With hindsight, I believe my ME started in c. 2003. I suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks, and had to have a general anaesthetic as a result. After that, I started to have occasional woozy moments but thought nothing of it. In 2004 I was offered redundancy while pregnant, which I took without hesitation! I then had my first child, and was told I reacted to the pethidine with an unusual rash. I was obviously very tired with a new baby, and the days seemed to blend in to one another. After a few months I felt I needed to do something for me, and so started a tiny part time business from home doing something I love. This gave me a different focus for a short while which was psychologically invaluable, but did increase the pressure on my time. I started to have odd moments of feeling like I was sitting on a boat on a choppy sea, I suffered with more and more colds, and even though I grabbed chances to sleep whenever I could, I was still permanently tired.
I then had my second child in 2007, and again had pethidine. This was closely followed by a personal trauma and my health just went downhill. I knew I wasn’t feeling right, and over the next 18 months or so I saw various doctors with different symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, tiredness etc. In isolation these symptoms weren’t much, but I didn’t consider them linked together. Responses from doctors ranged from ‘delegate out your children’ to ‘you’re anxious’…obviously anxious as I wasn’t well yet no-one was listening! The last doctor told me to do daily exercise which I did, and by the end of the week I was confined to the sofa. I started to do my shopping online, and my daily focus was getting to and from Pre-School and very little else which I found quite isolating.
I started to do my own research online, and the more I read about ME, the more it sounded like they were describing how I felt. My first of several turning points was reading ’Recovery from CFS: 50 Personal Stories’ by Alexandra Barton, and it really motivated me into thinking that there was something within my control that I could do to get better. The next turning point was finding a reference to the Optimum Health Clinic online and so I gave them a call. It was suggested that I did both the nutrition and psychology elements, and although I was sceptical about the psychology side of it, I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a try.
My nutritionist at the Optimum Health Clinic (the wonderful Lesley) talked me through appropriate dietary changes and taking supplements which really helped and which I broadly still follow. I also did the 90 Day Programme, which made me look at my life more closely, and I came away with some great tools to help me optimise my energy and calm my nervous system.
Thanks to the Optimum Health Clinic approach, and some other complementary supports, my life now is unrecognisable from a couple of years ago, and it makes me quite emotional to think about this! My children are growing fast, and I am able to be there for them whenever they need me and keep up with their very busy social lives! My social life is much busier too, and not only is my part time business from home still going, but I also have a second part time job at the Pre-School which has been a great boost to my confidence. We are in the process of moving house, and I am so pleased and excited not only about our new life, but also that I am coping so well with the stresses of the move!
I feel truly lucky that the Optimum Health Clinic team have helped me to help myself, and took me seriously at a time when no-one else did. I felt so embarrassed that I had let myself get into such a state (even though I didn’t realise it at the time), but now I realise that it was simply my body’s way of telling me that I was trying to cope too well with too much. My message to anyone reading this would be: don’t underestimate ME. It is your body’s way of telling you that you need to be doing things differently, and you really do need to work at overcoming it. To do that, you must always believe that one day you will.