Finding support can be difficult, especially when you’re struggling with an invisible illness. Counseling, group therapy, or support groups can all help when you’re feeling isolated, but so can finding a kindred spirit – especially one who works hard to encourage a community. Hurt Blogger, whose real name is Britt, runs a website, a blog, a Facebook page, and a twitter account.
Anyone who has a chronic pain condition (or who’s just curious) should check out Hurt Blogger.
Hurt Blugger’s blog started in July of 2011. In her first post, she mentions that she went through a time when she was scared to talk about her pain condition, but she’s become more willing to discuss it as she gets older – not that Hurt Blogger is old. She began experiencing symptoms of her pain conditions when she was a child, spent years trying to get a diagnosis, and is now 29. Her official diagnosis right now includes undifferentiated spondyloarthropathy, rheumatoid arthropathy, Sjogren’s syndrome, scoliosis, and complex migraines.
After dealing with chronic pain for so long, Hurt Blogger has “gained a lot along the way, and I feel like it’s all a waste if I keep it to myself.” Her blog is a mix of information, inspiration, humor, and snippets of her day-to-day life.
If you ever feel isolated by your chronic pain condition, Hurt Blogger might make you feel a little less alone.
There are lots of little things that people without chronic pain just don’t get, like what goes through your head when someone asks you to rate your pain on a scale of one to ten. Start talking about what it’s like to try to get your pills out of blister pack when your joints hurt, and most people will be surprised that it’s such a big deal. Hurt Blogger, though, noted:
“Morning and night my thumbs wage war against this blister pack. It’s a sick joke hiding relief away through little doors of pain.”
Medications have side effects. If you’ve ever gotten weird looks when you talk about weighing side effects of medications versus life without medications, Hurt Blogger will get that, too, saying:
“I often wrestle with this cause and effect issue over my medications. Whether the side effects are worth it in the end. Yet I never think of that when I’m crying out in an all consuming blindsiding pain. Pain will make you do strange things, like willingly submit to the fine print at the end of that TV ad.”
Sometimes just knowing that there’s someone out there who goes through the same struggles as you can help. To top it off, Hurt Blogger is all about interaction with her followers. Send in a question, and you might just get a blog post devoted to the answer. Comment on a post, and she might respond.
Perhaps one of her most touching posts was in response to an 18-year-old who said she probably had arthritis and was going to a rheumatologist soon to find out for sure. The young lady asked if Hurt Blogger knew how to make it “any less scary,” and Hurt Blogger’s response was thorough, practical, gentle, and caring.
Hurt Blogger also encourages an online community, almost like a support group.
Her #chroniclife movement on Twitter took off like wildfire. Usually, Hurt Blogger (like most chronic pain patients, probably) doesn’t share every time her pain invades her daily life. She holds back out of worry that she’ll be judged or thought to be whining or complaining too much. However, for 48 hours, Hurt Blogger tweeted:
- Each time she took a medication
- Each time she used a tool to control pain
- Each time she felt pain severe enough to interrupt her day
- About the physical, mental, and emotional experiences related to her pain
Not only did this open the eyes of everyone who’s never experienced chronic pain, it also brought about a powerful response, proving that there are a lot more people who deal with chronic pain than most people realize. Hurt Blogger archived all the live-tweeted responses during the #chroniclife experiment and has a list of other bloggers who took part (scroll down a little to see the list).
Hurt Blogger is also very active on Facebook.
With over 1,200 Likes, Hurt Blogger’s Facebook page is popular and growing. She posts a mix of things here, similar to her blog, but her Facebook page is updated a lot more often. While pain and arthritis are the focus, it’s still an extremely uplifting page.
Often, Hurt Blogger shares links to articles or stories. Some are educational or helpful. For example, she shared a post about a rarely-discussed aspect of chronic pain: sex. In another post, she shared an article about how exercise is tied to anti-inflammatory effects, stated her own opinions, and asked for others’ opinions, starting a great conversation. Hurt Blogger herself is an athlete and completed her first 10K in March, and it’s always inspiring to read about her athletic pursuits. She also shares resources a lot, such as events that people with chronic pain might find beneficial or articles about potential treatments for pain.
Also, while Hurt Blogger is interactive with followers of her blog and twitter, she’s really interactive on Facebook. She answers questions, gives thanks for support, and sometimes offers words of encouragement to her followers. Through her positivity, determination, and openness, Hurt Blogger has created several welcoming places online for anyone with a pain condition.
Do you follow Hurt Blogger on social media?
Image by Jason Howie via Flickr