This illness is making my life drain away and it doesn’t feel like I have much left. 13 months of misery is just too much to bear without being diagnosed yet. It feels as if I’ve lost most of my friends because I can’t put the time/energy into those friendships, and it now grates every time I have to decline invitations due to ill health. I just want to be diagnosed in order to be able to control my symptoms and subsequently my life.
That was me, this was a diary entry dated Tuesday 1st January 2008. My symptoms had started in October 2006 and I was in the middle of the long journey towards getting a diagnosis (If only I’d known that the diagnosis wouldn’t end my difficulties!). I am sharing this personal diary entry in the hope that people will understand that I am genuine when I say that I understand. I’ve been there. Later diary entries mention referrals to psychiatrists and being on a suicide watch list (I can’t remember the term but that covers it). I was as low as it is possible to get in M.E terms. I didn’t feel as if my life was worth anything. I have ongoing PTSD and depression (combo of M.E, a #metoo incident, and workplace bullying), luckily, I have people around me who still support me during very trying times.
I made the decision to keep ME Foggy Dog as lighthearted as possible for two reasons.
1. I can bring some sunshine into the lives of people who are struggling.
2. Positivity grows engagement with our cause much more effectively than negativity.
To be clear, I 100% think that M.E. is a life-destroying illness and can fully understand when people living with M.E. vent their anger. However, I find that people tune out of such overt negativity. We need people to listen, not turn their backs.
A few people have been offended/upset/annoyed when I have asked them to write Foggy a guest blog in a positive way, devoid of political opinion or rants. I am set on this approach because I want M.E peeps to tell THEIR M.E. story, how it affects them, and what their hopes for the future are. You can be surprisingly effective by simply telling your personal story. I’m not asking for Disney-style singing and dancing positivity, just steer clear of negativity. Let people see the people behind the statistics and political debate. There are plenty of other organisations to write for if you want to share your opinion about GET/PACE or about the neglect of M.E. patients. Unrest and Jen Brea are a case in point, it is essentially a love story that highlights our M.E. fight. Positivity works.
I used to have a very negative mindset and it was at risk of driving my friends away. I would see the negative viewpoint with absolutely everything. That was until I attended a seminar from Andy Cope (see The Art of Being Brilliant). He is an advocate on happiness and positivity. He showed me that there are ways to be positive in the most devastating of circumstances. Thank you Andy. I try my hardest to not be a ‘mood hoover’.
I find negativity breeds negativity. This is also why I never respond to negative comments on my tweets. I will not enter into an argument online. I struggle to keep my mood upbeat so actively avoid anything that would affect that. I raise awareness of our cause by sending a soft toy around the world, I use soft and fluffy adventures to highlight a seriously debilitating illness. Not a smidge of negativity in sight.
Sally and Foggy (Obviously) xxx