For those of you that don’t know, I am a sufferer of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, more commonly known as ME, M.E, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME/CFS, you get the picture!

I have suffered with this condition for over 7 years now, although I consider myself to be very fortunate that whilst it’s not been an easy ride, there are people more seriously affected by it than me.

That said, it’s no fun. To give you a small peek into my world, symptoms include:-
– Joint aches
– Sharp, sometimes debilitating, neuropathic pain all over the body (imagine a burning electric shock through your nerves and you’re starting to get the picture)
– extreme tiredness/fatigue
– light sensitivity
– memory lapses
– concentration problems

The hardest part of it all is that you dont get all of these symptoms all of the time, their intensity varies, as does how quickly they come over you and how quickly they abate.

There is no simple concept of good days and bad days; although you can have good/bad spells lasting days/weeks/months, it’s just as likely that you will go from feeling fine to terrible as quick as clicking your fingers.

I often feel as if I’ve ran into a brick wall, suddenly having no energy, inability to concentrate or remember what I done 5 seconds ago, all coupled with sharp neuropathic pain. It can last 5 minutes or 5 hours, but will surely abate as quckly as it came over me.

Now, ME is intrinsically linked to stress, be it work stress or emotional stress. Many doctors believe it is brought on by extreme stress at a time when your immune system is already extremely low, hence it’s other common name of Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome.

In my case, I started showing symptoms during a period of great stress at work, coupled with a lot of emotional stress and turmoil in my personal life. And I did feel like I had the same cold for a year.

There is a stigma attached to ME, partly because so little is understood about it. The diagnosis itself was one of exception; having tested for and ruled out everything else that could cause my symptoms, it must be ME, but by the way, sorry, we haven’t a clue how to treat it!

And because there’s often nothing to see, people can be dismissive, accuse you of being a hypochondriac etc! Honestly, a broken leg would get more understanding!

Luckily I’ve found that a combination of homoeopathic remedies, avoiding emotional stress, fantastic support from my employer etc have gotten me to a place where most days I can forget that I have it. I do have bad spells, and when that happens I’m not so effective at work as I would otherwise would be, I may have to cancel plans I’ve made and just go to bed, but those who matter most to me understand 🙂

There are many people who are bed ridden by ME, I count myself fortunate not to be in that category.

But I also pat myself on the back for having had a positive and sensible approach to my condition from the outset. I’ve read medical research and understood what scientists are starting to know about the condition, I embrace conventional and complimentary medicine, I allow for downtime when I know I’m going to be doing something physically/mentally/emotionally draining.

In short, I give myself the best possible chance of feeling the best that I possibly can.

And my advice to anyone struggling with any illness is to do exactly that! You may never be fully cured/free of it, but you’ll give yourself a much better life in the long run than if you let your head go down.

A positive attitude is a very powerful medicine 🙂