By Camilla Maxted in BuzzFeed.
It took 11 medical appointments across 20 weeks of pain and despair before I finally got a diagnosis.
For months, I’d been suffering from exhaustion so extreme that bit by bit, I’d had to let my whole life drop away. For a long time I tried to ignore it – after all, who stops doing anything just because they’re tired? – but life became simply impossible. So first I cut down on my activities – like going for a run or seeing my friends – then, as my condition got worse, I cut them out completely. As for my job, I tried working from home, and I tried working half days. But my body just wouldn’t play ball, and I had to stop working completely.
The tiredness was on a par with the worst flu you’ve ever had: Remember trying to drag yourself to the bathroom, or being hungry but barely strong enough to make food? As well as the fatigue, there were all sorts of aches and pains: a soreness in my spine, headaches and heavy limbs.
But this had lasted way longer than any flu. And now, here I was. After many fruitless discussions with GPs and inconclusive tests, I was finally in front of a specialist. He’d been able to put a clear label on my illness: a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. And he was now telling me that he had a track record of helping patients to recover. I nearly wept at my good fortune.
The doctor gave me an exercise program. “We’ll start small and build up from there,” he told me. “Stick to the routine and you’ll see results.” He also said it was important that I stayed positive and didn’t get too “lost” in my symptoms. “Try not to give them too much space in your mind, because you run the risk of magnifying them.”
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