Reaching out to people is what makes us human. When illness, of any type or name, traps us in increasingly smaller worlds then it is all too easy for isolation to result. Isolation is one of the greatest losses caused by Chronic Illness; we lose our identities and we lose our connections – all at the same time. Perhaps there are ones in your immediate world that you can reach out to or perhaps you can reach out to others too. As the poem says, smiles are contagious; smiles can travel the world. Share one today. For me.
I keep a box under my bed.
It is a bright pink shoebox with a white lid.
It contains, not shoes but letters; dozens of them, from people I have never met.
When I was diagnosed with ME in my early twenties, my doctor suggested I join a support group, the Association of Young People with ME (AYME) and encouraged me to join their pen pals scheme.
I was matched with two young women of a similar age and we wrote to one another for a couple of years. I was moderately affected at the time, still able to work half-days and have a limited social life, but needing to rest at home for several hours a day in order to do so. I would often use the time I spent confined to the house writing lengthy replies to my pen pals’ letters.
We occasionally discussed our health problems, but…
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