Category Archives: M.E

Enforced Rest

Raspberries and strawberries close-up

Too Hot

I generally find the summers here in London far too hot and although I tend to complain about them I am grateful that they’re usually relatively short.

I put up with them and try to keep my moans to a minimum because I realise that lots of people actually enjoy the hotter days.

Slowing Down

I find the best way to cope with the higher temperatures is to just slow down and stop trying to do quite as much as I normally would, in order to avoid getting uncomfortable, tired and dehydrated.

This year we’ve had a heat wave and the beginning of it coincided with me starting to have a bit more energy compared with the previous couple of months.

I found that really frustrating because just as I was starting to feel able to do more, and maybe go out, the weather got too hot for me to be able to do very much at all so I (reluctantly) retreated a little bit.

I spent a couple of days feeling a bit annoyed because there are countless times when I’ve wanted to do things or visit places but have needed to rest because physically I didn’t have enough energy.

It felt very unfair that my energy picked up at a time when it was too uncomfortable to do a lot.

Obviously I couldn’t change the weather so I convinced myself to relax into the slower pace and started to enjoy it a bit more.

Lessons to Remember

The hot weather meant that if I needed to go to the shops I was doing so early(ish) in the morning before it got too hot. The hottest part of the day I spent inside.

Most walks I went on, apart from my shopping trips, were in the early evening and were kept short (no more than about 5-10 minutes each way).

I spent a few days this way and then when I went out to my yoga class (the one big activity I had planned for the week) I actually felt like I had a bit more energy than usual.

It seemed that this period of enforced rest might have actually done me some good.

Not only that, but I found that I was allowing myself more time to get to places, so rather than dashing to my class at the last minute, I set off early, strolled there and sat in the shade with a drink before heading inside to do yoga.

It seems that the season I enjoy the least may have taught me a few lessons about using my energy and resting that I should bear in mind whatever the weather.

Why Twitter has been good for me

Why I started

I started blogging and using Twitter more or less at the same time. The reason I started blogging was just to learn a bit more about WordPress as I’d been doing some voluntary work using other Content Management Systems and thought WordPress might come in handy.

As I wrote recently, my blog has become a bit more than that for me. It’s helped me to notice the good and bad things that  have been happening in my life. It’s provided me with a place to vent sometimes and it’s given me perspective to realise how things have changed over the past year.

Why Twitter

Twitter was just an aside to give me somewhere to tell people about my blog. I chose it over Facebook as I’d never used Twitter and as I blog semi-anonymously I didn’t want my personal Facebook page to somehow become entangled with the one for my blog.

Lack of focus

Twitter’s been just as good, if not better, for me than blogging. As you probably know, I have an illness known as M.E. This means my energy levels can be pretty low at times. No-one seems to fully understand the cause either so getting 100% better again can be very hit and miss to say the least.

Having this illness can be very isolating. I haven’t worked full-time since the end of 2007 and although I’ve somehow managed to do lots of things with my time, like planning a wedding, doing voluntary work and going back to university, there are periods like right now where I don’t have anything specific to focus on.

Yes, there’s been the house move and now there’s the unpacking and throwing junk away to be getting on with. That’s quite hard going when you don’t have much sustainable energy but it also doesn’t fill me with a real sense of purpose, excitement or belonging.

Going back to university gave me a focus, intellectual stimulation, occasional interaction with others and was something that I enjoyed. I’ve not really found that again since.

Because of the isolation I went looking for other people in my area who also have M.E. I didn’t and still don’t want to join a support group because that sounds like too much focus on illness for my liking but I did became good friends with a neighbour who also has M.E and who I probably would never have met otherwise.

Surprise

And then out of the blue, in the midst of going about my daily life and also learning about blogging, I realised I’d inadvertently formed a new network on Twitter, which, I guess is what social networking is all about but it still took me by surprise a bit.

For some people, Twitter is purely a marketing tool for a business. Others use it to stay in contact with family and face-to-face friends. In my quest to start a blog and learn about how all of that works, I was surprised to find myself within a community.

I follow quite a lot of people on Twitter. Strangely, there are some I never ‘tweet’ to and they never ‘tweet’ to me but we’re both seemingly happy to see what the other has to say. There are also some feeds that I follow for information about things that are happening nearby – what’s happening at my favourite tea shop, what free/interesting things are going on in London, lectures I might want to go to and galleries I might want to visit.

However, the most surprising and the best thing really to come out of my Twitter life so far are the friends I seem to have made without even realising it was happening. People who’ve had similar experiences to me or share my interests. People who take the time to read this blog and even comment sometimes. Some who’ve never even looked at my blog but happily tweet along beside me anyway. People living in the same city as me and others in other parts of the country and the world.

The introvert’s social network

I’m not what anyone would describe as an extrovert by any means. I’m a shy person, very introverted and have always been quite selective in my choices of close friends. I don’t find it easy to talk to random strangers and so I guess that means I’ve always isolated myself in a way just because of my nature.

Not having a job with colleagues to chat to and make connections with has meant that over the past few years I’ve felt quite alone at times and I suppose what I didn’t expect was for the thing that would change that to be Twitter. For it to stop me from going completely crazy and give me some social contact, which has been most valuable to me when I’ve not been able to talk to anyone face to face or when I’ve been having difficulties that I needed to talk about.

I’ve made connections with people who have shown me concern, encouragement, understanding, who have helped me in practical ways sometimes, gossiped with me, bitched with me on occasion, made me laugh and taught me a lot too. Twitter, the social network I’d always avoided as being pointless and silly has become my favourite social network, one that’s really good for me and has given this introvert a valuable way of connecting.

Creativity and state of mind

Acceptance

Some of you will know that I have M.E and you will also remember my many posts on here in the past where I wrote about how I was struggling to figure out how to live a ‘normal’ life while also looking after my health. I had grown used to making plans for my career and acting upon them without really having to think about it too much. Life has its own ideas sometimes and gradually I’m beginning to accept that certain hopes I might have had for a career or a career change are not possible at the moment, not only because of my health but for a number of reasons.

Freedom

That’s not to say I’m giving up or deciding that those things will never be possible but what I’m accepting is that for now there are other opportunities to pursue. What I’m also learning is that rather than focusing on the restrictions life might have placed upon me it’s good to also realise that I now have a lot of freedom to explore other opportunities and just have a bit of fun doing that.

Creativity and focus

What you may also remember are the numerous times I wrote about nurturing my creative side – doing more drawing, photography and that kind of thing. Well, things are finally beginning to ‘click’ for me. I’m naturally finding myself doing more creative things and what I’m discovering is that by being creative I’m also helping myself. What I mean is that when I sit down and draw or get my camera and practise taking photos my mind is focused on that and not much else. Even if only for a few minutes I stop with all the ‘what if’s and the worries and stresses I might be dealing with and I am totally focused on what is happening right then in the present.

Calming

For a few reasons I felt a bit low this morning. I also felt tired so I resisted my natural urge to go for a walk to take my mind off things. Instead I focused on doing something creative and also productive and this helped to calm my mind. It might not seem like much but that figure in the photo that looks slightly like an alien is something I’m quite proud of and that sketch is something I’m also going to be developing into something more so keep an eye out for that. Speaking of which I’ll also make sure it has eyelashes on both eyes before I continue!

Stop worrying

It’s rubbish sometimes when what you hoped for in life doesn’t happen and it’s frustrating when the way you might normally deal with things is no longer appropriate but, or should I say, BUT that’s life. It’s never ever going to be perfect and there are always going to be things that disrupt it and that you have to work around so as difficult as it is sometimes to remember this, I’m trying to stop getting upset about that and start enjoying it a lot more.