The Mighty, a digital community connecting people from all over the world is just that. Mighty. Established in 2015 it is the brainchild of journalist Mike Porath. A year earlier his two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with dup15q, a rare chromosomal disorder. At the time what helped him and his wife as parents was connecting with others – sharing experiences, asking questions, listening and learning. And so it was born, to help people facing disabilities, disorders and chronic and mental illness. 

5 years on The Mighty has over 2 million registered members (with a new recruit every 20 seconds). The site currently features over 30,000 personal essays and videos on over 600 topics. Recent titles including “Men: It’s OK to Stop Hiding That You’re Struggling” and “Why I Stopped (And Need to Go Back To) Mental Health Medication” and are viewed and shared over 90 million times a month. But behind the dazzling stats is an empowering empire and a community of people seeking each other out. 

Here we get the inside scoop from Editor-in-Chief Megan Griffo. 


The site boasts over 9,000+ contributors many of whom are professionals, including teachers, therapists, caregivers, and doctors. On top of this, there are stories from people writing about their own conditions as well as family members and close friends sharing experiences and practical knowledge that offers some kind of validation to those suffering.

The mission is simple – to connect people around the world who are facing adversity. There’s strength in connection, in shared emotional experiences. “Depending on where you live,” says Megan, “you might not have anybody nearby who has anything like you. You might live in a country, far away from a doctor who specializes in what you’re going through. The Mighty can be a way to get information from professionals or to meet someone with your condition for the first time. And even if you do live near someone who can help you may not be financially equipped to get help.” 

What the site does amazingly is share content about the day to day of living with an illness. It’s all good and well knowing medically what’s wrong with you and how to manage your symptoms but if you don’t know how to go to college the day after you have a chron’s flare up it’s of little use. The Mighty nails the human to the human aspect of living with illness. 


As with most illnesses coming to grips with it and figuring a new way of being can be hard. The team at The Mighty found that real-life stories provided a unique kind of support to people who are suffering. “Isolation plays a huge part in it. So much of your identity can affect why you feel isolated. Whether it’s the diagnosis itself or your age, there are so many reasons why you might feel isolated. Let’s say you’re 21 and diagnosed with a chronic illness. All your friends are out partying and they just don’t understand how you can manage to go to work but not come out and socialize. That’s hard, it removes you from your circle by default. And with isolation comes negative thinking. The downward spiral of ‘what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do this? Am I the only person living like this? Illness too can be so specific, so individual, that even in your own health community, you may feel like no one’s experienced a particular aspect. And when someone comes on The Mighty and puts themselves out there, you realize ‘I’m not alone’. We’ve been lucky that so many people are willing to risk themselves and share their story” 


When it comes to health, technology gets quite the wrap. But in the case of The Mighty and the nature of illness, it’s worked in their favor. The screen may just be the perfect way to buffer any vulnerability. “People are dealing with sensitive illnesses and because of that digital is perfect for it. We started out with a small group of contributors and it’s contagious. Sharing your story is terrifying but always worthwhile. We’ve had people write about their experiences with OCD. For the first time, they can admit their dangerous thoughts, how they have thought about hurting a child, but that’s real, that’s the reality of mental illness. From this loads of people will come out having experienced the same but believing themselves to be monsters. Hearing someone lay it all out there is contagious. Whether you take the step to share or not is up to you but the validation is what people are looking for really.” 

“We have so many people say they’ve wanted to post for ages but never have and until people are willing, to be honest, it’s hard to get out of that negative mindset – whether shame, guilt or fear. Years ago a lady who wets herself often shared her experience. She wrote a funny post about how she wets the bed and how her husband thinks it’s the dog. She said she laughs about it now and had to see the funny side as it’s something she’s lived with forever. The community jumped on it, tons of people saying they have the same thing but that now they have hope. It’s the validation again. I love seeing human beings put themselves out like that.”


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If you live with chronic illness, you may relate to these words from . . “Spoonies face this dilemma multiple times a day. . . If I use my energy to do X it means I won't have the energy to do Y. . . Living with limited energy means you are continually doing an invisible balancing act. Every action I do is assessed and measured beforehand. I calculate how much energy it's going to take, I estimate how long it will take to recover. . . While most people can understand you doing this calculation for big events like social outings what healthy people really struggle to understand is how you have to do this for small things too. . . Do I chat to my friend for 10 minutes or do I watch TV for 10 minutes – I can't do both. . . Do I walk to the bathroom to use the toilet or do I walk to the balcony to have some fresh air. . . This might seem weird or like I'm micro-managing my energy but these are genuine choices I am forced to make every day.” . . If you’re a #spoonie, how do you cope with lack of energy? Let us know in the comments below. . . #chronicillness #chronicallyill #invisibleillness #spooniecommunity #spooniesupport #migraine #chronicfatigue #chronicpain #chronicpainwarrior #chronicillnesswarrior #chronicillnessadvocate #spoonieproblems #butyoudontlooksick #raredisease #fibromyalgia #eds #endometriosis #fibrofighter #potssyndrome #crohns #lymedisease #fatigue #themightysite #mightytogether

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Well, that’s not entirely true but it is in the traditional sense. Sharing and comparing on social media has been the topic of debate for years now and while The Mighty is hot on the social part contributors always keen it real. “One of the biggest issues is the perfectionist life. Everyone’s life is perfect, it’s beautiful. You see someone with four kids, completely on top of things, looking glamorous and it makes you feel shitty. People are so over that. The Mighty shows raw, real things. We recently had a woman take a photo of herself mid panic attack. In the first photo, she looks perfect. In the second she looks distraught. We’re using the platform to revolt against what social media has become to share real, honest stories.” 


And with that comes The Mighty Mindset. “Noone is here to insult you or judge your life so we don’t allow it in the comments either. We don’t let you make a judgment on someone else who is going through something. 90% of our audience is on board with this. We have so few negative comments and for those that slip through the net, our moderation team is on hand to take them down. 


With the ever-growing audience, the world really is an oyster. While the site was started to get away from the medical side of things, they’re now looking to work with professionals to continue to support the community as best as possible. They are working tirelessly with professionals to educate people on the various illnesses people are living with today and doing this on a digital scale gives people access who would otherwise not have it. 

“We had a neurologist who specializes in working with children on the autism spectrum. She did a monthly Q&A on Facebook. Hundreds of people would ask her questions and that’s an awesome starting point for many people. The hardest part is getting started. ‘I’m sick. Who do I speak to? What do I ask? I don’t know where to begin. We want to make this less intimidating and more accessible for doctors to talk about this stuff and for people to access it.” 

And if that’s not Mighty, I don’t know what is. 

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