Everyone who lives with chronic pain or illness knows how much it takes away. I could write a long list. Their health condition can just sneak into their lives like a thief and steal so much away from them. One thing it can often take is a sense of purpose.
I am sure that I lost a sense of purpose when I retired from work through ill health. I probably didn’t even realise it at the time.
Having a sense of purpose in life is so important. It can give people the reason to get up in the morning. It can make them feel good about themselves. If you lose it, how can you get it back?
How I Found A Sense of Purpose Again
When I had to take early retirement in 1994, I lost contact with friends from work. I was in too much pain and too tired at that time to try to keep up with them. Not only that, I didn’t feel as though I fitted in any more. That was down to me, not them. It can be a long and difficult transition from having been working to being retired through ill health. I almost became a recluse for a while, which isn’t really healthy, but it was out of my control at that time. My pain dictated my life.
When the internet was born, I joined online support groups for people with chronic pain conditions and I started to develop new friendships with people in similar circumstances. The good thing about the internet is that those friends can be anywhere around the world. People might say, ‘but you’ve never met them – they can’t be real friends.’ But they are. And thanks to different time zones, there’s normally always someone around to chat to, share a moan or have a giggle with.
Online support groups were possibly the best thing ever created on the internet. Very often, patients don’t get everything they need from their doctors. They might get a diagnosis. They might get a prescription. But questions aren’t always answered. Support is often lacking. When a patient finds a good support group, their world can change. They no longer feel so alone. Having someone say the words, “I understand,” can have a huge impact.
It helped me. But I soon found that I was ‘useful’. I was getting support, but I was also able to give support. That made me feel good about myself. I had regained a sense of purpose.
Pain had taken it away from me, but in an odd way, my pain was also responsible for giving me a new sense of purpose.
End Trigeminal Neuralgia
In 2012, along with two other trigeminal neuralgia friends, I started the End Trigeminal Neuralgia awareness page and support group. I am still running it today along with another friend and TN sufferer, Trish (who blogs at Verve), along with the help of some lovely admin. We try to promote awareness about trigeminal neuralgia, ensure that people get helpful, easy to understand and correct information, offer advice and tips and give support to sufferers.
I genuinely care about those people in the group. I often wish I could wave a magic wand to cure their pain, but I know I can’t. But I do what I can, even if it is only to offer them a place to let off steam. Being able to be there for people, to listen, help, support and share any knowledge I have is good for me mentally.
Despite Pain – A New Sense Of Purpose
When I started writing this blog last year, I found another new purpose. Not really new, just extended slightly. I decided to blog about my other pain issues as well as trigeminal neuralgia as I believe awareness is extremely important for all chronic pain sufferers. But I wanted my blog to have a positive feel. I wanted to try to share what helps me cope, in the hope that it might help other people.
I joined a chronic illness blogging group where we all try to support each other. I think we all have a similar goal with our blogs. Every chronic illness blogger I know deserves recognition for what they do.
WEGO Health Awards
There are many awards for travel, fashion and lifestyle bloggers, but very few include chronic illness bloggers. It always good to hear of awards where chronic illness bloggers are recognised too. A company called WEGO Health runs awards every year for patient leaders (patient advocates, health activists, health community leaders, patient influencers and patient experts). WEGO Health tries to connect healthcare industries and research companies with the experience, skills and insights of their Patient Leaders.
I Was Nominated For A WEGO Health Award
Thanks to a friend in the chronic illness blogging group, Sheryl from A Chronic Voice, I have been nominated for a WEGO Health award. This really took me by surprise. I am so grateful to Sheryl and extremely excited about it. Who wouldn’t be?
Please read on to find out how you can help me to win this award.
Please don’t keep this secret!
My award is for “Best Kept Secret”. Normally I would say that people should never share secrets, but today I am asking my readers to please share mine!
Best kept Secret is described on the WEGO Health website as:
“The internet is a vast place, making it near impossible to find all of the amazing content that exists. We find ourselves continuously turning to our Patient Leader Network to help give us recommendations of the who we should follow! Who do you believe is a hidden gem? A Patient Leader who creates great content and should have the spotlight shone on them? Who deserves double the readership because they are doing great things as an advocate? Help us uncover the best-kept secret of the online health space!”
Please Endorse My Nomination
Obviously, every nominee would like to win, and I am sure every nominee deserves to win. It is absolutely thrilling to have been nominated, and yes, I would love to win. But I do need your help to do so.
I need people to endorse my nomination.
(Since writing this post, I have been nominated in two other categories. When you click endorse, please choose “best kept secret’. You can also vote for the other categories should you wish.)
Thank you so much. Every click and every share is very much appreciated.
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