According to a story from BBC, 28 year old Saskia James has struggled with myalgic encephalomyelitis (also called chronic fatigue syndrome) for years, which began with the onset of seizures at age 14. She declined to the point that she couldn’t hold a job and had to live with her parents. However, she has begun to slowly improve and has recently been able to start working again:
“I never let it define me, slow me down or dictate what I could or couldn’t do, but in hindsight that was probably a mistake.” – Saskia
About Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)
Myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, is a rare condition which is most characterized by long term fatigue and other symptoms which severely impact a person’s ability to fulfill daily tasks. The exact cause of the syndrome is poorly understood. Risk factors may include family history, low physical fitness, old age, mental health problems, and allergies. Women are also more likely to get myalgic encephalomyelitis than men. The characteristic symptom is severe, persistent fatigue that has no definitive cause and is not resolved with rest; other symptoms include difficulty sleeping, worsening of symptoms following exercise, night sweats, sensitivities to certain foods, noise, or odors, muscle and joint pain, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and sore throat. Symptoms may appear gradually or suddenly, and in severe cases can leave a patient bedridden. Some treatments may include energy management strategies such as pacing and changes in diet. To learn more about myalgic encephalomyelitis, click here.
Saskia shared her journey with the illness as part of ME Awareness Week, which was recognized from May 9-15 this year. According to the ME Association, as many as 265,000 people in the UK could be living with the disease.
“Having people understand that it’s a very serious medical condition is important.”
Saskia was able to find employment with the company Good Energy. Finding an employer that could understand her needs was critical, as she knows she is only capable of part time work and may require a bit more time off than others.
“I’m more grateful for the small, simple things, more empathetic with those who don’t find life easy, and more careful with my time and energy.”