Why Am I So Open?
I feel like a lot of people that follow me on social media probably wonder “Why is she so open about everything?”. Why do I talk so much about my AS? Why do I openly talk about my mental illnesses and being in the hospital? And why share something so personal to the world? I’m here to tell you why.
Ending the stigma
In regards to AS, or any chronic illness really, we’re just at the beginning of the journey to end the stigma. Our own families and friends still wonder how a young person could be so sick. It’s no wonder that people who don’t even know us do too.
I, and many others choose to share our illnesses to the world of social media because we don’t want to be judged. We’re tired of it. We deal with it enough at home and in our social circles, why should we be letting strangers look at us differently too? The more we share it, the more normalized it is.
A big symptom of chronic illness that gets misconstrued is fatigue. I still get comments from my family saying “how are you so tired?” and “you don’t do anything all day, why are you so tired?”. The how and the why questions are something we don’t really have answers to. All I can say is that when your body is attacking itself and you’re in pain all day, it’s exhausting just to exist.
A large number of us suffering from AS tend to also suffer from some form of mental illness. I myself have anxiety and depression. I’m sure many of us suffer from depression, too. I tend to feel like I’ve lost my young adult life to this disease.
Recently, I had a night in the emergency room due to panic attacks and a severe depressive episode. I chose to take a picture of myself in the room, with the gown on. I decided to upload it to Instagram and shared what had been going on.
Why did I do this? You might ask. I did it because I wanted to show everyone that follows me or everyone that might see it, that I have flaws. Sometimes, the voices of doubt in my head become too much, and the thing to do is ask for help.
A lot of social media is sharing your “best life”. All of the good things, never the bad. The only way we can end stigmas, and make things like chronic and mental illnesses normalized, is to share. Share share share.
It’s so important to ask for help when you really need it. Whether that be from a friend, therapist, or an ER doctor like I did. Doing what I did sent me on a journey to help my mental health. It’s what I needed at the time and still need now. It’s never a bad thing to ask for help.
If we, as a community, keep sharing our difficulties with our illnesses, we can continue to spread awareness to them. The most important thing is to be open and honest with how you’re feeling, what you’re going through, and what you need help with. We should never be ashamed to show what we go through because most of the general public just aren’t aware of our illnesses.
The more we talk about AS the more it will become a household term. Let’s get people to learn how to pronounce ankylosing spondylitis!
How often do you experience flare ups?