Someone mentioned a few days ago, how it would be cool to have someone who was chronically ill as an influencer. Perhaps what they meant was as a representative for the community of chronically ill people, however it has played on my mind a little. What would a chronic influencer do? What would they want to influence, who would they want to influence?
I can answer these questions personally, however I by no means speak for every chronically ill individual. I think if I was a chronic influencer, I would want to encourage resting, pacing and general personal care for the chronically ill.
However, I'd want to influence change in the medical profession, change how doctors approach chronically ill people. I for one, have had several doctors put acute problems down to my chronic illnesses, only to end up worse off with the acute issue. This was exemplified recently with the 3 week battle with medical professionals who refused to believe the abdominal pain I was feeling was anything other than fibronyalgia. In terms of the change I'd like to influence, I'd hope for a topic, a training course for medical professionals in which they meet chronically ill patients, discuss symptoms and treatments, become more aware of their plight. Imagine the difference this could make to patient experience if a doctor had hands on experience in a informal training session based on chronic illness and living with that chronic illness!
I suppose in addition to medical professionals, I would want to influence the general public. I think that the best way to describe a chronic illness is summed up by the common phrase of not judging a book by it's cover. I'm other words, just because a book looks shiny, undamaged and new on the outside, doesn't mean that on the inside the pages are worn and bent. This meaning that just because someone looks healthy, doesn't mean they are, so when that person asks for help (something I personally find hard to do), they do so out of genuine need.
A chronic influencer who could educate and advocate for the chronic Community would be a positive thing I think. However, the job itself would be a tough one, alongside managing their chronic illness of course. Perhaps this is something I can try to do when I've finished all of the other half finished tasks, ambitions and qualifications on my list!