As it is the final day, I'm going to do a double-bill! The first is going to be about how I was able to meet fellow M.E. sufferers and I also want to help you, fellow sufferers, in finding a safe haven where all the residents are going through the exact same thing as you.
When I was first diagnosed, I felt like I was alone. In involuntary solitude. M.E. has been classified as a rare condition with only 20% of society being M.E. sufferers. It isn't like I could walk down a street and spot someone in the same position as me. I hadn't spoken to anyone other than medical professionals and my parents for a year so I wasn't in a position where I knew where to start looking.
As a start in working towards reintegrating myself into social life, my therapist, A, suggested to begin small and re-open my social media account where all my family, friends and colleagues were. At first, it was overwhelming as I was overloaded with people asking me various questions. As it progressed though, it began to be an activity of ease.
Upon researching, I came across Pages and Groups for M.E. on Facebook in which people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis could strike up conversation. It was wonderful but there was, sadly, a downside. I wasn't comfortable. It wasn't an entirely safe environment. I didn't know these people from Adam. Although I would still recommend connection via social media, I strongly advice you that you be careful and make sure you're in the right place.
As I began to become more socially literate and confident, I was given the suggestion to check out a website. This website was called AYME. I cannot remember who exactly referred me to the site but I thank them nonetheless. AYME is a charity that aids people and also supports the parents of suffers. It has an extensive amount of explicit information about what Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is, guides on how to manage it, and much more. There are extensions of the site for people over certain ages creating a fitting genre for each age group. There is a members area where everyone can chat to one another and generally form a bond over our circumstances in a secure environment.
Some of the staff at AYME are, in fact, fellow M.E. sufferers. Earlier last year, one of them was featured in Fabulous. I personally would suggest AYME to every M.E. sufferer. It is a friendly, frequently updated place that ultimately does help you. I'm apart of the SAMs group.
Although I said above that I couldn't simply pick a person with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis out on the street, I have had some pretty unique experiences. I actually met a lovely girl with M.E. whilst volunteering in Cancer Research. I think the most surreal encounters came from this very blog. When I first began, I spoke about nothing but Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, this gathered a small group of fellow M.E. sufferers and to this day, we all still maintain contact.
I'm still don't have as many acquaintances that also have M.E. as I'd like but I'm working towards rectifying this for multiple reasons. I think this is one of the times that the Internet is truly to thank. I've met some wonderful people in the same position through it.