Once upon a time Facebook was the domain of students who used the social networking site to keep track of friends and share their academic and non-academic exploits.
However, since Facebook opened its cyber-doors to the the online community at large it has grown into much more and believe it or not it now has much to offer people who are struggling with what we call 'environmental illnesses' on this site, but may also be termed 'unexplained chronic illnesses' or 'invisible illnesses'. We're talking chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and others.
On Facebook you will now find a multitude of interactive pages and groups devoted to these illnesses that both provide information and act as support and advocacy groups. Since many suffering from these illnesses are housebound these are ideal as an alternative to support groups in the real world where you might have to travel some distance to meetings and come home exhausted. These Facebook offerings mean you can spend as much or as little time getting the latest information, making friends and sharing experiences and support.
For those of you who already use Facebook below is a list of some of my favourite fan pages and groups relating to environmental illnesses which you can click straight through to. If you are yet to jump on the Facebook bandwagon I won't go into details here on how to use the site as there are guides available elsewhere on line but please do visit http://www.facebook.com/ and sign up for an account so you too can benefit from the information and support available on environmental Illnesses.
First I would recommend the pages for groups and individuals that regularly contribute material to The Environmental Illness Resource:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia (CFS/FM) is Treatable - based on Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum's work and treatment protocol.
MCS America - One of the best sources for multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) information. Founder Lourdes Salvador does a great deal to further recognition and understanding of this disabling condition.
Phoenix Rising: A Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Website - Cort Johnson's page. Cort brilliantly translates ME/CFS medical research into layman's terms we can all understand.
Some more of my favourites:
Finally of course there is The Environmental Illness Resource page:
The Environmental Illness Resource on Facebook - Get updates on our new content and join in discussions!
I hope you'll join some of these groups and find them informative and supportive. After all we need all the help we can get!
If you like any other Facebook groups or pages that I haven't listed then please feel free to leave a comment below with the link...
About: Matthew Hogg ("Maff")
Diagnosed with M.E./chronic fatigue syndrome aged only 11 years old and subsequently associated illnesses including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Despite his own struggles he has constantly sought to educate and support others suffering from such "invisible illnesses" through his website, The Environmental Illness Resource. He fully recovered from MCS using his own approach and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutritional Health.