About Me

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Vegan. Ex-makeup artist. CFS/ME sufferer. Cares about human rights, equality, animal rights, conservation/climate change.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

M.E Awareness Day, The Princesses & M.E

I'm taking a break from beauty related posts to write about something more serious,  and a lot less fun. Today, 12th May, is ME Awareness Day. As an ME sufferer, I wanted to share with you my story, and what it's like to have this disease. 

I first began suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, in 2008. Onset is usually triggered by a viral infection - I caught cold sores that didn't heal for six months, accompanied by a constant feeling of being run down and worn out. After a plethora of tests and referrals, I was finally diagnosed with CFS/ME. In the early days of my illness, I ignored it as much as possible. I was functioning at about 60% of full health - throwing myself into my work and occasional social life, and sleeping or resting every spare minute I got. 
Then in late 2010, one week into a three week TV series shoot, I fell ill with suspected swine flu. The stress of the long hours, combined with the shock of a sudden death in the family, made me particularly susceptible. Since then, I fluctuate between 50% and 20% of normal functioning.

So what does it feel like to have CFS/ME? Think of a time when you've had a really bad flu or virus, and you're over the worst of it, but you aren't better yet. You're weak as a kitten, your muscles and joints ache, and simple tasks like getting out of your chair, washing your hair or preparing a meal take monumental effort. This is daily life with ME. 

'Hang on,' I hear you say, 'you can't be that ill, I saw you down Romford/ doing makeup/ up the pub' (delete as appropriate). Let me explain to you the concept of 'spoons'. 
Physically, I feel like lying down or sleeping 24/7. Mentally, I want, no I have to do stuff otherwise I'll go completely mad. 

So in order to do anything at all, I have to use willpower and determination to get myself moving, when really I feel like curling up in bed. But when I do any physical activity, I'll pay for it the next day. This is where 'spoons' come in. Imagine energy is measured in spoons (don't ask why, just go with it.) A healthy person has 10 or 15 spoons a day to spend on activities, until they run out and feel tired. With CFS/ME and some other illnesses, you might only get 5, or maybe 3 per day. 'Wait,' I cry,  'that's only enough for breakfast, showering and getting to the bus stop! What about the rest of my day?'  
'Shh,' says the devil on my shoulder, 'just push through it, borrow some spoons from tomorrow.' 
I try to go about my day, walking slowly, needing to sit down here and there. 
Then tomorrow comes and I feel even more like hell than usual. I spend the day in bed, I don't get up to eat, I barely manage to drag myself to the bathroom. This is known as spoon deficit, but doctory types like to call it post-exertional malaise.

It's not recommended to push yourself or overdo it, but what choice do I have? The other option is staying in bed every day, and that gets boring and lonely very fast. I have ambitions, I want a life. And so do the millions of other sufferers around the world. However, there are currently no biological treatments offered for ME. Because the disease is so poorly understood, sufferers are only offered therapy or counselling to help them cope, along with painkillers or antidepressants (because, let's face it, this disease sure sucks the fun outta life). Some doctors until recently even thought the disease was psychosomatic, or 'all in the mind', but research has proven there is a real biological cause

Lives are ruined by this disease. Most never recover, some are left bedridden, some even die from it. We need more research to find effective treatments, and maybe even a cure, for this debilitating illness. 
This is why I am joining The Princesses and ME, to try to raise money for ME Research UK.

It started when a group of friends with ME started comparing themselves to princesses. 
The similarities - (taken from Me, Myself and M.E)

"Sleeping for a very long time like Sleeping Beauty
Being really uncomfortable in our beds and the slightest things annoying our conditions like the Princess and the pea
Feeling like we've been locked away  in a tower like Rapunzel
Wanting legs that work like Ariel (find me Ursula now!)
Being out past midnight is way too late for us to stay out like Cinderella and just like her brainfog would probably mean we left something behind
We have a large propensity for hope
The bed head of Princess Anna from Frozen (anyone else love that moment and think hey she's just like me)
And we are in search of a fairytale"

In order to raise money for ME research, I will be dressing up as a princess! I did aim to do it today, but in true ME fashion, I felt too ill - I had a stinking cold to contend with, on top of everything! This is also why I am posting it at 11pm at night!

I tried to take a quick selfie, but I look as ill as I feel! So take this fancy princess pic of my teddy, Theodore, as an IOU, and watch this space for fabulous princess Emma!

It would mean such a lot to me if you could make a donation. It doesn't matter how small, every little helps! The charity I've chosen does not test on animals, and funds research working towards effective treatment or a cure for ME.
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!
Thanks for reading,

Til next time,


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