at any capacity, you’ll know that I’m pretty sporadic in my posts. The blog carnival will pretty much force me to write a post every day this month, which I’m actually looking forward to. The point of these blogs is to bring awareness to, well, health. Health bloggers from all types of communities, not just diabetes, will be participating in this month long event (if you use Twitter, you can find some great posts with #NHBPM).
Now, onto the good stuff!
Today’s prompt: “Why I write about my health” OR “My favorite thing about social media/online health communities”
I’m going to do a bit of a combination post because both of those questions go hand-in-hand with my experience.
I work in social media and I absolutely love it. I can tell you about the history. I can tell you about its profound impact on many different things. I can preach about its importance for days. So, it’s no surprise that when I was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year ago, I turned to the internet for help.
It was in those crucial few days after diagnosis where I felt lost, scared, mad and confused that I stumbled upon the Diabetes Online Community. They saved me. Literally. I found people who went through wrong diagnosis like I had. People who had been diagnosed in their 20s. I found posts that made me feel empowered. YouTube videos of the “You Can Do It” variety brought me to tears. Those tears came from knowing I wasn’t alone in this. I can remember the very first diabetes blog I read.
“Six Until Me”, by Kerri Sparling.
From her blog I found other bloggers in the diabetes community. From there, I discovered Diabetes Social Media Advocacy and #dsma Twitter chats on Wednesday nights. I began finding answers to my questions, and boy did I have a lot. I began to feel like I could live with this disease. Sure, the pain of injections was still there, but knowing that there was a whole group of people who knew what that pain felt like was an incredible feeling. It was a feeling of commonality that I had never felt before. These people got it. They understood. They knew.
It’s an amazing thing with the diabetes online community. All of these people chat on Twitter every day, read eachother’s blogs and in a way, become instant friends because of shared experience. This friendship reaches over hundreds of miles. Sometimes it reaches over the Atlantic Ocean. Other times, you find out it’s really right down the road from you or in the town over. You just know that if you all were in the same room together, everyone would get along. Everyone would be laughing and chatting easily and for hours. No one would bat an eyelash if you tested your blood sugar, bolused for a meal or lifted your shirt as you squeezed the fat on your stomach for an injection. It’s that common understanding and experience that binds people together.
That’s what I love about the Diabetes Online Community and the DOC wouldn’t be there without social media. That’s why I write about my health. I write so I can be part of this amazing community. I write because those others who write helped me more than they could ever know when I was first diagnosed. If I can help at least one person feel less alone in this world while living with diabetes. That’s why I write.