Once upon a time...
Once upon a time there was a girl who was loving life. She was studying for a degree which she found fascinating, she had a wonderful group of friends, she was a fit, healthy and representing her university in one of the top hockey teams in the country. Oh, and she had just met the man of her dreams…..
All of a sudden, one day, she was struck with illness. She felt so poorly that she went to her family home, miles away to convalesce. It took her weeks to recover from the glandular fever the doctors diagnosed her with, but through a lot of rest, and a lot of care from her loving parents, this girl slowly but surely began to recover.
When she felt well enough, she returned to her previous life back at university that she knew and loved so dearly. Gradually she began to return to her pre-illness lifestyle, only to be hit a second time round with a different illness.
This time, the girl was left without the physical symptoms that had struck her down with the glandular fever, but instead left her with next to no energy. Once again her previous identity as a sport science student, a top hockey player, and lover of the social scene that comes hand-in-hand with university life was stripped away. This happy, healthy body was replaced with one that wouldn’t function properly. This new version of the girl left her exhausted after a simple conversation, unable to lift herself onto her bicycle, let alone ride it to lectures, and was forced to crawl up the stairs at night as she didn’t have the energy to walk. When she had to hang up her hockey kit for the last time and admit that she didn’t have the fitness to participate was one of the hardest things she did, ever.
This new alien body left her out of control and confused as to what to do. It took nearly a year to fight for a diagnosis which turned out to be M.E. also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. She then had to hatch a plan to improve her wellbeing for an illness that ‘had no cure’.
Determination set in, as this girl’s fighter spirit took over. She refused to listen to other stories of M.E. patients being bed bound for 10 years. Instead, she read around the subject to increase her knowledge and went to a variety of health consultants in order to seek help produce strategies to improve her condition.
Learning to listen to her body was the biggest lesson she has taken from this time of illness. She slept when she was tired, fuelled it with foods she learnt would give her optimal energy and fight other illnesses her frail body was so willing to let in, and carried on with her dissertation writing during sporadic times of having just enough energy to cope.
With this increased innate ability to listen to the signals her body sent, one very tiny step at a time she inched closer to regaining energy. She just about succeeded in completing her degree, and even managed to qualify a year after as a PE teacher, a career she had always dreamt of.
Today, she is shouting about how and why health is so vitally important, because she knows what it is like to have a body that doesn’t work optimally. She knows how it feels to be told “you look really well” by someone she hasn’t seen for a while whist on the inside her body is knotting with frustration holding back the comment “if only you knew how I am feeling” but didn’t have the energy to go into that conversation.
Today, and every day this girl revels the wonderful body she has. She lives life to the full. She eats foods that fuel her body optimally, she prioritises sleep, she has a positive mindset, and exercises regularly as this is a true celebration of how far she has come since her M.E. days.
This girl is me, Claire:
Survivor of M.E
Founder of DR ME a health business set up to inspire people to make their health and wellbeing a priority
Wife of the man she fell head over heels in love with at university
Mother of 2 amazing children, Sophie (12) and Edward (10)
I am passionate about getting the most out of life and live life to the motto ‘we have one body, and one life, live it and love it’. Throughout my journey of life, this hasn’t always been possible, but it has woken me to be responsible for my health and self-care.
It doesn’t always take a life changing event to realise that people are not getting the most of their bodies and their life. Sometimes, over time, we slip into bad habits that leave us feeling as though we are just about treading water.
If this story has hit a nerve with you, and you would like to talk to me about how I can give you a helping hand to get you back on track, feel energised and thrive again in life, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via my website www.doctor-me.co.uk.