This week’s objective is to raise awareness of M.E. – a chronic, fluctuating illness, which affects 250,000 people in the UK. Symptoms can include persistent exhaustion, muscle and/or joint pain, sleep disturbance, feeling ’flu-like and having problems with memory and concentration. For information on how you can help raise awareness, please click here.
So with it being M.E. awareness week I simply feel I want to add a little piece of awareness through my blog. I appreciate that this is not everyones cup of tea, but until I started experiencing just what this debilitating condition can do to your life, family, and mind, I had no idea what M.E really was, so hopefully by increasing awareness we can all make a difference in how people perceive this condition, as its historical label of 'yuppie flue' has been cemented in for far too long!!
Three and a half years my life was very suddenly brought to a halt when we body collapsed on me. I remember it like yesterday, I was sat in a meeting and I just knew I had to get out of there as something really bad was about to happen. I got in my car and all of a sudden I was stuck on the M60 completely unable to function. My brain and body just stopped working, all I could do was pull over and call my husband in a shear moment of shock/panic. From this day onwards, everything I once was stopped being.
There was no more getting on my mountain bike to blast some single tracks, or heading off to do either a Merida, Trailquest or Polaris mountain bike challenge. There was no more packing my climbing rucksack to visit some beautiful crags around the peak district. My daily walks with the kids was suddenly stopped and has still not resumed. More importantly, my brain stopped functioning, I couldn't string a sentence together at times, I had permanent brain fog, which became so overwhelming at times I thought I was loosing my mind. I have many a memory of being unable to read to my then two year old as the sentences were just too complicated for my brain to process. I was forced to bed with dizziness, blurred vision, inability to regulate my body temperature, and the most intense muscle pain all around my body, and many many more symptoms.This was unlike anything I had ever experienced, even after a days of racing for 6 hours on a mountain bike in the Brecon mountains with 10kg on my back. This was a very unfamiliar experience for me. As it continued the doctors kept telling me that I had a sever case of anxiety and depression, yet only days earlier I was in one of the best phases of my life and thriving with two beautiful kids I loved being Mummy to and a degree only 4 months away from finishing.
I remember going for a walks as I was determined to beat this so called 'depression and anxiety' and then feeling so ill for weeks after that I could hardly get out of bed to look after my kids. The doctors response to this was that I was anxious about walking, complete nonsense, but this is what people with M.E. and Fybromyalgia face everyday, its a disgrace!!! Despite me creating a food and activity diary/log for the doctors which clearly signalled that I had a severe case of burn-out and any small level of exertion created increased symptoms, the doctors still kept putting me on beta blockers (for heart palpitations that was actually a result if adrenal exhaustion and not anxiety) and anti-depressants to combat this 'so called mental problem'. Although I was referred for a MRI scan to see whether it was MS, as the symptoms of M.E can be very similar to MS at times, It took them ten months, standard procedure, before they felt they could send me off for a formal diagnoses, which in the end meant a label of Fybromyalgia/M.E.
This youtube link is worth watching.
So today, three and a half years down the line I am so grateful that my health has improved significantly. Although I am a very far way from being 100% better, I feel that my physical capacity has increased from around 15% to around 55%, which is such a massive improvement and I am so grateful for this. For the first two and a half year I was completely unable to use computers, read or do anything for that matter. I was housebound and unable to drive or do anything. I was unable to sew or do anything that required concentration as my brain simply couldn't function normally and any additional pressure created worsened symptoms. This is how my journey with crochet started, I needed something I could do but only for a couple of minute a day (every cloud has a silver lining!).
In the beginning of this year my health really felt like it was seriously improving, but as we speak I am still learning that these moments do fluctuate regularly, but at least they are there to give me hope that I will return to good health one day, something I have to and do believe. Throughout my journey with M.E I really wanted to start a blog about my journey and in February I finally felt that I could cope with stringing some sentences together and using the computer again and here we are today, maybe not so much M.E related as the initial plan was but then I much prefer the brighter things in life. I spend enough time living with this condition and I really don't feel like blogging about it every day.
I hope that by doing this post today that it has given you some insight into this debilitating condition (please watch the video) and that it will help you understand it better and therefore enable you to support those around you who suffer from this condition. I also want to thank all the bloggers out there for putting a little piece of themselves out there daily to share with others as it has offered some inspiration in my most darkest moments, its enabled me to continue to dream that one day I will be able to go through a day without having to go to bed for several hours and when I can finally ditch my wheels and start walking distances. I believe that day will come soon!
Thanks also to all my friends and family for all your support over the years, without you I wouldn't have coped. The biggest thanks go out to my best friend and husband whom has been my rock. I can only but thank God every day for letting our paths cross, because even in my darkest moments I felt so happy to be here with him. He has been my constant, my strength my rock!!! Without him I honestly don't know what I would have done during the last couple of years. He has stepped up to the task of Mum and gotten up in the middle of the night to feed and look after kids, he has shopped, cooked, cleaned, you name it he has done it because I could hardly move and I just want him to know that I am so very grateful for him being so very very strong and for being such a wonderful friend, husband and partner. I love him with all my heart and am so excited that we have so many more years to share in this life!!
Here are some useful links that might support you and anyone you know with M.E
http://www.theperrinclinic.com (thanks to Ray, my health has improved)
http://www.nikigratrixenergy.com (Niki is one the leading nutritionist to support people with M.E)
http://www.royriggs.co.uk/www.royriggs.co.uk/New_Home_Page.html (Roy does the most amazing earthing sheets, which will improve your sleep and also do mats for use of computers)
http://www.gematria.co.uk/acatalog/index.html (amazing supplements that has really helped me!)
For more information on which books to read please see my 'Mindfulness and M.E' post.
Here are some other youtube links that might be worth watching.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I really appreciate your time!! Sending you warm wishes on a Sunday afternoon xoxo