Meet Charlene from Chronically Hopeful
All about your BLOG: Tell us about your lovely BLOG.
- What is the name of your blog and how did you decide on your blog name?
My blog is called Chronically Hopeful. I wanted the word chronic in there because I write a lot about life with chronic illness, but I wanted to convey a positive message. I believe that for people living with chronic illness it is important to always have hope. Hope for a better tomorrow and hopefully one day better treatment and maybe even a cure. You never know!
- What prompted you to start on this blogging journey?
I’ve always loved blogging since I was introduced to it many years ago, but this particular blog was started out of a passion to raise awareness and share tips and advice for managing life when housebound with chronic pain and fatigue. It is also one of the few activities that are not too physically demanding and can be done even while in bed!
- To date, what blogging achievement/s are you most proud of?
Helping others make sense of their symptoms and how to manage them. The private emails and comments I get are a blessing and encouragement. That is why I believe that sharing our journey is so important, you never know whose life you might impact.
- How would you describe your own blogging style?
I’d say it’s quite personal. I write the way I talk as if I’m speaking to you face to face. I am a teacher, so that might come through in my writing style too. That’s why I’m so passionate about educating people about these invisible conditions. I love learning new things and sharing the knowledge.
- What excites you most about blogging?
Sharing information. Helping others. Creating graphics. I love the whole process and have so many drafts and ideas, I just don’t have the energy to complete them all!
- What platform do you use and why?
I use a self-hosted WordPress blog. I’m running Thrive themes on that and just love the interface and all their tools
- What genre/topic/theme do you blog about? Do you ever deviate from that theme?
The main topic is probably living a housebound life with chronic illness and raising awareness of specifically ME/CFS. But I also write about faith, I share my art and journal layouts, and I share some ketogenic recipes and meal ideas since I am using diet to manage my chronic pain and fatigue.
- How often do you blog per week or month?
This is completely dependent on my health. My condition fluctuates so sometimes it’s once a month and other times it’s a couple of posts in one week. I don’t have set schedules for blogging anymore because I tend to write as I feel inspired and if I have the energy and cognitive function to do it. Some days light sensitivity makes it impossible to look at a screen.
I used to try having regular features, but ME/CFS is too unpredictable, so it’s less stressful if I don’t commit to specific routines.
- Do you have any wisdom or tip/s regarding blogging to share with us?
Write about what you’re passionate about! If you don’t love what you’re writing about then it will come through in your writing and you will resent the process rather than love it. Blogging will become a chore instead of a joy.
Find the thing in life that you love and are passionate about and share that with the world.
- Do you participate in linkup parties? How do you feel about it?
Yes, I do occasionally. As mentioned, I cannot commit to doing anything consistently, so it’s a matter of if and when I am able to. I think they are a great way to find new blogs of a similar niche and maybe even build new friendships with like-minded people. It does help drive some traffic to your blog and it usually includes comment love, which is always fun.
All about YOU: Tell us something about you, the real YOU.
- What do you like to do other than blogging?
I love watercolors and drawing. When I’m well enough, I enjoy going out for long drives and exploring the countryside or watching the ocean.
- Where do you reside?
I currently live in Northern England
- Are you an indoor or outdoor person?
I’m a bit of both. I love nature and being outside, but I also really love indoor activities and being home. It’s where I recharge and relax.
- Do you still work, and if so, what is your trade/profession?
I no longer work. I have been housebound since 2015 with severe ME/CFS. I used to teach English in Italy and then when I moved to England, I became a teaching assistant working with children with special needs. I absolutely loved my job!
- Do you wish to be 20-something or the age you are now and why?
I’m happy to be my current age (late 30s). My 20s were not my best years. Things changed for me when I was baptized at the age of 30. I lost my quick temper, my fear, and my doubt which changed the way I experienced life.
Then, a couple of years after that I went into early menopause and then fell ill with ME/CFS. I have learned so much and changed a lot in just a few years. I feel like I am more patient and grateful, less judgemental, and certainly calmer now than I was in my 20s.
- What makes your day a good and happy one?
I am always joyful inside and live in hope and anticipation of the future, despite my condition, and that would be thanks to God who is my hope and strength. I don’t understand it, it’s just there bubbling inside me and I’m so grateful for it!
Even so, I’d say a good day for me is any day that I can open the curtains and tolerate light. The days I have to stay in the dark are long and hard to get through because they’re usually high pain days – there’s not much you can do when in so much pain and in darkness.
- Describe yourself in 3 words.
Hopeful. Creative. Procrastinator.
- Share with us 3 interesting facts about yourself.
– Although skeptical at first, I lost 24kg with high fat, low carb diet, and no exercise in 2015, still maintaining.
– I wanted to be a flight attendant when I was a teen, but I am now terrified of flying and try to fall asleep before the plane even takes off!
– I’m left-handed for writing and art, but right-handed for everything else in life
- Do you have any other tidbits to share with us about yourself?
I was born and raised in South Africa, although the only time I saw a real elephant was when the circus came to town. I’ve never been on a safari.
I then lived and worked in Italy for 10 years. I’ve been a citizen since birth and my whole family moved over together from Africa. We didn’t speak any Italian at the time and took lessons as a family for the first few months.
When I moved to England, I came with no job or accommodation lined up. Just a friend and I, each with a cabin bag and our hopes of starting a new life. What an adventure it has been!
Last but not least:
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