share your story

Why You Should Share Your Health Story

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Personal health stories are the bread and butter of this website. They build awareness about complex health issues and invite perspectives from a broader community of people than traditional medical publications. These stories not only drive research into poorly understood conditions but they help others navigate their illness. What you have learned about your illness may just be the thing to help someone else recover their health. Conversely, someone else may recognize your struggles and provide the insight you need to recover. When we work on these issues together, health is possible.

Why Write and Share Your Story?

Many people ask why they should share their stories on a public website. Here are some reasons sharing can be a positive experience.

  1. Catharsis. When health issues are intense and chronic, everything becomes a blur. When we take the time to catalog all that we have survived, we are reminded of how incredibly strong we are. Writing and publishing these these stories allows us to release what has been hidden and reclaim the narrative of our own story.
  2. Drives research. Publishing your health story drives research and awareness about the complexity of chronic illness. Those who read your story will find clues to resolve their own health issues or that of their patients (yes, practitioners follow our website).
  3. Expedites interactions with physicians. A concise case narrative will add to the more traditional health history, offering your physicians new insight into your health issues.
  4. Provides clues. By pulling your history together in one narrative, you may find that you have forgotten critical aspects of your illness.
  5. Insights from others. By publishing online, your story may reach thousands of readers. You never know who might comment with just the information you need to find health again.

Allaying Concerns

Writing and sharing one’s health struggles is intimidating. We try our best to make it as easy as possible. Here are some of the common concerns of first time writers.

  • ‘I don’t want others to know what I have been through. It’s personal.’ We understand and that is why you can publish your story anonymously if you would like. About 15-20% of the stories on HM are published using a pseudonym.
  • ‘I don’t write very well.’ That’s okay too. I will help. Just write up your health history in a narrative form chronologically, to the extent possible, and I will help you pull it together. The story will not be published until we are both happy with it.
  • ‘My story is long.’ Most are. There are no word limits, within reason, of course. Just say what you need to say.
  • ‘Are there format requirements?’ Yes and no. The only real formatting requirement is that there are none. All of that is done on the backend. So just write up your story in a Word file (.docx) or Google Docs using a basic font and send it over. If your story requires references or citations, hyperlink them in the text itself.
  • ‘I haven’t recovered yet. I will write when I recover.’ This is a common refrain. While writing once one has recovered is fantastic, writing while in the middle of it all is better, especially if one follows up once one is recovered. Why? Recovery stories sometimes miss the struggle and lead others to believe that recovery from chronic health issues happens in a straight line. Everyone wants to believe that if we just find the right doctor, the right supplement, or the right medication, recovery will happen effortlessly. This is the never the case. There will be ups and downs and a lot of setbacks along the way. Sharing your struggles and your mistakes, will help others understand the work it takes to recover health. And who knows, the act of writing may just provide the missing piece to your health mystery.

If you would like to share your story or have further questions, send me a note.

We Need Your Help

More people than ever are reading Hormones Matter, a testament to the need for independent voices in health and medicine. We are not funded and accept limited advertising. Unlike many health sites, we don’t force you to purchase a subscription. We believe health information should be open to all. If you read Hormones Matter, like it, please help support it. Contribute now.

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Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash.

Chandler Marrs MS, MA, PhD spent the last dozen years in women’s health research with a focus on steroid neuroendocrinology and mental health. She has published and presented several articles on her findings. As a graduate student, she founded and directed the UNLV Maternal Health Lab, mentoring dozens of students while directing clinical and Internet-based research. Post graduate, she continued at UNLV as an adjunct faculty member, teaching advanced undergraduate psychopharmacology and health psychology (stress endocrinology). Dr. Marrs received her BA in philosophy from the University of Redlands; MS in Clinical Psychology from California Lutheran University; and, MA and PhD in Experimental Psychology/ Neuroendocrinology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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