Once the practice of writing was done joyfully with ease and then I began living with M.E.. In a blog ‘The Ebb and Flow of Painting’, an old friend and former work colleague made a comment that got me thinking. She wondered how I write given that to paint I use small chunks of time adding up to a finished painting in time. Hence, I will share with those readers who dedicate a small amount of time to reading my blog just how it comes to be a written piece.
My process has certainly evolved over the past few years living this New ME life. In the beginning my use of technology was severely limited and I would take to writing a few key points old school with pen and paper. When able I would take this to computer, I used my iPad as my main technology source for all tasks. The iPad being easier to hold and manipulate with weak and aching muscles, although in the beginning holding the iPad was indeed a challenge too. With long periods of time between use due to flares. I should add I have the smaller iPad as the larger one is too big to handle early in the healing journey.
This was a very chunky and vague way of writing, with great spaces of time between writing resulting in loss of information and thoughts due to cognitive dysfunction. I would try to use dictation but my voice has been left weak and quiet since contracting the viruses, leading to odd word identification with technology and then resulted in extra work with edits. Thus this writing journey has been long but extremely therapeutic for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, I had to work on my word identification and spelling as my brain fog was thick and unrelenting. Finding words and spelling them was like teaching school aged children to prep for a spelling test, except I was now once again the student. A student with post graduate University degrees, a twist in life that one never plans for or can fathom. I often think of my six years of post secondary education that I adored, accomplishments I was super proud and how this has all been lost. Now skills, knowledge and extensive experience all rendered useless in this New ME life.
The process I used to retrain my brain, navigating it through the dense fog is known as rewiring the brain, a form of neuroplasticity. Which fires up new synapses, pathways for writing and reading. It turned out the computer was the best tool for supporting the rewiring in writing skills as I could use a thesaurus or spelling check with ease. My memory for spelling was a disaster. I always have a piece edited for me as I can easily miss spelling mistakes or word omissions.
Thus my iPad was now my source of writing. I use the program Pages for all writing purposes, it is super organized with years, folders and subjects. I suppose not all my post secondary skills are wasted. Sometimes I may read over a written piece for a few minutes of time, other times I send a piece to print to do a read over and edit on paper. Sometimes I settle into my seat and put thoughts to words creating a nice new blog with thoughts that have been ruminating for days, months and even years. I love getting thoughts into words especially when I have been waiting to write it for some time, for just the right moment. My energy always elusive I never know what abilities or disabilities I may be working with at any given moment.
Then there is a written blog which sits for days, weeks and months at a time before a final edit. Which results in several blogs needing final edits at a time and then multiple publish because I need to put the piece behind me. However, somehow I make it work. I think it is important to get a piece out there you just never know who may need to read it. Thus I commit myself to publishing.
My blogs are a form of expression for me, my often unbelievable experiences. Living housebound with disability, my art and blogs have become my soul communication in the world. Thankfully I have a lifelong gift that allows me to paint and write as this is my life purpose. Today my writing has made great gains in the four years of my healing journey. I highly recommend it for others living with M.E., chronic illness and disability as do I recommend art and gardening. You may notice all my life practices are supportive of my healing journey, they all go hand in hand. Each one has helped me heal, however small, slow or invisible it may be it is healing all the same. And thus, I continue the journey of healing.