There was a time, a little while ago when I first got diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Many of my friends and even some of my family to this day did not know of the struggles that I had (and often still have to this day) and some did not or do not even know of my diagnosis either! I struggled hard though! I am talking; constantly feeling run down, sluggish, tired, un-motivated, bored, fed up, ill and much more. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is often a misunderstood illness as it is invisible to others, in that others cannot see your headaches, nausea, chronic tiredness, pain and so on. I was actually sleeping for sometimes 15 hours in a day and still not feeling refreshed when I woke up!
I knew something had to be done. I had countless trips to the local hospital where I received some amazing support and advice, which I took away with me and still use to this day. I had gone from having 4 jobs, down to just 1 and even now I work less hours than most people would. Some may say that I should work more hours, some may say that I should work less. The hospital said I shouldn’t work at all! But no, if there is one thing that I am, that is determined. I would fight to recover my body and fight to recover my mind I thought to myself. Some days my biggest achievement was getting out of bed, other days my biggest achievement was getting less than 12 hours sleep and still being able to function adequately enough to make it through the day. My concentration was poor, I would struggle to keep my eyes open, socialising became more and more infrequent and I was lucky if I made it through work or seeing friends and family without yawning every 5 minutes.
Slowly, with the help of the hospital, I started to re-prioritise things in my life. “Say no to more” was a quote used by the hospital. I had kept a diary of my life after I had gotten ill and been diagnosed with CFS, which was to keep track of where my time was spent. I was a busy, busy girl let’s put it that way! At first, I did not understand what “say no to more” actually meant and why it would help me with my illness but I was burning the candle at both ends (and more!) So I started to say no to more. Less setting myself impossible goals with unrealistic time frames to achieve them in, less socialising by limiting how often I saw friends or family and trying to meet up with more people together at the same time rather than seeing individuals on their own on several different nights, doing several different things. All of these things were draining. Having 4 jobs was also a massive no-no, believe me if you pick money over health, you have the wrong mind set, as you will eventually make yourself ill anyway and spend money on prescriptions, health care & vitamins! Balance keeps the body in harmony. You will know as an individual whether you are doing too much so it is best to evaluate your life if you do feel stressed, run down or exhausted.
Anyway, what happened to me was that I did eventually learn to stop sleeping for 15 hours a day you will be pleased to learn. I got my life back on track. I felt able to concentrate better, able to work at my job without feeling overwhelmed, able to get out of bed in the mornings and I am a lot better nowadays. Although I still have CFS and it probably won’t ever completely go away (I still have my good days and my bad days) things are looking a lot better for me. Now though, all this has made me realise I have achieved so much. Simple things that would have meant nothing to your normal everyday person were big accomplishments to me but it made me appreciate my life a lot more and I really do thank my lucky stars when I wake up without a headache or other more severe and daunting symptoms.
For this reason, I decided to start writing. I realised when I was suffering hard with my illness that I may not ever be able to work (I had certainly been advised by many doctors and health professionals not to work at all) and just claim disability benefits. But I do not see CFS as a disability. I see it as an opportunity. My brainwave came when I realised I could write when I wanted despite having an illness. Some days, as I said, I could not get myself out of bed or I would sleep through my alarm clock. Other days I had moments of ‘can do’ attitude and creative thinking. So that is why I decided to start blogging. I want to prove to others that you can overcome illness (whether mental, physical or invisible to others). Do what you can to make yourself happy. Be proud of the smallest accomplishments. I would like to be a published author and I see this as a long term goal as I would like to do it as a career so CFS was my motivation to start this blog and follow my dreams on my path to my future writing career.