When we think of disability and chronic illness, a number of things automatically come to mind. We pretty much all know someone who suffers daily with an incurable condition. And thankfully, respect for disability and illness has become much more the norm in a society which once viewed it as shameful and worthy of derision.
Whereas years ago, for example, it was fairly unusual to see even a wheelchair out and about, these days most of us are aware of the variety of fantastic equipment available to assist those who need it, such as living aids, scooters and hoists, to name a few.
But the work to promote awareness of disability and chronic illness never stops. It can’t. Because there’s always something that needs to be addressed. There’s always someone new who needs to be persuaded to see a person suffering from a disability or chronic illness as just as worthy of love and respect as his or her favourite celebrity, for instance.
One of the chronic illnesses that is most common yet most misunderstood is chronic fatigue syndrome. As always, you’ll need to seek professional help and a professional diagnosis. But I do hope that these very real symptoms can lead you on the right path if you think this is something that may afflict you.
Many times it is misunderstood and those who have chronic fatigue syndrome can be seen as suffering from a mental issue rather than a physical one. Chronic fatigue syndrome is very real as are the symptoms that afflict those who suffer from it.
Aches and Pains
We all get them. Those aches and pains that seem to not have any logical reasoning. The difference is that for some of us they come and go. But for someone else they may remain much longer than expected and truly have no rhyme or reason.
Pain that is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome usually persists for weeks or even months and can range from mild to severe. The impairment this causes is very real and can seriously affect day to day life and your health.
Lowered Immune System
When your immune system is compromised you are more susceptible to colds, flu, and other nagging bugs. Sure, we can all catch them. But if you find yourself suffering from one cold after another you should try to strengthen your immune system with diet and exercise as well as see your GP.
Another very real symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome is a disturbed sleep cycle. Those with the illness can be exhausted all day yet find it difficult to get sleep at night. If they do have a relatively good night’s sleep they will find themselves tired as soon as they wake up.
Sometimes the cycle is so disturbed that they’ll only be able to sleep at odd times that have no rhyme or reason.
There are things that trigger us all. From bright lights to certain smells. We all react differently but those with CFS can have a severe and unpleasant reaction.
From loud sounds causing pain to certain smells making you literally sick the overstimulation impairs day to day life drastically.
Going to a dark and quiet room can usually help. But as you know, it’s not something you can easily do if you work in an office, for example.
The list goes on. From digestive issues to a rare condition called orthostatic intolerance (or the need to have a lie down after being on your feet even for a short while) the issues that afflict those with CFS are very real. They affect day to day life. And as you can see, they consist a collection of misunderstood symptoms that hinder daily life.
If you suffer or know someone who suffers from CFS, I’d love to hear your thoughts.