Many people struggle to do things on a daily basis. Sometimes they struggle to keep up to a schedule or find they’ve taken on too much. But what if you suffer from a chronic illness? Things which people may find difficult, someone with a chronic illness may find impossible to do…and blogging is one of them. But what can be done if you suffer from such a problem, and what can you do if you don’t?
Chronic illness affects a large number of people in the world and takes on many forms. Every person with a form of chronic illness will have a different story to tell you and their illness affects them in different ways. For me having type one diabetes (the rarer form) affects me on a daily basis, from the struggles of counting up carbohydrates in every meal I eat, doing mathematical sums to work out what doses of medication to take, to the difficulties when things don’t go according to plan, it all leads to regular headaches, fatigue and even depression.
Trying to live a ‘normal life’ like everyone else feels impossible so many times and it hasn’t helped when friends, doctors and even television programs keep pointing out that diabetics can live a completely normal life. Daily life sometimes goes well for me but at other times it goes painfully wrong and when my diabetes is all messed up I suffer from some very bad symptoms.
High blood sugars as well as regular lows make me feel like I’ve run a marathon and been beaten up sometimes before I’ve even finished breakfast. The fatigue which comes from bad days with the condition make it hard to do anything. On top of that headaches, which just ruin everybody’s ability clearly to think and depression which arises from the sadness of not being able to sort out the diabetes (and a general low mood from having everything messed up) makes it hard for me to do anything on some days.
Chronic illness affects my own blogging
Today I woke up with my blood sugars high and my blood full of ketones, an acid that’s released when your body turns to burning fat instead of carbohydrates. Ketones in a normal person eating few carbohydrates is fine, but combined with high sugar levels in a diabetic causes a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a dangerous and life-threatening condition if left untreated, but that’s what I woke up with this morning. It made every muscle in my body hurt and I felt like I was going to vomit. I also couldn’t breathe properly which are all signs of DKA, and I couldn’t function for a long time, a couple of hours, until it had passed – after I’d injected the right amount on insulin to fix it.
When I woke up, I really wanted to write a few blog posts today. I had several ideas in my head including one about book publishers and another about anxiety. I even wanted to write up a book review and the two awards that I’ve been kindly given by fellow bloggers. I’ve had these posts I’ve wanted to write in my head for the last few days but I haven’t been able to write anything recently because I found it hard due to bad bouts of high blood sugars. I wanted to write up brand new blog posts but instead I come to my usual writing time, in the afternoon, and I’m struggling to write anything as I’m so tired after my morning DKA. I’m still suffereing some of the symptoms hours later and feel so disappointed that I can’t write what I’ve wanted to for ages. Instead I’m part writing and editing a previous post I published on an old blog from a year ago (prior to this blog existing).
The effects of chronic illness can affect your blogging life, as it sometimes does for me. While I’m having a bad patch these last few days (which also explains my disappearance the last few days on social media!), it doesn’t always happen. And when it does it can make me, and others feel miserable and you end up feeling like a failure as you see all these other bloggers out there clearly able to keep up pace with their blogs.
What can you do if you suffer from chronic illness?
If you are a blogger and your chronic illness affects your blogging there are things you can do to make it easier for yourself, especially if you’re unable to write a blog post:
1. The most important thing is to forgive yourself for not being able to cope. Everyone has times when they can’t blog. Even if it affects you frequently, don’t be hard on yourself. Forgive yourself. Looking after yourself is the most important thing.
2. Write when you are able and not just at your normal blogging time. When you are able to write do it. If you are someone who currently writes blog posts on the day they go out, then re-think when you write. If you have the energy and want to write a blog post at another time, do it, and follow the next step which many newer bloggers don’t know about…
3. Schedule blog posts! The reason all those bloggers you see end up blogging regularly is because most of them (probably all of them) schedule their posts. Scheduling means your blog posts will go up at a time when you want them to (even if you’re asleep then!). The wonderful thing about scheduling is when you start to get into the habit of writing several blog posts you can then schedule them for the future so you’ll look like you’re posting and writing frequently, even if you’re not 🙂
4. If you’ve run out of things to post and really can’t handle writing a blog post don’t. Don’t even apologise for it. If you don’t want to disappoint people following your blog then just tell them you’re not able to blog at the moment and need some time to rest. I’ve never come across a blog where people haven’t been supportive of someone who needs some time away. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break, be it a few days, weeks or even months.
What can you do if you don’t suffer from chronic illness but follow the blog of someone who does?
Everyone is different. Some people like to share their illnesses publically, others don’t. But for those who have someone close to them who is suffering then just be there and be supportive. Even if that means just understanding that they can’t do something.
If you follow the blog of someone who is suffering, then be understanding if they take a break from blogging. Think how you would feel in that same situation, unable to keep blogging. Sometimes the best thing that anyone without an illness can do is to be understanding. It doesn’t take much effort but it means a lot.
These days it means a lot to me if people take the time to comment on a blog post, especially if I’m struggling in life. Sometimes a bit of understanding goes far in making me feel better. It doesn’t mean I need people to comment, no comment is better than a harsh one, but to know that people still will want to read my blog when I come back after a break means a lot.
Chronic illness doesn’t have to ruin your life
It doesn’t have to affect your life. Sometimes chronic illness is there, sometimes you barely notice it. Sometimes it spends days or weeks away and we feel great and ‘normal’ (what ever that is!) and other times we can feel terrible. But whether you suffer from a chronic illness or not, we all have good and bad days blogging and the tips above, I hope, will help everyone to relax and enjoy blogging, because it is supposed to be fun after all 🙂
– This post was inspired and adapted from a previous post I published online in June 2018 (original no longer available online)