Some of you may have seen an image I posted a few weeks ago, which was tag lined; “share your story”. I thought it was quite a powerful image that needed to be seen by others. I say this because I am a FIRM believer that as people with chronic illnesses/pain, we should be sharing our stories.
I can imagine that some prefer NOT to share their journey about their illness – which is fair enough and I can understand why. But I’m going to the share the reasons why I am all for it and the benefits of doing so;
- First and foremost – your story can be a blessing to somebody who needs to hear it. We are living in a world that is encouraged to be so self consumed, that it’s becoming a norm to take from people without giving anything back. There are people that we can help by contributing to their growth and prosperity in life. People get caught up in the notion that in order to help somebody else, you have to give money. Sometimes all we need to give is our story. Maya Angelou said something that always resonated with me – “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Sometimes when you share your story about what you have been through and where you are coming from, you are giving others hope. Your story could be encouraging them to get up and fight another day until they get to see better days. When you put yourself out there, you can draw in people who are seeking out others who are going through the same things. It can help that person who feels like they are all alone in their struggle. There is strength in numbers. Especially when it comes to the spoonie community – as we have seen for ourselves!
- It helps you integrate within a community of people who are enduring the same or similar struggles to you. This is important to you and your well-being. Remember what I said about your story drawing in others who are seeking you out because they feel like they’re alone? Well it works both ways here. You could end up finding the kind of people who you are seeking out! Once I started using social media myself to encourage people, I found the community of spoonies out there with the same mindset. That being said, I wouldn’t trade the spoonie community for anything, because they are some of the most inspirational and compassionate people I have ever spoken to. The support is amazing.
- Your story is also an educational tool than can be used to teach those around you about your illness. Most people aren’t clued up on chronic illnesses (especially invisible ones). I mean let’s be honest – did you know anything about yours before you started to have it? (If your answer is yes…then
shut up you! I’m just playing). But seriously though – for most people around you, you might possibly be the ONLY exposure they will ever have to your illness. Now I know it gets frustrating to feel like you have to ‘teach’ people about your illness all the time, but who else is going to do it? You are that living, breathing Wikipedia page that educates people about your sickness. Carry that baton so that those around you will instantly understand and have compassion for another person they encounter with the same illness later on down the line. There have been a few people I have met who have given me that understanding nod as soon as I have disclosed that I have chronic migraine. These same people responded to me that they have known or worked with other people in the past who suffered with migraine. And NO I’m not talking about DOCTORS! I’m talking about regular people that I have met at work or church.
- When people know your story – you get to see a level of compassion that you forgot existed. This also can encourage and inspire you in your walk as a pain warrior. It can restore your hope in people – especially non-pain warriors. The right ones will rally around you and help you however they can. I’ll write an article sharing my experience on this. Now I do acknowledge that you will see people who are also inconsiderate/ignorant in regards to your illness and how to treat you, but God has continued to show me lately that there is so much light in people who are compassionate, and that should be what we focus on to help build us up.
Now warriors, sharing your story doesn’t necessarily mean going up the next random person you see and start telling them all your business about your struggles – but sharing your story does require some form of transparency and honesty. What your choose to share is your choice, but don’t hide your illness. I know you want to be normal, but you’re not. Accept that. What makes you outstanding is your ability to endure your pain and still push through life, and do amazing things. That is what makes you a powerful pain warrior.
So what’s your story Pain Warrior? I would love to hear it…