This post was first published in May 2018, and has been updated for May 2019. This piece was written in a personal capacity and all views are, of course, my own.
Since we’re approaching M.E. Awareness Month, I thought I’d throw together a post featuring just some of the things you can do to show your support. Most of them are quick and easy, and won’t cost you a penny…
1) Have a scroll through #MEAwarenessMonth/#MEAwarenessDay/#PWME posts on social media (particularly on Twitter), and share posts. This year, the ME Association will be running #TheRealME campaign, featuring images of real people affected by M.E. and their stories. Reading and sharing these posts is a quick and easy way to gain a glimpse into individuals’ stories, and how ME/CFS affects real people. Be sure to share an image of your shoes for ME Action’s #MillionsMissing campaign on the 12th, M.E Awareness Day too.
2) Watch Unrest: a Sundance Award-winning documentary created by M.E sufferer Jennifer O’Brea. It’s a 90-minute film that’s made waves in the community and marked a crucial turning point in the general public’s understanding of the condition. It’s available on UK Netflix, and you can also purchase and download the feature on various platforms, by visiting the Unrest Website. There’s also a 30 minute documentary called M.E and Me currently live on BBC Newsbeat: watch the episode here.
3) Join in with ‘Go Blue For ME’, the ME Association’s ongoing campaign for M.E Awareness Week. The aim is to get more people than ever to ‘Go Blue’ in whatever way they can, to raise awareness of ME: snap an image and use the hashtag #GoBlue4ME on socials. You can find some ideas for going blue thinking on the M.E Association’s website.
4) My lovely friend Anna is the mastermind behind the annual Blue Sunday tea party for M.E. Consider joining in with a Blue Sunday event online: tea and cake for a good cause! Find out more about this year’s event on Anna’s page.
5) You could have a read of some recent study findings, that are slowly building a strong evidence base for the immunological mechanisms involved in patients with ME/CFS. You can read Action For ME’s latest research round-ups on their website, or find lay summaries of recent publications on the ME Association website.
6) Shameless self-promo here but please do like/share/spread the word about my social enterprise, Spoonie Survival Kits. It was my own experiences of living with M.E. that led to the creation of the enterprise, and to-date we’ve raised over £5400.00 for various chronic illness charities. Our current chosen cause is ME Research UK. Our lovely volunteer Nikki will also hopefully be running an Instagram photo challenge during M.E Awareness Week, the 6th-12th May, so be sure to keep an eye on the SSK Instagram page. We also have our charity book, Dear Chronic Illness, featuring young adult contributors with M.E., for sale on Amazon [affiliate link].
7) Spread the word about other projects and enterprises run by people with lived experience of M.E or chronic illness: some of my personal favourites are Project Parent , BearHugs Gifts , Smile For ME , Charlotte Elizabeth , Jayne Tapp Design, Handmade By Holly, CFS Selfies, and Buzz and Bear. If you have any recommendations of your own, I’d love to hear them!
8) Message a friend with M.E, or any chronic illness really, ask if there’s anything you can do, and let them know that you’re thinking of them. Long-term illness can be incredibly isolating, and you’ll likely make their day. ♡
These are just some of the ways you can get involved: I’d love to hear any of your own suggestions too. Will you be joining in with M.E Awareness Month this year? However great or small, I’d love to hear what you’ll be getting up to!
If you liked this piece, you may be interested in my other chronic illness posts too!