A few people in my life that are dear to me are chronically ill. Two of my closest friends have M.E. and during my time working at the ME Association, I have understandably learned a lot about what life is like for those who often spend most of it within their own home.
I joined the ME Association as a social media manager back in December, I knew that it would be a mentally tough job to do. I’m incredibly empathetic and do tend to be the type of person that cannot switch off or not feel every emotion under the sun. The one who will cry at an advert showcasing an inanimate object. That’s me.
I really didn’t know a lot about Chronic Illnesses before that. I myself have a facial condition called Cystic Hygroma, that is prone to flare-ups and painful bouts of swollen-ness, however, I admit I was quite ignorant to the wide range of debilitating conditions out there. It wasn’t something that often crossed my mind, and I am so glad I’m no longer ignorant about what it is like to be housebound.
Most of us are lucky. In Lockdown, we are not in excruciating pain, we have hope that one day we will come out of this and life will resume as normal for us all. Others? That’s not the case. The saying that stuck out to me is “Chronic Illness has no end date” and we must be mindful of that. Whilst we are sat counting down the days until this virus is over, for some, that isn’t the case. Lockdown means online food deliveries are hard to come by, and people are struggling to order food items. Their carers are now no longer able to look after them. They no longer have their small escapisms that once would mean so much.
The world is an incredibly selfish place often born out of ignorance, we are wrapped up in our own lives, with nothing but our own thoughts and actions to navigate with. I would hope that being unable to enjoy our everyday luxuries like an overpriced coffee, our favourite restaurant or simply just the freedom to walk through the park whenever we like without fear of being gravely unwell, would be appreciated more.
Covid-19 has swept through the world leaving us all with a hopeless sense of uncertainty and fear, we are frightened of each other and are approaching life with the upmost err of caution. Eventually, life will go back to how it was before, for most of us. But not all. We must remember that long before this virus, people have been living their lives like this every single day and we cannot forget that.
One thing that I definitely didn’t notice was just how many people I know are chronically ill. It’s made me change the way I view the world and I’m a lot more mindful of everyday things, like choosing accessible coffee shops when meeting with friends or checking in on people more often. Working for the ME Association has become more than just a job for me, I’m starting to feel like a part of the community and what was once blissful ignorance has become a passion.
Undoubtedly, the greatest thing that has been born out of all of this is my friendships. Kate is truly a wonderful human who teaches me a lot about kindness, selflessness and compassion on a daily basis. Having a friend who I can just be so myself with, and have the pleasure of working alongside her every single day is a huge highlight. Kate’s blog: www.katestanforth.com
Amy and I became friends a few years ago due to a love of makeup, we can have hours upon hours conversations just talking about it all. Our passion has connected us on such a deeper level and Amy has become a friend that I treasure oh so dearly. Amy’s blog: www.amyschapter.com