Living online

Social media has allowed me to forget how lonely life can be when you are too poorly to socialise in the normal ways. I have ‘met’ many new people over the past few years and now the majority of my Facebook friends are poorly people like me. I’m not sure where I’d be if I hadn’t made these new friends; people who are in the same boat as me. Being online enables me to keep in touch with friends, old and new. Life would be incredibly lonely without the Internet. There’s texting of course but I find that tricky and I’m not always good at remembering to reply to messages.

There is a difference between being rude and being unable to engage in conversation. It hurts my feelings so much that some people think I dramatise and play on feeling poorly. Being online and having written conversations means you don’t have to worry about that. I don’t use instant messaging/chat because I can’t always follow the conversation and I’ve only braved Skype a couple of times because I suffer from the over exertion afterwards. Posting and commenting on people’s Facebook walls or Twitter feeds suits me much better. I can take my time to reply.

Playing a game of Words with Friends can take days to play but that’s okay. I live a large part of my life through social media and I’m not ashamed to admit it. My life is consumed by all things illness and, unless yours is too, I don’t think you can fully understand that. Sorry. That’s not me trying for one-up-man ship…if you want life with illness please, take mine! But I know from my own experience that unless you get it, you don’t ‘get’ it.

Some might say I have no life because I live online. Sometimes I might agree with them. But mostly I would argue that being online allows me to have a life, albeit a virtual one.

Recently though I think I’ve been living online too much. My blog has, as a result, gone off track and turned into more of an open diary or extended Facebook status. I’ve been spending so much time online or on my laptop without even realising it, and forgotten to appreciate real life. This blog is partly to blame. Everytime a potential blog post idea pops into my mind I put the idea straight onto my iPad because I worry I’ll forget about it if I don’t. I need to remind myself that the blog is just an extra.

Every once in a while I have to take these steps back and regroup. I suppose I get carried away. Like with photos. Taking photos and posting them online is less important than appreciating what it is I’m taking the photo of in the first place. Does that make sense? I was essentially documenting my whole life online. That was taking things too far. So I’ve spent some time offline this week (and it wasn’t just because looking at a computer screen was making me feel nauseous and dizzy.)

With this time offline I realised that, recently, I’ve just been going through the motions. I was forgetting to appreciate certain things. It hit me on a recent little drive that I had once been able to cycle the very route that I was driving. And then came M.E and the fear that I would never be able to drive again. Yet there I was; my arms strong enough to stay on the steering wheel, my legs strong enough to push the peddles, my cognitive function so much improved that I was safe and capable of driving those few miles. For a few weeks I hadn’t really been ‘living’. I’d forgotten what I’d learnt on my M.E journey so far and I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. Taking a step back to reassess things this week was necessary.

And this talk of the online world leads me to question why I blog. I thought it was obvious but maybe it isn’t…

Some people don’t understand why I want to share so much. (They also can’t understand how I can write a blog when I’m meant to be ill. I thought I’d covered that in my last post…) Other people keep saying I’m brave for sharing my story. I am? Or am I being foolish and too open? Should I not be sharing these posts?

Blogging gives me a sense of purpose; something to do! It’s an outlet…I’ve never been especially good at vocalising things to my friends and it’s a way of lightening the load on my family.

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