The other day I contacted the charity I will be raising money for on my Leeds/Liverpool canal walk. I mentioned in my email that I was recovered from ME. Amongst the extremely useful information I gained from them was one little line full of concern that my efforts may cause me a relapse.

Whilst, I am aware this is well-intentioned concern, I find this a little irksome. Since recovering from ME I have often come across this negativity from those who are still lumbered with this illness. Not everyone by a long shot, and certainly not from anyone who is a close personal friend.

This attitude bemuses me. I understand that in part it is self-preservation. Living with ME/CFS is a myriad of crushed hopes and dreams and sometimes it is just better not to hope in order to avoid disappointment. So the reaction of “be careful you’ll have a relapse” is easier to deal with than another hope or dream that could be dashed, but sometimes, hope is all you have, and if one person can recover, then so can you.

I have never seen this reaction to people who have made miraculous recoveries from other illnesses. A friend of mine has recently had the all clear on his five year scan after recovering from cancer, which is amazing news and no one could be more pleased than I. Except maybe him. There’s no one pissing on his bonfire telling him the likelihood of the cancer returning. Even though cancer quite often does that.

It took me a long time to admit to myself that it’s really, really gone, that it’s not just some blip; longer to actually say those words out loud.
I am painfully aware that this illness may one day hit me again. Yeah. Well. You might get hit by a car, I don’t warn you not to cross the road every day do I?

I really do believe in finding the good that can rise from the ashes of disaster. Not that things happen for a reason, but that you can use the bad to learn, to improve, to make life better. I’ve been struggling to find the good that came from my five years of ill health. The good is this:

I appreciate my health a whole lot more, I refuse to let one more minute of my life slip away unnoticed, I will live what is left of my life to it’s fullest, and your negativity is not going to get in my way. Do me a favour, quit pissing on my bonfire and look both ways before you step out on to the road.

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