Yesterday* I wrote about an illness called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) which is an organic neurological illness. The reason I know so much about ME and try to raise awareness of it is because I have been a sufferer since 2001.
Imagine waking up one day, excited and happy; you’re going away for the August bank holiday weekend with friends. You sit down to a meal one evening, and over a glass of wine, have a lovely chat with friends. That, right there, is the last time you will ever feel healthy again as you begin life as an ME sufferer. Can you imagine that?
On 26th August 2001 my life changed forever. The next few days I was ill with what I assumed was food poisoning, even though I was the only one that was effected out of all the diners. The next few months I did not seem able to shake the extreme fatigue and pain. It felt like I had really bad flu all the time and my muscles ached and my joints were swollen and inflamed. I had never been ill and I did not believe in slowing down for illness. I had always believed in soldiering on; mind over matter and all that. It was six months before I saw a doctor and by then I could barely grasp anything, my arms were so weak.
I still continued to work until I was physically unable to and in 2003 I left my job. I planned to take a few months out to rest; little did I realise that it would be 7 years before I would be well enough to even consider working again. In 2005, after 3 years of tests, I was finally diagnosed with ME. It was good to finally have a name for the illness, but once I learned more about the illness, it was quite disheartening. Still, I tried any alternative treatment that I could, unable to accept that I was ill and I became more and more ill.
I spent 7 years housebound and even bedbound at times. I lost all my friends, my life, and even myself. But slowly, I found a way. I found a new me and I met some great new friends. I got better and I met someone and I got a job again. Of course, then I went and made the mistake of thinking I had ME, rather than remembering that I still have ME and I pushed my health too far and became ill again, but it is OK. I am working on my health and I am still working with others to raise awareness of it. ME is ME but it is not me.
*: This post was originally published on Bubblews in April 2013.