What can you do to help someone with M.E. feel less isolated?

#DontIgnoreMEFind out what you can do right now to make someone you know with M.E. feel more included and less isolated.

M.E. is is a long-term fluctuating neurological illness that causes symptoms affecting many body systems, more commonly the nervous and immune systems. Find out more about it in my article 10 myths about M.E….busted! 

This short video by Action for M.E.  features people with the illness talking about what isolation is like for them and what people can do to make a real difference:

You can find a top ten list of things suggested by people with the illness which you can do right now to reach out to your friend, family member or colleague with M.E. on Action for M.E.’s Don’t Ignore M.E. page , and there is further info on how to support a friend or loved one in the Living with M.E. section of their website .

Things that family and friends do which help me feel less isolated

We’re all different, with different degrees of M.E. severity, and we probably prefer different types of contact with people, but here are some of the things that my family, friends, neighbours and old colleagues do:

  • I see my parents about once a week for a natter and Mum’s yum roast dinner always goes down well! My parents also help me with things like financial advice and Dad comes round to do DIY and mow my lawn.
  • Bringing some nice lunch round is really lovely
  • It’s always great to get a surprise card in the post for no particular reason
  • Texting, messaging and Skyping me if I haven’t been in touch for a while is really appreciated. If we’ve lost touch it’s because I’m unwell, not because I don’t want to hear from you. Even if I can’t manage to reply the same day, it really makes me feel more connected to people
  • A neighbour offered to get me some milk and told me that if I’m too unwell to see her she’d leave it on my doorstep
  • Understanding that I need to plan my week out carefully so that I spread activities out with lots of rest in between and even reminding me when I’m doing too much. More about pacing
  • It’s been really good when people have asked me what they could do to make it possible for me to go to something, like giving me a lift or helping out with taxi fares, making sure that there will be seating where we are going, and that it’s easy enough for me to get home on my own if I’m starting to feel unwell. It also helps if there’s a quiet place for me to have breaks.
  • Family and friends adding a Twibbon and sharing social media posts about M.E. means so much to me, and it helps information about M.E. reach people who might not be aware of M.E. This is a good one to share: 10 myths about M.E….busted!

If you have M.E., what do you find helps you feel included and less isolated, or what would? You can let others know in the comment section below.

4 thoughts on “What can you do to help someone with M.E. feel less isolated?

  1. It helps when people acknowledge that I’m ill. They often forget. (I have FMS not ME, btw. But they are similar in many ways) Thanks for the article x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Alison, yes it takes time and lots of reminding people, and kind of educating them about what we can manage to do, I think, regardless which “spoonie” illness we have. I’ve had some healthy people comment about me focusing on my illness/disability too much but that’s because it’s here all the time to varying degrees so we have to take it into account a lot and plan things differently, don’t we? Unfortunately we don’t get to take time off from it! Thanks for leaving a comment and best wishes, Emily x


  2. As a “Healthy Ally” my concern (might be wrong about it) is not to be bothersome, although I would go through hoops to be of any help. Glad you published this article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure the people with M.E. you know would not see you as bothersome, Chuck! You sound like a very helpful healthy ally to me, and we could do with lots more of you! Thanks for commenting and best wishes, Emily 🙂


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