Deborah reveals the secrets of her 24-hour sponsored silence

Deborah Jenkins didn't let the perfect become the enemy of the good as she kept a diary of a 24-hour sponsored silence for the ME Association.

Even as she admitted that she broke her ‘silence is golden' rule 10 times that day, she reflected:

“No berating myself, no beating myself up, simply reset, dust off and start again. The old me, the pre-ME, me, would have beaten myself up, called myself names, would have stressed out all day, worrying about what people would think, worrying about what I was going to do about it, trying to problem solve or think my way out. How ex-ha-usting!   

“Who would have thought that a sponsored silence could be so revealing?”

Deborah took on the challenge of keeping schtum for all of ME Awareness Day last month. Donations poured into her fundraising page.

She combined it with a mind-boggling, 24-hours off social media, no texts, no emails – not even “a cheeky glance” at her phone.

“After practising a little the day before, I realised that it was going to be hard for me; I have a tendency to talk to myself, out loud, a lot! Once in an exam, the poor person sitting in front of me had to ask the examiner to ask me to be quiet as it was putting them off! And I talk to the furniture, the day, the trees, the flowers and any other object or being in my vicinity. Talking to oneself isn’t actually a sign of madness, it is self-soothing, its cheerleading, it is entertaining, I like my own company, what can I say? It also helps me to focus, to concentrate. And it’s connection, to things around me. So there. I’m owning it. I talk to myself.

“So, in terms of ‘Did I practise silence all day?’ Yes, I did. ‘Was I silent all day?’…. Well.  I recorded my FU’s, my fails, my bloopers, my accidents….. and I will share them with you here. For full transparency and cos …funny!!”

8.45am: Rescued a beetle from the bath, released it out of the window “Fly free li….. Whoops!”

9.10am: Set off a mousetrap whilst putting away a bowl “You b*%$*!!”

9.25am: Laughed out loud when I spilt flour all over the work surface, myself and the floor!

10.10:  “Oh yes, you’re beautiful”- talking to feathers (of course).

11.50: During meditation “I am, I am, I am” it was only on the next round of 3 whispered ‘I ams’ that I caught myself.

12.50: “Yep that’s good”.  Not sure what this was referring to, but more than likely crafting.

15.00: “That looks nice…Oh p*$!”

17.40: “Never mind”, definitely crafting.

18.55: “Wow… Chicken, your favou..oh FFS!!”

19.10: “Come on then lovely gi….oh…..”

In these photos, Deborah is pictured pre-ME/CFS with her partner Mark and daughters Abbie (middle) and Rosie (right).

“So, did I do it? What do you think?

“Regardless of what you do think, I am grateful that you sponsored me, if you did. Roughly 40 words spoken in 24 hours, or 30 seconds of talking in 24 hours! Not bad for an incessant chatterbox! Oh, and also, I spent 24 hours off social media, no texts, no emails…not even a cheeky glance at my phone. I didn’t miss it, not one bit. I did miss chatting to my partner Mark in the evening, but it made our morning phone call all the sweeter.

“And, I want to say, I’m proud of myself. Proud of how far I have come in terms of my awareness of old unhelpful, unhealthy patterns of being. Proud of how compassionate I am towards myself these days, and my ability to reframe any situation is second to none! I am celebrating how I have freed myself from the shackles and the BS stories from my past. I am celebrating myself, the new me, celebrating how I love myself more each day in the small wins.

Deborah's fundraising page at is still open if you would like to donate to the cause.

We think she did rather well. Don’t you?

Tony Britton
Senior Fundraising Consultant, The ME Association Mob: 07393 805566

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