Monday, 12 May 2014

But this is ME

photo source: pinterest

I refuse to be defined by my illness. M.E might be having a big impact on my life but I refuse to let it become my life. I'm still all the things I was before and more. Stronger even for having battled through and kept my humour throughout.

photo source: Sian Wootton

I'm still determined and dedicated. It's just had to be redirected a little. Now I use it to get better, to find the good in each day. I'm dedicated to raising awareness of M.E and mental health issues. Fundraising too, to get a much needed biomedical research. To find answers, treatment a cure. So that not only existing sufferers will benefit but also so that those who will develop the illness do not face such hardship, disbelief and their lives thrown upside down.

photo source: Sian Wootton

I'm still caring and thoughtful and willing to help others in whatever way I can. One of the hardest things in accepting this illness for me was realising that I could not be there for others as much as I would like anymore. I need to think of the effects every action will have on my health. However, I will still do my upmost to do what I can. Comforting those that need it, lending a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen. I'll often send little gifts to friends when I can. Perhaps something I've made. Sometimes just making people smile and laugh can be the greatest gift and as you can see from the collage below I can be quite creative with this artform.

photo source: Sian Wootton

As you can see I can be a bit of a joker. Laughter is just so important. If you can make someone else laugh then you are giving them a great gift. If you can make yourself laugh despite your struggles then you are stronger than you may think. I always try to find things in each day to laugh and smile about, no matter how bad it's been. It reminds me that I can take some control. My body might be rebelling on me but my mind can help me cope with that. I'm also keeping a memory jar, writing down good memories, things that made me smile or laugh and putting them in a jar. Then on New Years Eve I can read through them all and be reminded of all the good things that happened. Not just of another year being ill.

Photo source: Sian Wootton

I'm an avid reader. I've always loved reading but it used to just be a ten minute thing before sleep. Now I read when I can. One of the biggest symptoms of M.E is brainfog, not being able to think straight. Your mind just shuts off, or you can completel forget the word for something. It's frustrating, but I think that reading when I can has helped me to keep my brain more effective. Since becoming ill I have also started a new hobby of making jewellery. I thougt that it would be too difficult what with being clumsy and shakey but actually it forces you to focus on those fine motor skills and I have completely fell in love with it. It's so rewarding to make something and to see other people wearing your creations. It's a symbol of 'keeping going' again looking after my mental health and finding new things that I can do, when I'm able rather than thinking of what I can't do.

photo source; Sian Wootton

I have also noticed that my style has changed since becoming ill. I've certainly become much more girly. The clothes that I wear when I'm not in my pyjamas have to be more comfortable. Jeans are out. Dresses and leggings seem to work well for comfort and being sat in a wheelchair I don't have anything digging in to my stomach. I make more effort with my appearance now. Why? Because feeling good on the outside can influence feeling good on the inside. I'm not talking about feeling better M.E wise but just feeling less grotty and more human. Of course then you can face the old "oh but you don't look sick" but you have to do what you can to help yourself cope with the constant rubbish. An M.E friend of mine developed lipstick Tuesday, where every Tuesday you put on a bit of lippy and look a bit more glam no matter how bad a day it is. It's since developed into Chipper Tuesday where it's not just lipstick but anything that you can look at and instantly feel uplifted. A pair of cute socks for example or painted nails. It's really important to have these small gestures that can have a good psychological impact. 

So that's a little bit about the person behind M.E, there still is more to me and just being ill. I'm still the same and probably much stronger and determined because of my struggle. I wish I hadn't learnt to be this more improved person through illness, but it is pointless to think like that. I cannot change what happened but I can help myself to cope with my lot and I will try my upmost to raise awareness and fundraise to get answers for this illness. 

You can help by sharing this post or donate if you can at

Thank you so much for reading, I hope people understand a little more about this illness now

Sian  xx


  1. ". Laughter is just so important. If you can make someone else laugh then you are giving them a great gift. If you can make yourself laugh despite your struggles then you are stronger than you may think."

    Absolutely. Both.
    I've settled on life being about "putting smiles on other people's faces" some time ago. And with CFS/ME humour (black and twisted if necessary) is a major resource.
    Personally I mix it with some Buddhist-style detachment and some Anglo-Saxon or Norse fatalism. It's worked so far.

    You know you have CFS when you've discovered 50 ways to make breakfast and almost all of them are wrong.

    1. That spirit seems to be enbodied by so many sufferers. It's very heartening. Very beautiful. It amazes me every day how despite suffering people will still go out of their way to help. If only laughter were really medicine.

      Thanks for the comment Chris

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  2. I love love love this post Sian. It's so important to stay 'you' when you are ill and I admire you so much for your ability to do so :)


    1. Thanks Faye, I really wanted to push how the illness has changed me for awareness week but also I thought I'd balance it with the other side of me. I saw your instagram post on making each day count, it really can help you to cope. Smile and laugh at at least one thing everyday. Even if its a tele program.
      Looking forward to reading through your blog when I can. Have so many to read thanks to the blog bomb. It's really great.
      Sian xx

  3. :D

    Thank you so much for helping raise awareness by participating in the #May12BlogBomb.
    Over 100 posts resulted, and links to the others can be found here: