As Lyme Disease Awareness month gets under way, I see thousands of posts a day trying to spread awareness. This has been hugely helpful because I can see what works and what does not. Hint: its not the loudest ones making an impact.
Everyone has their style but is being loud and in your face about information something that draws people? Usually no. To draw people to you, you have to build a human connection, give them something to relate to. While all Lyme Disease awareness is great, if we are tactful we can make a bigger impact.
What drew you into a community you are part of? Think about how you would want new, scary information presented to you. Most awareness for medical conditions is only achieved by ones close to those sick learning more and advocating. Screaming that this disease is deadly and omnipresent, while true, is scary and sends people running.
I think about who cares most about me and didn’t know me first. Our first conversations were about who I am, my hobbies (even if they are on hold), my passions, not about Lyme. I slowly let them in about the seriousness of the disease. With the time they took to get to know me, not just my illness, built a stronger connection and therefore more empathy. Empathy is far stronger than fear.
So to all the amazing advocates out there, I urge you to strengthen your message. Try to look from the outside in. We have created an amazing Lyme community. Now it is time to reach out to those who care about our condition and not to scare them but to bring them to our team to end the epidemic.