Turn Your Disability into Part of Your Blogging Cache


Oftentimes, running a blog means that there's an unspoken ask out there for both the glamorous and the very real sides of us, which leads to the question: if you have a disability, should you share information about it on your blog?

It's a very personal question, and everyone has different health concerns, levels of functioning, and feelings about how they deal with, and care to disclose what they're dealing with, which can be frequent, constant, or a permanent part of their lives.

I am struck with an abundance of deep admiration for all of the challenges that people have overcome and made peace with, fully embrace, and share with the world. As humans, our imperfections can be the most attractive aspects of us, and certainly are integral in forming who were are, our drive, and attitude in life.  Fashion editor and blogger Jillian Mercado of Manufactured 1987 has the most killer style in both fashion and beauty, which I find to be a constant source of inspiration.  She exudes incredible confidence and all-around really good, approachable vibes, like she could be your coolest and nicest friend, and is down to earth, despite having landed major campaigns, like modeling for Diesel and Nordstrom.

Mercado also has spastic muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, and has spoken candidly about it on her blog and on-air, even sitting down with Matt Lauer of “The Today Show” this past year.  To me, she is a true success story to emerge from the blogging world, in addition to being one prime example to consider when debating whether you should share your disability and/or health issues with your readers.

Having a genetic, incurable vision disability since the age of 17 has caused me to do some restructuring of my life and my career. Over the years I've been skiddish addressing it, wanting to be treated just like everybody else without any special consideration. It's certainly formed who I am as an adult, and little by little I've felt more comfortable with mentioning small facets of it on my blog, for example that my eyes have heightened sensitivity and the need to wear sunglasses, ad nauseam. I'm realizing that sharing more information about what I'm dealing with through the outlet of my personal blog can certainly be a positive thing, further cementing my relationship with my readers.

Here's a few aspects to consider if you're on the fence about sharing:

Is it Getting in the Way of Blogging?  If you've found that you've had to take a lapse in your writing and posting, or your enthusiasm has been zapped because of what you are going through, you may want to share, so that your readers know why you haven't been as consistent as usual or writing with the same zest as before.

Is It Unavoidable? If your blog includes an aspect, such as personal style photos that may make it obvious,  consider sharing your journey with your readers. They will most likely deepen the personal connection that they feel to you, and if you are needing it, may get some great advice, support, and words of encouragement.

You're Proud of What You've Overcome  Maybe you had a recent surgery, or it's a challenge to do your blog due to a learning disability or physical impairment, but you do it, and do it well. Share your story, and your readers may extra appreciate every post you write. In blogging, we strive to be relate-able, but also inspirational, and I think sharing your trials and successes only further reinforces that balance.

It Just Feels Right It might seem like the more you blog, the more it heads in a logical progression to share additional tidbits of information about yourself. Rarely would you start a conversation saying, “Hi, I'm Julia and I have ____,” but as time goes on, you may catch yourself increasingly thinking about when and how to share it.


What say you — have you shared a disability or health issue that you've struggled with on your blog?

What had the reader response been like?

Image credit: Manufactured1987

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About The Author

Blogging at her site Fashion Pulse Daily since 2008 and working on fashion's editorial side since 2003 has lent Julia the acumen to think creatively and endure in the colliding worlds of blogging, fashion and beauty. New York City is her backdrop for inspiration (and many a outfit photo), where she is often found on her couch, feverishly typing away at her latest post, with her trusty feline at her side. Follow her on Instagram , Twitter, and Pinterest.

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11 Responses

  1. Kali

    Thanks for sharing your insight into such a personal topic, Julia. I had the pleasure of meeting Jillian at a show during NYFW and she is everything you described – confident, approachable, incredibly sweet and has killer style (she was wearing a current piece from designers’ collection!). I have followed her ever since and also find her truly inspiring. The blogosphere needs more people like her (and you). 🙂

  2. Mia Sønderskov

    I’ve been struggling with various mental illnesses over the past years and went through a huge back surgery in June. I frequently talk about these things, especially mental health, on my blog, because it’s a huge part of my life and sometimes it WILL get in the way of blogging. 🙂
    In general the responses to those kinds of posts have been positive and supportive.


    • Julia

      Hi Mia,
      Thanks for weighing in, and it’s marvelous to hear that you’ve gotten positive feedback from readers!

  3. Sabina @Oceanblue Style

    Yeah I feel when its getting in the way of blogging I would share it so readers will understand and also for keeping in touch. Blogging is not that much different from the “real” world because if you had a major issue you would share that with bosses and close colleagues as well, right? I just would not use my blog kvetching about everyday going ons endlessly because I want to entertain myself and see my blog as a diversion. Sabina @Oceanblue Style

  4. MystikLove808

    Thank you for sharing this article with us. I am fairly new to online blogging, in fact, it’s been about a week since I first started. I had a Spinal Surgery earlier this year and I am still recovering. I woke up from surgery, paralyzed from the chest down. I was sent to a REHAB Hospital and stayed there for about a month, doing Physical and Occupational Therapy for about a month. From Wheelchair to Walker to Walking with a Cane, I was wondering if I should incorporate it somewhere into my blog. This article came at the most perfect time. THANK YOU So Much For The Inspiration!!! Aloha. 🙂

  5. Amy J. Frost

    I love this. I have been through 6 surgeries over the past year after being diagnosed with breast cancer. I struggled with whether or not to share with my readers for a long time, but I realised that it really was going to affect my blogging and why not share? It’s not something to be embarrassed about. I want my readers to connect with me and know what’s really going on. I think everyone’s personal story is what make their blog interesting and what gives them their sense of style.

    • Julia Dinardo

      Thanks so much for sharing, and I hope you are well and feeling much better now. Any surgery, let alone six, is no small feat! Thanks for your story and I’m glad this feature was meaningful!

  6. Mariah

    Have you seen her interview with “What’s Underneath”? I have been looking for her blog since I saw it, and it’s a Tumblr account which I don’t have. I’ll just have to remember to check it periodically. Either way, I think this a great article. I think this should also apply to mental disabilities as well (depression, anxiety, eating disorder, whatever it may be).

    • Julia Dinardo

      Hi Mariah,
      No, I never saw that interview, but will have to check it out! And yes, I agree, all of those also fit into the fold as they are serious challenges to concur.

  7. joice

    Very interesting post and really informative, really enjoyed reading it’s a shame I don’t know her blog name but I’ll try to find it. 🙂