The challenges of blogging with a chronic illness

The challenge of blogging with a chronic illness

Laura’s Pen explains the challenges of blogging when you are chronically ill…

It is no secret that I’m a chronic illness sufferer, in fact that’s what this blog is all about. But the secret I have been keeping is just how challenging it is to blog when you’re chronically ill.

There are several bloggers I follow who I know, through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network (which I recommend fellow bloggers join), that write blogs well in advance and have content diaries all planned out.

This means that if they have a bad patch, everything is already prepared.

But I feel like I face a never-ending battle to get ahead. Whenever I start doing so, I have a bad patch and suddenly I’m struggling to finish in time to meet my self-inflicted deadline. I’d probably have to stop publishing content for six months in order to get ahead and be able to relax a bit.

You may have noticed things have been a bit quiet on this blog lately. That’s because of two reasons, I’m having a challenging patch health-wise and I’m concentrating on my physical health which has left no spare energy for mental activities.

Although, the irony is that I’m only able to write this because things seem to be improving.

I’ve realised lately that those bloggers I admire also have bad patches, also have to go a bit quiet for a while sometimes, also go through spells of sporadic social media updates.

So I’ve decided to make this public announcement: blogging about chronic illness can be bloody hard.

I have very limited energy supplies and mental activity drains that energy quickly. For me, putting out a blog once every two weeks feels like working a full-time job with way too many hours. In reality, I spend very little actual time blogging (although I should also take into account the time used up by resting to recover from my blog work).

It can also make me very anxious at times. You publish something in which you’ve revealed something very personal, or that you’ve spent more effort than normal working on, and you worry that people will dislike it, that they will be angry about your sentiment. That hasn’t yet happened.

In fact, it is the blogs I worry about most that you guys comment on with kind words and your own stories.

This isn’t all negative though. I blog because I like doing it. I enjoy explaining something of my life and then seeing people respond to it. It is worth those sacrifices.

But I want to say to those bloggers out there struggling, you are not alone. In fact to anyone with a chronic illness struggling with whatever is important in their life. You are not alone.

This week I have sat in despair on my stool in the kitchen looking at the washing up and just wondering how on earth I am meant to do it.

If you are doing the same, you are not alone.

I try to present a message of positivity on this blog because I don’t like to bring people down who are no doubt already struggling with the emotional burden of being unable to live the lives they once had.

But, please don’t mistake me for someone who is constantly positive in the face of adversity. I try to be, but I cannot always be.

It is ok to fumble, to struggle and even to fail. And I have to remember that the number one priority is my health and my enjoyment. I need to give myself a break when times are tough. Please remember to do the same for yourselves.

Lots of love from,

Laura’s Pen


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The challenges of blogging with a chronic illness

Laura Chamberlain

Laura is a writer blogging about living with chronic illness, namely Lyme Disease, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) and Fibromylagia.

She likes food, cats, bad jokes. Unfortunately, her boyfriend is allergic to the last two...

11 Comments

  1. Hi Laura, this sounds like me at the moment. My health has been bad recently and spent almost two months in hospital and a further 5 weeks on a reablement unit, making blogging really difficult and now I am home it is still no easier due to pain and fatigue most of the time. I love blogging and sharing my journey with others but it is not easy at times. If you don’t post regularly though you don’t get much of a following sites it becomes challenging. Xx

    1. Sounds like you’ve been having a really rough time Emma. I actually started blogging once a fortnight rather than once a week at the end of last year and found that I did better in terms of following when I did so as the quality was better. But making a reasonable schedule for you only works when things are stable. I think the important thing is that if you don’t take time to deal and recover with unexpected health issues then you’re probably going to be struggling for longer and take longer to get back into the blogging. Basically you and your health are top priority. Hope things ease for you soon x

  2. OMG. This is soooooo true! Sometimes, even though I really want to work on my blog, I just can’t. Fatigue, brain fog, nausea, you name it. Thanks for reminding us that taking a break is OK! xxoo

    1. I find it hard to remember I’m not letting people down if I can’t blog because of my illness and even if I was, my health is the bigger priority!

  3. I honestly find blogging really difficult, it’s very full on never mind when you add chronic illness into the equation. I struggle with it. There’s times when it’s easier and times when it’s near impossible. I used to be the blogger who had content scheduled ahead of time and I also scheduled my social media. Then I realised just how detrimental it was to my health.

    I used to post more regularly and I have no idea how! I’ve decided, looking back, that I felt so shit and I was stuck in bed pretty much all of the time so the after effects of blogging wasn’t as apparent in a way… I’m struggling to find the words to explain that so I hope it kind of makes sense. And I had nothing much else to do so blogging was my way of navigating this new way of life whilst desperately holding onto some sense of work and purpose. Blogging filled a void after I lost my job. So there was probably some denial mixed in there somewhere too.

    I guess because my health has improved somewhat I now feel that payback more in a way and it’s no longer worth it. I have more choices of what I can physically do (albeit still limited. Small things but progress). But with that I have to make decisions of where to spend my energy and less now goes into blogging.

    I’ve given up with the expectations of social media and use it as and when I feel like it, which is much more enjoyable. Same with the blog. The aim is one post a week. If I miss it, I don’t sweat it. There’s always next week. I’ve recently decided (as in this week) to try micro managing my blogging, so one day adding a photo to the post. Another writing uninterrupted. Another formatting the post and so on. So I’m spending less time at the computer and less energy at once. Because I’m really bad for doing it all in one go then knocking myself back for two days after 😅No idea if this will work or be any less draining though!

    1. My current schedule is a post every fortnight, I used to do weekly but I realised my posts were suffering because it was too much and my health was, but even that is too much at times. I try and micromanage too – when I’m in the swing of it I set a timer and an only allowed to work until it goes off. I find ironically when I’m actually less well I let this slip more and end up overdoing it! But it is a really good tip. A little every day rather then one big burst means: you can cope with it better, your health isn’t booming and busting, you end up more productive, and you don’t get so disillusioned with doing it because it’s not making you ill.

      I think the main thing I need to do is not feel like I’m disappointing anyone by putting my health first!

      1. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to mange weekly blogging with the micromanaging but I’m just gonna see how it goes. I think health has to come first. And it’s still unpredictable. Plus, the enjoyment was definitely taken out of blogging because it was making me ill. I can totally empathise with those feelings.

  4. This is the truth! Putting out a post one every couple of weeks does feel like a full-time job when you live with a chronic illness. I tend to discount all the time I spend taking care of my health each day and feel like I haven’t been “productive” if that’s all I did. I’ve been working on valuing ‘self care time’ and seeing it as critical to actually getting to my blogging. I can also relate to trying to share my experiences in a positive light but I worry that I’m painting a false picture of someone who has it all figured out or is always optimistic. It’s a tricky balance but posts like this that remind us we are all just doing out best to figure it out as we go along help!

    1. Thank you Katarina. You’re right, managing your illness and self care is a full-time job in itself! I think sometimes admitting you struggle helps others out more than trying to gloss over it, but equally it’s good to give people a boost sometimes too 🙂

  5. This is a great reminder. It’s awesome that you can talk about it. And I agree it is worrisome to not know how people will respond to blog posts, whether they’re personal or not, but ultimately it is about your own happiness and the reward of seeing other people relate, like you said. -bsrealtalk

  6. Amen, sister!! Totally sharing.

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