From Nothing To Something

lorna-burford-enchanted-garden

As it’s M.E awareness week right now, I wanted to touch base on the subject that the charity is focusing on at the moment, and that’s isolation. With most chronic and debilitating illnesses, isolation and loneliness often follows it and it’s something that isn’t discussed very much at all. People are usually more interested in the symptoms and how you are physically feeling rather than the slow impact the isolation and being shut off from the world can actually have on you, so I wanted to tell my story on it.

A year ago, as you know, I finally revealed to you all that I had the illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (or M.E for short as that’s quite a mouthful). You can read my full story on it here, but in a nutshell, I was diagnosed when I was 14 years old after being really ill for a year. Due to being exhausted and feeling so unwell all the time, it meant I found it a struggle to get out of bed most days and even just function, which then in turn meant I missed most of my last year of school, and overtime my friendships with people diminished. I don’t hold grudges or anything about that as when you’re young, your friendships with people are usually school based and involve going out and doing fun things, and since I couldn’t socialize anymore, it just went away over time and I lost contact with everyone as I was pretty much useless.

I became a hermit and only found comfort and solitude inside my house as I was so exhausted all the time, going outside or being around people and their own energy was too much for me to even handle and it would exhaust me even more, so I was literally no use to anyone. As this continued, it developed more and more into shutting myself away from the world and being alone. I stopped answering the telephone as I couldn’t deal with the energy or person on the other end of it (no offense to them) as it was too much for me and I couldn’t be around people. As this was becoming the normality for me, it eventually turned into social anxiety and anytime I was around people in numbers or someone I didn’t know, I would have a panic attack because it was completely out of my comfort zone and too much to take on. I touched on this in a full dedicated post about the anxiety I suffered here, so you can read that more in depth.

Not everyone can understand unless they have been through it themselves, but when you are physically unable to manage normal day to day things, it really takes its toll on you. When you become ill, you think it’s just an illness and all you are going to have are the symptoms that come with it in physical form, but nobody actually prepares you for the strain it puts on you mentally. With all of those physical symptoms wearing on you day after day, it makes complete sense that it would cause a struggle with how you feel because you get frustrated from not being able to do anything. It’s great if you have loved ones around you, like I did, but there are a lot out there who might live alone and when you get something like M.E, living alone or being alone has a dramatic effect. Isolation almost causes or aggravates a whole other host of symptoms and it’s very damaging.

There were many times in my life where I was just so frustrated and upset by the emotional turmoil that I was going through and the physical weakness that it made no difference to me whether I woke up the next morning or not. It was such a dark period of my life that was consumed by ill health and exhaustion that took over my mentality and gave me all of these emotional problems. I didn’t think it would get any better, only worse because that’s how it had been for a couple of years already, but like they say, there’s always a dark storm before a rainbow and I found out that was true, eventually.

After time, I decided that I really couldn’t take this anymore and that it was either time to just give up entirely or do something about it. I’m quite lucky in the sense that I do have a very supportive mum and dad, but I’m also very strong minded (traits of a Leo) so the latter option was my choice. Life honestly is what you make of it and it was time for me to stop wallowing about my life and focusing on the negative doom and gloom that it had become and instead, try to work around my issues and problems and find things I could do instead. This is where my online life comes in, and it truly saved my life. It’s no secret that some bloggers lives are online and I’m not ashamed of it.

I was lucky enough to reconnect with older school friends online (isn’t the internet amazing?) and I also was able to meet lots of new people online too, so it was like socialising, without the strain and stress. I could have conversations with people on instant messenger and I could have friendships with people even when they weren’t in my presence and that to me was everything. The internet for me became my life and the social life I didn’t have in real life became one that was online. In actual fact, it was more than ideal for me because I could chat to people like normal, be treated like normal, and enjoy conversations like normal, without my M.E even coming into it. It was an escape method and if I didn’t have that, I truly wouldn’t be where I am today, so I’m so thankful for it.

bayalage-ombre-blonde-hairstyle

After I felt a lot better with my online friendships and social life, I went through therapy to help with my social anxieties and phobias which had developed, and that took a long time. I’ve said before about how awful it was in my post and that I would have a panic attack in social situations, I couldn’t speak to anyone new without anxiety and it was terrible, but with the therapy, over a few years it’s become much better. I was able to meet up with internet friends (don’t worry, I knew they were safe) and build my life back up very slowly. I found an online forum which became another social outlet for me, it was much like school as you would have the cliques on there too, so it was like being in a social environment, but online. This was ideal for me because not only was it where I met some close friends and Adam, but it meant I really was having a social life, but from my house in an environment I could handle.

