Earlier in the month I shared a little bit of my blogging background including the how and why I started. I mentioned how most people have a personal reason for starting to share their life online, and I was really interested in finding out other peoples stories.
So I thought I’d reach out to some of my blogger / social media chronic illness friends and perform a little interview. Hopefully posts like this will introduce you to some awesome new people to follow online, as well as offer some advice / tips / new points of view on chronic illness.
So with out further adieu. Meet my first interviewee.
My name is Roy George I’m 28 years old. I am a vocal coach, Vocal arranger and Music director. I also travel and speak on behalf of patient advocacy speaking at The Association for Vascular Access conferences and Short Bowel Syndrome conferences…
Can you tell us your diagnosis and the age you became ill?
I don’t remember a time i wasn’t “ill” I had this since birth. Its short Bowel Syndrome and massive malnutrition.
What made you want to share your own chronic illness story and experiences?
I spent a lot of time growing up without having people there to speak with about my journey and the dos and don’ts of life. It was really a trial and error experience. So with that being said, i really worked hard to allow myself to be open. Being open is a process and is truly something I struggle with and get nervous about. There’s a sense of vulnerability that comes with being open and sharing your journey. On the outside, i look incredible “Normal”. I’ve learned how to wear clothes that make me look “normal” and are stylish and look great. However, there comes a struggle thats deeper than the surface that people don’t get to see. We have the ability to make our social media accounts look like we live and lead extravagant lives but in reality we struggle. I wanted to be able to bust through the social media stigma and speak straight to people who were having a hard time and connect with people on levels that not everyone would understand. Trust me its STILL not easy but it really does give me great joy to be able to help in a small way if I’m able.
How do you feel about the chronic illness community online?
I think like in any community you have AMAZING people and you have people that i will call positive suckers. Now, let me explain that phrase- that phrase means, I’m a glass half full kind of person. There’s always going to be people who ALWAYS see it half empty and that life is rough and theres a struggle. There is CERTAINLY validity to that. However, we all need to find the positives or else we won’t stand to be around for long. There will always be people who suck the life out of you and just want to take everything you give. You have to know your boundaries. What are you willing to talk about? What are you willing to share? How are you willing to share? What platforms make you most comfortable? Are you comfortable with social media contact or emails calls and texts. The community is hurting because there’s not a lot of outlets or want to discuss these intimate details. I mean you have all these Hollywood celebrities speaking out on cancer, and dry eye, alopecia and many other things and good for them. But what celebrity wants to talk about their bowel movements on national and international television? Its a natural thing. we all do it. But who wants to be KNOWN for that? Find the humor. find the joy. Don’t be afraid to be positive in a community that can sometimes be negative. I’m in no way saying the SBS community is negative as a whole. Negativity happens in any and every community no matter what.
Do you have any advice or tips you’d like to share with someone newly diagnosed?
Find the humor. Find where you can laugh at yourself. Find how you can look at yourself and see the glass half full. Oddly enough, someone ALWAYS has it worse than you. Parents have lost their children. Kids have lost their parents. Lets use our voice to get change. -Easier said than done but at least we can try.
Do you have any advice or tip for friends and family of those diagnosed with a chronic illness?
DO NOT PUSH THEM. Don’t push them to share. Don’t push them to go out. Don’t push them to be happy. Don’t push them to be positive. Let them be mean and nasty. Meet them. Find ways to be effective and get what you want while not trying to change someone. As hard as it is on you to have a negative person in your life, try living with the condition and daily hangups that are normal for them.
What’s the most irritating thing you’ve heard people say regarding your condition?
“Just get some sleep you’ll be fine.” “You’ll feel better when you go out.” “You’re fine. It can’t be that bad.” “Are you really that sick.” “But you dont look sick.”
How do you feel about the opiate crisis and how it’s affecting those with chronic illnesses?
I’m not familiar with it unfortunately. I know its getting more difficult to get pain killers because of this crisis. Unfortunately I’m uneducated in this department and for that I’m sorry.
Tell us something positive you’ve achieved despite you illness.
I’ve traveled around the country as a musician and singer and speaker. I’ve always performed off broadway at the age of 18 and have done some commercials and television as well. I’m pretty blessed that despite my condition, I’ve managed to not let it define me.
Where can we find more of you ?
Please reach out on all the social media accounts twitter and instagram are Roysamuelgeorge and Facebook is Roy George and my Facebook page is Roy S. George You can also find me online at www.roygeorge.net and i host a podcast on iTunes called Triple Threats & Beyond and we’re also on twitter and instagram. Please reach out!!!!
I hope you guys enjoyed getting to know Roy. Definitely go stalk him on social media. If you want to be a part of this series yourself, reach out on social media and maybe we’ll see your face here soon.