I wrote this piece for AYME (Association of Young People with M.E.) a couple of years ago to celebrate the 100th edition of their fabulous magazine. In honour of M.E. Awareness Week I wanted to share on here.
I love how my dream of becoming a kinesiologist has become a reality and I am now able to help people daily improve their own health and energy levels. It’s simply marvellous 🙂
For anyone suffering from M.E. I cannot recommend highly enough how much of a positive influence joining AYME had for me. I suddenly made like-minded friends, could discuss with fellow suffered this misunderstood illnesses, swap treatment and nutrition tips. AYME also offered me the chance to volunteer and gain that all important work experience for me CV and eventually I lead Positive Living Workshops for them. Those workshops were truly incredible and I look back now and realise how helping others has always been my true calling.
Do check out www.ayme.org.uk if you want to find out more about M.E.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? ARTICLE
“I joined AYME back in 2002 and immediately became a regular user of the message board and made some good friends, some of whom I’m still in touch with today.
My story was one of the more tradition routes, I had glandular fever when I was 15 and just didn’t get any better. I battled through GCSEs and A Levels, wondering why I was getting so tired all the time. It wasn’t until my first year at University that I was struggling to attend my 6 hours of lectures a week, that my lecturers and doctor suggested I take a year out, which I spent mostly housebound and then started to use a wheelchair to get around.
Friendships changed dramatically and true friendships emerged with Marianne, my neighbour in Uni halls, happily pushing me around in my wheelchair on special visits to see my Uni friends, acting as if she didn’t notice The Chair. She was also wonderfully indignantly on my behalf when a theatre refused us entry to the bar as there was not enough space for my wheelchair. As a trainee social worker, she was comfortable quoting the Disability Discrimination Act and it was her fight that reminded me that I could still take part in and achieve whatever I wanted.
The next few years saw me try homeopathy, acupuncture, bowen technique, reiki, hair reading, kinesiology and the Breakspear hospital to try to find a solution. As I suspected, the pesky Epsetin Barr virus that had caused my first foray into the world of limited energy, was indeed still partying in my system. I don’t think I could pinpoint one ‘cure’ but rest, acceptance and altering my lifestyle did help me at least learn to manage my energy levels. I threw myself into AYME life, becoming the celebrity correspondent, being a penpal and running some of the first Positive Living Workshops which were inspirational.
Fast forward and I’ve just spent the past 4 years living my dream in London and reclaiming some of my ‘stolen’ years. I work in marketing and have worked for Ogilvy and Leo Burnett where they know how to both work hard and play hard! I never dreamed I would be well enough to work full time, let alone move to London by myself and start a whole new life. I took up running and ran a few 5k races before tackling a 10k run with assault course which I managed to complete in 1 hour 22 mins, phew! I spent a week at Centre Parcs for my brother’s birthday riding my bike everywhere and doing the high assault course with climbing and abseiling –all huge physical activities which I never dreamed I’d be able to do.
However, energy levels must still be managed and I recently returned home to Wiltshire after a few bouts of ill health (a second bout of glandular fever + gallbladder removal) and losing my Dad last year which really puts perspective on your life. I loved my London time but always felt like it was borrowed time. Now, it’s time to build a new life in the country focusing on my new priorities: work/life balance and getting more involved with AYME again.
Like a lot of people affected by illness, I have an interest in alternative medicine and am about to undertake a basic anatomy + physiology course one night a week, with a view to then studying massage, reflexology and eventually kinesiology which was the lifeline treatment that really seemed to work for me and kickstart my recovery.
I don’t think I will ever lose the memories or the mindset of having had so many years taken away from me by horrible M.E. but I have learnt invaluable lessons like the value of true friendship, learning to relax and enjoy life.
To those still suffering with this devastating illness: it will get better. Stay strong; rest, rest, rest; dream and take tiny baby steps. Explain how you feel to your friends/family as it’s such a misunderstood illness you need to help educate them then they can understand it and stand by you. Stay strong and keep smiling.”