The forum led to blogging and then the blogging led to me creating my own fashion blog here, so my social life was just developing hugely online and it meant that I never felt those isolation feelings anymore because anytime I was down or sad, or not feeling well, I could go online and talk to someone without it putting any extra strain on my body. I could just go on the computer and there my world was, right in front of me. There were of course ups and downs, negative people and times of bad, but as everyone who spends a lot of time frequenting the online community knows, you grow a thick skin and learn to ignore it. Which I have.

I still to this day do suffer anxiety and social phobias, but not anything like I did before. I can speak to strangers to ask for food in restaurants or a size in clothing etc, but I still can’t answer the phone as I find it so cold and hard to connect with the other person. I also don’t like big crowds of people if I’m in the middle as I feel very claustrophobic by that and all the peoples energy at once is overwhelming, so I’m not saying I’m entirely better, but I am content and happy. Since I’m a person that gets exhausted by peoples energy and I’m unreliable in terms of keeping dates or plans because of my health, my online social life is my life. I probably actually only go out 4-8 times a month.

I know a lot of people don’t understand this at all as grandparents or people who aren’t too familiar with technology will always say to me get off the computer, go out and socialise like a normal person etc, but I try to let this type of thing wash over my head because it’s not their fault, they don’t understand. I have tried to explain to people numerous times that online is my life, and I love the fact I’m always connected (especially to all of you) but they often just don’t get it, but that’s fine. I’m happy with how my life is and that’s what counts. I am lucky enough to have been able to turn my online life into my career, which to me, I think, is really good. I know there’s a lot of bloggers out there who have done the same, but I know they also go out and self promote at events and parties, but that’s not something I’m always able to do. I might go to 2 events a year in person as I have to build up my strength for it. So I’ve managed to build my career and life online, from my bedroom (or house, wherever I choose to sit) and I’m thankful for that.

Of course, things get hard sometimes when I’m having a run of ill health and my mentality suffers because I am still isolated a lot, especially since my relationship with Adam is long distance, but I know I still have my life and that’s what counts for me. If I didn’t have my online community or way of living, I wouldn’t be able to cope. Those thoughts and feelings of loneliness and isolation would come back so strong and it would be horrendous. So the point of this post for me is to of course help raise awareness for M.E but to also let those of you out there who are suffering with it at the moment know that you can change it, like I have. If you don’t have the strength to sit at a computer, use a laptop from your bed or your smart phone, you can connect with anyone out there (me if you want to talk) and it helps with your loneliness.

I know it’s not the same as being out of the house, but for those of us who are house bound, it’s the best thing we have and I’m really proud of myself and happy that I’ve managed to do it, so you can to. That’s why I’ve named this post ‘From Nothing To Something‘ because that is what happened (I will talk more in a separate post soon about how I built my career). You control your destiny and your life, so if you have obstacles in the way like I do, learn to work with them, not against them. Try to turn the negative things into positive things, especially with isolation. The way the world is now, there’s no reason at all for any of us to feel lonely. I’m so thankful for technology and the internet, I owe it my life. There’s always a window opening when your door might be closing.

For those of you out there who know anyone suffering a chronic illness that makes them house bound, I would also encourage you to make an effort too if you care about them. It’s such a tough journey to go through on your own and knowing someone is out there who cares makes a whole world of difference. M.E sufferers often can’t do normal things, like I’ve explained, so ask them how they would like to meet or chat to you instead of imposing something that may cause them anxiety. Perhaps chatting online would be ideal for them or a short 10 minute visit, just something to help them stop feeling the way that I did, to make the world a better place, one step at a time. And for any of you out there going through M.E right now, I’m always available to speak to you if you need someone to talk to, I don’t want you to feel alone. Lorna xx.

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64 Comments

  1. May 12, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    Thank you for baring you soul! Your honesty is so appreciated. I love that you say to work with your obstacles instead of against them. You are truly an inspiration to many and the perfect advocate for M.E XO

    http://www.kathrineeldridge.com

    • May 13, 2016 / 12:48 am

      Thank you so much, Kathrine, that means a lot to me!

