An Anonymous Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia Sufferer's Story, UK

I've had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for less than 3 years. It's like being in prison but in your own body. Here's my story...

I saved up really hard from my sandwich year at university to go backpacking with my boyfriend, in South America. While I was there I caught some tummy bug and a respiratory tract infection. When I got back, I was straight back into my final year at university.


I was getting bad diarrhoea and chest pain, so I kept visiting my doctor for more and more tests. Meanwhile, my other Chronic Fatigue Syndrome -like symptoms became more prevalent. But they could find nothing and told me it would go away by itself.

After a month or so I was shaking after walking a few metres from my bed, but somehow I was still going to lectures. I saw a different doctor and she sent me straight to hospital with suspected malaria. I stayed in there for a week, while they ran more tests and found nothing.

The consultant diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and discharged me, telling me to avoid fruit, vegetables and milk.

After this I ended up going to stay with my parents and at points couldn't sit up in bed I was so weak. After a few weeks of rest I went back to my flat and to the doctor. They told me I was just an anxious final year student.

Hearing this my mum phoned up the doctor and got her to refer me to the Infectious Diseases unit. They were better and ran more tests. They eventually diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. But they gave me no idea how to manage it.

I suspended my university course and moved in with my boyfriend so he could care for me (as I couldn't cope). I found a book on food intolerance and discovered through an elimination diet that I was intolerant of gluten, lactose, maize and the onion family. My diahorrea cleared up completely.

A year later, my boyfriend and I have our own flat near to university, where I am managing to attend a lecture a day. I'm just about coping thaanks to a lot of help from him.

What have I learned from this?

Listen to your body not your head most of the time. If you body is saying stop I'm tired, you must listen to it, and keep within it's limits most of the time. Don't rocket between a bouncy Tigger and unconcious. Keep in the middle. But just sometimes you do need to make yourself feel better, and if going out and having fun is what you need to do... then do it.


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