Who is Chronically Hopeful Char?

Chronically Hopeful Char, Sep 2018, haircut

My name is Charlene. I was born and raised in South Africa, lived in Italy for ten years and now call England home. 

Before falling ill I was a Teaching Assistant supporting ​disabled children and a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Now I am housebound, reclined on my bed or sofa, resting, blogging, painting, drawing, watching nature through our windows and raising awareness of invisible illness online. Read ​more about me here!

Get in touch: Contact Form | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

email chronically hopeful char at gmail dot com

Why Did I Create ChronicallyHopeful.com?

​My main motivation is that ​I am ​passionate about raising awareness and helping others​. I use this blog as a platform to share ​information and advocacy resources ​as well as ​giving others a place to ​share their stories and empowering them to raise awareness too.

​Also, I am often asked about my conditions and how I manage them, so I decided it would be a good idea to collect all the relevant information in one place I could direct people to.

So, Chronically Hopeful is a place for:
Chronically Hopeful Char, Feb 2017 Flare
  • healthy people to be ​educated on the struggles of people with invisible chronic illness and hopefully be inspired to help support somebody in their community.
  • patients to find resources, support and encouragement as well as ideas on how to adjust to their new normal​.
  • me to share my personal journey through faith, chronic illness, art, home life and more. A sort of online diary recording my progress as I aim for recovery.

Topics Covered

As you can see from theNavigation Menu at the top of each page, I cover a variety of topics which fall under 3 main categories:

  • Invisible Illness - all about living with chronic illness - includes ​tips on how to get by, nutrition for health, guest features and more.
  • M.E. Awareness - all about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis - includes awareness pictures to share, advocacy resources and campaigns you can participate in.
  • My Chronic Life - all about my life - health, ​faith, ​art, ​home life, blogging and more.

Guest ​Features

If you'd like to be featured on my blog, visit this page to find out how you can contribute. I would love to share your story here!

Chronically Hopeful Char, 2018 with flowers

​I believe that sharing our stories is the best way to ​raise awareness and eliminate stigma.

There are currently 3 campaigns open: ​Celebrating LifeEat To Heal and Faith Through Illness. There's also an interview for carers.

If you prefer to not do a Q&A style interview, I am happy to share your completed guest post at Chronically Hopeful. Do get in touch and let me know what you have in mind!

My Diagnosis

POF - In 2014 I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure. It is essentially early menopause. My ovaries just stopped producing eggs and I haven't had a period in years. I had an extremely rough couple of years initially, the menopausal symptoms were intense and constant. It became quite debilitating. I was then put on Hormone Replacement Therapy in 2014 and was doing much better. After 4 years on HRT I decided to ween myself off them and am happy to discover that my menopausal symptoms are not as bad as they were initially. Mainly just a few hot flushes daily.

ME/CFS - In 2015 I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is a complex neurological disease which affects all body systems. It has had many names over the decades, but is now most commonly referred to as ME/CFS. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).

I am among the 25% of patients who are severely affected, meaning I am almost completely bedridden most of the time and cannot leave my house without detrimental effects on my health. My amazing little sister is my full time carer and takes care of everything from preparing supplements, meals and drinks throughout the day to keeping the house ​in order with the least noise possible. She even helps me ​turn over in bed and makes decisions for me on my worse days.

Chronically Hopeful Char, 2017 crash on sofa

My most persistent symptoms are a complete lack of power to function normally, widespread pain in muscles and joints, profound exhaustion and weakness upon exertion (whether mental, emotional or physical exertion), cognitive dysfunction, unrefreshing sleep, shaking and tremors, tingling pins and needles and numbness of the limbs as well as heart palpitations, breathlessness and sensory sensitivities. These are only the constant companions, there are many more unpredictable symptoms that come and go and they all vary in intensity daily.  You can read my ME story here.

I have also been dealing with Histamine Intolerance, self-diagnosed and ​managed, since the start of 2017. The main symptoms being itching, rashes and hives upon eating or drinking certain foods, accompanied by hot flushes and burning, swollen joints. It is also triggered by heat and sun exposure as well as intense emotions. You can read all about ​it over here.

​Online Presence

Apart from this blog, I have ​3 main accounts on each social media platform, one for my blog / chronic life posts, one for my art, and the other is a collection of M.E. Awareness pictures for you to share. I'd love to connect with you ​on any of these accounts!

My Chronic Life Pages: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | The ME/CFS Community 

My Art & Crafts Pages: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | My Art Shop 

​M.E. Awareness Pictures: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

You can also find me on: Pinterest | Bloglovin’ | Mix | Flipboard 

Affiliate Links

I am a member of the Amazon Associates Programme as well as some other affiliate programmes by companies I trust and use regularly, like ​Tailwind and Bulk Powders.  Affiliate advertising programmes are designed to provide a way for sites to earn a little ​reward by linking to companies or their products. 

Pages containing affiliate links will be clearly marked with this image:

This page has affiliate links. I will earn a small reward for qualifying purchases made through product links. Click for details.

​This means that if you ​purchase anything after clicking one of my links, I will get a small reward, at no extra cost to you. This might be a % of your purchase cost or a voucher for a discount off my next purchase. The rewards are usually ​quite small, but they ​add up over time and will eventually translate to a voucher ​I can use on a future order. ​This can potentially help take some of the burden off my parents who are supporting my sister and I financially since I fell ill - so I thank you for your support!

DISCLAIMER: ​Although I only link to products I use or believe would be beneficial to my readers, ​I ​cannot be held responsible for ​any ​choices you make. I recommend reading reviews online and coming to your own conclusions before spending money. 

​Proud Community Member

​Below are the badges of some ​great blogging communities I am a member of. If you are a blogger and would like to meet other like-minded bloggers or need support, visit these great pages!

Chronic Illness Bloggers Network
SIPB Community Member, Sharing, Inspiring, Promoting Bloggers
Blogging In Bed Community
Official Grace Girl, By His Grace Bloggers
Salt & Light Link-up

​My Theme & Page Layouts

This blog is running on WordPress using Thrive Themes. They have fantastic tools for building pages and posts, sign up forms and more. Allowing you to personalise just about every aspect of your blog without needing to know any code. They have a brilliant theme builder called Thrive Architect, which is similar to the new WordPress Gutenberg, but way more advanced in terms of capabilities and the variety of tools available as they've been at it for years.
Click here to see what Thrive Themes is all about.

​Some Of My ​Most Popular ​Articles

A lady with bed head, looking exhausted. Tital reads, Are you a chargie or a spoonie? Both analogies for chronic exhaustion explained.
Photo of hundreds of empty pairs of shoes in a town square representing th millions of ME/cfs patients missing from society. Title reads, How you can help the Millions Missing, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis awareness and advocacy,by Chronically Hopeful
Char lying on the bed, feeling ill. Title reads: Living with severe M.E. Who am I now? When it feels like you've lost your identity to chronic illness
A wheelchair parked outside in a field, a woman standing up in front of it. TItle reads: When somebody in a wheelchair gets up and walks. Why do people use wheelchairs if they can walk?
Char pulling a funny face. Title reads: How to have M.E. successfully. A humorous look at life with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
In a dark room a hand is held up to block the light that is shining in. Title reads, Photophobia in ME and CFS. 20 Patients share their experience.
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