Thursday, 25 June 2015

Blog lovin'

I'm currently making my way back to Southsea after being in Cardiff delivering a presentation about blogging and diabetes. I presented during a paediatric diabetes study day and I'm really hoping that my experience of blogging will encourage the HCPs (Health Care Professionals) who attended to encourage their patients to give it a try... (cont) 

It seems that understanding social media is becoming more of a priority for diabetes professionals which pleases me a lot as it's a great way to engage patients in their care! In fact, social media seems to be increasingly popular amongst all health conditions and I think it's great that HCPs are taking the time to listen and learn from patients about how and why it helps them. My diabetes blogging story still seems fairly new to me, but three years in and it's growing stronger than I had ever imagined when I published my first blog post. 

You see I didn't really enter the world of diabetes until I started blogging about it, which seems like a strange way to 'get into' a health condition. I do like to be different though! I'd blogged for a while before I started this one, writing for Channel 4 and their comedy channel, e4, after my media degree. I've always enjoyed trying out new things and I've always embraced technology - it's never scared me, only ever intrigued me. I also adore writing and being creative and when I climb inside my own head anything is possible and getting those ideas onto paper is just another step towards making my dreams become my reality. Can you tell I'm a Pisces?

As I said, I didn't really enter the world of diabetes until I started to write about my experiences - that was 9 years into my diagnosis. It's pretty shocking, looking back, to think that I'd ignored my condition for such a long time, but I was in absolute denial about what I was going through. I didn't go through the stage of grief that many people experience when one of their vital organs starts to go a bit haywire, in my head nothing had changed, and I wanted to keep it that way. Out of sight, out of mind.

The turning point, and the stage when I finally accepted that my Islet cells were as useful as a chocolate tea pot, came when one of the consultants at my clinic, Partha (you guys know Partha, right? He has a blog too), found out that I blogged for channel 4 and suggested I started using social media to talk to local patients about diabetes. I'd never considered doing anything with diabetes other than ignoring it, I certainly didn't think that talking about it would make the slightest bit of difference... but I did love to write. I thought about it for a little while and danced around the idea of starting another blog, which eventually I did. I also love Marvel/DC comics/films etc and I'd always wanted to be a strong and powerful hero, someone that in reality I wasn't. I wanted nothing more than to escape the reality that I was living in... That reality, as you can imagine, was exhausting at times, due to me constantly hiding from and battling with my diabetes.

For a while I blogged anonymously, not here but on another site, talking to myself about diabetes and everything that came with it at the time. I didn't get a huge amount out of that but I soon created this blog which helped me to reach other people. That's when things really started to turn around and I didn't want to be anonymous any more. The biggest part of blogging, for me, is talking to others and hearing someone say "me too". That moment when someone relates to what you're saying and you realise you aren't alone in what you do and how you feel is an incredibly powerful feeling, almost as if I can finally accept that what I'm thinking/feeling is normal. Almost as if I'm finally giving myself permission to think/feel and not hide any more.

Blogging has also been incredibly therapeutic for me. After 9 long years of keeping all of my fears, worries and experiences bottled up inside, I finally realised there was a place to make sense of them... this blog. I soon found that spilling my thoughts on to a blank canvas and arranging them in a way that helps me to make sense and understand them has helped me to become much more in tune with the emotional side that comes with diabetes. I'm able to manage certain situations much better than before by spending time arranging my thoughts, reflecting on them and viewing them from different angles. I could never do that before I started blogging.

I have to say though, it's not all bright and shiny... Let's be realistic here. Blogging or putting yourself out there on any public platform does come with a few negatives. I've come up against internet 'trolls' who just love to criticise me in any way they can, people who go out of their way to try to upset me or try bring me down. It's just one of those things though. But turning a negative into a positive, this just builds me up even more. Haters gonna hate ;) The thing to do is not rise to it. I'm incredibly happy whilst I'm blogging and using any of my social media platforms... and that's all at to matters to me. The way I see it is it's called social media for a reason... Trolling isn't sociable. Simples. 

Back to the awesome side though,,, Blogging has also had perks that I never imagined could happen. I've somehow managed to rack up a lot of hits on my blog (though I think a large number of those are from my mum!) and from being noticed online I've been lucky enough to travel around the world, meeting people that I would never have met if I hadn't blogged. I've been given amazing opportunities that I'm very grateful for and some experience that I will never forget! I've made some incredible friends who keep me and others around them motivated and I also feel that I have quite a good relationship with my diabetes team because I have no secrets from them. I'm completely honest online and I'm aware that what I say in public can easily be seen by any of them, and that's cool with me. 

So that's my little blog about blogging, I guess I wrote it because the presentation made me realise just how powerful it can be and just how much it has helped me to turn my diabetes around. I know that I don't blog as much as I used to, but I'm working on it. I like to think of twitter as micro-blogging so follow my mine blogs at @ninjabetic1 - If you're considering giving it a go then I'd definitely recommend it! Start anonymously if that's what works for you, but see how it goes. It could be one of the best thing you've tried for your diabetes!

Ninjabetic x 

(Photos taken at the Abbott diabetes bloggers conference, Berlin - May 2015)

© Ninjabetic

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