What is it?
“Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) is a long-term (chronic), fluctuating, neurological condition that causes symptoms affecting many body systems, more commonly the nervous and immune systems. M.E. affects an estimated 250,000 people in the UK, and around 17 million people worldwide.” (actionforme.org).
What is it like?
Symptoms range from exhaustion, pain, flu-like symptoms, muscle pains, cognitive impairment/brain fog, headaches, light & sound sensitivity, and disrupted sleep.
Symptoms are different in nature and severity for each sufferer. My flatmate and I caught the same virus at the same time, which both lead to us developing the condition at the same time. Yet, we had starkly different symptoms and improvement trajectories.
What really defines ME/CFS is the ‘boom-bust’ nature of the condition, where your body is unable to recover and falls into a state of ill-feeling after expending an amount of energy it deems to be too much. This is known as post-exertional malaise. This energy boundary will vary with degrees of severity and from person to person.
For more information on symtoms, please see: https://www.actionforme.org.uk/what-is-me/symptoms/
Why does it matter?
Though millions suffer from it around the world, ME/CFS is still misunderstood, overlooked and dismissed. If you’re a sufferer, like me, this can be an everyday nightmare: unable to work in a full capacity or live a normal life, ignored by employers, doctors, and even those close to you. It’s a life of feeling gaslighted and wanting to be heard, all the while you feel like you’re paddling through quicksand with a crippling hangover and a big gorilla trying to push you under. Yes, it’s pretty shit.
For more information on the condition, please visit: https://www.meassociation.org.uk/