I sat here and thought and thought about my blog post for HealthEVoices17 which direction to take it in. I could go on and on about everything I learned in the sessions which was a lot. I could discuss how much powerful content Wisdo got by videotaping so many incredible advocates. Or maybe I should write about Janssen and how not only did they pay our expenses but they ate with us, they laughed with us, they cried but they listened to our stories. I am talking really listened, they heard our stories from their heart. I could have also written about The Tonic team and how they made it their mission to make sure we had everything our aching bodies needed. I for sure could have discussed the Impact Fund! WOW just WOW! Maybe I could write about how I stand on things I have not done that in a long time??? HMMMMM......
Then in our closed group a blog post popped up. My new health care advocate friend Michelle wrote a blog about what fucked up shit people say to schizophrenics and one of the comments hit me.
And truth be told it is pretty much with many health issues. The diabetes community feels it when they eat. The RA peeps feel it when they can not move and people judge them for not moving enough. The mental illness gets wacked left and right with it for so many reasons. The HIV community lives with it and the struggle is hard. When will it end? When will people stop being judged for what others can not see or understand?
Which brings me to HealthEVoices17 and why this conference is vital to me opposed to all the others I attend. Why I care so deeply for this one. The theme of the conference was “Together we Thrive”, so true. See it did not matter to anyone at that conference if they had RA, IBD, MS, cancer, HIV, bipolar or anything in the middle. There was no judgment at all. No one carried that if you could not make it to drinks or open mic night, it did not matter if you needed a nap or more time in the relaxation room. All we cared about was that everyone was “healthy”. The concern was about self-care for the other, not selfishness. We get each other, we get the looks of mental pain, the unseen aches, the wobble or the staring off. We get the angst that others do not and want to make a difference in each other's life. We get what it is like to live with our conditions no judgment and we are still friends.
Together we thrive is really meaningful to me. No I do not have diabetes/RA/IMB/HIV but maybe if I share a blog post written by one of my HealthEVoices17 friends on SDBC someone there may connect with them. That is thriving!!! I could not do it without my friends living with that condition. You get what I am saying?? We need to stick together, we need to stop just sharing our story to our select community and branch it out. HealthEvoices connects us in a way we would never have a chance to. I wore many hats during HealthEVoices sometimes it was in the Wisdo video booth collecting stories which were so amazing that I was lucky enough to really listen to so may of my friend's lives. Or maybe I was connecting with someone with cancer who needed to feel they are not alone. There was the time I sat with the MS community learning about new drugs that are hopeful to me. But what still brings me to tears was after dinner one night we were in the bar area talking. A Janssen rep was hanging with us. Someone was telling a very intense story it wasn't pretty or happy but it was real or raw. Her hand was on his arm and she was hearing every word he said. Her eyes locked and he told his story. I know of no other conference where the rep will do that and do it with kindness. What a way to thrive!