My blog has been running for nearly five months now. My short film, M.E. & My Island, has recently been included in the National Videogame Museum’s Animal Crossing Diaries exhibition and I even got a mention in an article in The Verge. So, I decided it was time to design a new logo and give my website a bit of a refresh.
The idea for the M.E. & My Island website came about after I made my short film for the National Videogame Museum’s Animal Crossing Diaries archive. Once I’d made the film, I felt I needed somewhere personal to share it from. Just having a solitary film on my YouTube page didn’t feel quite right. When I made the film, I wanted to celebrate the joy of playing Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as well as helping to raise awareness of M.E. and I’ve always enjoyed writing, so starting a blog seemed like a good idea – and it created a proper home for the film.
I knew my blog would always be about M.E. but, initially, I wasn’t sure about the longevity of playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The game got me through the first year after my diagnosis but I’ve had less time to play, since I started working part time, and I did wonder whether I might get bored of it. In reality, I love playing the game now more than ever! Thanks to my blog and meeting people on social media, I have friends to play the game with, and this has made such a difference in my life. I no longer have to miss out on socialising, because I’ve now found friends to spend time with playing online. And I genuinely do count them as friends. In the game we chat online, we spend time together, we help one another out, we laugh together and, in real life, we message one another throughout the day. Admittedly, a lot of our chat outside of the game is still Animal Crossing-related but, what can I say, we enjoy it!
In joining social media I have also become a part of the M.E. Community online. I was so excited when I gained my first follower on Twitter (@PhilStewart23). Phil has been so friendly and helpful since we first got in touch and he gave me the lowdown on all the relevant hashtags and suggestions of some of the best accounts to follow. I very quickly realised that he M.E. Community as a whole is a great source of information and support.
I’ve been so humbled by the kindness shown to me by the ‘Long Haulers’ (people who have been unwell with M.E. for many years). I find it so sad to think that, even though I’m nearly two years into this illness now, these are still my infant years, compared to so many other people. I’m also incredibly fortunate that, so far, my symptoms are mild – and yet people who are far more ill than me, and who have experienced M.E. for so many years more, have been kind enough to reach out and give me the benefit of their experience; giving advice, encouragement and support.
In raising awareness of M.E. through my blog, I’m passionate about getting to know the M.E. Community, understanding the different ways this illness affects people, and celebrating the individual people that make up the M.E. Community. I’ve already done two amazing interviews with Phil Stewart, who is training to be a counsellor, and Alex Flower, tattoo artist and print maker, and I hope to feature interviews with many more people with M.E. going forward.
My focus over the last few months has been on three main elements: M.E. Awareness, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the M.E. Community. These three elements are now represented in my logo by the ribbon, the controller and the people. I’ve kept with the blue colour scheme as I think people that know me on social media tend to associate me with the colour blue. My previous logo was blue and I tend to use blue hearts in most of my social media posts (as the blue heart is a symbol of M.E. Awareness and shows solidarity between people in the community). Those of you who are very observant may also have noticed that the ‘like’ buttons on my blog articles are custom-created blue hearts! It’s all in the detail! I’ve given the website a cleaner feel and more of an overall theme.
I hope you’re finding the voice recordings of my articles useful. I really don’t like listening to my own voice but I’ve received some lovely feedback about them, and it’s even been suggested that, as I have a calming voice, I might like to read some bedtime stories, so send in your requests!