Wow. Where do I start? What a month February was. Let’s recap.
That escalated quickly…
So February was just the fourth month of this blog’s existence yet remarkably we had over 2,500 views. To put this into context, it’s almost as many as the first three months combined.
I know I shouldn’t focus on the numbers (I’ve always been a bit of a data nerd) but to me, it’s validation that I am on the right track.
I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to see people take genuine interest in your content. To be engaged and so supportive of your personal story. More importantly, to see what I’m doing turn into a platform where I can raise awareness for others in my situation. For me, the visitors, an audience for my message, is the ultimate pay off for all of the hard work.
For this to start taking off in probably my darkest month in terms of the deterioration of my health, makes it especially pleasing.
Top 5 most popular posts in February…
- Chronic illness and mental health – two evil partners in crime (part 1)
- Affiliate programs and partners – ‘win-win’ or a blogging minefield?
- An upsetting post to write – an update from the Biologics appointment
- Chronic illness – a setback bigger than the illness itself
- Coronavirus – why it’s a disturbing time for biologics users
As indicated in a number of my blog posts, it has also been a challenging month. My physical health has deteriorated, I had some bad news at the hospital (see: An upsetting post to write – an update from the Biologics appointment) and the months of pain and being able to see physical changes in my body all got a bit too much for me. My mental health has suffered.
The positive from this is that it’s been something I have openly acknowledged this time around, where previously I would be in denial. I genuinely thank this blog for that. It has helped me turn the corner in terms of being more open about my health challenges. The other positives from this dark place is that it’s been a source of inspiration – my new ‘Chronic illness and mental health‘ series. Plus the sheer amount of support I have had – on this site and on my associated social media accounts, in particular, Facebook.
The big news…
Probably the biggest highlight of the month was being approached by Health Union to be a contributor and community advocate for psoriatic-arthritis.com.
Health Union, based in the United States, run a range of hugely popular and informative websites for specific medical conditions that I have personally used for information myself on numerous occasions. It was a great honour and an even bigger surprise to be asked to be part of this. Not only could I not quite wrap my head around the idea that somebody found me, out there amongst the deafening noise of the internet but that it would also be my first paid writing opportunity.
To be able to share my story on a platform of this size is an absolute privilege and I can’t wait to submit my first article later this week.
For more information on this and what it means for this blog, see: https://joelvsarthritis.co.uk/exciting-news-advocate/
My Facebook page and community has also really started to take off. It’s gone from friends and family to a growing number of people completely unknown to me (who I hope to get to know), commenting and interacting with my posts. It’s a little daunting but it’s very exciting at the same time.
I have also been approached to take part in a national campaign for a leading charity to raise awareness of arthritis. I can’t say any more at this stage but I cannot wait to give you more details on this one later in the spring!
A thank you…
Finally, a thank you to my wonderful readers.
Amongst all of those amazingly unexpected highs, there has been some real dark days for me in recent weeks. I’ve been depressed, felt hopeless and have been in crippling pain; of the like I haven’t experienced in years.
Although I try to keep a positive angle when writing on this site, I appreciate that some of my updates haven’t been the most inspirational of late. But it has brought about the birth of new content and plans for more series later in the year. I also feel it is important to paint the true picture of living with chronic disease. Good days and bad.
For those of you that sent literally hundreds of messages and comments of support, shared posts or clicked a simple ‘like’ button. Thank you. My family and my belief in this project really pulled me through last month. It gave me something to focus on. It gave me hope and your support of my work helped to keep that fire burning, you heroes. x