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 Sara of Zebra Writes.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Sara, a 28 year old spoonie, biboliophile, and professional napper aspiring to find happiness with chronic pain/illness. My primary diagnosis is Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). EDS is a connective tissue disorder that manifests differently in every person it affects, although it almost always causes joint hypermobility and instability.
I also live with Dysautonomia, intractable migraine with persistent aura (it never goes away), Occipital Neuralgia, Cervicogenic Headache, GERD, IBS, chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, anxiety, and depression. This means that I am almost always hurting somewhere, nauseous, seeing stars, dizzy/wobbly and exhausted.
Before I became too ill to work full time, I was a school psychologist. I really enjoyed working to advocate with disabilities. I still have the pleasure of working with people with developmental disabilities part-time. I am a person who made a career out of fighting to support people with disabilities and now I am slowly becoming disabled myself. I hope to become an advocate for people with all kinds of disabilities, including invisible ones like mine.
2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
My blog is called Zebra Writes. A person with a disease that is considered to be rare is called a medical zebra. The Ehlers-Danlos Society has adopted the zebra as their mascot and people with EDS often refer to themselves as zebras. That makes me a zebra who writes!
I write for three primary reasons. The first reason I write is to raise awareness for the medical conditions that I live with. Second, I also hope that others in similar situations will find comfort in realizing they are not alone in their experiences. The third reason I write is more personal. In my day to day life I have difficulty talking about my health. It’s easier for me to write about than talk about conversationally, and yet still provides an avenue for friends and family members to keep up with how I am doing.
3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I have always written, I just haven’t always been open to sharing what I write. I started blogging in March of 2016, after my EDS diagnosis in February. I started sharing my writing largely because during my journey to diagnosis I found great comfort in the blogs of other chronic illness warriors who had walked a similar path. I felt I owed those writers who helped me to pay it forward. I hope that sharing my experience will give purpose to my pain, and possibly even make the road a little less bumpy for other zebras out there still searching for answers.
4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
Right now I post about twice a week, although sometimes more if there is something that I feel compelled to write about in between. I am still playing with my schedule a bit, as my blog is still new.
5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
Blogging has most definitely been good for me. I have always written – it’s therapeutic for me, but I didn’t always share what I write. Sharing what I write and entering the world of health advocacy has given me a sense of purpose during a time in my life when I felt my illness was taking over.
6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
I think it’s important to blog about chronic illness in order to raise awareness of what it is like to live with these conditions. I also think it’s important to make your story available to others who may be struggling and feeling alone because of their illness.
7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
I still consider myself to be in my blogging infancy, but here are some tips for beginners:
1) Choose a niche for your blog that you are passionate about. It’s so much easier to come up with material for your blog if you are excited about it.
2) Don’t be afraid to share what you write on social media platforms. It feels scary at first, but that’s how you will find the people with whom your writing resonates!
3) Write authentically. You do not have to share everything on your blog, but make sure that what you do share is truthful. Readers can tell when you are being genuine.