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Girl Confessions: I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I’m Not Afraid To Say It

My little sister Megan has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Seeing as this is confessions week you might be wondering why I am writing this and not her personally, after all I don’t have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The truth is, she isn’t well enough to write up a full length article herself – but we’d still like to share her story.

Earlier this week I interviewed Megan – this is what she had to say:

How did you find out you had chronic fatigue syndrome?

In October 2014 a paediatrician told me I have it, I’d been suffering from extreme fatigue and this was around six months after they first discussed the condition as something I might have.

What were your symptoms?

Extreme tiredness and fatigue that no amount of sleep could cure. I developed extreme anxiety. I became more sensitive to light and background noise and suffered from ‘brain fog’.

 

How did chronic fatigue make you feel?

I wasn’t shocked to find out. It was terrible all the time, tired all the time and down a lot. It was not a burden in that I have learnt to deal with it.

Did you tell your friends that you have CFS?

No, not straight away. Only four friends know, I told them I was ill and they still don’t know in detail. I’m unable to drop it into a conversation, what it is exactly and how it affects me.

How do you feel now?

Much the same but have learned to cope. The anxiety is less as I have conditioned myself not to feel it, not to let it take over.

What has helped you cope?

My psychologist has provided coping strategies and it has been good to talk to someone outside of the family.

What would you tell anyone if they judged someone for being ill?

You need to stop it. You don’t understand. How would you feel if it was you? Imagine yourself in my situation or someone who is so severely affected they can’t even brush their own hair.

If you would like to learn more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, please visit: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Chronic-fatigue-syndrome/Pages/Causes.aspx

Emma Yeo is a history student at Durham University in England. As well as writing for lots of the student publications at the uni, she is currently writing a novel about a time travelling young heroine.
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