One of the most difficult parts of living with chronic pain is the isolation that it can cause. Because chronic pain is an “invisible” illness, it is very difficult to explain what you are feeling or going through. As well-intentioned as family and friends try to be, sometimes they just don’t get it.
Thankfully, there are many ways to get support and feel heard, even on the days you don’t want to leave the house. There are chronic pain forums to get answers to specific questions, Pinterest pages for inspiration and the very latest treatments, and Twitter for weekly chats and camaraderie. One online tool that doesn’t get mentioned much is Tumblr. Tumblr brings all of the support of forums, the information of Pinterest, and the breaking news of Twitter into one place, simplifying the quest for online support. If you have never used Tumblr, here’s how to get started.
Design your account
Tumblr is easy to get started with. You simply need a username and an email address. For safety’s sake and as with all other online platforms, avoid using your full name and location. You can put your picture up if you like, or you can leave it blank.
Get familiar with the platform
Tumblr allows you to do all of the things that you do on every other platform. You can post a video, picture, photo, or link. You can also blog directly onto Tumblr with no 140-character limits. Adding audio and posting quotes are also possible. Tumblr has recently added a “chat” feature.
Search for like-minded folks
Use Tumblr’s search feature to search hashtags and trending topics. These will get you started in building a list of Tumblr blogs that you follow. As you add blogs, Tumblr will also recommend blogs for you to follow. These can be centered around the hashtags you searched or on the blogs that you already follow. Either way, they help you to find people to connect with.
There are great lists of chronic pain bloggers on Tumblr. Once you find and follow the ones you like, they are available without searching any time you need some inspiration.
You don’t have to post to feel supported. Scroll down your blog feed to see what others have posted. Some users enable comments, while others only authorize you to “reblog” (like sharing on Facebook) before you comment. This results in a long, threaded reply on a picture, blog, video, or link.
As with Twitter, you can also spread some love by clicking on the heart icon. This can lead Tumblr users to you and help to build your list of followers.
So why choose Tumblr over all other online tools?
- Tumblr is a way to bring everything you enjoy about social media in one place. This makes it easy and hassle-free. You don’t have to check five different locations for five different types of posts.
- Tumblr is a notoriously supportive community. While Facebook and Twitter can be harsh and critical, Tumblr users seem to universally accept the differences among them.
- Following (and unfollowing) blogs is easy and not very public. This means that if you want to unfollow a Tumblr user, there is no way they will notice unless they actively seek to find out.
While some may believe that increased use of social media increases social isolation, research from the Pew Research Center in 2009 found that those who use social media of any kind actually have stronger, more diverse social networks than those who do not. This is a significant finding for those living with chronic pain, as pain can make it difficult to get out of the house. Tumblr is one way to bring the outside world to you.
To get you started, here are five of our favorite Tumblr chronic pain blogs.
Even though the owner of this blog is currently experiencing traumatic financial hardship, they still manage to post inspiring quotes and supportive links regularly, including a re-imagined graphic of the pain scale that features bees, bears, and ninjas.
For chronic pain sufferers who appreciate art and design, this blog is for you. Beautiful watercolor illustrations accompany quotes and conversations with blog followers. This blog is also a great example of the possibility of a deeply personal Tumblr site that moves away from a simple template.
This blog features the daily challenges of living with chronic pain, both from the curator of the blog and from the blog’s followers. Scroll down to read about running through an airport and its aftermath. This blogger clearly understands what those without chronic pain do not.
While this blog is not always safe for work and often contains profanity, we love it for its honest, thoughtful, and thought-provoking way of dealing with multiple diagnoses, including mental illness. Some of the posts can be triggering, and the blog curator marks those clearly. Worth following if you have struggled with depression, anxiety, addiction, or self-harming.
This autonomous blog is curated by someone who has lived with chronic pain for 25 years and is a thyroid cancer survivor. That alone is enough to inspire us, but her blog is also funny, warm, and supportive. This is a great place to start building your community on Tumblr.
One of our sister sites, Pain Doctor, is also on Tumblr. Make sure and follow us when you set up your account to stay updated on new chronic pain blogs from that site!
Photo by Romain Toornier via Flickr