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Supporting a friend or loved one with M.E.

Supporting a friend or loved one with M.E.

The most important thing you can do to help someone with M.E. is listen to what they tell you about how they are feeling – everyone’s experience is different. Don't just stop talking to them or assume they don't want to see you or they may end up feeling abandoned.

Some people still don’t believe M.E. is real even though it’s recognised as a neurological condition by the World Health Organisation – not being believed can be extremely upsetting for someone who has M.E. and can make them feel isolated, alone and afraid to talk to you.

People who have M.E. tell us that the most useful things their friends and loved ones can do to support them emotionally are:

  • asking them how you can best support them
  • accepting and trusting when they tell you their energy levels are too low for them to do something – pushing someone who has M.E. to do more than they’re capable of can make them worse
  • understanding that they might need to rest or to be alone, even if they are in the middle of a conversation with you
  • staying in touch so they know you’re thinking about them
  • offering to include them in things, while acknowledging that they may not be able to take part – some people with M.E. say they would rather know they’re wanted and have to decline an invitation than feel left out and unwanted
  • keeping in touch, whether that’s by phone, email, text, social media, or by writing them a letter. M.E. can leave people feeling isolated and alone so knowing you’re thinking about them can make a world of difference.

In terms of practical support, you could:

  • help with tasks that use up their energy, such as tidying or food shopping; doing laundry and changing bed sheets can be particularly draining for someone with M.E.
  • support them develop a routine – just don’t try to change it for them

To keep informed about what’s happening in the world of M.E., visit our Community page.