I would like to take a moment on IWD (international Women’s Day) to thank all the readers, followers, fellow fighters, bloggers, friends, loved ones and supporters for all you have done over the years to make Autoimmunitygirl what it is today.
More importantly I would like to thank you all for helping me along the road of chronic life and helping me cope with some of the terribly challenging demands chronic Illnesses have presented me to date… and those I have yet to face!
I truly believe that I can never fully express what connecting, interacting and sharing has meant to me over the years and it has been so important to me in being able to grow my confidence and understanding of myself during some of the most difficult times in my life.
Since starting this journey with blogging there have been so many times I have wondered whether I should continue or whether it would be better if I simply gave up. I have often wondered whether my little blog actually made a difference to anyone or if it helped the cause of those with Autoimmune illnesses anywhere in the world. My prime goal has always been to help, support and advocate for these terrible illnesses and to help sufferers feel as though they are not alone, that they are part of a larger community and that there really is strength in numbers.
I wanted to help myself and others find dignity and respect after all that we have been through and all that we had lost. Illnesses are some of the hardest battles in life because it never ends and, worst still, we battle ignorance, intolerance as well as our own bodies.
My own experiences have seen people doubt me, tell me that they are embarrassed of me and also try to discredit me and I also know that this has happened to the majority of sufferers out there because I have seen your comments, read your own stories and felt your pain inside support groups where we have all shared the hardest, cruelest and most crushing realities in our battles.
I have always believed that this wasn’t good enough for me and it wasn’t good enough for all those hundreds of millions of fighters out there! I felt I had to do something and I felt I had to write something. I can only hope it will be a small step in a long line of something’s that will lead to change and improvements in the way chronic sufferers are treated and seen.
I have stated repeatedly that I would never want to speak for all autoimmune sufferers or pretend that I embody everyone’s voice and feelings on a range of topics, but I do hope that this little blog has given some the chance and the motivation to speak for themselves and to believe in their own voice and validity.
I have since learned that being an advocate and trying to drive change is not easy and sadly you open yourself up to further scrutiny, rejection and condemnation. Advocacy work is hard and I have learned that I was wildly naive in the beginning despite being good intentioned. I no longer believe advocacy and blogging are easy and it takes a real stoic attitude and self belief that no one prepares you for.
I would encourage anyone out there to look deeply at themselves and remember their prime motives before they undertook advocacy work because many times you must self sacrifice, bear your soul and see no real reward for your efforts other than those you give yourself knowing that you have tried to do something for the greater good. Sometimes that can feel not enough when you face isolation and criticism and it is far easier to give way to your doubts. In my own case I have had many experiences of soldering on alone in my life and I have also had amazing role models that have shown me what real strength is. It is also out of love and respect for them that I write what I write. Their examples of courage are more important to me now than the examples of cruelty, intolerance and selfishness that I have seen.
Learning how to truly see yourself in new ways and rebuild your life after you have undergone such a dramatic change has been without doubt the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It’s been emotionally painful, physical demanding and has been a 24/7 battle that I can not even hope to describe within the lines of these blogs, but without the understanding of the greater chronic community, my loved ones and my inner spirit I know that I could never have made it this far.
So thank you to all those reading these words and I hope that this little blog has helped you find your own words or helped others understand just some of things that people who have life long health battles deal with everyday of their lives.