When I started writing about my experiences with Autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses one of the first questions I asked myself was “Why would anyone read about me?”
I still ask this question when I see celebrities ‘coming out’ about being gay, transgender, alcoholics, drug addicts, divorcing, pregnant and ill. While the world is obsessed about the health and well being of these famous people what on earth would make anyone read about Autoimmunitygirl? Who is she anyway?
I am not famous, rich, popular or well known. I am some woman who was living a life, paying bills, caught in traffic jams and planning my wedding and then… one day… slowly… that all changed. Forever.
But who would want to know about that and what has happened since? Not even some friends who knew me for years were able to sustain interest in the daily challenges I face. Why should people A. Care Autoimmunitygirl? and B. Be inspired to care about other people with Autoimmune diseases and Chronic illnesses?
The other day I watched an interview with a wealthy celebrity who was talking about her battle with Lyme disease and how she spreading awareness and raising millions of dollars with the help of her celebrity and popularity. What can I hope to achieve in comparison to her, and that type of wealth and fame? In fact I dont even have ONE illness that I am trying to raise awareness of, sadly, I have multiple Autoimmune illnesses which means I am just as passionate about ALL of them; not just one (like Lyme Disease).
And then it came to me one day (sometime in February of this year) that I am just as important as anyone else on this earth. If I can help one person feel less alone and help one person get the understanding and support that they deserve it will be completely worth it to me.
Today I watched my husband taking photographs in the garden and I thought to myself, he may be just one man but he is the world to me. Same too must apply to our community of Autoimmune sufferers. We might be just a person who lives down the road, or aunts or uncles of somebody, or someone that someone went to school with, but we are also a world-wide group of ‘somebodies’, many millions of ‘somebodies’ who matter regardless of how famous and rich we are.
In fact the worst thing that Autoimmunitygirl can do is be silent and suffer in silence and BELIEVE that I don’t matter, believe that I am not part of a bigger group of understanding and a global family of supporters. If we keep talking and sharing and spreading the news we CAN and WILL make a difference.
In fact, I am extremely glad that I am not a celebrity, whilst I might be able to use my fame to spread a message, but when you think of all the other scrutiny and judgements that ‘celebrities’ and the ‘famous’ go through, I wouldn’t want to be them for anything in the world. Today I can shut the door on the world and rest in anonymity, but I doubt that is the same can be said for those that need and follow the limelight. I don’t have to read magazines articles about my illnesses and the size of my thighs and compete with other celebrity hungry wolves ready to devour the next piece of scandal.
To me the message is more important than who delivers it.
The wonderful people I get to meet and connect with on the way has been the greatest gift of this entire journey and, like my husband, I wouldn’t swap them for anything. While I can freely interact with any and all fellow sufferers, I am not sure that celebrities and movie stars allow themselves the same privileges in their own health journeys.
Its a difficult question and one that held me back from ever starting in the first place. But