Protecting Our Health – and More

The Health of Us All Depends on the Health of the Most Vulnerable

We all have a responsibility to take care of our health and that of others more than ever right now. For many of us that involves staying physically distant from as many people as possible to keep both us and them safe. But those who don’t have the luxury of being able to work from home also need our support. Again, those of us who can, can stay at home as much as possible to slow the spread of this virus and therefore ease the burden on our health services. People who can’t work from home and who don’t get paid if they don’t go to work need to know that they will be OK, both physically and financially if they stay at home. So it’s down to governments to do the right thing and put measures into place to support everyone but especially those most at risk.

Welcome to Staying at Home

 

In 2005 I was diagnosed with a chronic illness – M.E. Only the people who are really close to me, or friends who also have this illness have any real understanding of what this means and how it impacts on my life. Other people see me only on my better days and the rest of the time probably don’t think much about it. When they see me I seem fine so that’s how they know me. They might know that I ‘feel tired’ a lot or that I have to ‘take care of myself’ but other than that they might think about it only when it impacts on them – when I have to cancel plans or I’m not able to turn up for an event or gathering, or I don’t visit as often as I used to.

One of the major ways M.E affects my life is social isolation. I had to leave my job as a teacher, sell my home and now spend long periods of time at home, often on my own. This isn’t about me looking for sympathy. This is how my life has been for a long time now, and in spite of all of this it’s a good life – and luckily I enjoy my own company!

Right now people all over the world are being asked to self-isolate to help slow down the spread of Coronavirus. It’s a scary time as we all face the unknown. People’s lives are being disrupted. They may have to stay at home, maybe work from home, maybe even lose income because they can’t go out.

I know the big changes that are being asked of people right now are really difficult and I want to say that I get it. I understand how huge uncertainties about work and your health and even the security of your own home can induce massive anxiety. I understand that you might feel angry about having to cancel your plans, or stay at home just as the weather might be starting to brighten up a bit (in some places at least). I know the worry you’re feeling about how long this might last or when life can get back to normal.

I’ve been through all of this (while at the same time, having friends, colleagues and doctors questioning the reality of my illness) and continue to go through it on a regular basis, so I empathise with anyone finding this time hard (I am too). Change and uncertainty are difficult and frightening, and we just want someone to tell us that everything will be OK.

I know you might also want to do something that is physically active, to feel like you’re helping in a practical way (and no doubt there’s a place for that too), but sometimes doing something quieter and more passive can be just as important.

Self-isolating can be really hard and I’m not saying this is going to be fun, but it is an opportunity for you to protect yourself and others from becoming ill, which is vital and a big responsibility. It won’t be easy, believe me, but it won’t be forever. And I wonder if it might provide you with an insight into what everyday life is like for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, especially those who are completely housebound and who grieve every day for the things they have to miss out on (trips to the shops, meeting a friend for coffee, even going to work). And I wonder if when these restrictions are lifted from your life, you’ll be able to hold on to that insight and empathy.

A Slow Summer and New Fabric Designs

4 repeat patterns of kiwis, wild flowers, vegetables and cars

August has been a necessarily slow month. After finishing my 100 Day Project and another big piece of work I decided to take a short break from drawing and painting, to catch my metaphorical breath.

But that short break turned into a longer one because my energy levels crashed and, as anyone with M.E will know, all you can do when that happens is rest, take care of yourself and trust that things will improve again.

Thankfully, I’m starting to feel better and in between resting and napping, I’ve done a tiny bit of work, mostly for fun.

I took a few of my botanical drawings and created a couple of new repeat patterns – one of wild flowers and one of kiwi fruit slices.

Then I decided to do something that I’ve been intending to do for a very long time. I uploaded these designs, along with 2 of my older repeat patterns to Spoonflower, and ordered some fabric swatches. Now that I’ve done that I’m able to make these 4 designs available to purchase as either fabric or wallpaper in my new Spoonflower shop!

The shop is a bit of a work in progress but for every sale of my designs I will earn a small commission. I’m hoping to add more designs to the shop over time so if there’s one that you’d like to be able to buy, please let me know and I’ll see what I can do.