Monday my number of Instagram followers went over 1,000. That made me pause and reflect on where I was when I started this account and where I am today.
I started the account last May. At the time I was recovering from a leukemia relapse, I was on a new diet to help my immune system and my spirit was absolutely crushed. Last year’s relapse coupled with the difficulties I had on my new chemotherapy had beaten me harshly.
Despite an amazing amount of love from my husband, family and some treasured friends, I felt gravely alone.
In order to survive, I knew that I needed to connect with people who understood what I was experiencing and feeling.
Instagram is a social media platform, it is a gathering place online. I understood that I could use the hashtag symbol to find people who use Instagram with similar interests as mine. I also understood that friends on my personal Instagram account would not understand my posts about food and health all day, every day. I would not understand either, had I never gotten so sick.
However, when you live with illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, leukemia and chronic migraines it kind of makes sense that your Instagram posts will include a lot of celebratory moments and strategies that you use to overcome daily hurtles.
By creating a separate account dedicated to my health, I created an environment where I could share those images with people who also really understand the awesomeness that comes from learning how to beat an illness.
I named my health-related account after my blog and began to connect with people who follow healing diets to improve autoimmune conditions, I learned how to cook nutrient-dense meals, I met other cancer survivors with similar stories as mine and I have many other people who battle migraines.
Everyday I learn new tips for staying healthy while living with the chronic conditions. Likewise, I have been able to share lessons that I gleaned from the past two decades.
My Instagram community has made me feel loved and accepted, not judged.
Healing comes through community.
And the courage to fight cruel disease can be sparked by compassionate words such as “me too, I understand, this is what helped me”.
As funny as it sounds, God used Instagram to heal my broken heart. Today I am strong again. I am filled with passion for life and I cherish my Instagram community.
I encourage anyone who struggles with illness to search Instagram for possible support and education. You simply type the name of illness, side effects, special diet, etc. directly after the hashtag symbol. Examples include: #Crohns, #PaleoForCrohns #MigraineWarrior #LeukemiaSurvivor and of course, one of my favorites, #GratititudeAttitude.
#Peace #Love #Heal