So today marks one year since I created this blog. I can’t believe a year has gone by already, it does not feel like year! Although that’s mainly because nothing has really changed, I’m still not any better, but lets not dwell on that! What I want to do is talk about some of my favourite blog posts that I’ve written in this first year, plus if you’re new to my blog then it will give a good starting point as to the best bits to read.
So a year ago today I wrote my first post on this blog called A Fresh Start. For two and half years before that I’d been writing on a different blog, that was more like a diary and started as a way to document (what I thought would be) a year’s break of university. I knew I wanted to continue writing, as it was a great outlet for everything I was going through, but I wanted to start again so I could change the style of the blog, and so My Chronic Life was born.
Later on in March I was inspired after reading a blog post by Scarlett Curtis to write I have a full time job. This was me talking about how having a chronic illness and/or having a mental health problem really is a full time job, because it takes up so much energy. This was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me, because up until then I couldn’t understand why I constantly felt like I was really busy, even though I was barely doing anything.
At the end of March I wrote 9 things you can do to support a loved one with a chronic illness. I was really quite proud of this one, it took me a long time to write and the subject matter was very close to my heart. People find it hard to talk to those of us who are seriously ill, they don’t know what to say or they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing. I wanted to give some help as to the best things to say or do.
Here in the UK at the beginning of May we had a General Election and The Conservative Party got an overall majority. This was the complete opposite of what I was hoping for, and made me despair for the human race a little bit, in response I wrote An open letter…to all the people who voted Tory. It was my first, and only experience of going viral, the post was shared over 750 times on social media, had thousands of views, and dozens of comments. Needless to say not everyone liked what I’d written, and I received some pretty nasty messages from people about it, so I guess I also got my first taste of online abuse, which I’m really not keen to repeat. However I don’t regret it, this was something that I really felt I had to write, to express my anger, frustration and sadness at the election result.
August the 8th was “Severe M.E. Awareness Day, and I wrote The Living Death Disease to coincide with that. This was very important to write about for me. People often trivialise M.E. as being “just a bit tired”, but 25% of the people who suffer from it have it so severly that they often can’t tolerate any light or sound. Imagine living a dark and silent existence…
At the start of September I wrote 8 things I wish I knew when I first got ill. This is probably my favourite blog post I’ve ever written. One thing my therapist always says to me when I’m feeling like I can’t do something is “look how much you have learnt”, meaning, you’ve come so far, don’t give up now. In this post I was able to write down some of the things I’ve learnt to pass them on to people, so they didn’t have to learn them the hard way.
To mark “Invisible Illness Awareness Week” in October I wrote A Day In The Life Of M.E., which chronicled a typical day in my life. This was actually quite hard to write, because I often put up a shield around myself, very rarely letting anyone see how ill I really feel. This post was a conscious effort to put down that shield, and I’m glad I did.
In the middle of October I was supposed to have my Work Capability Assessment (it got cancelled last minute, by them not me), but beforehand I was incredible nervous. This was mainly due to the fact that the type of assessment I was going for had (and still has) a very bad reputation. I wrote a post, inventively titled Work Capability Assessment, all about the reputation it has and why it has it. I finally had mine done last week (after 15 month of waiting), and luckily it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting.
In January I wrote Reasons To Stay Alive – Book Review, this was something I’d never done before, and so approached it with some trepidation, but I really enjoyed writing it. As you go through life you will (hopefully) read many books, but only a few of them will stay with you and really impact your life. For me, this is one of those books, it’ll give you an better understanding of anxiety and depression, and a better understanding of yourself if you suffer from those conditions.
The last post I want to talk about is Reacting To The Media, that was written just last month. M.E. is generally trashed by the media, and as a rule I try and avoid commenting on that sort of thing because it gets me incredible worked up, but I made an exception here, and I’m pleased I did, I think it turned out well.
At that brings up back to today. After 75 posts, 9,337 views, and 90 followers, My Chronic Life turns 1 year old. Thank you so much to anyone who has read, liked or commented on this blog, and thank you to all 90 of you who liked it so much you pressed the follow button. It really means so much. Here’s to another year!
Until next time, Rhosyn.