By Heather Bishara
Unless they have a health issue, most people do not really know or understand the frustration that comes along with having a chronic health problem. Getting the diagnosis is bad enough. Trying to learn about the disease and go on to change your entire way of living in order to successfully combat it and live a normal, healthy life is completely overwhelming. The people you normally turn to in times of crisis often cannot relate to what you are going through. Lost for words, they give you a blank stare, a slightly furrowed brow or a sad or confused expression, leaving you feeling even more empty and alone than you were before.
For me, trying to explain to someone that I have not had a normal period for years makes me look like an alien and feel like a failure. I can’t really explain to them why I have chronic greasy skin and why my acne refuses to clear up at the age of 34. They don’t understand the frustration of not being able to get pregnant after months, even years, of trying, nor do they understand why my life is totally consumed by new dieting methods and exercise programs that guarantee to help me lose weight but never really do the trick.
Thank goodness we live in the digital age! With online health communities also known as internet forums, growing by leaps and bounds, finding someone who understands exactly what I am going through is not just possible, it’s easy. An internet forum, online forum or message board, is a website with a discussion format. Forums allow anonymous visitors to view the contents and belong to a group of contributors who’ve registered into the system, becoming known as members. The members submit topics for discussion (known as threads) and communicate with each other using publicly visible messages (referred to as posts) or private messaging.
People participating in an online forum will usually build bonds with each other and interest groups will easily form around a topic’s discussion, subjects dealt within or around sections in the forum.
In online health forums, no one judges you. You don’t have to censor your symptoms or defend how you are feeling. You can share your successes and know that the online community is genuinely happy for you.
After years of feeling horrible about myself and very much alone in my efforts to get healthier, I’ve finally found a group of “sisters” that help me deal with my particular disease, PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I have come to find out that there are a lot of women out there that suffer from the same issues as I do. They give me suggestions on how to deal with my symptoms, chat about what treatments have and have not worked for them, and provide me with emotional support when times are tough. Even in the wee hours of the morning, I know I can go online to find someone in a PCOS forum who understands and sympathizes, then encourages me to take action in my own life.
So if you are suffering from a health issue for which feel you need more emotional support or need access to more information and treatment options, go online! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how uplifted and empowered you’ll feel when you do. And if you need PCOS support, I’ve listed some of my favorites below. I hope you find them as helpful as I have.
About the Author:
Heather Bishara lives in South Riding, VA, is a mother of two boys ages 1 and 4 and works as a business consultant for www.tricalyx.com part-time from home. She continues on her journey for relief from her PCOS through a low carb diet, exercise, and the use of herbs and dietary supplements such as those found in the Insulite PCOS System.