A collection of Instagram photo posts featuring the article's author.

What Sharing My Story on Instagram Taught Me

Editorial note: All images were used with permission from Courtney Mangan's Instagram.

Prior to my stage 3B cancer diagnosis, I didn’t really share too much of my personal life online. It was all photos of my food, cocktails with the girls, and a selfie if I liked my makeup. But 24hrs after hearing the words ‘you have cancer’ that all changed! Maybe it was the loss of control, the anger, or perhaps because I had so much going on in my head. But no matter what the motivation was, the day after my diagnosis I decided to share my news on Instagram.

The benefits of sharing my personal skin cancer story

I documented ALL the highs, lows, and reality of living with cancer. As a result, this is what I learned.

People crave authenticity

I thought that no one would want to listen to a girl with cancer talk about cancer (talk about a buzz kill), but the opposite happened. Even though a lot of people couldn’t relate, they loved seeing someone online being REAL. One day I was happy and the next, I was crying, but the more realness I gave, the more they wanted.

Dear diary

I have never been one to write things down in a diary, but I have always loved to vent to anyone who will listen. So when I started sharing video diaries on my IGTV, it felt like I was getting everything off my chest. As a result, I was able to process my emotions by talking about them openly. The more I shared, the more therapeutic it became.

Sharing is caring

I have been documenting this whole journey since day 2 and my followers have been along for the ride. I've had countless messages from people saying they had a skin check, they wear sunscreen daily, they don’t feel alone. Even some saying they understand what their family members are going through now. All because of me. It's those messages that made sharing some very embarrassing moments all worth it. To know I may have helped someone avoid what I have gone through by raising awareness of skin cancer, has been incredibly fulfilling.

Have you thought about sharing your journey online?

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