Thursday, December 31, 2009

This year, 2010 and ME

Last year I wrote about how I'd been living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgia Encepthalomyelitis, which I think is a lovely sounding name to describe a right bastid of an illness. While it had affected me badly in 2008, I thought it worthwhile to think about what I'd done in 2009 and how I am now.

Since I arrived home last Thursday I've slept approximately 17 hours a day. I had always said coming up to Christmas that I'd be taking time off and that the holidays were going to be about eating, reading and sleeping. These I have done, sleep being the priority. I'm revelling in its reparative powers, allowing thoughts to process and ideas for the new year to form.

The ME has been quite bad in the last year. The brain fog continues to affect simple memory and linguistic functions - at worse I lose the thread of a sentence mid flow and have little idea of what I was talking about (perhaps a good thing) while at other times simple words or phrases will just not appear in my mind to be said (ironically, I'm not sure of the proper way to say that).

The pain - fibromyalgia - has continued unabated, a constant presence with some days much worse than others, nightime being less about sleep and more about finding a position where my joints don't hurt. The fatigue hasn't been too bad - Sundays tend to be a literal day of rest - and hasn't prevented me from doing too much but my moods have been quite often manky and I'm surprised that certain people have been able to put up with me.

Despite all that, 2009 has been an exciting and productive one, and one I'm proud of and not ashamed to celebrate - many many festivals and events attended and volunteered on, a new job, new friends, lots of opportunities, lots of memories and experiences.

It's presented many challenges - no better or worse than those faced by others - friends lost, opportunities missed, promises not kept, lessons learned the hard way - but overall I feel I took it head on - simply because that's the only thing I could do. Whatever the downsides, the brilliant people I met in 2009 were by far the bes thing about it.

It was a year I became a real media whore - contributing to 4FM, i105107, Newstalk, Morning Ireland with Radio One and being caught on TV cameras on a couple of occasions. I've been in a lot of newspapers and some magazines. I've spoken at conferences and masterclasses.

The position with has widened many of the doors I had opened and moving from Community Manager to Communications Manager was a sensible and mutually beneficial move for all concerned. It teaches me a lot but I bring as much to the table. 2010 will be, in may ways, the make or break year for and it will be interesting to see how the input of management, of employees, of volunteers and of members will shape it and bring it closer to failure or success.

2009 also saw me work and volunteer with the Irish Blog Awards, with the Abbey Theatre, with Barnardos, with the National Campaign for the Arts, with the National Gallery, with Cinemagic, with Darklight, with the St Patrick's Festival, with the Street Performance World Championships, with the Carlsberg Cat Laughs and Comedy Carnival festivals, with Eircom, with Bórd Gáis, with the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, with the Dublin Writers Festival, the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and the Dublin Theatre Festival, with the Science Gallery, with, with the Labour Party, with the National College of Ireland and Metro, with Arthur's Day and the Guinness 250 Celebrations, with ABSOLUT Fringe for the first time, with the Cork Jazz Festival, With Sony Ireland, with Toys 4 Big Boys, with and more.

I got to interview and chat with many different people who do really interesting things. This in itself has inspired me in at least one project for the new year that I'll definitely be asking for help with.

I've had lots of cups of coffee with lots of people talking and advising on social media. I've had lots of invitations to events and previews. I've worked hard and benefitted from it. Laziness was never an option. Enough of that done in the past.

2010 then will be an interesting one - a busy one. I'll be launching at least two websites and podcasts and involved in the launch and implementation of more - including at least one very high profile site. I'll be event blogging and tweeting.

Most of all though I'll be working. There are a number of tourism and charity initiatives I want to assist on, as well as continuing to support the arts. As smarmy as it sounds (and belive me, I know how smarmy it sounds) I continue to appreciate the opportunities and rise to the challenges. I continue to look forward to getting to know people.

No new year resolutions for 2010. I don't need them - the to do list is long enough without them.

Happy New Year to you and yours. Hope you enjoy it. Coffee soon? :)


  1. Make it a good one! No doubt I will see you in Galway if not before.

  2. Hey Darragh!
    First of all, I'm exhausted, not because I have ME but just from reading all the things you've done in the last year. Even the volunteer work alone is impressive. Its very inspiring how you can do so much, while having all the crappy stuff that comes with a chronic illness. This isn't meant to sound patronising at all, and it probably does, so I think I should probably just shut up and stop typing!
    Happy new year. I hope 2010 is a good one.
    Jen and OJ

  3. To a great new year in 2010 Darragh. Glad to see that you powered through the rough patches, and took advantage of so many adventurous opportunities when they arose. Looking forward to seeing you in the new year.

  4. Jaysus I thought I was busy. You win - how do you keep going? :o

    Happy New Year to you! All the best for '10!

  5. A great letter to 2009. Its now in the past. Totally agree no need for resolutions. Decide what you want to do and achive. Make a plan and do your best to implement it. Happy New Year!

  6. Really enjoyed this post. Wishing you all the best in 2010 - and keep blogging, I love to read it!

  7. And you also jumped out of a plane, raising lots of money for charity in the process! Thanks again for that Daragh. Wishing you health, happiness and every blessing in 2010!

  8. happy new year to you too.... if and when we ever get to ireland i'm buying.. tea and a pint though not coffee :)

  9. Hi Darragh,

    Hope you're feeling ok.. was reading your blog - I was told I had Post Viral Fatigue, CFS, you name it so I know whats going on..

    Havent had the pains too bad for a know yourself, trying to battle on with the War Wounds...

    Here's to a great 2010!