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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: 10 Ways We Use the Internet

By HERWriter
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome related image Photo: Getty Images

The internet is a treasure trove for people living with a chronic illness. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the internet has nourished me in ways I couldn't have imagined.

I'd been in exile for many years, too sick to read or type. Too sick to think. I was more fortunate than many with CFS. I had family around me, and a naturopath in Dr. Kelly Upcott who was treating me. But I had no contacts with my town or old friends. It was a crushingly lonely time.

Then my husband bought me a laptop and things began to change. Well, not right away. For the first week, I turned my computer on once a day. Checked the bank account, and my email. Nothing happening in either place. Then, I took a deep breath and began ... to write. Looked for work online. Started my website, ncubator.ca.

We people with CFS are an isolated bunch. Low on energy, we can't do much. Forgotten by the world around us, the thought of trying to get back in is daunting. The logistics take on mammoth proportions.

But if we can type a few moments a day, if we can think for a bit, we can send out our message in a bottle, asking "Is anyone out there?" We can tap the wall and listen for a response from another part of the cavern. And, by golly, responses ping back. It's like water for a person dying of thirst. Like air for a person suffocating.


Every chronic should have a computer. We use them for all kinds of things.

1) To make small talk

When you don't have the opportunity to chat with the store clerk, or the waitress who serves your lunch, or people in your office, you can't know the hole that absence of small talk leaves in a life.

One of the first things I did was join Facebook and find people I could make small talk with. Man, I needed it!

Talked about the kids, our hair, car troubles, something funny the dog did. I ate it up. I dished it out. It was the highlight of every day for as long as I could manage to think straight.

2) For friendships

I hadn't had friends in so long, I could hardly remember what it was like. But as relationships blossomed online, it all came back. I thrived on it. Was reassured by it.

Add a Comment2 Comments


Thank you for sharing your experience with this condition, Anonymous. So many chronics have a similar struggle, and each person living in isolation who reads your words may perhaps feel not quite so alone.

March 23, 2011 - 8:37pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for writing this lovely piece. Life with CFS is indeed lonely. I've always said I have never been bored when by myself... only in the presence of others. (Actually, I became bored one day last fall after seven years of total disability.) However, connection is vital. You describe why so well. Thank you again. :)

March 23, 2011 - 8:12pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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