Tag Archives: relationships

Relate: The Best Medicine

13 Apr
Photo source and credit Relate.org.uk

Photo source and credit Relate.org.uk

Recently the charity Relate contacted me about writing a guest blog for their campaign, The Best Medicine.

Relate is a national UK charity focused on providing relationship support, guidance and counselling across all sectors of society.

Their latest campaign, entitled The Best Medicine, aims to draw attention to the crucial role our relationships play in coping with ill health, both mental and physical, chronic and acute. The role  of relationships in coping with ill health is huge and yet sadly somewhat overlooked by the NHS (the UK’s national health service).  To quote their own words, Relate are:

calling on the government to put relationships at the heart of the NHS, making relationship support available to everyone who needs it.

I was very pleased to have been approached about contributing to Relate’s campaign and more than happy to share my story. My relationships with friends, family and Mr B, have played a key role in my journey thru ME/CFS. I am very fortunate that I am blessed with many wonderful relationships and surrounded by loved ones who care for me and would do anything to help me cope with my illness. I would not be where I am today without their support.

My post was published last week on Relate’s site and you can read it here.

I hope you will read my post on Relate’s site and I encourage you to sign their petition on this campaign and explore their site. Relationships are a huge, and largely untapped resource, in coping with ill health. It is an interesting and thought provoking topic. Reading the other personal stories is eye opening and very moving. So why not pop on over to Relate and have a read for yourself.

Friends: “I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour”

20 May

Gotta love Friends.

I’ve been ill since December 2010. In those two and a half years. I’ve had friends come and go. Chronic illness is not a natural friend, as it were, to maintaining friendships. My ME / CFS has left me unable to work or socialize very much. I spend most of my time inside my own home. Add in to the equation the lack of energy, crushing fatigue, body pain and a myriad of other symptoms, you are left with a scenario that does not lend itself well to maintaining and building friendships.

I was going to write a post about losing friends through having ME / CFS. I’m sad to say that I have lost friends. Friends from work who’d I go out for drinks or dinner with on a weeknight after a long day in the office and University friends where parties and clubbing were a mainstay of our meet ups. These are two groups of friends that I’ve had little if any contact with since becoming ‘out of action’ so to speak with ME / CFS. Friends who were more takers than givers, leaving our relationships uneven and requiring me to make all the effort, these are the people who I have not heard from, nor do I expect to hear from. And you know what? That is just fine with me. I don’t seem to have enough time and energy to spend on my ‘real’ friends never mind any hanger-ons!

As I say this post was going to be about those lost friends. But then I thought, it is not worth using up what precious little energy I have today to write about them. I would much rather focus on those friends who have stuck by me, who have pursued me, who are wonderful and amazing and who I would never ever choose to be without.

I have truly learnt who my real friends are over the last two and half years. They are the ones who go out of their way to show me I’m not forgotten when I’m not in London for months on end, as being at my parents’ home in Lincolnshire is easier on my recovery than fending for myself in my flat with Mr B (Mr B by the way deserves a post all to himself, he is amazing).

My ‘real’ friends are those who regularly phone, email or text and even send pick me up parcels through the post. They understand if I don’t always reply quickly, if I’m too tired to talk or if I can’t see them regularly due to having to pace myself and rest so much. They are the ones who know a long chat will ware me out. They always offer to travel to see me, in my home, be it in London or Lincolnshire, rather than expecting me to meet them half way or me to go to them. They are the ones who have understood when I have missed important events in their own lives, be it hen parties, 30ths, baby showers and weddings, all because I was not up to attending because of ME / CFS. They don’t mind entertaining themselves or chatting with my Mum when I’ve bcome tired during their visit and had to go off and rest.

They have done all these things and so much more for me, despite all having their own busy lives and demanding schedules. In the midst of pregnancies, newborn sleepless nights and terrible twos, weddings and wedding planning, job changes and relocating hundreds (and thousands) of miles, house purchases and not to mention their own chronic illnesses, troubles and heartaches, these friends have not forgotten me and have constantly shown me how much they care.

Girls, you know who you are, and this post is for you. I love you all and value our friendships so much. Keep on pursuing me, if I can’t meet up or chat, please please know it’s not because I don’t want to. We have a little menace (actually a really big fat menace) called ME / CFS to blame for that. I hope it won’t last forever and I know there will be many more tea and cake fueled catch ups in the future.

Chronic illness can kill off friendships. But real friends stick by you and that is one very positive upside that I’ve discovered through having ME / CFS.

%d bloggers like this: