In my blog post last week, we began what became a truly fascinating community discussion about depression, social media, and the power of community.
We also reached into what we had discovered about the power of asking – and trusting – your community.
Today, I want to take a deeper dive into health, work flexibility, and the digital marketing industry.
However, if you haven’t already read PART 1, then please click that link and start there. This post is going to build on that one… and the comments on that one are wonderful to read.
The Digital Marketing Community
More so than most other business communities, the digital marketing community is made up of an incredibly unique population of people.
We have a beautiful mix of creative minded individuals, logically minded individuals, free thinkers, organizers, planners, counselors, therapists, and the list goes on…
Something else that we have an incredibly high percentage of is people with unusual life challenges.
Many times these challenges are of a medical nature. Sometimes they are mental health challenges as we discussed earlier. Other times, these challenges are things such as providing full-time care of a parent, partner, or special needs child.
Whatever the challenge, our community is full of it because one of the few business avenues where FLEXIBILITY of work schedules, tasks, workloads, work times, and even the raw definition of how we define ourselves and what we offer the community is available.
The digital marketing industry spans everything from small bloggers (as long as they are monetizing), to affiliate marketers, to IT personnel, to strategists and consultants in the marketing industry, to authors and teachers or marketing topics and trainings. And many more job descriptions that I didn’t even mention! It’s a wide scope of occupation opportunities.
It’s all of this flexibility that leads to people who have life challenges (which we mentioned before) often landing here – in our industry – where they have opportunities they often don’t have elsewhere.
These are sometimes aspirational opportunities such as when they can make a difference in the world and sometimes much more mundane opportunities such as keeping a roof over their heads.
Our community is rich with opportunities and thus rich with diversity!
My Own Health Issues
After the prior post, a lot of the community asked me about my health problems in a more specific way.
The reason I seem to have a “laundry list” of concerns is because my key health problems are systemic in effect.
Primarily they include:
1) I have a neurovascular malformation on the left temporal region of my brain. It essentially looks an aneurysm site. The problem is that it sits on all of my primary motor centers including respiration and heart rate and causes severe high frequency “migraines”.
Currently 12 to 16 days a month, I have some level of migraine pain and more than half of those days have me bedridden.
2) I also have a ligament mobility disorder. Originally diagnosed as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Most likely the correct diagnosis will turn up to be Ehler Danlos Syndrome.
3) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/or Fibromyalgia and/or Ehler Danlos (see above). No one really knows for sure, but the Rheumatologist agrees that it’s definitely “something”.
I don’t get restorative sleep like you. I don’t heal like you. I don’t have as many hours awake in my calendar day as you do. Unless, of course, you too have a similar chronic health complication.
Do you know what spoons are? If you’re not familiar with spoon theory, then PLEASE read this: http://askkim.co/spoontheory I’d love to have more spoons.
4) And last but not least, we can’t forget the depression issues that we talked about in the prior post. Even though I’m inclined to believe that it’s mostly a result of the other problems. Because, why not, right? (/sarcasm, LOL)
These all come with a whole list of “secondary” health troubles. Since the ligament disorder is systemic, it affects everything from my vision to my GI track.
Generally, I will tell people I have fibromyalgia (which technically a Rheumatologist has formally diagnosed me with) and chronic fatigue syndrome (which is very much a key problem of mine). This helps them understand what my day-to-day life looks like when combined with high-frequency migraines.
Because of this combo though, I do in fact have a ton of “secondary problems” caused by the first two including positional hypotension, hypoglycemic response, poor healing rates, IBS, chronic non-allergic rhinitis, dizziness, hypersomnolence, fatigue, and instability and frequent injury of my joints and associated neuromuscular structure.
All of this stuff (mostly the neuro) was supposed to have killed me off in my pre-teen years, and landed me in a wheelchair by now (mobility issues), But I’m still around kicking. Too stubborn to die I told the docs. LOL ;)
I routinely joke with my doctors. “I just want to know one thing,” I say, looking at them very seriously. “Yes?,” they ask. “Does everyone decompose this well?” ;)
But the health troubles have gotten worst as I’ve gotten older. Ya know, I’m discovering that this getting old stuff sucks LOL ;) :P
All of this is part of WHY I study the science of health so often. It’s part of WHY I’m adamant that people learn to science.
It’s part of why I wrote part one of this letter.
And it’s also why I’m taking my business more of the crowd sponsored direction this year.
I’m not here for your sympathy (well… most days… admittedly there are a few where I, like every other human, occasionally feels like whining! LOL) but to help spread information, help others where I can, encourage science-based education, and to continue to be able to support the marketing community as a whole through my tutorials, training, community, hugs and more.
Want to learn more about what I’m doing funding wise – or want to help out?
You can go here: http://just-ask-kim.com/fund/
I come to you not in desperation but in faith. Not in embarrassment but in gratitude.
You’re Not Alone Out Here
More so than my own health issues though, I hope that this post helps you understand the community better.
Maybe it will give you more patience, understanding, and compassion when you deal with a colleague that seems to be struggling.
Always remember that what we see publicly rarely paints the whole picture of what is going on in the lives of those around us.
And if you too are dealing with life complications – be they health related or family related (or anything else) – please know that you are welcomed here in my community with open arms and hugs.
(In addition to the wide list of friends I have with chronic health issues, I also have one friend currently dying of cancer (Love you Marilyn!), one friend turning her life upside down to be her mothers long-distance transportation to cancer treatment (Love you Lisa!), and another friend who’s mother is in advanced memory care and who is providing day to day involvement with her complicated medical needs (Love you Bill!))
I am blessed by each and every one of you. And I hope that my story helps others who are struggling continue to keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving their lives forward.