Monday, April 18, 2011

Why I Write - A Writer with Sarcoidosis

The hashtag #WhyIWrite has been trending on Twitter lately and I thought I would do a blog post on why I write. Writing is very personal for me as I'm sure it is for anyone who writes. I've been writing since I could write. When I was in kindergarten I was allowed to stay inside from recess so I could write my latest story. My friend Ginny was my illustrator. When you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I always replied, "an author." I pursued my writing through college by majoring in Journalism. I loved telling a story and learning the craft. When I graduated, I continued to write and landed a job doing technical and scientific writing. There's not a whole lot of creativity in technical writing, but I still managed to write in my free time just not on a daily basis. 

In 2009 I began experiencing weird symptoms; swollen joints, large painful lumps formed under my skin, I had terrible headaches, pain everywhere and chronic fatigue. I kept going to my primary doctor who ran some tests, but he couldn't figure out what was going on so he sent me to a rheumatologist in January of 2010. That was when I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis; a multi systemic autoimmune disease that was already in my lungs, skin, eyes and joints with the possibility of it spreading to my heart and brain. The pain was so bad I would cry every morning when I woke up and tried to walk. After months of aggressive treatment they were able to get some of the swelling down, but it never goes away completely. Some people go into remission, but I have the symptoms that typically mean it's chronic and I'm in for the long haul. 

I dove into my writing after my diagnosis. I poured my heart and soul into my notebooks, lived in my imagination and tried not to get too down and depressed about what I was facing. Learning my limitations is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Coming to terms with who I am now as opposed to who I was isn't easy. Writing has been my outlet, my therapy and my saving grace. I have chronic fatigue and brain fog that never goes away, but writing is something I can do curled up on my couch with my laptop in front of me (as I'm doing now). Not to mention I can live vicariously through my characters. I write because I have to. I write because if I didn't I would be in a much worse mental state. I write because I have a story to tell. I write because it keeps me thinking positive. I write because I love it.

Why do you write?