Having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or any other chronic illness for that matter, can be extremely draining and leave you without much energy to do even the most basic things. How do you cope when you only have enough energy to do one or two things each day?
There are a number of things I started doing (or avoiding) once I realised that I was constantly reaching beyond my limits and actually causing my flare-ups, I will share them here.
As some of you might know, I have recently started reading Dr. Sarah Myhill’s book, Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalitis. It’s a huge book, with over 400 pages, and includes so much detail about how the body works and what she believes is happening to sufferers of ME/CFS. I’m so excited about this!
This might seem like a strange motto for the new year, but before you decide I’ve lost the plot, let me explain: I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS. It’s main characteristic is Post Exertional Malaise (PEM). Feeling really ill, weak and exhausted after any physical, emotional or mental exertion.
This means brushing my teeth, getting excited about a visitor coming or writing this post is exhausting and will have consequences in the form of a variety of symptoms.
December 3 is International Day of People with Disabilities. It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness and make some noise all over the internet (and in real life) if you can manage it.
The message I want to get across this year, is that not every disability is visible.
Since joining the world of the chronically ill, I have found that many spoonies (people with chronic illness) prefer to not share their condition with friends and family. They live a kind of double life. Putting on a show of normality, working hard to hide their disability or illness. Often becoming lonely, isolated and resentful toward those who have forced them to live that way.
It all started in 2014. I would occasionally get random, migrating pains in my hips, thighs and arms. It was quite painful and alarming. Because it never hung around long, but just came and vanished quickly, I didn’t do anything about it. It wasn’t very frequent initially.
By November 2014 I was in constant pain. At this point I went to see my doctors, but they couldn’t help me. They did loads of blood tests and couldn’t find anything wrong. They were frustrated and had no answers. So they just sent me home with painkillers. Months passed, but the pain didn’t.