Even though these conditions are such a big part of my life, I don't talk about them much when I'm using social media... especially not on Instagram.
But in an effort to stop being fake about how I’m really feeling, I decided to post honest updates about how I’m feeling with my illnesses.
It's not that I necessarily lie on Instagram, it's just that I generally only show photos that fit in with my idea of what my life would look like in an ideal world. And quite frankly, I'm tired of doing that.
My first Instagram was of my bloat.
My second Instagram was of my heating pad aka my savior.
My third Instagram was of me and an adorable dog.
My fourth Instagram was an unfiltered selfie of me (and my heating pad!)
My fifth Instagram was of my exhaustion.
In the end, I was shocked at how supportive people were.
I expected a low number of likes and pretty much no interaction at all... which only made me feel more uncomfortable than I already was about being so honest. It's scary how much likes and interaction can dictate how you feel about something. But that's the reality.
What I ended up experiencing was the opposite. I got so much love and support from fellow sufferers and non-sufferers alike on pictures of my bloat and heating pad. Going into this, I was so nervous to show this part of my life because I still struggle to accept it. But on the internet, one of the places I assumed to be least accepting, I didn't feel shunned or judged or pitied as the sick girl. I felt loved, accepted, and celebrated.
While I love the idea of raising awareness about endometriosis and other chronic conditions, I've learned that I hate sharing these parts of my life because it forces me to relive them. And while I was tired of hiding my chronic pain on Instagram before this post, this experience reminded me just how hard it can be to go through some of the lowest points of my life again. Allowing myself to relive the bad days only feels like I am taking away from the good ones.
This experience made me realize that no matter how these illnesses make me feel about myself, other people don't see my illness when they look at me. They just see me. And if this experience taught me anything, it's that I'm not my illnesses. I'm just me.