Figure 1: My BlackBerry and lifeline to the outside world
Happy New Years everyone!
Last night instead of celebrating with friends I spent the evening curled up with my cat watching DVDs and eating cupcakes.
To some of you this might sound like a really pathetic way to spend New Year’s Eve but for me it was perfect because I suffer from fatigue.
I have been suffering from fatigue ever since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s when I was 14 (I’m almost 23 now). It’s difficult to explain fatigue to someone who has never experienced it (I guess if you have depression you might feel the same way) but living with fatigue is a constant struggle for me. I can’t see my friends and family as often as I’d like, I haven’t graduated from university yet. . . Being fatigued stops me living the life that I want to lead.
One thing that non-fatigued people often don’t understand is what a godsend Twitter is for me.
Last night on Twitter I got into an argument about whether it is acceptable to put legwarmers on a cat, discussed how amazing Lady GaGa and Britney are, laughed (with/at) drunken tweeters, shared pictures of cats with other Twitter users and received a lot of lovely New Year’s greetings. All this meant the world to me and really made my night.
It’s easy to feel isolated and limited when you’re fatigued and Twitter is the perfect antidote for those feelings.
Just over three months ago I was hospitalised for a few weeks, luckily I was allowed to use my BlackBerry and it was my lifeline. Through my BlackBerry I could receive emails/texts/phone calls/Facebook messages from my friends and family, who were all amazing and kept my spirits up. I also had access to my Twitter account.
I didn’t tweet much during my hospital stay but reading other peoples’ tweets (complete strangers who I wouldn’t recognise if I bumped into them in the outside world) kept me connected to what was going on in the world outside my hospital room. For example, I was in hospital the day the winner of the Labour leadership was announced. My white cell count was at zero and I had an infection with a raging temperature, I felt too ill to watch TV but I could easily refresh my Twitter feed and feel part of the excitement. Also, finding out Ed Miliband won really cheered me up.
I get angry when ignorant people dismiss Twitter or suggest that if you’re well enough to type out a few 140 character messages then you’re basically well enough work down a mine. Twitter enables people to feel part of a community and everyone deserves that, even if your body lets you down sometimes.