  2. May 12, 2016 / 3:51 pm

    Wow, this was such an inspirational read! I only heard about ME through other bloggers so it’s always interesting to hear others stories as it’s something I’ve never experienced. But I have experienced my fair share of anxiety and I love that blogging has given me an outlet and lots of new friends!! Great post though πŸ™‚

    Lee – leethrifts.com

    • May 13, 2016 / 12:49 am

      Thank you so much, Lee. Yeah it’s definitely helpful for anxiety too, I’m glad it’s been an outlet for you πŸ™‚

  3. Naz
    May 12, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    Thanks so much for this beautiful and inspiring post!

    • May 13, 2016 / 12:49 am

      Glad you liked it!

  4. May 12, 2016 / 5:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story Lorna, I didn’t know. I truly admire your strength and you always look positively radiant. Be well ❀️

    • May 13, 2016 / 12:49 am

      Thank you very much, John! I appreciate that!

  5. May 12, 2016 / 5:15 pm

    Sounds like a very difficult thing to deal with! I’m glad you’ve found that blogging has helped. I certainly enjoy your blog!

    • May 13, 2016 / 12:49 am

      Thank you so much!

  6. Michael
    May 12, 2016 / 6:16 pm

    Keep going, girl… keep going!!
    XXXXX

    • May 13, 2016 / 12:50 am

      Thanks, I definitely will.

  7. Steven W
    May 12, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    I always find these kind of blog entries from you to be both inspiring and very moving too. πŸ™‚ As I can’t directly relate to your illness I can only try to imagine such a feeling of isolation as you went through in those worst years – and I’m sure that nothing that I can imagine would get very close to the reality. Nevertheless I greatly admire how you fought your way back to the point where you could begin to live a life that brings you happiness. πŸ™‚

    One thing that’s crystal clear from your story is that you were born into precisely the right generation. I think the rise of the internet and social media in particular has opened up whole new worlds and enriched the lives of all of us who use it. I know how much it means to me (as a very shy person I’ve found it to be huge builder of confidence myself) so I can certainly grasp, by multiplication I guess, how much it means to you.

    Right from the moment that I got my first computer and started to make new friends online I’ve been very firmly of the opinion that friendship is friendship and it doesn’t matter whether it begins in a classroom, a workplace, a bar, an internet forum, a blog, instagram or wherever else. It’s all equally valuable and socially healthy. I’ve got to know all kinds of fabulous people through the internet. Some I’ve gone on to meet in person but most of them I’ve not, yet, and they mean just as much to me. So I understand and appreciate your points about your life being online. Good for you. πŸ™‚

    I’m so glad that the internet was there to save you. I’m also pleased that you’ve utilized it so well and built a career from it – and that it’s brought you into all of our lives too. πŸ™‚

    • May 13, 2016 / 12:53 am

      Thank you so much, Steven πŸ™‚ I definitely feel like I was born into the right generation too as I’m not so sure how things would have gone back in the days without it, like my early childhood. It would have been a lot more difficult. I’m glad you relate to the internet friendships being real as well, I count them as real. It doesn’t matter to me how you know someone, if you build up a friendship and know each other well, it’s friendship, I agree. You wouldn’t think it, but I’m a very shy person too πŸ™‚

      • Steven W
        May 13, 2016 / 5:10 pm

        Oh yes, internet friendships are very real indeed. πŸ™‚ As it happens, next weekend, I’ll be in London meeting one of my closest friends face to face for the very first time – we’ve been really good friends for almost 14 years without meeting before.

        • May 14, 2016 / 1:20 am

          Oh that sounds exciting! You will have to tell me how it went πŸ˜€

          • Steven W
            May 14, 2016 / 8:41 am

            I certainly will do. πŸ™‚ There will be photos on Instagram for sure too. I think we’ll be doing a lot of touristy things as she’s coming over from Montreal.

            • May 15, 2016 / 4:26 pm

              I will definitely look out for that then πŸ˜€

              • Steven W
                May 24, 2016 / 5:41 pm

                I’ll be starting to put the first few up on insta this evening sometime. πŸ™‚

  8. May 12, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Hello, dear Lorna! I knew, I read the post about M.E. and I am glad that you found a way to cope with all that comes with on internet – and even found school friends, and so on. You are so right, no one ever talks about isolation and what it can cause, like social anxiety. I just “disagree” (calm down, you’ll understand, I don’t mean nasty) when you say you can talk to people on internet like normal – I know what you meant, I think I do, but for me, you are normal – aren’t we all, with our illnesses or not? It makes you tired, no energy, yes. I told you I have anaemia since childhood, due to my eating habits. I have low energy and have to push myself to do things. Not everybody understands it. Surely I could take supplements, but I don’t like them. I know, I’m not a Leo, but I may be stubborn πŸ™‚ I sometimes don’t read or comment because of that lack of energy. I am so glad, really glad that you found your way through internet!
    DenisesPlanet.com

    • May 13, 2016 / 12:55 am

      I definitely see what you’re saying, but when I meant normal I meant it in the sense that nobody is judging me on my illness and treating me differently because of it, as they don’t know I have it. So it doesn’t cause an elephant in the room situation if they don’t know πŸ™‚ I’m glad you are really strong too and fight through it, your posts are always inspiring to me. We are quite similar in the lack of energy and being tired, so I completely get what you mean when you can’t reply to comments all the time. Stay strong!

