ME Awareness: Helen McLean is Going Blue for M.E. | 06 May 2019

 

By Helen McLean.

Once upon a time there was an actress called Kara (that wasn’t her real name – she paid Equity for it). She lived in London and tried to earn a living on the stage.

One day, Kara realised that she wasn’t enjoying the freelancing life anymore and decided to jack it in, go back to being Helen, and get a ‘proper’ job.

After a few years at an environmental consultancy firm she discovered what she thought could be an office-based career in music publishing.

She started working with composers and musicians in all kinds of genres – Film & TV, Musical theatre, Rock & Pop, Contemporary classical.

At the same time she was still appearing regularly on stage, playing roles she never thought she’d get the chance to play, writing film reviews and interviewing Oscar-nominated directors for an online magazine, had moved into her very own flat, and had just completed the Couch to 5K program. She was living her best life!

During rehearsals for a show (outside, in a cemetery – perhaps she should have known better although, in her defence it was June!) she came down with a cold. It didn’t last long but the effects were lingering. After a couple of days off work she managed to get into the office for half a day on 22nd June 2016. She has never been back.

M.E. has stopped her in her tracks. She has had to give up her job, sell her flat, and move back in with her parents in Cheshire. She cannot go on stage any more. She cannot go to the cinema once a month, let alone once a week (and often more) like she used to.

She must rely on her parents for cooking, cleaning, transport, emotional support when they should be enjoying their retirement (seriously, her mum had only been retired for two weeks before Helen got sick!). She cannot bathe regularly. She cannot exercise. She cannot concentrate.

However, she is lucky, and she knows it. She has the support of her family, her friends, her ex-colleagues (they held that job open for her for over a year!) and even, most fortunately, her GP!

Helen is doing the best she can to still live her best life. It can be frustrating, upsetting and overwhelming at times, but she’s trying.

Last year, for ME Awareness Week, Helen dyed her hair blue. This year, she decided that she was going to try to record some of her favourite songs with a blue theme and post them up on YouTube.

If you would like to follow her journey, and support her efforts, please visit her JustGiving page – Helen’s Going Blue for M.E.

You can also watch/listen to the songs on her YouTube channel.

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