|...hence masked ball photo, yes it's me...|
I "came out" in Jan 2011 with a post entitled "Adventures in Social Media and Who am I Anyway". I think doing that was part of a process of acceptance and coming to terms with the fact that my illness is not something I need be ashamed of, it's just something that has happened to me and that by communicating openly and honestly about it I can help myself navigate the experience and feel better - and potentially also help others.
The truth sets us free.
So these days I am pretty open. You know my name and what I look like. I even shared a couple of most unflattering pictures of me looking extremely sickly on one of my earlier posts this month. Pictures I would previously have hidden and felt a bit embarrassed even to have. I took them in an effort to see how ill or well I looked. They are a strange little archive, covering a few months of my life when my world was being rocked and I felt very insecure. I would peer at myself down the camera phone lense and then peer at the picture and wonder what the image meant. I have considered doing a post which is made up of all those sad little faces, but I haven't done it as I'd worry what such a post might say about me!
So what do I disclose now - and what do I keep hidden?
I don't blog about my relationship, except to say how adorable my adorable husband is, which he is.
I don't say much about my work, I have never mentioned an employer or client by name.
I keep my Facebook separate, that's a play space for me and I tend not to connect my blog or most of my social media friends (there are a few very special exceptions to this, you know who you are).
Likewise my Linked-in is purely for career networking.
I am vague about my precise location. Safety first.
I don't name my doctors.
I don't name anyone else by name without their permission.
Interestingly, having become a health advocate through the illness and my voluntary work with the British Thyroid Foundation I am starting to consider possible related employment opportunities and in those cases I find I'm showing the blog to potential employers, which may or may not be a good idea but it's a decision I've taken and we'll see where it leads me. Certainly it's not something I'd have done a year ago. Now I feel a profound sense of the value of my experiences of chronic illness and my ability to write about them. I'm driven to being more open. It feels important.
What do you think about how much I share, too much, too little or about the right amount? Have you written about this subject too? I'm so interested in what other health bloggers and readers think about this. Comments as ever are positively encouraged. :)
with light and love