I was diagnosed with a chronic illness by the name of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, otherwise known as M.E at the age of 13. I didn’t really know what was happening to me until a good 6 months later, which I guess is actually pretty good considering many go years without a proper diagnosis. Anyhow, the cause to M.E is unknown just like the cure, although there is a pretty common theory that trauma, stress, poor health, auto immune problems and even some vaccines are what ‘triggers’ it. If this happens to be the case, I either developed M.E from the death of a loved one, coming back from France with Cryptosporidium or the vaccine I was given only 6 months prior to falling ill. It could even be a combination of all 3, who knows. At 13, you can imagine what went through my head. Not a fun experience I can tell you that.
By the time I was diagnosed, I couldn’t cope with school anymore or pretty much anything really, so I took to my bed fairly quickly. My bed quickly became my worst enemy and my savour. Having yet another illness, this time one that people definitely didn’t know, was hard enough. Having your once close friends desert you all in the name of a good old rumour was even better. Something along the lines of ‘lazy’, ‘crazy’ and ‘she’s making it up to get off school’ is what I believe was being said. The isolation and having no one other than my mum to talk to most of the day, being trapped in your own bed, invisible weights on all your limbs, the sharp and sudden pain triggered with the slightest of movements, the increasing jealously and envy of those you once knew and the over whelming, never ending, energy draining fatigue is enough to make a person mad.
After a long time of slow and steady steps, taking each day as it comes, I’m pleased to say I’m better than I was and certainly happier. It’s been 3 years since the day’s of crawling on my hands and knees in tears in absolute agony, unable to brush my own hair, and I’m hoping that they are well and truly behind me. Between then and now, I have managed my Science GCSE and my BTEC Art and Design from home. I came out with a B in Science and a Distinction** in my Art which is safe to say, I was over the moon with. Now, after 3 years of basically having no friends what so ever other than over the internet, you can imagine 15 year old me being a bit of a awkward, anxious, well very anxious, little spud. Despite my fears, I made it to my school prom and I proved to everyone that ever doubted me that I could do it and you know what? God did I smile.
I’m 16 now. It hasn’t been easy accepting the fact I’ve lost an important part of my life due to being so ill but I now look at it as a reminder. A reminder that things may not always be easy, but I’m stubborn enough and determined enough to never let anything stop me from living my life rather than just, well, existing. As long as my family are by my side and I still have hope, I can get through anything.
I’m in college now too, and although things aren’t going too well health wise right now, I’m trying my best and I’m still a lot better than I was. I may only be 16, I also may have not experienced what adults do or whatever, and yes I make stupid decisions from time to time but I appreciate what I can do, I love those around me and I make sure that I get the most out of each day that I possibly can. Living with a chronic illness of any sort is hard, hard being the understatement of the century, but I’m learning to enjoy life the way I can. Perhaps you could say, I’m learning to dance in the rain.