    • May 13, 2016 / 12:55 am

      Thank you so much! I appreciate that!

  9. May 12, 2016 / 10:40 pm

    Lorna I just want to say thank you for writing so honestly about your experiences. It can’t have been an easy post to write, but you’ve shown great courage in sharing your story and offering your support to others. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to overcome so many challenges. I have great respect and admiration for the way you’ve handled your situation, and created a positive life for yourself. I think you dealt very truthfully with the issue of isolation in a very eloquent and informative post. There were a few more things I hoped to talk to you about in a direct message, only I haven’t been able to view your contact details when clicking on the contact tab. If you wouldn’t mind perhaps getting in touch with me through my blog, hopefully we can discuss some of these issues a bit more. Whenever you get a moment and find it convenient, of course.

    Hopefully M.E Awareness Week will help to highlight these issues and let people who have the illness know they’re not alone.

    Saba xx

    http://www.trulymadlydeeplyfashion.blogspot.com

    • May 13, 2016 / 12:57 am

      Thank you Saba, that means a lot to me from you as I always look out for your comments. It’s nice you read my posts in full all the time and know me well by now, so I appreciate that. The contact tab should send you to my email address, but it’s raindropsofsapphire@gmail.com if you need it! I hope it helps raise awareness for people too!

  10. May 13, 2016 / 3:04 am

    πŸ˜‰

    Admiro sua capacidade de enfrentar os obstΓ‘culos!

    Γ“tima quinta!

    Beijo! ^^

    • May 14, 2016 / 1:19 am

      Thanks! πŸ™‚

  11. May 13, 2016 / 3:42 am

    What a deep and vulnerable post!! I had no idea about how sick you’d been since you were a kid!! What a strong person you are to remain positive-minded and so devoted and compassionate for those in a similar boat… I think we all have moments of loneliness… so while I can’t say I understand your story, I can empathize with aspects of it. Sending good vibes your way!!

    β™₯
    Amber
    All the Cute ?
    Today’s Post: Skater Chic…

    • May 14, 2016 / 1:20 am

      Thank you so much, I’m really glad you liked it! That’s kind of you.

  12. May 13, 2016 / 9:15 am

    Thanks so much for your kind reply Lorna, and for giving your email address. I’m always happy to read your posts and leave a comment. I’ve sent you a message directly now.

    Thanks again and have a good weekend!

    Saba xx

    • May 14, 2016 / 1:20 am

      Thanks Saba! I will reply on Sunday about your questions!

  13. May 13, 2016 / 1:46 pm

    Very inspiring post, Lorna! Have a bless happy weekend! πŸ™‚

    whattostyle.blogspot.com

    xoxo,
    Jessica

    • May 14, 2016 / 1:20 am

      Thank you πŸ™‚

  14. May 14, 2016 / 8:07 am

    Thank you for sharing your story and being so open and honest about the difficulties and struggles you’ve faced. It’s wonderful that you were able to turn it around and you’ve helped others by sharing your coping mechanisms and strategies here. You’ve done well to come so far.

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • May 15, 2016 / 4:25 pm

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate that, Mica!

  15. May 14, 2016 / 10:58 am

    I am so glad you make it through all these hardship, it must be tough for you since you were so young at that time. You are one strong woman, stay strong and keep on fighting. You always have us here~ the lovely readers. x

    http://birdiethgirl.blogspot.com

    • May 15, 2016 / 4:26 pm

      Thank you so much!

  16. May 14, 2016 / 3:37 pm

    this is such a touching and encouraging story about strenghts and vulnerabilities, you’re such a beautiful person
    and you are right, only those have been through a similar situation can trully understand….
    wishing you all the best, my dear
    kisses
    http://www.theitalianglam.com/

    • May 15, 2016 / 4:26 pm

      Thank you so much, that means a lot to me!

