Staying in with Bear Lawrence

It gives me enormous pleasure today to welcome Bear Lawrence to Linda’s Book Bag to stay in with me to tell me all about a book I think will resonate with many of us. Let’s find out more:

Staying in with Bear Lawrence

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Bear and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

I’ve brought along my first book published on Amazon, Bear with ME. It’s actually the third book that I have written, but the others wouldn’t be of interest to most people.

What makes you say that?

The other two books include my Biomedical Engineering PhD thesis and a novel I co-wrote with a friend years ago, which even I don’t like!

Hmm. Fair point!

I’ve chosen Bear with ME because it’s been written to raise awareness of Long Covid, Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS.

That sounds extremely important. So, what can we expect from an evening in with Bear with ME?

Bear with ME will make you laugh and it will make you cry. It’s a collection of humorous, heart-breaking and heart-warming stories based on my own experiences. Fortunately, and unfortunately in some cases, I’ve a lot of stories to draw on from jobs as varied as being a gardener to a university lecturer. I’ve also lived in various parts of the world from as warm as the Caribbean to as cold as Norway.

It sounds like you’ve had quite a life. Tell me more.

When I was diagnosed with the chronic illness, ME/CFS, my life was turned upside down. Once a dynamic, hard-working person, I now had a debilitating and hidden disability. Frustrated with difficulties in explaining my illness to friends and family, I decided to write an article, ‘me and my ME’ for the local parish newsletter to raise awareness in the local community.

When the editor of the parish newsletter told me it would be a few weeks before I saw his finished article in print, I decided to put it on a Facebook ME/CFS page. The response was astonishing with a ‘love’, ‘care’ or ‘like’ being clicked from all over the world. The article was read thousands of times within a couple of weeks.

Buoyed by this success, I decided to write a second article to raise awareness but outside of the ME/CFS community. ‘Motorbikes, Helicopters, PTSD and ME’ was the result and it was also read thousands of times online.

After writing three more articles to raise awareness, I hoped that I might also be able to help those touched by Long Covid, Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. I wrote five more articles with this aim in mind.

With ten articles written, I realised that writing the back to story to each of these articles would make a book. Understanding the importance of editing and book cover design, I worked with illustrators, designers and an experienced editor to produce the best book that I could. The cover has a drawing of a Bear holding hands with a small blue monster. The monster represents ME and it is blue after the colour of the ribbons used to raise awareness of ME. Blue and purple are used for the text on the cover, purple ribbons being used to raise awareness for Fibromyalgia. The illustration and book cover has struck a chord amongst people with chronic illness and poor mental health.

I feel very privileged to be featuring you here Bear. I had no idea about the significance of the colours and if we can raise awareness of chronic illnesses in ways that will help I’m more than happy to do so.

I hope that after reading even one article that reader would have more understanding of some of these chronic conditions. My big hope is that like himself, you too will become an ‘Awarenessist’ after reading Bear with ME!

I’m going to have to read Bear with ME soon to find out! 

What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

I’ve brought a little bit of advice. One of my articles is titled, ‘Has ME changed me?’ Whilst it has unquestionably physically changed me, it has not changed me fundamentally as a person. I remain kind and empathetic. I also remain daring, although not in the sense of daring such as snow-boarding, sky-diving or snake charming. My daring is writing with such honesty and openness that it can make a person weep. People with chronic illnesses are often grieving for their old selves and depressed. My advice is to sit or lie down with your favourite snacks and drinks, and let the furball cuddle in and enjoy life!

I think that’s wonderful advice regardless of the experience you’re going through Bear. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of your story with me. It’s been a real pleasure to chat with you about Bear with ME.

Bear with ME

Bear With ME is a collection of humorous, heart-breaking and heart-warming stories and articles. All were inspired by true events experienced by the author, Bear Lawrence, who has led a quite remarkable life. ‘Bread, Biscuits and Murder’, ‘Motorbikes, Helicopters, PTSD and ME’, ‘me and my ME’ and other astonishing, inspiring, educating stories will leave you both laughing and crying as Bear reveals his soul.

These stories and articles were written to raise awareness and help those touched by Long Covid, Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. The back story to each of these makes for compelling reading in a book you’ll struggle to put down. Bear hopes that like himself, you too will become an ‘Awarenessist’.

Bear with ME is available for purchase here.

About Bear Lawrence

Bear Lawrence has enjoyed an interesting life. He’s worked as a delivery driver in Norway, a helicopter tour pilot in the Caribbean and a helicopter flight instructor in Oregon. In the UK, he’s been a sales assistant, gardener, landlord, biomedical engineer, university lecturer and award-winning inventor. He’s even found time to race motorbikes, yachts and karts.

Diagnosed with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia, Bear now writes articles and books to raise awareness of chronic illnesses and hidden disabilities. These are also intended to help those touched by Long Covid, Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS in particular. He wants people to join him in being an Awarenessist!

For more information, find Bear on Twitter @BearLawrence1, Facebook and Instagram.

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