“What My Online Community Means to Me” – By SimplyV
It has been roughly 24 years since my first experience with a doctor who actively discounted my health concerns. My complaints of daily flu-like symptoms, headaches, and dizziness were met with proverbial pats on the head and a prescription for anti-depressants. Because at age 18, I couldn’t possibly have anything legitimately wrong with me.
My mother, a nurse, had told me that doctors weren’t always right, and I now believed her. But she didn’t believe me, and insisted I try the pills. Two hours after trying the new medication I wanted to chop off my head. Anything to make my head stop spinning. If I closed my eyes, the room would spin so fast that I felt nauseated. My hands shook without purpose, and I felt like I was losing all of me. I was afraid to sleep and afraid to stay awake. I was so inept the next day that I refused to hold any sharp objects or handle machinery for fear that I would lose control and accidentally kill myself.
I never took another of those pills, and I never blindly trusted a doctor again. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, and one of the reasons I am alive today. I took charge of my own health, and never accepted an “it’s in your head” ever again.
Just over 10 years ago, I found my online community through a series of happenstances too long to divulge and too boring that I fear it would put you to sleep. All of us were sidelined by the medical community under hats of junk diagnoses and accusations of mental disorders, but by chance had found ourselves among a group of people just like us.
In order to stay alive, we teamed together. Reading, researching, and testing out products on the least sick ones of us, we helped those worse off from making a deadly mistake and guided those new to our fold. We compiled data. We wrote blogs. We wrote doctors, senators, companies, and TV shows.
Slowly we are making headway. New medical diagnoses are being accepted by modern medicine, and our research is starting to get more mainstream attention. We are slowly being recognized by society and we ourselves are realizing just how lucky we are to have found each other.
Trying to avoid so many things considered benign to everyone else is a daily battle. It is isolating, not only from an uneducated medical community but also from friends and family that likewise do not understand. It affects all aspects of our life and restricts most of what we can do, and in this struggle we are united.
We aren’t a community by choice. We are a community by necessity, and we greet our new members with words of sympathy. Going this alone is almost certain death, and so we are bonded together by our mutual trials and tribulations in search of a light at the end of our tunnel, or at the very least, in search of a daily sliver of hope.
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Send YOUR 500-word essay entitled “What My Online Community Means to Me” to ilene@blogathonATX.com by Monday, August 17th.