When I first got ME/CFS, I was so utterly exhausted, I slept many hours a day and I slept at night too.
Later I was introduced to one of ME's most horrible symptoms: insomnia. It's quite ironic that people think we sleep all day when really we're just utterly exhausted, mentally and physically drained, but unable to sleep, especially at night.
I found myself nodding off in the day, trying hard to stay awake, and then at night when it's finally okay to go to sleep, my body and mind are wide awake and in no mood for rest, buzzing and restless, despite still feeling utterly wrecked.
It might surprise you how often people with chronic illness are asked what they do with all the free time they have at home. I think many healthy people have no idea how difficult it is to deal with unrelenting symptoms on a daily basis. I hope to shed some light on this by sharing with you what a day in the life of severe ME is like.
Every Wednesday the ME community comes together on Twitter to raise awareness of this debilitating chronic illness. We share recent media coverage, research news, our personal experiences and more. Making new connections and supporting each other.
I will post the graphics I shared during the last ME Awareness Hour below. I hope this will help you understand what life is like with ME/CFS. If you have learned something new or find this post might be helpful in any way, please share it or download the images to share on social media and help raise awareness.
I'm so happy to finally be taking part in A Chronic Voice's monthly link-up! I have been silently following along from the shadows for months, then last month I finally wrote the post, but of course I waited till the very last day and actually missed the deadline by 4 hours because Sheryl works on Singapore time.
This time I'm doing a bit better, I am writing this post with 6 days to spare. Wow, I must say I am impressed with myself. I am trying hard to get into a good and productive as can be routine, but before I delve into all that, here are this month's prompts:
A year ago today I got my wheelchair! I was almost completely bedridden at the time. Walking just a few steps every hour or two just to keep circulation and muscles alive was a chore.
As a family we were house-sitting in the Lake District at the time. It was a long term arrangement, so was kind of our home away from home, but I had been confined to an upstairs bedroom and was unable to get out to see the countryside around me.
I would enjoy, for a few minutes, watching the birds at the feeders outside my window and the gorgeous orchids that adorned every windowsill. Although it was a freezing cold winter, I longed to go out and explore.
Sandwiched between 2 hot water bottles, under layers of clothes and blankets, medicated - multiple times, in the dark with sunglasses on, my phone's screen dimmed and the blue light filter on so that I can bear looking at it for a few minutes at a time.
This was me yesterday after I had a nap on the sofa where I toppled over after lunch, in a bundle of pain and tears as the previous night's insomnia caught up with me and my body was flooded with pain in every muscle and every bone.
As anybody with a chronic illness can tell you, holidays are a stressful time that we often dread. With many more people around, an increase in noise, activity and an abundant selection of unhealthy food choices, it is inevitable that we will experience an increase in unpleasant symptoms and will at some point need to isolate ourselves in order to rest and recover.
I am fortunate to have a very considerate and understanding family who keep noise levels low, TV off most of the time and serve me like royalty so that I don’t have to exert the little energy I have. It is frustrating when you want to join in and help others, but are bound by your condition to sit still and rest for much of your day.
Since May last year, I have experienced some great improvements in my health and am no longer bedridden, but in August, after a day out with the family, I had a massive flare up which lasted months. I don’t think it was just the outing that caused the flare up though, I was also going through a horrible histamine reaction which was exhausting my body. I ended up staying indoors for 5 months before venturing out, just after Christmas.
Prioritising rest and sticking to my low histamine keto diet and supplements seems to be paying off, I had minimal payback from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities, so a couple of days later was able to enjoy a whole afternoon out with my parents! Continue reading
As this year draws to an end, I have decided to start something new here on the blog. One of my favourite parts of blogging is taking part in link-ups or blog parties.
If you’ve never heard of them, they are basically the virtual equivalent of a meet-up in a coffee shop with other bloggers online. Usually hosted by one or more bloggers, it is a collection of links, which are really invitations, to come visit other blogs who all have something in common; it could be a hobby, the focus or niche of their blogs, or the fact that they are parents that connects these blogs.
It’s a great way to find new blogs to follow and make new connections with other bloggers as well as possibly gaining a few new readers yourself. There are usually questions, prompts or a theme to help guide the participants.
The link-up or blog party is usually run on a regularly recurring basis, either every week or month and sometimes there will even be seasonal ones! The prompts for this month’s one aimed at bloggers with chronic illness are:
Christmas has changed so much over the years. From huge family get-togethers, to multinational bring-and-share gatherings of friends, to small meals with just my sister and I in my bedroom, to every combination in between! I think it’s safe to say that we don’t really have a typical Christmas tradition in our family.
This year we had a lovely quiet day at home, just the 4 of us. I was doing okay despite having had a bath the night before, I actually managed to spend most of Christmas upright with my family in the living room!
This post will be a recount of our celebration, but will also include tips on how I coped with the holiday chaos.Continue reading
On this day last year something very wrong and so unfair came to my attention: People with disabilities, who are deemed unfit for work by doctors and occupational health assessors, are being denied benefits because of their Internet activity. They’re being stalked, not only online, but in real life too!
In this post I will elaborate on some of my thoughts I’d shared online at the time. My heart goes out to anybody who has suffered unnecessarily due to such corruption in the benefits systems, not only here in the UK, but abroad too. I have spent some time in various international support groups online over the years since the onset of my ME/CFS and was shocked to read about people’s experiences of surveillance through windows and being followed.
This means that if the chronically ill applicant dares venture out and is spotted, it could seriously affect their applications for benefits. This is simply wrong on so many levels.
Does this mean that since we are unable to work due to illness, we also no longer have the right to live? No longer have the right to enjoy a rare occasion out or join social media so we can connect with the outside world without the negative consequences of going out and exerting too much? Despite the discomfort and pain we will endure during and after the activity anyway.Continue reading