Social media is very pervasive in our culture. On a daily basis, we depend upon Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay in frequent touch with our friends and family members. These outlets may also allow us to re-establish connections with long-lost friends, family members, classmates, and/or co-workers.
We utilize these outlets to obtain valuable pieces of medical information. Illness-specific groups provide an important means of sharing information about diagnostic tests, medication side effects, surgical procedures, and treatment protocols. They may allow conversations regarding the most competent specialists who treat any given chronic illness.
These social media outlets provide critically important forms of social support. This is very essential to those who are living with chronic illness, since their symptoms may prevent engaging in active socialization with others on a continued basis.
Individuals who have symptoms that are not easily detectable by others may especially benefit from connecting with others who share their specific symptoms. It powerfully reduces the strong sense of isolation that frequently accompanies living with an invisible chronic illness.
Social media is especially important to those who are living with relatively rare forms of chronic illness. For example, I’ve obtained critically important support from forums that are devoted to idiopathic subglottic stenosis. Most recently, I’ve discussed the option of undergoing a tracheal re-section with others who have received this procedure.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness, please consider the value of actively participating in social media. Doing so will provide valuable information about your symptoms, as well as reduce the degree of isolation associated with living with a chronic illness.