HAWMC Day 7: Starting My Advocacy Journey

We all need people in our lives who push us to do and be greater. Sometimes it’s hard to accept advice that someone has to offer, but most of the time, it’s worth it to hear them out.

I never even thought about sharing my story about living with chronic daily headaches, because I never thought anyone would really need or want to hear and read about it. The thought never crossed my mind.

That was until one day, during a pretty dark and frustrating period of my life when I was experiencing 6+/10 head pain every single day for a long string of time. I was living with my older sister at the time, so she knew and could see that I was living in constant pain and that I was having a difficult time dealing with it. One day she suggested an idea that turned out to be my motivation behind creating The Headache Heroine. She said “Why don’t you write about all of this?” She suggested I use it as a coping mechanism, since I already had a love for writing. Why not take my love for writing and do something positive with it? She helped me realize that it could be therapeutic for me, which turned about to be very true.

At first, I was worried that sharing my story would just make me sound like I was throwing myself a pity party and was inviting people to bring gifts of sympathy. But that’s not what I was going for and that’s not the kind of vibe I wanted to throw out into the world.

What actually ended up happening, was that I got an outpouring of encouragement and praise for being “brave” for being vulnerable enough to start opening up about my health and really putting it all out there. I had been hesitant to share my blog posts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, because I didn’t want to bug people and add things to their newsfeed that they didn’t want to look at/read. But then I realized, that if people wanted to skip over what I shared, they would, and if people wanted to read what I wrote, then they would. I eventually created a separate Instagram account for my health journey, but I still tried to tell myself not to worry about what others thought.

After a few months of being worried that people would judge or roll their eyes at the stories I was posting and sharing, I slowly grew much more comfortable with sharing my story. I realized that I was actually reaching people who really appreciated and benefited from my words. I became less concerned with those people who didn’t care about my story, and focused all my attention on the people who did care and who actually benefited from hearing my story and my advice.

While advocating and getting my voice out there actually helps me cope and feel more positive about myself and my life with chronic daily headaches, I also know that I have helped other people who are facing similar health journeys. That fact alone keeps me writing and sharing, and it should help encourage you to do the same!

There’s A Purpose Behind Your Struggle: Seeing Your Words Inspire Others

Recently, I was nominated for three WEGO Health Activist Awards. WEGO is an online network of community members who are influential in health knowledge. WEGO Health Activist Awards celebrate those community members who share their stories, knowledge and strength to help inspire and help others who are on their own health journey. It’s an incredibly humbling honor to have been nominated for these awards.

wego-health

Being nominated means that someone out there read my words, my story, and what I had to share, and was positively impacted by those words and my story. That feeling alone is such a powerful one. It gave me a surge of strength to continue to advocate and inspire in any way that I can.

For so long, I let the struggles of my health problems and my constant battle against my headaches continue to knock me down, and keep me down. I harbored so many negative thoughts on a daily basis.I saw no reason to continue to search for treatments that worked. I didn’t see the point in trying to find answers, because for so long I was lead down dead end roads.

It wasn’t until I was given the idea and the loving push to start this blog that I started to see all of the positive things that have resulted from my battle with chronic daily headaches. As I started to see that writing this blog was helping me cope, I thought that maybe I could help others cope as well–no matter what fight they’re fighting. I wanted to reach people who had reached the point that I had–the point of giving up. Chronic illness can take over our lives if we let it, but we have the power to live our lives the way that we deserve to, without letting chronic illness take us as victims. That’s what I set out to show people like me.

So when I saw that I was nominated for the WEGO Health Activist Awards, I cried. (*spoiler alert: this isn’t overly shocking since I cry at everything including cute puppy videos.*) I felt fulfillment. I felt inspired by the people who I had inspired. I felt strengthened by the people that I somehow strengthened. To know that I had reached at least one other person who is coping with a battle of their own, opened my eyes to the realization that my passion is for health advocacy.

It’s an heart-warming feeling to know that my journey has resided with other people. Your words can help someone else in so many ways you may not have even imagined. Keep sharing your story. Keep spreading your love. Keep inspiring and strengthening the people around you. We all need to be lifted up every once in a while.