For this second year of the blog I have a few updates in mind. I will be providing a free downloadable ebook, introducing a new concept called “chrillogs” about personal stories, and want to begin a series of surveys. I’m also going to add a little more variety to the style of posts.
While I love a lengthy, detailed, highly referenced scientific post that puts the data all in one place, I want to try shortening my writing style, at least some of the time. It should keep things interesting.
I will continue to post on Fridays as my regular day. While I still plan to write every two weeks there will be times, as in the past year, when I can only manage once a month. This has been due to my levels of fatigue, which limit me to writing only about 1 out of every 10 posts I have ideas for. On the other hand, I am also contemplating segmenting some of the more detailed posts into subsections that I publish a few days in a row. And maybe shorter posts will find their way into different days. Ultimately, there will likely be some shifts in frequency of postings. It’ll be an experiment and you can keep me posted on what you think :-)
Now that the blog has a number of posts under its belt I’ll be refining the menu and updating the categories to make topics more cohesive and findable. I’ll be making the changes over the next month or two (or sooner).
Free Downloadable eBook
I’m writing an ebook to address some of the most common questions about the long-term effects of trauma. It’ll give you a sense of whether trauma may have played a role in the development of not just any chronic illness – but of your own.
As people with chronic illness, we often have a gut sense that stress or trauma has affected our health. That we’ve never been quite the same after the car accident or after we lost our job.That we no longer feel like our old selves. Yet so many of us don’t think we’ve experienced “real trauma.” We haven’t been exposed to war or genocide. We haven’t lost everything we owned due to an earthquake, drought or a flood. We weren’t abused or neglected as children. Our parents loved us and did their best to keep us healthy.
Even when we have experienced trauma, we say to ourselves that most people who experienced the worst kinds of trauma never develop a chronic illness. So how could trauma have played a role in my disease, we wonder?
I’m writing this ebook on 5 Types of Trauma because trauma doesn’t just affect our mental and emotional health – it alters our bodies. It changes our physiologies. It shifts the way our brains work and the messages they send throughout our nervous systems to our immune systems, endocrine systems, gastrointestinal systems and to the rest of our organs.
My goal with this ebook is to help you determine for yourself whether you’ve experienced trauma, including the forms of trauma that are real but subtle and unrecognized. I’ll be describing the types of trauma that I’ve found to influence the development of chronic illness, including my own. There’ll be questionnaires and worksheets to help you in the process. You’ll get pages to write notes on as you begin to take stock of your past. It’ll help you put it all together – at your own pace, with your own timing, in whatever order feels right. You can then see whether the events that seemed to be just a normal part of growing up – or of being human – could be playing a role in your health.
I’ll be putting the ebook up in the next month or two. It’ll be at the top of the sidebar on the right. I’m not yet decided if this is the final title and book cover so that could change. I’ll look forward to your feedback and suggestions, your thoughts and ideas and to hearing how the process of discovery goes for you.
Chrillogs: Our Personal Stories
Writing is a way we share our experiences of life with chronic illness. The term chrillog is something I made up when thinking about “chronic illness blogs” and these personal stories of ours. Writing and sharing our stories is one way we know that we are not alone.
The chrillogs will begin with stories about my symptoms and experiences with my specific chronic illness. These snippets will start a library that looks for the intelligence underlying physical symptoms and emotional distress. It’s where we can look at symptoms from a gentle, nonjudging, supportive perspective. It’s a home I want to create where we can examine our symptoms from the context I am exploring in this blog. I’ll describe events and experiences that are triggering my exacerbations. I’ll keep looking at how the trauma perspective and the chronic illness model help me deal with symptoms. I’ll be sharing how I put it all together. This is where I’ll include my onset story for chronic fatigue. And at some point I’ll put my whole story of ME/CFS/SEID together and present it along the lines of the chronic illness model. I’ll tell you more about this concept of chrillogs as I get more clarity with it myself.
Once I have a better sense of how I want this category to work I’d like to create a special place in it for your stories. They’ll be called “reader chrillogs.” It’s something I look forward to – maybe starting in year 3?!
Another new category I’m introducing is called “disease stories.” It’s the place where chronic diseases can share their stories. This is the part of the library that presents the research with specific diseases – the role of trauma in early life, or in our ancestors’ lives, or before the onset of a particular illness and more. This is where different diseases will reveal their patterns. We’ll get to see how these patterns cut across diagnoses and symptom groups and are shared by most chronic illnesses. This becomes more visible once you start to look at chronic illness from a trauma perspective. I’ve written about the role of childhood trauma as a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis as the first “disease story.” I’ll continue to share these science-based posts as time goes along.
You’ll be able to find these disease stories under the new menu header called “How Life Shapes Disease.”
Sometime later this year (perhaps in a few months?), I want to start adding surveys. These will help us begin to look at the role of trauma in all of our lives. It’ll be a place to see if similar patterns really do cut across different diseases. It’ll be another step in sharing what we know so we can keep learning that we are not alone.