The Real Reasons I Blog About Living with Chronic Illness, Celiac Disease and Fibromyalgia

Why do I blog about living with celiac disease and fibromyalgia?

It's a fair question. After all, my identity is not just my chronic illnesses. (Like I've talked about in posts like this one!)

The Real Reasons I Blog About Living with Chronic Illness, Celiac Disease and Fibromyalgia

Instead...I am a grad student. A sister. A freelance writer. A mystery book lover. A soccer player and fan. An exercise junkie. A gluten-free foodie.

Basically, I'm a lot more than my diagnoses...so why do I spend a toooon of time and online page space writing about them? Why have I let a big part of my online identity become aligned with the words "College Celiac?"

Well...partially because, for better or for worse, those chronic illnesses are a big part of who I am.

They determine what I eat and how I sleep. When I have the energy to socialize, and the requests I need to make any time I trust a restaurant chef with my meal. They shape my life in ways that a lot of people without chronic illness don't initially see or understand.

The Real Reasons I Blog About Living with Chronic Illness, Celiac Disease and Fibromyalgia

But that actually isn't the main reason I write about these topics. I write about them because blogging - or even just talking - about my chronic illness...

...lets me do my part for the gluten free and fibromyalgia community. When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I know I had a million and one questions about what to eat or what medications to take or even what to ask my doctor. And I vividly remember how relieved I was to find bloggers like Celiac and the Beast, Gluten Dude and HaleLife Taylor to give me answers and a sense of normalcy. So if sharing some embarrassing story about being glutened on my first date or what gluten free phone apps make living with celiac disease easier makes just one person smile or feel less alone or have an easier day, all my work is worth it.

...lets me explore parts of myself that I'm still figuring out. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 11 and celiac at age 16, but I'm still learning new things every day. Not only because more exciting research and medical progress is being made, but also because every body (especially one with chronic illness) is constantly changing. And while helping others is certainly my main goal, I can't deny that writing through some of the challenges or triumphs I experience helps me too. I've written hundreds of blog posts since I first launched Casey the College Celiac, and while not all of them are award-worthy, I know that I learned something every single time I clicked "publish" - whether it was through the writing process or the comments I exchanged with readers afterward!

The Real Reasons I Blog About Living with Chronic Illness, Celiac Disease and Fibromyalgia

...lets me be part of something bigger. Because let's be honest. Living with chronic illness can be freakin' hard - especially if it feels like people around you don't (or can't) understand. That's what's pretty amazing about sharing my life online. I've connected with people from Argentina to Canada to Japan, have exchanged recipes and tips with people half, two, three times my age and everything in between, and have people in my life that I'd consider friends, despite having never met them "offline."

And all of those reasons are why I blog about chronic illness. Not because chronic illness is all I am.

Of course, on a typical day, I do think about my celiac disease and fibromyalgia regularly. It's hard not to when people offer me a snack filled with gluten and I need to say no, or if sitting in the same position for a three-hour lecture triggers a tweaked muscle and horrible headache. But I also think about what plans I want to make with my friends that weekend, what homework I need to get done before my next shift at the local grocery store the next day, and other typical 20-something thoughts.

The Real Reasons I Blog About Living with Chronic Illness, Celiac Disease and Fibromyalgia

In other words...I just live my life. And at the end of the day, that's the main reason I blog: to help everyone with chronic illness (including myself!) live an even more kickass life than they ever thought possible.

Nothing is better motivation to keep coming back, hitting "publish" and connecting with y'all than that.



Why do you blog or write or talk or raise awareness about your chronic illness? How do you draw the line between it being part of you and taking over your life? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Comments

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  2. Great post! I blog about living with food allergies, mostly to raise awareness, but especially to help others in this position be inspired and empowered. It has become very important to me to spread that message. Thanks for sharing your story!

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