Why I Talk About Living with Chronic Illness on Social Media

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Shake. All opinions are 100% mine.

Living with chronic illness is a topic that is close to my heart, considering that I have celiac disease and fibromyalgia, and other chronic illnesses run in my family. But one question I'm commonly asked is why I spend so much time talking about life with chronic illness on social media. This blog post is an answer to that question...however, it's also a resource to others living with chronic illness who don't know the positive role social media could play in their lives.

AD: Why do I talk about living with #chronicillness on social media? Find out in today's blog post! #celiac #fibromyalgia #celiacdisease

So with all of that said, let's get into why I talk about life with chronic illness on social media...and why you might benefit from doing the same!

Social Media and Living with Chronic Illness, Reason 1: It's sometimes easier to share my truths with an anonymous online audience.

First of all, I want to say that I am SO grateful to have an amazing in-person support system that I can always reach out to and talk with. However, sometimes there are feelings or thoughts that I don't want to weigh down my friends or boyfriend with. So I'll turn to the online world instead.

I'll create an Instagram reel about comments that I hate hearing as a person with an invisible illness.

I'll share a Facebook post that reflects on the complicated relationship between chronic illness and quarantine life.

I'll write a blog post about being told I'm exaggerating my chronic illnesses or my dietary needs.

AD: Why do I talk about living with #chronicillness on social media? Find out in today's blog post! #celiac #fibromyalgia #celiacdisease

And when I click "publish," I'll feel a sense of relief. Even if very few people interact with that post, I've gotten some thoughts and feelings off my chest. I've turned some ugly emotions into a thoughtful - sometimes even lyrical - caption. And when so much of your health and body is unpredictable and uncontrollable, it feels empowering to take control of the narrative in the social media posts I create and share.

Social Media and Living with Chronic Illness, Reason 2: I can connect with and learn from other chronic illness warriors from all over the world.

Perhaps one of the most obvious - but also most rewarding - parts of sharing social media posts about living with chronic illness is connecting with people who can relate. I do have offline friends with chronic illness, but now that I live in California (and thanks to the current pandemic), I can't talk to them in-person very often, not to mention when I'm having a flare-up.

So, I'm grateful that I can turn to the online chronic illness community instead. Thanks to the social media and blog posts I've written in the 7 years since I started Casey the College Celiac, I've met people online who I consider true friends. Even though we've never met in person, I know I can send them an Insta DM when I need support...and I know that they'll understand what I'm going through because they experience the same challenges.

AD: Why do I talk about living with #chronicillness on social media? Find out in today's blog post! #celiac #fibromyalgia #celiacdisease

I'm not gonna lie - life with chronic illness can be lonely, between feeling "different" than others to needing to cancel plans during a flare-up. But on the days I feel entirely alone, I find it helpful to pull up my favorite chronic illness bloggers or search the #chronicillness hashtag on Insta. Even if I don't "talk" to anyone, I get proof of how not alone I really am.

Social Media and Living with Chronic Illness, Reason 3: It helps to know that talking about my worst days can help other people have better days in the future.

I grew up believing that everything happens for a reason, and I still believe in that mantra today. So on days I feel like major cr*p and am asking why I was born with fibromyalgia and celiac disease, I try to remember that my chronic illness journey can help others.

It hasn't been easy maintaining an online presence while going to college and grad school and working multiple jobs...but I do it because of the messages that say things like, "I love watching your videos with my celiac daughters so we can talk about challenges they may have in the future" or "It sounds crazy, but I never knew about 'flare-ups' until you talked about them on your story. Suddenly, soooo much more makes sense."

AD: Why do I talk about living with #chronicillness on social media? Find out in today's blog post! #celiac #fibromyalgia #celiacdisease

To put it simply, I talk about living with chronic illness on social media because of YOU and every single person who reads, comments on or benefits from my story.

Social Media and Living with Chronic Illness, BONUS: I can make some extra money that allows me to pay for additional treatments, like monthly massages.

When I started this blog and my social media channels, I had no idea that I'd still be running them, seven years later. I also had no idea that I would ever reach the point of being able to make a (modest) amount of income from them. But I'm grateful for every sponsored partnership that has come my way...partially because of my chronic illnesses.

After all, living with chronic illnesses ain't cheap. There are medications to pay for...more doctor's visits than for the average person...and supplemental treatments that can help us feel our best. So when I do partner up with a company I 100% believe in and get paid for spreading an authentic message to my brand, I set aside that money 99% of the time for some extra chronic illness self-care - like deep-tissue massages for my fibromyalgia pain or extra gluten free goodies.

That's why I'm super excited to talk about Shake, a new marketplace creators can use - for FREE! - to sell their digital creative services! Shake's great for any kinda influencer or content creator because the services you can list range from sponsored social posts to songwriting to virtual appearances and more. Plus, as a creator, you get to control ALL the terms of every creative listing, like price, delivery timeline and usage rights. And because buyers see all of these terms before they agree to purchase your Shake, there's no back-and-forth before you get paid. Here's an example of some shakes influencers like me have created:

AD: Why do I talk about living with #chronicillness on social media? Find out in today's blog post! #celiac #fibromyalgia #celiacdisease

So how can YOU get started with Shake? Sign up here! Once you've created an account at shake.izea.com, make your "Shakes," or your creative listings for your services! I recommend creating one Shake for every platform or service you offer. Buyers will purchase your Shakes and you can choose to accept or deny any deals...and then you create and deliver the content seamlessly within the platform!

Social Media and Living with Chronic Illness: The Bottom Line

Social media comes with plenty of pros and cons, and I have been guilty of scrolling on Instagram and feeling jealous of people with "normal" healthy bodies. However, I find social media to be an empowering tool for someone with chronic illness. It lets me express myself more rawly than I might in real life, connect with fellow chronic illness warriors and even make some extra money on the side...

...so if the next time you're having a rough day or feel alone, I'd encourage you to consider connecting with an online chronic illness community, or reaching out to someone like me. I may not be able to talk to you in-person or relate to everything you're going through, but my Instagram DMs are always open. And you can expect to continue to see more chronic illness content on all my social media channels...because even if I get tired of living with chronic illness some days, I never get tired of raising awareness and using my own struggles to connect to and empower others.

Do you talk about your chronic illness on social media? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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