Why I Decided to Take a Break from Advocating

Last updated: April 2022

It’s been over a year since I started advocating for and on behalf of the chronically ill. True enough, it has been a massive part of my journey towards healing. Just a few months after I was diagnosed, I delved into the world of advocates right away.

Advocacy simply became too much

I learned more about myself, my coping mechanisms, and my illness, but I’ve also gotten to know so many people who went through the same thing that I did.

I’ve heard of amazing stories similar to mine, which have inspired me to push through.

However, this year, I have decided to slow down and take a break for the following reasons.

I am constantly faced with the pressure to be better

Looking back, I can say that I was pushing myself to be better, feel okay, and go back to my routine before I was diagnosed. I forgot to practice self-compassion, to slow down and take my time.

In addition to this, I was following a lot of people who are advocates as well, and I couldn’t help myself from comparing myself to their progress.

I was constantly reminded that I was sick

I was actively posting about my life on social media, and I was writing articles about my chronic illness.  I would post updates about my symptoms, clinic appointments, progress, and downfalls.

This routine eventually reminded me of how sick I was and of how I am never going to be fully healed.

People think I have all the answers

People asked me for advice, and I was pressured to make others feel that I had everything figured out.  I would often get messages asking me how I readily accepted my diagnosis and what I did to navigate my way out of my illness when the reality is I haven’t figured out anything at all.

I got used to tending to the needs of others that I forgot that I was struggling too.

I should always prioritize my mental health

When I slowly stopped posting, I noticed how my well-being and mental health improved.

I realized that even if your intention behind advocating is pure and genuine, you have to remember to show up for yourself, too.

Your mental health should be your topmost priority. Advocating, at one point, made me feel exhausted and burnt out, and it’s starting to become a negative coping mechanism because I made it a form of unhealthy escape instead of dealing with my problems.

Don't let the guilt consume you

Do not feel guilty for wanting to quietly take a temporary social media detox. Always be reminded that it's okay to take a break. It's okay to admit that you are struggling.

An advocate does not make you immune to bad days. You're still human, and you are more than allowed to take a break from being of help to others if it costs you your mental health.

Just like everyone else, advocates' mental health matters, too.

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