My M.E. Story for May 12 International Awareness 2014

Sharing our stories on May 12th – International CFS/M.E. Awareness Day

I was diagnosed with CFS/M.E. almost five years ago and find living with an invisible illness extremely challenging. It’s difficult to describe the condition when those around you can’t see what’s going on. Almost every day, I smile through the pain and try to act ‘normal’. I ignore the repercussions of my illness so I can live my life, and often suffer the consequences.

By helping to raise awareness, I won’t have to be ashamed of my condition anymore. No more explaining something that nobody seems to understand. No more hiding.

The idea to share The 2 Sides Of M.E. is an incredibly visual and effective way to show how this illness affects us. On the left – A good day. Real smiles, doing my hair and makeup and getting dressed up with my friends for an evening. On the right – Most days. In bed. Not having the energy to get up and get dressed or do my makeup; Spending the day doing as little as possible to avoid the pain and exhaustion. These are the days that nobody sees and we have to face alone.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis) is a chronic debilitating illness that affects millions around the world. It can affect anyone, at any age. There is no known cause or cure and patients face a lack of understanding and awareness of the condition.

The symptoms of CFS/M.E. include extreme fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, post-exertional malaise, headaches, weakened immune system, and cognitive difficulties such as poor concentration and memory loss. This is an invisible illness, meaning there are no external symptoms. However, in severe cases patients can be bed-ridden and unable to care for themselves or perform simple tasks.

We celebrate international awareness on May 12thas this was Florence Nightingale’s birthday, and she was thought to have had M.E. It is on this day that sufferers around the world unite to share their stories and promote awareness of the condition.

Throughout May I have been inviting those with M.E. to share their stories through a series of guest posts. This is an opportunity to explore the spectrum of symptoms faced by patients, and to shine a light on the lives we lead.

The aim of increasing awareness goes beyond the everyday challenges of living with an invisible illness. There is also hope that awareness will extend beyond those around us. By rising the profile of this often unknown or misunderstood illness there is hope to spark an interest in the medical community. Chronic illnesses such as CFS/M.E are in dire need of funding and research to change the lives of millions of people.

I have been fortunate enough to speak with many incredible people who are an inspiration to us all. Whether you are raising awareness, fundraising for research, sharing your story, or still smiling after a hard day – You are doing something amazing and should be proud!

You are welcome to share this story. Please attribute the original source

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