Can Social Media Oversharing Make You A Health Activist?
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Health and Wellness

Can Social Media Oversharing Make You A Health Activist?

There's no getting rid of social media. So what if we used it for creative good?

Can Social Media Oversharing Make You A Health Activist?
Amy Oestreicher

TMI. Oversharing. "Did they really just say that?"

Sounds like a typical Activist.


We've all heard of an Activist. But what's a Health Activist?

Health Ac•tiv•ist, noun — A blogger, tweeter, or community leader helping others navigate their health. (You can endorse me here!)I'm so honored to be nominated for a WEGO Health Activist Award. In their words, "these activist all-stars are putting 110% effort into changing the healthcare landscape and empowering the patient voice."

I know what you're thinking.

Social media? What on earth does that have to do with health advocacy?

More than you think.

We live in the age of "oversharing." On social media, we can say anything and often times, we do.

But did you know that oversharing can actually be good for you?

From my own decade of medical isolation, I learned that nobody can heal in a vacuum. Being able to reach out for help and find support is what helps us realize we’re not alone. Sometimes we need to share...and overshare. It's how we find strength in numbers.

Seven Things I Was Scared to Overshare That Ended Up Helping Other People

  • What it's like having an open wound
  • Feeling conflicted about testifying against my abuser
  • Dealing with undeserved shame after sexual abuse
  • Getting pulled over by the cops when I tried to run for my life
  • Learning to accept my ostomy
  • Explaining to kids what my scars are from
  • Dealing with confusing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

None of these articles were easy to write - or share. But, after almost losing my life, I'm hoping to share the lessons trauma can teach all of us - an appreciation of the world's everyday miracles and beautiful detours.

Why am I sharing my detour? It takes “guts” to talk – and sing – about my sexual abuse ,my anger, my guilt, how I lost hope in things ever getting better. But I share to show that things DO get better with patience, trust and resilience.

5 Ways DETOURS are Transforming Mental Health

  • Why we all need to fight in the open
  • Why we're all Detourists - including you!
  • Why we all deserve to be creative
  • How I'm bringing together "Detourists" from all over - read their stories!
  • How I'm bringing mental health to students

I share to give courage and a sense of belonging to people who are struggling with all kinds of mental health or physical challenges, but also to help build a campus that gives everyone the kind of awareness and generosity of spirit that makes that world a better place. If we all share our “detours”, we see that our detours are not detours at all. Every road leads somewhere – we just need to hang in long enough to catch the flowers along the way. The more we share our detours, the more we realize we’re not alone.

As a Detourist, I looked for the upside of obstacles, welcoming the unexpected change in my “thought-out” life to see what opportunities may arise. I find gratitude by transforming adversity into creative growth.

Basically, all that means is, when there's an obstacle, we are going to feel negative things - shame, frustration, sadness, anger, guilt. But the great part is that all of those emotions are just...ENERGY!

So if all those awful feelings are just energy, why don't we just transform that energy into something positive? (Which we can do through creativity!)

Why Social Media Helps

That's what I hope to show on social media. To me, being a WEGO Health Activist means that I can use profiles, handles, posts, tweets, pics and accounts to be open, honest and "account"-able. It took me a long time before I could find the courage to be so vulnerable with the world wide web, and some things I share are still not easy to always talk about.

You can endorse me as a Health Activist by clicked on any of the badges below!

I find inspiration everywhere. I love quotes that can bring out the issues we all think about. I use twitter to bring together the dynamic communities of the arts, mental health, academia, entertainment, pop culture and physical health with universal causes we are all enthusiastic about exploring. Twitter is a wonderful means of introducing ideas! — Amy

Facebook was invented during my coma. Waking up to a new world, I had no idea there were so many people that were going through similar struggles. Blogging opened up my world and made me feel vital, connected and alive.I could reach out to others for support, and I could even share my own reflections. Blogging became my way of reclaiming my voice! — Amy

I started #LoveMyDetour to help others thrive because of and not in spite of difficulties. Posting daily content to help Detourists appreciate the "flowers" on their unexpected path. "Fearless Ostomates" was created to help eliminate stigma in the ostomy community, encouraging others to fearlessly embrace their bodies. My posts prompt creativity! — Amy

My journey inspired me to address stigma surrounding mental illness, sexual assault, and PTSD through blogging, social media, and a weekly "why not wednesday" feature on my site, where every week, a Detourist writes about how any detour in their life has shaped who they are -the topic of my TEDx talk, breaking down barriers, healing thru compassion — Amy So that's why I'm an Activist - a Health Activist. I try to make "health" an active word. [box type="shadow"]

Endorse a PTSD survivor on a beautiful detour for a @WEGOhealth Activist Award [click to tweet]


Social media is here to stay - whether we like it or not. So, just like we can transform pain, fear, shame and negativity, let's transform, reinvent and reimagine how we view the influence social media has on our world. Let's use it to all be Health Activists.

How You Can Be a Health Activist by "Oversharing"

So next time you're hash-tagging an Instagram pic, or scrolling your Facebook feed, think about one positive message you can share.

Maybe it's an inspirational quote. Maybe it's a calming picture of the ocean. Maybe it's openly sharing a struggle you had that day.

Or maybe it's just reading someone else's story and commenting, "Thank you," "I understand," or "I'm here for you."

#RT that! with #NoFilter! (Like!)

How can YOU be a Health Activist today?

[box type="shadow"]Detours in life create identity. Sharing them creates compassion. Share your truth! [click to tweet][/box]

You can endorse me now through October 21st by clicking here.

WEGO Health is a different kind of social network, built for the community leaders, bloggers and tweeters who are actively involved in health online. WEGO Health is a platform for committed Health Activists to foster new relationships, gain access to helpful resources, and grow their communities. Our goal is to equip our network with opportunities designed for the active contributor, relevant content, powerful educational resources and shareable interactive media. See my nomination here and learn more about the Health Activist Awards at WeGo Health! [newsletter]

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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