ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - From Despair to Contentment
I've come to realise that I've had ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since my teens (at least) with each relapse worse than the one previous. I'm in my mid 40's now...
I didn't know about all this until a year ago. I have pretty much spent my whole adult life feeling stressed and worried about my level of illness and it's effect on my career (or lack thereof), constantly blaming myself for being weak.
The lead up to the relapse of ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is so unbelievable that even I, who lived it, have trouble believing it...
My son and I were evicted from our home in July 2002 (our elderly landlord started blaming us for the deterioration of the property saying I was maliciously causing it). We received no help from our local council and are still in the 'temporary accommodation' that I managed to secure for us (a shared house with 5 guys under 30).
Then social services pursued me for child neglect on the basis that my son is thin (it's just the way he is, he eats like a horse). This went on for a year and then they stopped. As I was working night shift at the time they always arranged meetings for the middle of my 'night' which caused my health to suffer.
I succumbed to a 'stomach infection' in September 2003 (I suspect due to high levels of stress) and went into a relapse again which I haven't come out of.
Shortly after this I discovered that the council had not written to us at the address I supplied and had destroyed all our possessions. Everything.
At this time I was bed bound, exhausted and unable to do anything about it. I went into a spiralling depression and dropped into despair.
The doctors gave me Amitriptyline and told me they didn't deal with social issues, so no help there. In fact they were totally unhelpful from the onset, treating me like a work-shy malingerer, not realising that as a single parent, work is a lifeline for financial and social reasons.
I have no family locally. It's just me and my son. Most of my 'friends' disappeared around this time. If you don't 'look ill' and the doctors imply you aren't, then you find out who your real friends are. It's been a fairly lonely experience.
My new doctor is an angel. The nurse at the surgery works with people with chronic illness, she's helping me with weight loss and improvement of my M.E. / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms
. We're doing really well together.
I've recently come to full acceptance of the illness and its limitations. This means that despite screaming poverty I'm actually mostly happy
I have nothing and no one to blame.
I don't set goals for the future; if I do decide to do anything, I make it a long term project with open ended goals / achievements. I reward myself with little things for accomplishing what I can. I have, against all the odds, become my own best friend.
I've found that complete honesty about my illness and the swinging emotional changes I experience has made my relationships with friends that much better
. They know that when I say I'm grumpy and bad tempered I mean it and I apologise in advance for being 'off'. I enjoy joking around and gentle teasing but on the off days it's best not to do it.
When all is said and done, it would be nice to have more mobility and brain power but it's not necessary. ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome forces you to understand who you are.I am grateful to ME/CFS, for without it I would never have discovered it is possible to be happy with nothing.
I had to get ill to 'find myself'
. That, I guess, is the best way of putting it.
(Sorry if this is muddled, I am :-D )