I’ve got to be honest, I feel less inclined, with each passing year to attempt to raise awareness during May in the ways that I used to.
The vast majority of people remain unaware of the reality of M.E, and many have never even heard of it. Of the minority that have come across it, most of those have got their information from sketchy sources such as The Daily Fail. They’ll have seen stock images of beautifully turned out models yawning at their desks, or reclining under clean blankets in an immaculately tidy room.
Part of me feels like raising awareness is a phase some of us go through; in those first few years of illness your spirit isn’t as downtrodden by years of seeing that very little, if anything, has changed for M.E. patients. I almost feel like the baton gets handed down to those newer to this diagnosis while we ‘old timers’ struggle to see the point of putting our precious energy into creating posts that will only be read by people already well aware of the health condition.
But although I feel this way about M.E. Awareness month as a whole, Blue Sunday remains my saving grace. I remain heartened that those who attended my in-person Tea Parties For M.E. had no previous link to the illness. I remind myself that they undoubtedly leave that village hall knowing more about the impact of M.E. on a person’s life than they did walking in on the promise of cake! I remember the questions I’ve answered as best I can when people ask. I remember dispelling the outdated and inaccurate views that some brought up because they didn’t yet know better. I remember that several medical professionals attended, leaving me hopeful that the next time they encounter a patient with M.E, that they’ll treat them a damn sight better than they treated me.
However involved you are with this awareness month, go gently. I find it an incredibly dark and harrowing month now; only two people I met online when I was newly diagnosed, have now reached full remission. Two. Out of countless hundreds/thousands. That’s depressing enough without immersing myself fully in this month’s awareness raising efforts.