Here we go again. Seems like just yesterday I was blogging everyday for WEGO Health. Well, it is a new year and a new challenge. So, without further adieu, let’s jump right into it.
Why HAWMC? This is our third year of the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge – why did you get involved this year? Are you a newbie to #HAWMC or a veteran?
I have to say I was torn on whether to do this or not. Last year I got burned out from writing every day and it kind of turned me off of blogging for a bit. When I got the email for the challenge I didn’t know if I wanted to participate. Now I read this question, and I know why I am doing this.
I got involved this year because when I blog, it isn’t always about me. What I write is more to inform and help others. I am doing what I do so others can learn and know that they aren’t alone with their disease. Yes, the stories are about me and my experience but I don’t tell them to be vain or brag. I tell my stories to inform others. I share my experience with LDN and Gluten Free so anyone thinking about them can see what it is like. I don’t even write to get recognition. I just want to help.
To answer the second question..I don’t view myself as a newbie but not quite a veteran either. I have been blogging for a little over a year now. I have gone from not knowing anyone online to being part of a great community. I have met so many great people and have even been told how my blog has helped them. Since I have been blogging almost every month since starting and already doing a Writer’s Month Challenge, I can’t say I am a newbie. For me this is now sort of repetitious. But I do it for you, the reader.
Now that you have read this, and if you read my blog often, I want to ask you a question. Why aren’t you participating? Well, for some of you, maybe you are. But for the ones that aren’t why not. Why not start blogging yourselves. I can say it is definitely therapeutic and helps in releasing stress. It is a great way to meet others in the same situation. And it is a great way to help others. If you do have a blog, leave me a message telling me what your site is. Share it with everyone. Let’s make our great community even bigger.
Here is a topic that I have never talked about. In fact it isn’t one I had ever thought much about. Thinking back over most of my post, I rarely talk about my friends and family. Mainly I talk about myself. When I look at my life and my disease, I look at how most of my life I spent in solitude with it. No one in my family really understood what I was going through. I remember a time when I was a teenager when my parents were practically dragging me out of bed to get dressed and go to school. They couldn’t understand what I was feeling mentally or physically. I don’t hold this against them because in all honestly, there was no way for them to understand. I myself didn’t understand the disease. As far as friends go, I hid my disease from them. I opened up a little but never really let anyone into that part of my life. My wife…my rock…she is the only one that has seen me at my worst. She has been there for the good and the bad. And yet, I don’t mention her much. Hmmm, that has to change.
So, how do I choose to write about them. Well, the truth is that I don’t think about it. When a story comes into my head I write it out. I don’t think about who I am writing about. When I finally see a person appear on the screen, that is when I will stop and think. I don’t want to make anyone look bad on here. So when I do mention someone close to me, I will look at what I have written just to make sure it is all good. Overall though, I try to keep my post about me just so I don’t offend friends and family.
Now, as far as online friends. That is a whole other story. I have mentioned other people before. Honestly, I always feel weird doing it. I try not to put last names and sometimes I will not put a name at all. But some people are so big within the community that if I just put a first name you will know who I am talking about. For these people, I don’t worry. I won’t write anything bad about them, that’s for sure. I know some people don’t like to be mentioned and if anyone tells me not to say their name, then I won’t. I look back on the guest post from Sarah. She told me at the last-minute not to use her last name…so I didn’t.
As far as the content that I write, I just write what pops into my head. Sometimes nothing pops in which is why I can go a week or two without a post. But I never focus on other people for my blog. Overall, it is me and me alone that I want to focus on. Well, except for my Follow Fridays..but that is to promote other sites where the people have already put their name out there.
Recently, I was going through my bookmarks and I saw one I made for a website which I hadn’t been to in a while. I clicked the link and when I got there, I saw there were a bunch of changes and all for the better. I saw there were new people to link up with and I began exploring a great site that I remember loving when I first joined.
The website I am talking about is http://www.Crohnology.com. Crohnology is a social health network for people with Crohn’s & Colitis to share and learn what treatments work, meet others near them, and track and share their health. It is a fairly new site and has been featured in numerous places including the Summer 2012 edition of Crohn’s Advocate.
So what is the site all about. Well, first off, everyone on the site has IBD. So whoever you talk to will be able to understand just what you are talking about. Second, you can look on a map and find people in your area. You can see who is taking the same meds as you, or have had the same surgery’s. You can ask questions to everyone regardless if you are following them. You can also write blogs on there and share them with everyone.
So what makes this different from other sites. Well, for one thing, the guy that started it, Sean Ahrens, has Crohn’s disease. He understands what we go through and molds his site to those needs. The other uniqueness is the map feature. On most sites you don’t know where anyone is from unless they tell you. From the moment you sign on, you can see all the people who live near you. There is also a feature where you can create a Meet Up so you can plan a get together.
Right now, it is still in its infancy so expect to see more great things from them. I can see them being a leading social website for people with IBD. No one there will judge you. They all have gone through the pain that we have at one point and many are there to help you through the rough time. I know because I have had some questions answered there myself.
I look forward to seeing what the next year brings for this great website. So, after you are finished reading my blog, head on over and join up. You won’t be disappointed. You can also find them on Twitter @Crohnology and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Crohnology