Being Your Own Hero
We are all familiar with heroes, whether we know one ourselves, or simply hear or read about people perform heroic deeds. Whether you have been called a hero or someone else gave you the honor of calling you a hero is not important; we best not dwell in a place where we worry about these things.
When I talk about “being your own hero”, what I meant to discuss is how you can advocate and/or stand up for you- and only you. Not at all a selfish act, but really more akin to self-preservation, and even duty.
Fight for yourself
There are no real medals to win, but the winner is you and those who care about you. Regardless of the barriers that may be placed before you, and sometimes they are formidable and are numerous, maintaining voracity and dogged determination is sometimes required. I understand not everyone has the strength, but any effort can, and may be, rewarded with improved results.
In my experience working as a peer support worker and navigator in the hep C community, it is clear that those people who are able or willing to be their own advocate realize the best outcomes. The people who are active and proactive about their care will receive the best care, even when faced with struggles that at first seem insurmountable. Having wealth and great insurance coverage is an advantage that many will not enjoy, but I have witnessed truly amazing results, even in the absence of these benefits, when people get fully engaged in fighting for themselves.
It is not always simple or easy to advocate for one self, and in the face of barriers, it can be a downright fierce battle to attain the care we all should expect regardless of our bank balance or level of coverage. Unfortunately, that can come down to money, or lack thereof.
The social determinants of health are real, make no mistake, and the data will back it up. Social strata and economic advantage afford better health and overall outcomes when facing illness. This should be no surprise to any of us- Decent housing, food security, and healthcare can be great challenges when we are dealing with which bill or necessity comes first, and which one has to wait.
Ask for help
The difficulties one can face with few resources can feel impenetrable, but there are organizations and people who can help. Seek out these resources if you need help! Do not hesitate to ask for help, there is no shame in asking. We all need a helping hand from time to time. Maybe you will find a fellow hero, but most likely, you can find someone who can support you in your heroic efforts.