Jay Vera Summer
writer, artist, chronic-illness haver
I know that you can use writing and communication principles to make your life with chronic illness easier. That's exactly what I've been doing for several years.
With fibromyalgia, POTS, IBS, and a few other diagnoses I've picked up along the way, I've faced many challenging situations at work, home, and in social situations.
Applying writing and communication techniques I learned in my professional life, as a professional writer and writing professor, has helped me greatly.
I share your chronic illness communication struggles
Communicating with others when you have chronic illness can feel difficult. Opening up about symptoms and limitations might bring up complex emotions. Also, people who have never experienced chronic illness themselves might not easily understand what you're going through. Feeling disbelieved or dismissed hurts and can make you want to give up on trying to communicate about your illness issues.
But, being able to communicate plainly and directly about symptoms in ways that are likely to be heard can provide immense benefits. I've found that when friends, family, coworkers, and others truly understand your limitations, they become more compassionate, understanding, and willing to help. Also, when those around you can grasp the reality of your life with chronic illness, you feel more connected and less alone.
Writing can help people with chronic illness
Over the past decade-plus, I've personally used journaling and expressive writing practices to untangle my chronic illness symptoms, limitations, and the emotions surrounding them. In addition to helping me cope, writing helps me comprehend my own situation, so I can clarify what I need to communicate and to whom, in order to live the best life I can with chronic illness.
After teaching creative writing and professional communication to college students for several years, I feel called to use my expertise to help others like me, who are living with chronic illness. Applying principles from the fields of rhetoric and professional communication can help you communicate about your chronic illness experiences in a ways that are more likely to be heard and understood.