ME Awareness: The hidden illness mum and daughter want you to know about | 11 May 2019

 

By Emma Grimshaw, Bristol Live, 11 May 2019.

Thousands of people suffer from ME, or chronic fatigue syndrome, across the country

When Helen Wood was eight years old she struggled with constant aches across her body and chronic fatigue. She constantly visited her GP who kept blaming the symptoms on an infection.

After years of doctor appointments, Helen who lives in Thornbury was finally diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, known as M.E. or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Helen with her mum Liz. Bristol Live.

She was unable to continue school, leaving with no GCSEs, and now spends her days trapped in her own home. Walking to the shops or even boarding a bus is too tiring for Helen, who is now aged 29.

Frustratingly for Helen, she finds people do not understand her illness and some throw ‘strange looks’ when they see her parked in a disabled bay.

“I spend most of my time on the couch. I barely leave home apart from having appointments. It’s depressing. I want to get better and lead a normal life. I didn’t choose to be ill like this.” 

Helen Wood

She said: “Not every ME sufferer has the same symptoms and to look at me most people would think there is nothing wrong with me. ME is in fact an invisible illness and so how I look and how I feel are two different things.”

“I spend most of my time on the couch. I barely leave home apart from having appointments. It’s depressing. I want to get better and lead a normal life. I didn’t choose to be ill like this.”

“We do get lots of weird looks from people when we are either parked on double yellow lines or in disabled spaces.”

To raise awareness about the condition, Helen and her mum Liz will be handing out leaflets at the Mall on Saturday. The event coincides with ME awareness week which  is running until May 12.

What is ME?

According to the NHS the main symptoms are :

  • sleep problems
  • muscle or joint pain
  • headaches
  • a sore throat or sore glands that aren’t swollen
  • problems thinking, remembering or concentrating
  • flu-like symptoms
  • feeling dizzy or sick
  • fast or irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations)
  • Chronic fatigue

Most people find overexercising makes their symptoms worse.

The severity of symptoms can vary from day to day, or even within a day.

For more information visit the ME Association website.

The ME Association

Real People. Real Disease. Real M.E.

We are a national charity working hard to make the UK a better place for people whose lives have been devastated by an often-misunderstood neurological disease.

If you would like to support our efforts – particularly during ME Awareness Week – and help ensure we can continue to inform, support, advocate and invest in biomedical research, then please donate today.

Just click the image opposite and visit our JustGiving page for one-off donations, to establish a regular payment or to create your own fundraising event.

Or why not join the ME Association as a member and be part of our growing community? For a monthly (or annual) subscription you will also receive our exclusive ME Essential magazine.


ME Association Registered Charity Number 801279