I have fifty minutes left to write this.
May 12th is M.E awareness day.
To be honest, writing that I have M.E is something I don’t enjoy doing. I almost feel uncomfortable. And not just because it’s a rubbish thing to have, but because the stigma of the condition is sometimes too much to deal with.
Lazy, yuppie and work-shy are just a few of the words thrown around in relation to M.E, but if you are a person who thinks that, please let this post be a reminder of the reality people with the condition face.
After having meningitis and almost-kidney-failure, which is totally a medical term, my body decided it had been working too hard and it needed to shut down for a while. That’s how my paediatrician explained my illness to me, a pretty confused nine year old who was usually quite eloquent but just couldn’t quite put this one into words.
The following years are a blur, to be honest. My younger teenage years are cloudy in my head- a mixture of attempting to attend school, trying to keep up with interacting with my peers, of physiotherapy, of being carried down the stairs by my parents who refused to let me be reduced to a ball of ill, of wheelchairs, of hospital appointments.
Of course, there were happier times, but sadly the reality is that most of these times were followed by days or weeks in bed.
Fatigue drowned my body, as did pain and my lack of concentration impacted on my day to day life. One hour of home tuition a week would leave me too exhausted to function over the next few days.
Things got better.
I am now at university, and I have never counted myself so lucky as I do each and every day. Yes, I moan about the state of my student kitchen and the amount of deadlines I have to do, but the alternative is much worse.
I can go out to the shops if I decide I want to, i’m lucky enough to be able to drive, to be able to work and study and read and all of those things that so many people take for granted on the daily. I’m even running a blinkin’ 10k. OK, it might be more of a walk, but let’s face it – that’s an achievement in itself.
I try to be open about my experiences with M.E, because I know I am not lazy, or work-shy, or any of the words used to describe me.
I am someone who strives every day to be a better version of herself. I am someone who will never accept failure in her work, or grades.
I am Rosie.
I am not my illness. I will never be my illness.
I am Rosie.
If you do have M.E and you’re reading this, please please don’t be disheartened. All it takes is time, patience and perseverance.