By Frances Ryan in The Pool.
It’s been eight weeks since Frances Ryan left the house, five weeks since she learnt to eat again – and three months since exhaustion took its hold. This is a familiar reality for millions of women living with debilitating illness in the UK, she says. So, why aren’t we talking about it ?
The colour of my bedroom wall is egg white mixed with grey and there are two small cracks below the left window. I don’t know exactly how long I’d been in bed when I started to notice the minutia of my surroundings. It’s been eight weeks since I’ve been able to leave the house. Five weeks since I learnt to eat again. And three months since I caught the flu that would floor me in a way I had never imagined was possible.
A low immune system combined with weak muscles means I’ve had my fair share of illnesses over the years – and a few other people’s as well. Still, until this winter, I’d never seen my body break. I’d never felt a level of exhaustion so complete that even breathing became too much to handle. By January, the flu had become flu complications and I had become joined to my mattress, barely able to move.
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