I know a while ago I started to post about various hobbies that might be possible or things to look into if you have ME as something to do. One thing that I have found useful and a great stress reliever when I have the energy is writing. Whether it’s writing a diary, writing stories or writing blog posts it helps a lot at times.
One thing with ME that I found hard to deal with at first was how isolating it is, it was quite depressing at times and the whole situation was frustrating to me. I found that writing helped me to get away from it, to escape for a bit. I know it does take a fair amount of energy sometimes but there are smaller things you can write that might help you to feel better like finding and writing down inspirational quotes for on a wall or writing down what you’ve achieved today in a diary.
When I was first ill I used to keep a diary, I guess a lot of teenagers do this, but it did get a bit monotonous as I wasn’t able to get out of the house. Later I found LiveJournal, which seems to have become less popular now, and I started a blog where I would post five things that I had achieved that day. I didn’t do it for other people to read particularly, it was just me keeping a record and online seemed to be more permanent to me than in a notebook. Some of these things were small but having them down on some sort of record just made me feel better and on a bad day I could look back at what I’d achieved the days before even if it was just washing my hair or making dinner. It helped me to stay a bit more positive when my health was worse. I’ve just been reading through them now and it’s quite interesting to see what I posted about, if nothing else doing it means you have something to look back on later (mine were eight years ago) and see how your health has changed as sometimes we forget how far we’ve come when it’s a gradual change.
Another thing I used to write a lot was fanfiction. I know it often gets put with crazy fans and things like 50 Shades of Grey but sometimes it’s good. I won’t say that anything I wrote back then was good, I have actually read it again the past few days and it’s really not, but it wasn’t all about falling in love with the band members and some of the communities around these fanfiction groups were really good places. I found that writing these stories I could make characters do the things that I was missing out on, I would have done normal creative writing but I am so bad at characters it was just easier to fit them in with a band or show that I liked. I ended up finding a style of writing that I liked and I think it helped me to improve as I did get hints and tips as well. It is one of those things that can take some energy but you can easily just write some ideas or a short story, some of mine are less than 100 words, in a notebook. I did find that I did more writing when I was at my worst with the frustration and things and it was kind of therapeutic. I have started to write again and I really have enjoyed it, I’m going to start posting my stories online so crossing my fingers people still like reading them!
Writing on forums or contributing to online magazines and things can be fun. I haven’t actually written any articles for magazines but as I put the magazine online for AYME I have read a lot of the articles in there as well as ones from the past and reading about the experiences of people with ME can be very helpful when you have the illness yourself as it does tend to isolate you a bit and you can feel like no one understands so hearing about others’ experiences or reading things they’ve written not to do with ME can be inspiring. Everyone has a story about this and they always say write about what you know so writing about ME or a chronic illness might be a good way to get into writing if you’re interested. Articles like tips and hints are always good to read or funny stories or experiences with certain things. I guess it’s why I started this part of my blog as well. I do find that it feels good to write about these things, to share with people even if not many people read them. Somehow putting them down on paper, or in this case the computer, and sharing it makes it seem like you’re connecting as well.
I guess that leads onto my other way of writing which is this blog. It still amazes me that people actually want to read the things I write. It does feel like I’m connecting with people all over the world even if I don’t actually get much feedback on most of my posts, seeing the countries people have read my posts from is incredible. As far as writing a blog goes, again write what you know. Find something that you like writing about or talking about and make a post. Some of the blogs I follow do very short posts or do things like an inspirational quote a day, things like that can be a great way to see if you like blogging rather than jumping in and doing long posts every day straight away. It’s also a good way to see how much energy you find blogging would take. I find that some weeks I can post more than others and I think that everyone has a different schedule, or no schedule, that they use and find something that works for them so you shouldn’t feel bad if you can’t update for a while.
Most of these are fairly high energy for a lot of people, I know for me sitting in front of a computer screen for an hour or so is pretty draining a lot of the time, but there are lower energy things you could do.
In the past I have had pen pals, I think I’ve had three or four since having ME. I do love getting physical mail, there’s something about it that makes me feel good, and having that communication with someone else is great as well. I know some charities for me have pen pal groups where they match you with someone they think you’ll get on with, something like that might be worth looking in to. If it’s someone else who has ME then they’ll also understand if it takes a while to reply.
I mentioned before about inspirational quotes and I know a few people have made walls full of them. It doesn’t have to be inspirational quotes but writing something on a postcard and decorating it or leaving it plain and sticking it up on a wall is a good way to give you something to look back at on your not so good days. I used to write quotes in my diary, some of them were short stories that made me laugh, things like funny brain fog moments people posted about. Whatever you find that makes you smile, type them and print them out or write them by hand and make a collage on your wall of positive things. You can add to this all the time and change bits if you want if it’s all stuck with blu tack.
I’m sure there are other ways you can write too, things like poetry and songs can be short and easy to write though I tend to find they take a bit more brain power than short stories but everyone has different things that take more or less energy. Is there anything you like to write that I’ve missed off the list? I’m sure there must be a few but I can’t think of them at the moment.
I hope you’re all as well as possible and hopefully Summer (or Winter if you’re in the southern hemisphere) is there for you. Summer seems to have been coming and going here in the UK and we have more thunder storms coming on the weekend, I do love storms and power cuts but they do interrupt with blogging!