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.
One thing that can really cause a lot of stress for people with Chronic illness is coping with Christmas and all that it entails. For me personally, Christmas has changed so much over the years. It's changed from huge family get-togethers when I still lived with my parents, to multinational bring-and-share gatherings of friends once I moved to London, and then small meals with just my sister and I in my bedroom after I fell ill, and every combination in between! I think it's safe to say that I don't really have a typical Christmas tradition anymore.
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.
One of the most frustrating and debilitating symptoms of ME/CFS is the shaking and trembling after minimal exertion. Something that healthy people might get after a strenuous exercise. I was lying in the bath relaxing last night when I felt the shakes coming on. This is what I get for walking just a few steps to the bathroom and getting undressed. I started feeling a bit of the internal tremors at that point, I imagined it might come to the shakes, and then as I lay in the tub to rest, before washing, they suddenly started up. (see the video clip below)
This is just the start, it then takes over my whole body and that's when holding my phone, or anything else for that matter, becomes very hard.
It’s hard to deal with these unexpected flares or relapses that seem to come out of the blue.
You end up asking yourself a million questions. What did I do wrong? Did I eat the wrong thing? What did I do yesterday or the day before to cause this much pain? Why am I so weak today, did I overdo it this week? Was the TV too loud? Did I miss the signs and push too hard? Did I get over excited about something?
It can be a bit worrying when you are sure you’ve done everything right, but your body fails you anyway. The key is to not get distressed, because that just makes things worse. Stress absolutely is your enemy. Continue reading
People with ME all suffer at varying degrees, we cannot compare our flares to somebody else’s. What one considers an ME/CFS flare another considers just another regular day with ME. What one person with ME considers a normal day, might be somebody else’s idea of torture. Once thing they all have in common is that everybody’s battle is devastating.
We learn to acknowledge and respect everybody’s pain and everybody’s victories, because despite not fully understanding each other’s experiences, we can all agree on a few things: ME/CFS is life draining, heavy, isolating, painful, lonely, misunderstood and just plain horrible to deal with. And none of us would ever choose to have it or wish it upon our worst enemy.Continue reading