Wow the month of May really is a busy one when it comes to awareness events. Especially when three of your conditions have their awareness days all in the same week, the same day even!
We have Fibromyalgia awareness day on 12th and depending on where you are in the world for the whole of May. M.E awareness day again on 12th and awareness week 9th -15th (Updated for 2022) . Finally, Mental Health week from 9th-15th May. (Updated for 2022).
For more information on living with each condition – check out my previous blogs posts here: Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and Mental Health.
Why are awareness days significant?
Many people would argue that technically awareness of conditions should be something that is happening all year round and not just at a particular time of year, and I would agree. However, awareness days are great for a number of reasons too.
Firstly, they help you to engage with others with the same conditions as you come together to get the word out.
Secondly, when there is an influx of information on social media things are more likely to be seen and read rather than be dismissed, with the hope to educate others.
Thirdly, it can help to reach people who may be struggling and give a sense of community.
Finally, they can hopefully help to raise some much needed money for the charities that help us the most.
The downsides to awareness days
As someone with a chronic illness you can often feel an overwhelming pressure to fly the flag for your particular condition, like it’s your duty. When you blog about chronic illness, you can feel an obligation to do something to show support.
This year I started out with vigour, researching what different charities were doing for the day/week (online of course), and made a conscious decision that I would show my support with various ones in order to represent all three of my conditions. All it would take was sharing a few social media posts each day, and completing a few ways to wellness activities (mental health related).
Day 1 was great, I felt positive and productive and by day 2 I crashed. A mere two days in!! To begin with I couldn’t understand this overwhelming fatigue – sure I am used to it happening, but usually I have an idea why. Then it hit me – it was the awareness planning. Not necessarily the tweets themselves, but the planning of what to write, accessing templates, when to send them, and the fact I was trying to do it for three separate conditions.
It was this moment I decided I had no choice, but to scale back. Still show my support yes, (luckily I had scheduled several tweets to go out later in the week), but to stop and put my needs first, and if able to pick it up a few days later.
In hindsight, I think maybe I should have picked one condition to focus on , or maybe one day. Nevertheless I did my best and that is enough. Wow wee, with comments like this I think my mental health has definitely improved!!!
What I am trying to say is you should never feel guilty for putting your health first. As I mentioned at the start of this post technically awareness is all year round, not just for one day or one week.
What you can do to raise awareness.
Equally if you do feel like you would like to do something, don’t be confined to a date and make it an action that is doable for you. You could:
- Re-tweet or share a post
- Start a conversation with a loved one
- Direct people to your favourite charity
- Make a piece of art
- Donate or purchase an item from an online charity shop
- Share your story with others
Being chronically ill you are raising awareness all the time through the people you meet and your family and friends. In turn these people will also raise awareness when talking about your situation with others, and hopefully the domino effect begins. This is what awareness is all about – changing perception, teaching others and getting the word out there.
6 thoughts on “The Month of May – Awareness Days/Weeks”
I got to say I’m there with you. I was able to hang pretty well for the first two weeks. However, I also have personal celebration days which are wonderful, but require socializing and energy. I’m really starting to peter out now. However, I feel like all years awareness making with what I do so I’m not going to just share the May awareness posts during May.
Hi Katie – Thank you for your comment! It is definitely a big ask to keep it up throughout the whole month of May. I think any little thing we do is helpful and I agree it doesn’t need to be restricted to May. I hope you have managed to enjoy your personal celebration days – you deserve some time to enjoy yourself.
I honestly skip most awareness days/months because they’re hard to keep up with. I did okay this month because I had the energy to schedule and create everything beforehand, but it’s just too dang hard to manage your health and be a super poster in the month of May.
Thank you for your comment! I am with you the ability to schedule things, so you can plan ahead is great. I am finding this useful for most weeks now. It is so always so important to put your health first and anything you can do around that it is a bonus. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.