M.E. Support Ambassador Rochelle Hanslow uses this platform to share personal insights, along with highlighting news and events. Guests are invited to write for this blog; please Contact Rochelle if you would like to be considered for a post. These medium-length blog posts are published regularly throughout the year. Please follow the M.E. Support Facebook Page for blog updates or to comment on her latest post.
In last month’s blog post, I brought up the prevalence of mental health, and chronic illness in general, as May was Mental Health Awareness Month. As June has been Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, for this month’s post I would like to delve a little further into this subject and bring much needed recognition to how important it is for men to speak out about their emotions and mental health, especially when it comes to adding in chronic illness.
As well as ‘M.E. Awareness Month’, May was also ‘Mental Health Month’. Living with a chronic illness increases your chances of living with a mental health problem as it takes a toll on all aspects of your life in a myriad of different ways. From social adaptions, losing relationships, the feelings of guilt for not being able to do what you once did, grieving the life you thought you were going to have, to dealing with the overwhelming pain and symptoms each day. It is easy to build resentment and to feel a deep sadness for the future, especially on the days where things just seem hopeless.
The month of May is Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases Awareness Month, with May 12th more specifically being M.E. Awareness Day. May 12th 2021 will mark the 29th anniversary of M.E. Awareness Day.
This is a very special and important post this month; not only is it coming up to six years since Louise kindly brought me on board to be the M.E. Support Ambassador, but it is also an amazing milestone for Louise and all involved in M.E. Support as it turns 20 years old. To start with, I’d like to take it back to basics with a little introduction on who I am and the story behind M.E. Support.
I have always been a very creative person and when I was diagnosed I felt like that too was going to be taken away from me. I couldn’t work as well with my fingers and hands so crochet, knitting and cross-stitch were very difficult for me and the love I had for painting and drawing diminished because I just felt like I couldn’t give it the same energy any more. I have realised over the years though, that writing and photography are where my creativity now sits best and they also appeal to the sentimental side of my personality.
The first month of 2021 has almost come and gone, and for some of us, it’s been a case of just getting through each day. Some of us have set big goals from the start and most of us are feeling pretty sluggish and overwhelmed. We all have our own ideas of what will make us feel better in these times, our own versions of self-care to build up some resilience. For me, self-care is making sure I take time to love myself and do things that I love, that speak to my soul, taking care of mind and body as best as I can and in the way I feel is right for me. January has always been synonymous with change for many and one change that is now becoming more popular is “Veganuary” – trying to change your lifestyle and see what veganism can offer you for the month of January.