This post is my response to Day 1 of The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge hosted by WeGo Health.
The concept of health blogging is relatively new for me, although many others have been writing about their health or a relatives health for much longer. My first memory of hearing about blogs written on health experience happened while I was doing research for my Masters. My supervisor, Dr. Juanne Clarke and Gudrun van Amerom* conducted a study on Internet sites relating to Asperger’s syndrome. They found that there was a distinct and often oppositional perspective between organizations devoted to support of people/families with Asperger’s syndrome and individual bloggers diagnosed with Asperger’s themselves. This research really intrigued me because it meant that diagnosed individuals were writing about their experience with their ‘condition’ (something I had only done for class assignments and essays) and their writing was accessible for people to find and read. If these individual bloggers had not publicly shared their insights, then this perspective on Asperger’s may not have been uncovered.
In the last few months I have come across the blog of Deborah Lupton titled This Sociological Life. She is a researcher who specializes in the sociology of medicine and public health, risk, the body, parenting culture and childhood.. to name a few, and uses her blog as a platform for social commentary “informed by key sociological writings”. In Deborah’s most recent post “Why I Blog“, she summarizes why she believes blogging is a great tool for academics. Accessibility of content, control over your work, a forum for new ideas and preliminary research are among a few of her answers that I can surely identify with. I would highly recommend checking out her article and the rest of her blog as well.
So, why did I bring up these examples of blogging in response to why I chose to blog?
I did so because these blogs are where I have drawn inspiration from, but also because I feel that The Master Patient borrows from both styles as a mix between ‘experience blogging’ and ‘academic blogging’. My patient experience has informed my academic research and in turn, my research has also helped me to make sense of and better articulate my time as a patient. I write about this because I want to put my voice out there as a health activist, just as I have incorporated my patient voice into my research. The Master Patient is a platform where I can share, and to a larger degree, continue to work through this process. I am hopeful that the content I share on The Master Patient will reflect both of these blogging styles.
If you are interested in learning more, I have chronicled a little bit about what led me to create The Master Patient in my Autobiography section.
* Clarke, Juanne, Amerom, Gudrun van “’Surplus Suffering’: Differences Between Organizational Understandings of Asperger’s Syndrome and Those People Who Claim the ‘Disorder’” Disability & Society 22.7 (2007): 771 – 776