It’s hard because I look normal, so everyone expects me to BE normal. But I’m not. I have MS and sometimes that limits what I can do. And I think people judge me for it. Not on purpose, but just because they don’t understand.
Sitting across from one of my amazing clients, I heard this story, this frustration, this fallacy once again. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this and it’s certainly not the first time I’ve felt this way myself.
Living with and naturally managing Multiple Sclerosis, I get it. A day or two of over-training knocks me out of the gym for a week. Too many gluten filled treats causes rashes, fatigue, and eventual digestive ruin. Too much fun in the sun creates several days of dizziness and lethargy.
I’ve come to terms with some of these limitations. In fact I’d argue they are not really limitations, they are my body’s early warning signals that I have to slow down and show myself some love. But the tough part is when I have plans to go do something active and fun with those that I love, sometimes don’t have the energy to be all about it. Or worse, I have to say no to plans to protect my health.
So I get it.
Those of us with Autoimmunity can LOOK normal, but life isn’t always so. People can inadvertently cast judgement without realizing why we do what we do.
I’m not lazy, I’m bone tired fatigued.
I’m not picky, I know foods with processed oils cause my condition to intensify.
I’m not a wimp, I just need to curb my enthusiasm for a hard training day when I’m stressed or not sleeping.
I’m not one to sit around and let the world exist in such a state of imbalance. Let’s do something about it…
Between now and whenever I stop getting submissions, I will be collecting stories for The Faces of Autoimmunity Campaign. Your stories, to be exact. I want to know who you are, what you have, how you cope, and encouragement for others with autoimmunity. Starting July 20th, I will start sharing these stories once per week for 12 weeks on my Facebook page… or until I run out of awesome stories. I don’t want to cut anything off at 12 weeks just because it sounds nice.
The goal of this campaign is to encourage others and shine a light on life with Autoimmunity. And I hope it helps educate those that love us.
This campaign is open to everyone, man, woman, and child, who lives with an Autoimmune condition. There is no prize for saddest story or biggest triumph- that sort of thing is not for me to judge. I just want your STORY- your real life, real story.
However, to keep everything on the up and up, please follow the guidelines below. If your submission doesn’t meet the guidelines, I’m sorry but I won’t be able to use it.
- A (good) picture of your face. This doesn’t mean it needs to be a professional head shot, but nothing fuzzy or a picture of a picture from 20 years ago. I want to see a clear picture of YOU!
- In 500 words or less, your story: Who you are, what you have, how you manage it, and words of encouragement to the rest of the community.
- IF you have a website or business social media, include links and I will include them in your post. I will not link your personal Facebook page. ALL posts will include just the first name of the participant (unless otherwise requested). Your privacy is important to me. Not that much is private on the interwebs, but you know how it goes….
- No swearing, name calling, or calling out individual people. I want to keep this positive. If you have a beef with your doctor, leave a Yelp review. This is not the place to trash anyone.
- Written confirmation that I have permission to use your picture and story on my Facebook page. Something like “You have my, insert name, permission to re-post the enclosed story and picture on your Facebook page” will be just fine.
- All submissions must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will also respond to every story that is being used with the date the story will run.
- I reserve the right to refuse any submission. I will also do my best to let you know if your submission is out of guidelines, but I have no idea how many submissions I will get! I may not have time to provide that feedback, so help me out and stay within guidelines from the start!
I’d LOVE to hear from you! I know this may be uncomfortable for some of you, and that’s ok. Just hang out on Facebook, read the rest of the stories, and be inspired. But if you feel even the slightest bit called to contribute, please do.
Remember- The world does not benefit from you hiding your amazingness!