The ME/CFS Ghost » 6 December 2014

Daily Archives: 6 December 2014

Adventures with Nettie

How Imagination and Friendship Helps Chronic Illness

The joys of an imagination when you have chronic illness

My friend Nettie is struggling with her health at the moment so I don’t really hear from her as often as I used to. She’s the friend who sent me the Christmas card I mentioned the other day. Although her partner keeps me updated on how she is doing, I miss her a lot as she seems to have always been there these last few years. Nettie is also an ME sufferer and has been an amazing friend to me, even though we have never met or even spoken. Nettie and I began our friendship after I was so moved by something she wrote that I e-mailed her to express how her words had made me feel. That was almost 8 years ago and I’m very proud to say that we’ve been friends ever since.

Most of our chatting has been done over text and for a considerable length of time I was unable to make it out of bed for much of the day. But Nettie and I would go on amazing adventures together. We are both Harry Potter fans, and like me, she’d listen to the audio books on repeat. Stephen Fry has a very soothing voice. From there our imaginations would take off and we’d message each other asking if the other would like to meet up at the Leaky Cauldron for a butterbeer. Or we’d head over to Hogwarts to join the students for dinner. Whichever one of us had extended the invitation would go and pick up the other one. So we’d make our way on the back of Hagrid’s bike, or riding a dragon. Even if we had to go on our own broomsticks, a baby dragon perched on the back was a great way to stay warm.

Some people reading this might be thinking “These two are insane!”, and yes, maybe we are a little, but in the best possible way! In fact, this insanity is what helped to keep me sane. It’s very difficult to imagine the effects an extended period of immobility and illness can have on a person, especially when you’ve always been healthy. When your head hurts too much to read or to watch a movie, you don’t have the energy to sit up and go online, and you can’t sustain a conversation to be able to physically talk to another person, it can get very depressing. I was able to stave off the worst by exploring a rich imaginary world (thank you Ms Rowling) with my friend Nettie, the wonder witch.

We would also send each other music we liked, and on the rare occasions one of us managed to make it out of the house, we’d take the other with us via text. So today, when I’m thinking about Nettie, I’m remembering all the adventures we had together and I want her to know I’m still always ready to go for a butterbeer! I miss my witchy friend and I hope she’s feeling better soon.

Before you readers ask, no, Nettie is not a figment of my imagination. I could never have imagined someone as fabulously quirky and wonderful as her.

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