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 Hannah of Super Pooped: Adventures for the Exhausted.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I got sick with ME/CFS nearly four years ago, just after I’d completed my Master’s Degree in Illustration. I’d been working 75 hour weeks on average; on my course work, doing a part time retail job and freelancing as an illustrator. I got tonsillitis in November 2012 and just didn’t get better. I’ve been housebound for nearly two years now, but I’ve been slowly improving with a new health regime and a better support system in place. I live with my lovely parents, who are my carers, and my cat, Jessicat Fletcher, who is part adorable, fluffy kitten, and part vicious hell beast.
2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
My blog is called Super Pooped: Adventures for the Exhausted, and chronicles my life and experiences with ME/CFS. I hope to spread awareness and a greater understanding of ME, and slowly build up a working knowledge base on symptoms and methods of coping that sufferers (and their friends and family) can refer to. I support this endeavor with my skills as an illustrator, my sense of humor, and pictures of cute animals (usually hedgehogs, or aforementioned fluffy hell beast).
3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I’ve been blogging for nearly a year and a half now. It really started as a way for me to be more honest about my situation without feeling that I was moaning on social media. I used to sugarcoat the situation terribly and it led to a lot of frustration and pain when people didn’t understand how bad things really were. As time went on it became clear that I could use the blog to talk about ME/CFS in a more general way, as well as how it affected me personally, and potentially help others who were struggling as I had been.
4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
I try to post on a monthly basis, even if it’s just to say that I’m not up to doing a full post. Sometimes I do extra posts if I’m feeling particularly talkative. I decided to do this to help me relate my posts because they were rather sporadic. I’d get excited and do several posts, and then wear myself out and not be able to do anything for months. This way it’s a lot easier on my readers, and myself.
5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
Blogging has been a massive help to me, allowing me to be more honest about my situation to friends and family, finding others who are in the same boat, and letting me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, even if it’s not what I thought I would be doing with my life!
6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
It’s important to blog about chronic illness for several reasons. Firstly, it’s cathartic for the blogger, and dealing with emotions is a massive part of illness management and recovery. Secondly, friends and family often want to help and feel connected to the sufferer but don’t know how. Blogging about a chronic illness means they can find ways to help and support people more easily, and help keep those connections going strong. Finally, most chronic illnesses are severely misunderstood, which leads to some difficult scenarios for people who are already vulnerable. The more people who know that various conditions exist (and that conditions aren’t always immediately obvious), the less this is likely to happen. Spreading awareness is incredibly important, and blogging is a great way to do this.
7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
My top tips for bloggers would be this:
1. Find your own voice. It’s incredibly easy to tense up, and that can lead to quite dry content. Be yourself and let your personality shine through, it’ll be more fun for you, and more interesting for readers.
2. Be honest. It’s obviously up to you how much information you want to put on the internet, but there’s an opportunity when blogging to let people see what your life with a chronic illness is really like. It’s incredibly freeing to take that chance, and I can’t recommend it enough.
3. Don’t push yourself too hard. I said before that it took a while for me to find a schedule that suited me and my level of health. Listen to your body, and don’t make yourself worse trying to match other people’s schedules. Your health must always, always come first. (Bonus tip: You can’t go wrong with pictures of cute animals.)