Sunday, May 24, 2020

Weekly Inspiration: 2 Uplifting, Supportive Podcasts

Hi, all! I'm still here! The blog has been so quiet lately, with just a few posts this past month (though some good TV recommendations!), because I have been pretty badly crashed and unable to muster the energy for longer or more frequent posts. I've been worse than usual for months, but it got really bad the last 2-3 weeks. It feels to me like what we call a virally-triggered crash, which has become pretty rare for my son and I in recent years, thanks to immune system treatments. My ME/CFS specialist agreed to test me for a few viruses, including an antibody test for COVID-19 to see if exposure to that triggered this downturn and tests for EBV and HHV-6, two latent infections that most of us have that sometimes get reactivated and need antiviral treatment to calm down again. I should hear back on those test results next week. In the meantime, I've had a few good days at the end of this week, so I am cautiously hopeful (and still taking it very easy). By the way, you can also follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page for this blog--those both take far less energy, so I can interact and post there even when feeling poorly.

Anyway, today, I am bringing you two podcasts that I recently discovered and have been enjoying/binging! One is focused on ME/CFS, and the other is about the coronavirus pandemic, from the perspective of someone with an immune disorder.

It's Not All About ME
Paddy, in Ireland, hosts this podcast focused on ME/CFS. Here's his own description of the show:
"A guy with ME and a mic. Chat and frequent guests sharing experience of chronic illnesses such as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome."
He alternates between interviews with guests--mostly other people who have ME/CFS--and solo podcasts, with an easy-going, relaxed style that is comforting and fun to listen to. He's an excellent interviewer and quickly builds a rapport with the people he's talking to, bringing listeners into the circle. There is a special kind of comfort and support that comes from hearing other people describe your own experiences and realizing you are not alone.

I've listened to three episodes recently (one solo and two interviews) and enjoyed them all. And guess who one of his upcoming guests will be? Me! He's enjoying my new book and has invited me to be interviewed for the show--possibly for multiple episodes. I can't wait to talk to this interesting, intelligent, and engaging man. I couldn't find a separate website for the podcast, but you can find episodes of the podcast both at Soundcloud and on Apple Podcasts.

Staying in with Emily and Kumail
Emily and Kumail are Hollywood writers (and Kumail is also an actor) who live a life that has some similarities to most of us. You already know their story if you've seen the hit movie The Big Sick, which they co-wrote. The movie tells the story about how the couple met and began dating just as Emily became extremely sick and was hospitalized and ended up in a coma. Obviously, they end up together, but it's a different kind of rom-com that deals with chronic illness. So, switching back to the real world...Emily and Kumail are married and living in L.A. (Kumail stars in a new movie, just released this weekend, The Lovebirds--we enjoyed it last night, so watch for a review here soon!), and Emily still has a serious immune disorder. She seems to be mostly symptom-free with monthly infusions, but the coronavirus hit, with strict stay-at-home orders coming early to California. They are being extra-careful because of Emily's condition.

The podcast is the two of them recording from home. They talk very openly and honestly about the challenges of isolation, stress, and fear during this time (which they call The Weirds). They have a regular feature called "What weird thing made you cry this week?" If that sounds depressing, it's just the opposite! They are both very, very funny (he started as a stand-up comic and they both write comedy) and even funnier together. They often go off on crazy tangents that get me laughing out loud so that my husband gives me strange looks! On one show, Emily said the new Charmin commercial with the family of bears gathered around the TV made her cry (I could relate), and they went off on a discussion of why Charmin uses bears to sell toilet paper, whether bears poop while hibernating, and more. They talk about what they're eating during the pandemic (including a regular feature on "what weird things have you been eating while at home?" - sensing a theme here?), and how they're coping. They also have lots of great recommendations for TV and movies to watch (since they're in the industry) and video games they're enjoying. I love every episode for its comfort and kindness ... and also that they always make me laugh hysterically and forget whatever I'm upset about that day. They feel like good friends by now!

This article about Staying In includes links to all the different ways to listen to it.

Hope you enjoy these two podcasts. Watch for my own interviews on It's Not All About ME, probably coming up in a month or two. I'll let you know what they are scheduled.

What podcasts or other media are lifting you up and providing comfort these days?

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