The Chronically Ill Student



By Jo Hadler in ME Support.


I was 14 when I began to notice that I was different from my school friends. I had what I thought were growing pains in my legs, stomach problems, felt sick, had frequent headaches and worst of all, I had no energy. After many blood tests and visits to many different doctors, I was diagnosed with CFS/M.E. in 2005, when I was 15.

My teenage years are a blur to me now as I tried to keep up with my friends – by drinking, drug taking and staying out all night. All I remember is feeling exhausted constantly. Eventually it caught up with me and my ‘friends’ stopped inviting me out, as they knew I would only make my excuses.

I felt embarrassed throughout school and college and would never admit to anyone that I had M.E. Looking back now, I felt ashamed that I wasn’t ‘normal’ and couldn’t do the things other people my age were doing. I dropped out of college twice – both times due to my M.E. as well as me lacking in confidence and not being able to manage the workload.

I will always remember July 2009. I discovered that my boyfriend at the time had been cheating on me and so I made the impulsive decision that I was going to leave, go to university to study music and pursue my dreams of being a singer. My parents were pleased with my decision, but also worried as it was a quick decision that I hadn’t actually thought about. I just wanted to get away and do something different. I don’t think they thought I would be able to manage it but they were happy that I was attempting to do something so big!


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