Art and M.E
In September 2016 I was just starting my third year as a Nursing student at the University of York. My partner Mike, also a third year Nursing student (now qualified), had moved in. I volunteered with the British Red Cross as a first aid trainer, emergency responder and as ambulance crew. I ran most days along the river or in the fields surrounding our house. On occasion Mike and I would even run up mountains or climb snow covered peaks.
I was fit, active, healthy, happy and all was good. And then I got ill. I developed myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) or chronic fatigue syndrome.
I’m not going to explain the science of this illness as, to be honest, no one can at this moment in time. If you want more information visit the M.E. Association website, www.meassociation.org.uk/.
I’ll just say this :
- What do you do when you live life at 100mph and within a week it crashes to zero?
- What do you do when you transform from a hare, whizzing about with boundless energy, into a slow, methodical tortoise?
- What do you do when you suddenly have a lot of time on your hands?
- What do you do in a day when you can't do anything?
- How do you rest?
- How do you explain the unexplainable to friends and family?
I was working with the Yorkshire fatigue clinic to re-establish a baseline of activity that I could sustain. So I started living in units of 15 minutes. I’d crocheted for 5 years and so worked on projects in 15 minutes, meditated for 15 minutes, low activity for 15 minutes, crochet 15 minutes, rinse and repeat. It can drive you bonkers, but it works. But life is full of unexpected happenings, knocks at the door, phone calls and a wittering boyfriend. They crop up in the wrong 15 minutes
Creativity was filling a void and I started to rediscover my creative side, last seen during GCSE art days. It allowed me to express myself and better explain how I felt.
I started my hare and tortoise series and wrote a little bit of verse to help explain things.
So when you want to look at some silly comedy or read my wittering’s on what its like to live with chronic fatigue, come on here and I’ll share my journey.