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How Buffy helped my Chronic Illnesses

How being a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer helped me gain friends and come to terms with my illnesses Hey everybody!

So it is 20years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired, this is my favourite show of all time for so so so many reasons but most of them I will tell you about today!

I remember I did not know about Buffy until the second episode, my best friend at the time told me about it and I immediately added it to my list of shows and became addicted. I bought all the episodes on video, I had videos of interviews with the cast and would buy the magazine every week! It was my obsession and the greatest show I had ever seen…and is yet to be beaten to be honest!

I became a fan of the show before I became sick, and it was a show I loved and enjoyed but it was not as special at that point as it was to become.

In 2002 after only being qualified as a nurse for a year my life changed at a festival I was at. In the afternoon my leg swelled up and I couldn’t walk on it, the next morning I went to my doctor and was given antibiotics because they thought it might be an infected insect bite. Gradually over the coming months I became numb all over, I stopped having the energy I had and was forced to leave my job and move back in with my parents. I quickly became depressed and lost, going from job to job just trying to keep my head above water.

Then one day I opened up the Buffy magazine and there was an advert for a convention to meet Mercedes McNab who played Harmony and Rudolf Martin who played Dracula. This started my love of going to signings and conventions to meet my favourite casts and collecting their autographs. I loved making new friends and I needed them because my illness had meant that I lost all my friends that I had when I was well because of having to move, and also because of being too sick to do fun things with them.

I started to also do a thing online called roleplaying, which I still do now, where I write as characters from TV and film shows. This hobby helped me to carry on being creative, I made so many friends through this and many of them are still in my life now. I found my friends I found through this amazing show understood me better than anyone I had met before and they looked after me when I was not feeling well at events. I started to see that I was worth more than being well, that even if I felt sick some people cared enough to still be around and be there for me.

This show also tackled mental health issues, the main character Buffy Summers suffered a lot with depression and problems figuring out who she was in the world. Back then this was not seen much on shows and it meant so much to me to be able to see someone else struggle like me in the world. Since then characters like Raven Reyes in The 100 and Bucky Barnes in Marvel have carried on this feeling for me and helped me to identify with my own feelings and thoughts and to start to believe in myself.

Now I know for the non-geeks out there this all probably sounds insane, especially as I was never a teenage girl through this…but trust me when a TV show or a film captures your feelings and thoughts so perfectly it can help ease your fears, it can bring you friends and self worth then you will love it forever too.

Happy Anniversary to all the cast and crew and thank you!

Namaste xxx

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