Today is the annual M.E. awareness day.
Have you heard of M.E.? It stands for Myalgic Encephalopathy. It is also known as CFS ( chronic fatigue syndrome), PVFS (post-viral fatigue syndrome) and CFIDS (chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome). There is no diagnostic test for M.E. and there is no cure. The symptoms can be wide and varied and each person who has M.E. may experience a different range of symptoms and different levels of severity. You can find out more about the illness here and more about M.E. awareness day here.
I feel very strongly about this cause because I have M.E. myself, did you know that? 🙂
In February 2003 I got a bad case of ‘flu and was unable to go into work. It had been a stressful time anyway as I had been moving house and the ‘flu hit me hard. I had a sore throat and no voice, was unable to get out of bed. The illness went on and on and I never seemed to get any better. My job had to let me go as I was too ill to work and after 6 months of this illness and lots of tests to rule things out, I was diagnosed with M.E.
Now, 2011 is here and I am still ill. The illness seems to go in phases. Sometimes I am worse than others, it can change day by day and is very unpredictable. Any physical or mental exertion cause me to have terrible ‘payback’. Stress makes my symptoms much worse. Contrary to most people’s understanding of M.E., it is not just ‘feeling tired’. It is the most draining, awful fatigue, aching and pain in muscles and joints, dizziness and nausea, confusion, memory and concentration problems, anxiety, shakiness, slurred and slow speech, sensitive to loud noises, bright light, strong smells, changes in temperature. There are other symptoms that some other sufferers have, as I said, it affects everyone differently.
If that’s all not awful enough, think about how it affects the people around the M.E. sufferer. Their family and friends all have to deal with this too and it can be frustrating trying to explain how you feel to someone who does not fully understand or accept the illness.
Yes, the illness is often still regarded as a ‘malingerers disease’ or ‘yuppie flu’…but I know from experience that it is a debilitating and horrible illness that truly messes with your life and the lives of people around you.
Some people do get better, some make a partial recovery, some learn to manage the illness using various techniques such as pacing, some never recover, some gradually get worse. All you can do is try your best to pace your activities and not over do things as that makes things much worse.
I know this isn’t lovely and shouldnt have a place on my blog…but if this can make just one person understand and become ‘aware’ of M.E. then that is a lovely thing to me, so it deserves its place here 🙂
On to other things…the competition (click here) has now had 16 comments so it is time to add another part to the prize! However, I shall do this tomorrow as I feel M.E. awareness is more important. It’s a fantastic prize though…I’m really excited about it!
Lots of Love,