Today is November 1, which means it is a lot of things. It is my birthday, it is the start of National Diabetes Awareness Month, it is the start of the November Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (#HAWMC) and a beginning to another great month of 2016.
I will be participating in #HAWMC this year, so welcome to anyone who is here for the first time and thank you for taking the time to read.
Today’s prompt for #HAWMC is two part: What drives you to write about your health and what do you want other Health Activists to know about your condition and activism?
What Drives Me To Write
I started this site almost 10 years ago and began writing because it was a good way for me to get things off of my chest about my diabetes. I felt very alone at the time because I didn’t know anyone else who had diabetes and I felt very “woe is me”. So, I started to write. I just started to write about anything and everything that came to my mind about the disease. For the first several months, I wasn’t sure if anyone was even reading what I was writing and I began to feel a little discouraged because now I was just lonely writing on the internet as well.
But then one day somebody commented on a post. It was a long comment, but one part of it stood out to me:
Wow, this is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you, your words have changed my mindset about this disease
That was it. That comment itself fueled me to keep writing, and keep writing more. If I could make a difference in just one person’s life with every post that I wrote, then I felt like I was accomplishing something and making a big difference by making small difference.
This is exactly what still drives me to write to this day. If I have a question about something, I know I’m not the only one. If I have an opinion about something, I know that I’m not the only one. So, I write. I write so that someone does not feel alone like I once did. I know that feeling and it sucked.
My other driving force that keeps me writing is to just provide as much information as I possibly can to let people know that yes, I have diabetes, but I’m living a pretty normal life. I’m a father, a husband, an entrepreneur, a brother, an uncle, a friend, etc. The more I can flood the interwebs with positive information about this disease, the more it can spread and the more people can learn about it.
What Do I Want Other Health Activists to Know About My Condition and Activism
The main thing that I want other health activists to know is that diabetes is not just about eating better, exercising, and living life to avoid getting amputations later in life. I want people to know that it is a very serious chronic disease that we have to live with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We do not get any off days. The best way that I have heard diabetes described as is…a full time job, that is 24/7 and there’s no pay.
With all that being said, I don’t want any health activists to feel bad for anyone living with diabetes. This is not a “woe is me” outcry. This is just a way for me to help explain what living with diabetes is really like. Just like I have no idea what it’s like to live with any other chronic disease, I am excited to ready #HAWMC posts to learn more about other diseases.
That leads me to what I want people to know about my activism. First, let me say that I’m most excited to learn from other health communities to hear about all of your activism ideas and what has worked and see what I can utilize to help further my activism work.
When it comes to activism, what you do is different from everyone else, but all that matters is that you actually do something. Anything. I’ve learned over the years that I am never going to a professional, published author because of my writing style. A lot of people don’t like it, but I really don’t care.
I type out the words that are coming to my brain like I am speaking them out loud. I write how I speak. This was something that I was scared of at first because I felt like no one was going to take my activism seriously because of my writing style. I quickly found out that was not the case.
I have not done a lot of offline activism, but I have been successful with activism via social media. I have found that to be my greatest tool when trying to spread the word about something I am advocating for.
I am hoping to get to know a lot more people from different health communities. Please leave a comment on the site or on Facebook just saying hello so we can connect and learn from each other to make the health activism world a much better place.