  17. May 15, 2016 / 3:06 am

    Lorna, this is such a beautiful and honest post… I have never had to deal with anything like this and I feel for you…I am incredibly grateful for the internet that helps people not feel alone. I have spoken with so many people over the world and I have seen how this platform has helped them … I know this has given me my voice when I could not find it anywhere else… xox

    I am happy that you do have family and friends you can reach out but I agree there are well meaning people that think all you have to do is force yourself to go out and that it will be all better. I know when I dealt with a deep depression a few years ago, I went to work but I could not force myself to do anything more than that… I cried all the time… having my blog helped me a great deal … I felt alone too.. Writing helped me through that dark time in my life…

    I’m grateful to have met you through this forum too… feel free to reach out to anytime you’d like, I’m always on social media too… xox

    • May 15, 2016 / 4:28 pm

      That’s so good that it helped you so much too, Launna. It’s horrible when we go through such dark times in our life, but the internet has definitely helped us both as it makes things a lot easier. Blogging and being social online seems to have saved us both and I’m really glad I met you through it too!

    • May 15, 2016 / 4:28 pm

      This, unfortunately, isn’t about my style.

  18. May 15, 2016 / 9:10 am

    Oh Lorna, you are fighter! Thank you for sharing that inspiration. ItΒ΄s true, fighting your way back to life is hard. I had, 10years, a bad panic disorder. Truly prison of my home…and hospitals, medicines…etc..hard times. But, now IΒ΄m better, learning to live…like you. I can say fro the bottom of my hard: glad you are here <3 I know, sometimes life can be hard, if you have something…key word is: not give up. Have a awesome weekend!! πŸ™‚

    • May 15, 2016 / 4:29 pm

      I’m sorry you went through such a bad time in life too, it can be awful. But I’m glad you didn’t give up either and you got better πŸ™‚

  19. May 16, 2016 / 4:12 am

    so proud of you!! this was really enlightening of a post! thanks for being honest and sharing this! πŸ˜€

    Have a great week!
    Animated Confessions

    • May 16, 2016 / 11:45 am

      Thank you πŸ™‚

    • May 16, 2016 / 11:46 am

      Thank you πŸ™‚

  20. May 16, 2016 / 10:48 am

    Ohh Lorna, thanks for sharing your story. You are so strong, keep the good work and never give up! You are pretty, smart and amazing girl. I’m really happy that I met you. Have a nice week!

    • May 16, 2016 / 11:46 am

      Thank you so much!!

  21. May 16, 2016 / 11:51 am

    Thank you so much for opening up to us – you are such a strong woman. Your story is an inspiration. I’m so glad you can finally be able to live again. It’s not an easy thing to do, although many think it is. Good vibes your way, Lorna xx

    http://www.qustomquinns.com/blog

    • May 16, 2016 / 12:01 pm

      Thank you so much, Quinn!

  22. Mick
    July 10, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    Hi Lorna, I just want to say that I think you look amazing in everything you wear. You could wear a binbag and still look amazing. You are a true beauty πŸ™‚

    • July 11, 2016 / 1:23 am

      That’s very kind of you, Mick! Thank you very much πŸ™‚

  23. August 15, 2016 / 5:50 pm

    Hey Lorna, I remember reading this post when it first went live and then ended up rereading it again sometime last week. I read these posts of yours and never feel like I have proper words to say other than that you are an inspiration. You’re a beautiful person inside and out, and it is incredible how real you are with your readers about your health and wellness. It has been wonderful getting to know you over the years through blogging and want to thank you for making me always feel welcome. I will always consider you as a friend. Much love!

    • August 15, 2016 / 6:56 pm

      Thank you so much! That’s really kind of you, it means a lot to me when people say that. Given how long we have known each others blogs and spoken, I consider you a friend too!

  24. January 10, 2017 / 11:25 am

    Dearest Lorna,

    How are you? I hope you’re well.

    I found your article again today, as I wanted to revisit it and remember all the things you’d said. I’ve been going through some hard times lately, and it helped me a lot to read this again and remember the suggestions you’d made.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences candidly. I’m glad to hear things are much better now, and you’ve chosen a positive path.

    I just wanted to say I’m thinking of you and if you ever wish to talk about anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

    Lots of love Saba xx

    • January 10, 2017 / 3:58 pm

      Hi Saba, so sorry you’ve been going through tough times! I hope you manage to feel better soon and I’m glad anything I’ve said can help you xx.

Thanks for your comments =) I read & reply every one =)