- “If I could do anything as a Health Activist…” Think big today! Money/ time/ physical limitations are no longer an issue. What is your biggest goal that is now possible?
- What’s your one, three, or five year plan for your Health Activism?
Today’s questions feel huge and daunting and kind of terrifying but I’m going to try my best to put my feelings down on um web space?
If money wasn’t an issue I’d love to see big ad campaigns for diabetes and fundraising. I see such things for cancer all the time and it makes me sad that we don’t have the same thing because our charities such as diabetesuk here just don’t have the money for it. I completely respect their decision to not use what little funds they have on add campaigns but I do think that it is a big thing we’re missing out on. It is hard to get people to do sponsored runs and walks if they don’t know about them. If you’re not diabetic yourself or don’t have family with diabetes I can’t really see how you would find out about such events. I know plenty of people who have done ‘Race for Life’ despite never having had cancer or known anyone close to them to have it. They see the ad campaigns, know about cancer, and want to make a difference. I can’t help but feel that ‘what if’ when it comes to diabetes.
On the flip side of that, what I can do now is help raise awareness in any way that I can. I can’t create TV ads but I can RT things on my personal twitter as well as the one I have for my health activism and I can talk about diabetes, explain my situation and not hide anything. I can create a ripple effect that probably reaches more people than I can imagine. For every friend I educate better, they in turn can educate someone else.
On the issue of thyroidism, if I had the money I’d have leaflets at surgeries everywhere describing the symptoms and urging people to ask their doctors to test them. I was lucky in that my routine diabetes tests caught it but if I hadn’t been diabetic but developed the illness I could have staggered on through life miserable and knackered for months, years even because I didn’t know the symptoms or anything about it!
Lastly, when it comes to mental health I want to help break down the stigma. The support networks and information for anxiety and depression is there. I truly think it is a matter of finding the motivation and strength to reach out for it. The biggest issue is how others perceive people that are coping with mental illness. I’d love to campaign for there to be more education for children about mental illness. I’ve had my problems since childhood but it was thought that children couldn’t have those problems so no one noticed and I didn’t think to say anything because I didn’t have names for things. Educating younger children about mental illness can stop them becoming prejudice. Stop the indoctrination of societies ignorance in its track by beating it to the minds of the next generation. If I wasn’t so tired and didn’t have so much to get on with dealing with my own problems, I’d really love to push for something like that. Children understand concepts so much better than adults give them credit for.
On the campaign front though, I seriously want to get involved in the push to get Chronic Fatigue Syndrome renamed. It is horribly debilitating yet the seriousness of it is severely undermined because of its name. Fatigue is a term that has become overused I feel. I’m not ‘just tired’, it isn’t like ‘everyone gets tired’ but a serious debilitating illness that makes every day harder than it might have been. It is very similar to M.E. and if I had that diagnosis I bet people would be far more sympathetic and understanding and more willing to help me achieve things. Yet because it is called chronic fatigue, they assume I’m not sleeping enough or am sleeping too much, don’t want to get better, don’t want to try or am just plain lazy. It is neither right nor fair.
That sort of thing takes time, energy and cash though. Getting to places, speaking to the right people and gaining access to the right information is an expensive business. I do want to do what I can though, whatever that may be.
As for my plans long term, talk more, listen more, get involved more and see where it takes me.