The secret to using MEMap is to try to enjoy engaging with it by going at your own pace. Things that could seem like 'work', can at other times feel like a genuinely creative engagement with your illness (or life, or soul...) Unlike a course of treatment you are offered or pay for, there is no timescale or deadline, no practitioner whose schedule you have to match. Do try to take each of the following steps at a moment when you are ready to seize the day.
1. Most importantly, someone with more energy can do many of the steps and talk you through the bits which need your involvement. Do consider this option - your 'Helper' can do a lot of this without being in the same room/town as you.
2. Download the App, MEMap - recovery planning tool for ME & CFS from the Google play store.
3. Register for online services on the Register page. Do this as early as you can because your code will take a few hours to arrive and may hold you up otherwise. When the code arrives use it to create a username and password.
4. Watch the video on the home page. Play with your App, get familiar with navigation, buttons, Bubbles, Frames.
5. Swipe through the short Guide on the home screen of the App. Make the Guide visible by pressing the tab at the bottom right of the screen.
6. Read the piece 'Configuration explained' followed by the piece 'About Frames and Reframes' directly below it. Take the browser test directly below that. If the test is successful, click Begin Config - or use the main menu on the Config intro page - to begin configuration. If you need to, you can begin and complete the Config Journey before you have registered a username.
7. Take whatever time you need to complete the Config Journey. It is most convenient to use a computer with a keyboard. So long as you click Save before leaving each page, and don't change browsers or alter your browser settings, your answers will be saved next time you put your computer on. In part one of the journey opt in only to those categories which speak to you in some way (more than 12 is probably too many). Spend as much or as little time as you wish typing thoughts in the 'Thoughts about how this could serve you' sections. It is easier to get text into your device at this point using a computer keyboard. But your thinking will probably develop gradually, so building ideas and typing them into your App once it is configured is probably inevitable.
8. Finish the Config Journey on the Config completion page. Ignore the 'Configure ONLY your ME Buddy' option unless you have researched that. Utilise your username and password, and be sure to write down the pin generated.
9. Note that configuring your App will overwrite any Bubbles or Frames you have developed in the App. To preserve these, before configuring your App (ie before the next step) send them to yourself and add them again after config is complete.
10. To configure the MEMap App, go to the home screen of the App, choose Configure from the top right menu, select 'Web journey pin', press OK and fill in your details (ignore the 'Configure ONLY your ME Buddy' option unless you have researched that).
11. Check out your new Bubbles. Delete any that are unlikely to work for you by pressing them, pressing EDIT and following the delete option. Listen to the Audio Guide 'Building a Wellness Map'.
12. Read the Visualisation tab (select at the bottom right of the App home screen). Listen to the Visualisation Audio Guide. Do try some visualisation in the way suggested.
13. Begin the process of completing your Wellness Map so that it really speaks to you. The goal is a complete map of pointers to a good healthy life. So that, if you scan your Bubbles, everything from your highest wisdoms, to the aspirations and inspirations that give you a lift, to your most effective way into a healing relaxed state, to the strategies that make a day work best for you - all of these things are quickly referenced. And the Bubble explanations contain deeper detail about why these Bubbles are your 'greatest hits' for life working out as well as it can.
14. Listen to the Relaxation Audio Guide. Can you use it a couple of times a day to dial down towards a more relaxed 'healing state'?
15. Take some time to work with the categories you chose during the Config Journey in your Reframe Map.
16. Listen at least a few times to the Audio Guide 'Identifying the changes you want'. Attempt to develop a clear and intuitive sense of the barriers that stand in the way of your wellness. Use this information to build the 'Frames' of your Reframe Map so, collectively, they offer a fairly complete description of the key parts of your illness.
17. Get into a habit of building Reframes for the Frames you have created. Can you see solutions, strategies, ways forward... or a mere aspiration for the way forward you would like. What kind of input, nurturing, or bodily, mental or emotional nourishment do you need so that the symptom or issue you put a Frame around gets its best chance to move towards resolution?
18. At some point swipe throught the 'Framing strategies' in the Reframe Map.
19. Read the Stop Process tab and listen to the Audio Guide. Make a real investment in considering whether there is something in this for you. If you have established a successful habit of visualisation, is there scope for you to use the Stop Process at difficult points in the day, fire your anchor, and connect to your very personal visualisation of feeling well at a great time in your life?
20. Equipped with a Wellness Map that points towards health, and a set of Frames which really capture your experience of illness, the MEMap ethos is that you are at the base camp necessary to genuinely embrace the journey towards recovery. Hopefully at this point you will feel you have a very clear-eyed view of the situation you find yourself in. And will have begun to confidently develop better strategies in your Reframes, and started to experience the benefits of visualisation, relaxation and the other mind-body tools. By now, ideally your Wellness Map should have captured your imagination about where you want to get - both in terms of the future you want, and in terms of helping the days you currently experience go as well as possible. And your ReFrame Map should tempt you to feel that you have rather skillfully described exactly how illness is blocking the way to your health. If that is not the case, do go back to your maps: if you can bring them to life for yourself, that will be invaluable...