The internet is a wonderful place full of amazing people. One of those people is the Hurt Blogger. If you’ve ever felt isolated, trapped, depressed, or frustrated because of a chronic illness, the Hurt Blogger will remind you how to keep your illness from taking over your life.
Hurt Blogger has used her own experiences with chronic pain as inspiration to become an ePatient consultant and advocate.
Hurt Blogger, whose real name is Britt, has lived with chronic pain for more than 20 years. It took her a long time to get a diagnosis, but her current diagnosis is:
She discusses medications she uses and how successful they are, provides regular tips and encouragement for others experiencing similar issues, and often mentions her own work toward her goal of climbing Denali. The last line of her bio perfectly sums up who the Hurt Blogger is and what she’s all about:
“I keep on truckin’ though, and laughing as much as I can, because damn it, what else am I gonna do”
Her blog posts cover everything from advocacy issues to updates on her athletic pursuits to hair and makeup tips for people with chronic pain.
Put simply, Hurt Blogger writes about what matters to people with chronic pain. At times she’s stubbornly, inspiringly upbeat in the face of unrelenting pain, as in a post from December 11, 2013, after a doctor’s appointment when her doctor first mentioned the possibility of remission. She wrote:
“I am tired, scratch that – ridiculously exhausted all. The. Time. As are you. Having mastered the ‘grin-and-bear-it’ face out of pure necessity, I guess I should not be surprised when I meet people and they question the level of my disease activity. Fighting my disease, means fighting to put a smile on my face, everyday. It means finding the energy to bathe, to tweet, to laugh. This path to remission is a battlefield strewn with needles, unreturned emails & voicemails, and inappropriate jokes. Tomorrow, I will wake up and fight to take another step closer to Remission. I have the strength to try again tomorrow, because you’re here with me.”
She also shares things she’s learned through her own experiences – which medications have helped, which pain management products have made a difference, and how diet and exercise affect her.
Additionally, Hurt Blogger takes questions from time to time. She will spend an entire post giving a detailed, thoughtful, encouraging answer to a commenter’s question. Her answers often cover a lot more than any single medical professional might be able to discuss, simply because she’s had experience with so many different types of pain management. For example, when asked about medications she uses for migraines, she mentioned:
- Medications she can’t take
- Medications she can take
- Why her medications help, even though some aren’t specifically for migraines
- Teas that help
- Essential oils that help
- Therapy wraps that help
- Massage and physical therapy’s effects
A traditional physician might not be familiar with teas or essential oils that help ease a migraine, while a holistic practitioner might not know much about less-used migraine medications. However, each person reacts differently to each potential treatment, so Hurt Blogger goes out of her way to share all her tools with anyone who needs them.
Hurt Blogger also inspired a movement on Twitter in February: #chroniclife.
According to her blog post about #chroniclife, it started when Hurt Blogger realized how much she self-filtered her tweets. She admitted that this was partly because she didn’t want be seen as a whiner, partly because she worried that her true day-to-day life might be too depressing for her followers, and partly because she avoided dwelling on her own pain too much.
However, starting on February 2nd of this year, she spent 48 hours tweeting every time her pain interfered in her life, each time she took medication or used a pain-management tool, and held nothing back. The entire 48 hours’ worth of tweets, plus some added commentary from Hurt Blogger, is archived here.
A few of the more touching #chroniclife tweets include:
- “My pain has not been below a 5 yet today. Right now it is a 6. This is fairly normal.”
- “Night brings self-reflection & along with it guilt of not being productive ‘enough’. Trying to relax & rearrange my thinking.”
- “Floored by the support from everyone, and reframing my thinking about what #productivity means with a #ChronicLife!”
- “I have it in me to do something, so I won’t miss out on the opportunity! I can always work from home while I rest later!”
- “Made it to my goal of 45 mins in the pool – feeling good, so going to push a bit more 🙂 Pain still persistent.”
- “Gonna try some food. Taking bets on what will happen a) jaw gives up b) nausea takes over c) deliciousness wins!” (Deliciousness won!)
For anyone who’s never experienced a chronic pain condition, it’s beyond eye-opening. For anyone who lives with chronic pain on a daily basis, it’s empowering, because someone else goes through the same things. Hurt Blogger herself describes the experience as freeing and emotional, largely because of the interactive response to the movement as others began tweeting about their lives. In her own words, when the experiment was done, she felt “exhausted, tearful, proud, that little emoji with hearts for eyes, overwhelming gratitude.”
In addition to the positivity, endurance, and community that Hurt Blogger encourages with her site, she goes out of her way to be as supportive as possible of others with chronic pain or illness.
Not only does Hurt Blogger give detailed answers to questions and requests for advice. She keeps up a page devoted to all she’s found to help others: “Must haves for PAIN RELIEF,” as well as a page about copay assistance. Whether you have a chronic pain condition, a family member who lives with chronic pain, or are just curious, Hurt Blogger’s site is a wealth of information, hope, and humor.
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Image by Veronica Belmont via Flickr