Invisible Illnesses and Anonymous Blogging

1024px-Flower,_Anemone_-De_Caen-_-_Flickr_-_nekonomania_(1)

I got to thinking about raising awareness about invisible illnesses and the dichotomy or contrast that exists for someone blogging anonymously. On some level, I feel as if I should be willing to be truly open and sharing my story as myself clearly identified. Would that potentially better help me to raise awareness and understanding of the invisible illnesses in my life? Why am I choosing to write this anonymously? Is it better to post my name and picture? Am I somehow promoting an idea that these illnesses should stay invisible? Am I somehow finding their invisibility convenient?

The answer reveals a lot about my experience and fears around my invisible illnesses. For me, it took all the desperation and bravery I have to start this blog. I was so scared to start processing all of these thoughts and feelings and, even more so, to do it in a public forum. I realized that I almost had no choice, I had to process my pain and had to reach out to find support. I decided to blog anonymously because I was (and still am) too afraid to share all of these struggles in a way that any acquaintances, colleagues, or future employers might find.

I’m afraid of being judged for my health conditions. I have fibromyalgia, endometriosis, infertility, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and migraines as my #invisiblefights. I’m afraid of not being believed or taken seriously. I’m afraid of people telling me it’s somehow my fault or that, if I just tried [insert recommendation here], I would be better. The worst is people who suggest that I would be healthy if I could just have a positive enough attitude. Really…  I’m afraid of making people uncomfortable. I’m afraid of my words being used against me somehow. I’m afraid friends would be scared off. I’m afraid coworkers would see me as weak, supervisors might be reluctant to promote me, or future employers might not hire me if they knew.

These fears and accompanying silence are important aspects of invisible illnesses too. Part of the invisibility is physical; no one can see them. Part of the invisibility is cultural; no one understands what to make of them. Part of the invisibility may also be personal; we are afraid of sharing our conditions for fear of judgement and consequences.

In some ways there’s an advantage to invisible illnesses there, from my perspective today. Most of the time, I can choose whether to reveal my health conditions to others. I have almost always hidden my struggles from most of the people around me. I’ve been successful at that until recently when it’s been much more difficult to hide.

Slowly but surely we are developing understanding among ourselves and society. Someday I hope to not have to feel so afraid of the stigmas and misunderstanding. Eventually more of us will be comfortable bringing these issues into the open. I’m so thankful for this platform to connect with people, support each other, and learn from each other. I’m so thankful for advocacy like Invisible Illnesses Awareness Week to help drag these illnesses into the light.

Image: Red anemone

Text Copyright Snowdroplets 2015

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6 responses to “Invisible Illnesses and Anonymous Blogging

  1. I can relate a lot. I, too, have chosen to write anonymously, because I want to be free from anxiety, to be free from fear of being mocked by people I know (which as actually happened in a previous website that someone from my real life discovered). There are some things I want to share, but not with the people from my real life. I feel embarrassed.
    I wish mental illness didn’t have so much stigma, and that people helped each other. I believe that if people connected and made each others feel understood, that depression and anxiety could be more easily beaten. The isolation is just such a big part.
    Anyway, sorry for the rambling, and I am sending my best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I started my blog because I couldn’t find a support group online that was relevant to what I’m living with. Through my blog I’ve connected with some great people, received lots of support, and connecet with resources that I don’t believe would have happened otherwise.
    I keep myself anonymous because of many of the reasons you listed but also because I don’t feel I’d be able to be as open and honest if my name and face were attached to my blog. It still scares me to think that certain people would find my blog and learn about my deepest feelings, but I’m more afraid of censoring myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can completely relate to you, while my blog isn’t anonymous I totally understand why someone might want theirs to be. I have a lot of the same fears you do, that other people may judge the way I’m feeling and that future employers may see it as a flaw (I just graduated college so I’m looking for a job and my chronic headaches and migraines have me really nervous and unsure about this process)

    No matter if it’s anonymous or not, it’s comforting to know there are other people out here to support you!

    Putting our fears, feelings and invisible illnesses out there is seriously scary but at the same time I find it to be such a release for me.

    Stay strong! And know that there’s a whole lot of people who support you and who can definitely relate!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re not alone. We may have different stories to write but we are sailing on the same boat. Writing through blogging can ease your burden and by tagging our stories bring you closer to those people who has same interest and burden as yours. Keep hoping although sometimes I got lost too.

    Like

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