With it now being my 10th year of suffering from severe M.E, it made me contemplate on what I’ve learnt and discovered these past 10 years; about myself, my illness and simply just my life as a whole. So I thought I’d put together a list of the 10 things that I’ve learnt through my battle with severe M.E.
1. I’m much stronger than I originally thought I was; suffering from any chronic illness is tough, to say the least, but to have such a debilitating illness for now 10 years is unbelievably difficult. So I think I’ve realised myself that I’m a strong person.
2. My loved ones mean absolutely everything; if it wasn’t for my Mum I wouldn’t be here right now writing this blog post. When you have a chronic illness you rely more than ever on those closest to you and their love and support means the absolute world.
3. I should always listen to my body! –Now this is incredibly important and it’s something that’s taken a while to learn completely. With M.E we need to always know our limitations and to never over do it, otherwise, there can be extremely painful repercussions. Know your own body; it’s vital!
4. I should always trust my gut; it’s difficult, to say the least when you have everyone doubting you from doctors, nurses, even some family. Unfortunately, that’s part and parcel of having such a misunderstood illness, but when you know something’s wrong with your body you just know. You have to push through all of the rubbish and believe that you’ll get the right care and treatment in the end.
5. Always have hope; no matter what the main thing you need to keep within yourself is hope! Even if it’s just a single spark, that’s all that matters to keep you fighting and holding on.
6. Appreciate the little things; with having a chronic illness that leads me to be bed bound the majority of the time, it makes me appreciate each and every moment I get out. Whether that’s the fresh air, looking up at the night sky, feeling raindrops on my skin; the least of things that people take for granted on an everyday basis, are all things that mean an awful lot to me and that I greatly appreciate.
7. Seize the day!; it’s not all that often that I’ll feel up to going out in my wheelchair or doing any sort of activity, so I have to really seize those moments that I do and take full advantage of them. Whether that may be going out in my wheelchair for a little while, writing a blog post or doing some photography; I need to grab those moments and seize them as much as possible!
8. Keep hold of your passions!; with the chaos and general pain of living with severe M.E, it can be extremely difficult to even contemplate to have a passion of any kind; but it is essential for your positivity, mind and hope. I’ve tried my absolute hardest to hang on tight to my passions and not let them go. Most especially photography, which is something I can simply get lost in and lose my worries whilst enabling me to be creative at the same time. I adore my time doing photography, no matter what the subject may be. I hope to continue to keep pursuing my photography and delving deeper whilst continuing to learn all that I can.
9. That you know who’s truly there for you when you’ve been ill for so long. A lot of people just don’t genuinely understand or even empathise with my chronic illness and when they’re people you were friendly with, it’s really quite disheartening. I have very few friends, extremely few, due to the fact that yes, I’m unable to get out very often, so I can’t socialise and make new friends. But also due to the fact that people seem to get bored of the whole chronic illness thing after a while, once they realise you’re like this 24/7 they seem to slowly distance themselves and then just leave altogether. It’s quite sad really, but at least now, I truly know who’s actually genuinely there for me and who I can really trust.
10. And to always try to stay positive. It’s a necessity to keep a positive mindset whilst battling a chronic illness, of course, this can be extremely difficult at times, especially with being in extreme pain and fatigue all day every day. But it’s crucial to try and see the good in life and to stay as positive as much as is possible because negativity simply breeds negativity and becomes a whole vicious cycle of negative thoughts.
I hope that in the next 10 years, that they find a cure for M.E; this awful, debilitating illness, that has turned so many lives upside down.