Jacinta - Working with Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, Melbourne, Australia
I have had Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome since early 2004. I first contracted Hepatitis A which was left undiagnosed for too long (my doctor at the time was hopeless).
I was incredibly ill, basically unable to eat and completely bedridden for about two months. I went back to work too soon, suffering from what a lot of CFS sufferers seem to have, the guilt of being ill and pressure to perform.
I continued to have short but intense relapses of debilitating fatigue, nausea, stomach pain and dizziness. I thought my liver was still recovering from the Hepatitis A - I went to a few doctors who did blood tests, urine samples, faecal samples, everything and always ended up coming back to me saying, "Well, there's nothing wrong with you".
It always ended with me getting the look of disbelief and dismissal. Clearly after never being ill, I had suddenly become a hypochondriac overnight.
I continued to have these bouts, varying in severity. Possibly more dangerously, I began to feel very depressed, incredibly anxious and unable to cope with social interactions, stressful relationships or situations. I went on holiday at the end of 2005 and pretty much had a nervous breakdown of sorts. I thought I was emotionally unstable and had no idea that I was actually ill.
I went back to work - my job was in a high pressure environment and required long hours - there was always something to troubleshoot. In May 2006 I got the 'monster truck flu from hell'. We were also having a major crisis at work, so I just drugged myself up and dragged myself into work. I was beside myself with exhaustion.
After that, I never fully recovered. I just felt like I was running on empty all the time, waking up exhausted, coming home feeling like I'd run a marathon. This continued until October when I collapsed. I didn't leave my bed for 3 weeks.
I was referred to an Infectious Diseases specialist who also did every medical test, X-rays, ultrasounds, blood tests for HIV, everything. Once again, he came back to me with, "Well, there's nothing wrong with you". I would have left there that day with no conclusion again, but by then I had done research on Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome / ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and knew that it was it. In the end, I pretty much had to diagnose myself.
Because it was left undiagnosed and untreated, I have relapsed into a severe stage of ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had to leave my job, I have been housebound and unable to look after myself. I have dealt with severe depression and suicidal thoughts, crippling insomnia and chronic back muscle pain. I have had to withdraw from some of my family and friends as their reactions and lack of understanding deeply affected me.
From this, I am happy to say that I have turned a corner.
This began to happen when I fully accepted and embraced my illness. From this, empowerment came. I realised that I was the protector and the support system for myself. My body wanted me to work in unison with it, become friends with each other.
I have found a kinesiologist who has worked wonders - healing is happening on all levels, physically, mentally and energetically and it is under my power.
I still have a very long way to go, but I just want to say to those of you out there who are in the depths of ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and feel like you will never feel well again, there is a way out. You can get better but you will never be the same...
You will have a new respect for your body, for yourself and a deeper understanding of yourself. ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has given me the opportunity to completely reconstruct myself and my life patterns and it is turning out to be a liberation.
I wish you all the best and know that you are not alone. We're all in it together!