Each week we are highlighting a different Chronic Illness Bloggers’ member as our ‘Blogger of the Week‘. As well as getting to know each other better, we hope that you enjoy this series and that you find the interviews with each member to be insightful and helpful.
This week our blogger of the week is Jo of JBOT | Adaptive Disability Lifestyle.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos age 19 and have drastically changed my life since then… at the time I was working in outdoor adventure but I’m now 25 and almost finished with my Occupational Therapy degree. I’m an adaptive fitness fanatic, I’ve always loved extreme sport and that hasn’t changed although my body is a little less cooperative now! I was in a parkour group a few years ago but once that became unrealistic I swapped to photography. Photography is safer (for my body not my bank balance) and it’s become a massive part of my life, I rarely leave the house without a camera. When I’m not doing uni work, staying fit or taking pictures I love nail art and reading.
2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
I started out as Purl Beads Jo but I’ve recently re-branded as JBOT | Adaptive Disability Lifestyle. This was to reflect the fact that my priorities and career choice have leant towards Occupational Therapy rather than my crafty hobbies. My blog is written from a dual perspective; I talk about my own experiences with disability but I also share self-management techniques that are backed up with Occupational Therapy theory. I aim to provide daily living tips to people with chronic illnesses and disabilities but I also provide a patients views to visiting healthcare professionals.
3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started blogging a few years ago to record my thoughts and feelings about random events in my life; anything from wheelchair basketball tournaments to busy days at uni. Since getting my diagnosis my health had gone downhill sharply but I’d made point of learning everything I could about my conditions. I was a self professed expert about certain topics, combining my own life experiences with my new OT training. I decided to blog about a few frequently asked topics like splinting. I was not prepared for the response at all. I had loads of positive feedback and lots of follow up questions so I kept going. I picked a self management technique and blogged using my own experiences and my OT training.
4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
I have no schedule. My blogging is as random as my health so sometimes my blog lays barren for a month, other times I’ll post daily for a week or so. Usually I try to write something at least every two weeks.
5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
Yes, massively! My confidence improves with every comment and like. Not just my own personal confidence but my confidence in my OT skills too. I love being able to help people and some of the friends I’ve met through social media are like family to me. It sounds a little melodramatic but I honestly don’t know where I’d be without my social media outlets now!
6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
My health is a big part of my life and it has an impact on not only me but my loved ones too. Learning to manage my health has improved my quality of life no-end so I’d like to help others do the same. From a professional perspective, I think all healthcare providers should know what it’s actually like to live with a chronic illness. I aim to blur the line between patient and professional. We are all people.
7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
1. Don’t push yourself. Some of the best things I’ve written have been totally spur of the moment. I write when it feels natural not because I’ve set myself a schedule.
2. Enjoy the experience. Blogging isn’t a chore for me. I love it, if the joy has gone out of blogging then re-think your strategy!
3. Meet people. Blogging has introduced me to some wonderful people, don’t be afraid of friendships that start on the internet. If you really connect with someone then it doesn’t matter that thet are in a different time zone!