28 November 2013

Dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome as a teen // Part One

This is a topic I've very lightly touched upon on my blog but never really delved in to, even though I write personal posts on here, this is something very personal to me. Which when I think of it, is almost shocking. It's the main reason and outlet I used and why I created 'sjmwell'. 
I'm torn between wanting to keep all of this hidden in a drawer of my memories and also publishing this and helping anyone out there reading this in the same boat right now. 

When I was in year 10 I became really ill and absolutely drained. I still remember the day I started feeling absolutely like death, I came home from school and just collapsed in bed and did not move for a week, no exaggeration. "Oh it's a teen thing, out all day and partying" no. I never was and I'm still not one of 'those' teenagers. I was getting top grades in all my classes and I was set for A* on my upcoming gcse exams. 

The summer of year 10 is when my life went rambling out of control. I got more and more ill and more and more drained, constantly feeling exhausted and like a drained zombie. I experienced headaches, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, disturbed sleep, severe stomach cramps/pain, light sensitivity (which is why half the time I wear sunglasses in ootd) and many many more that I found myself just residing under the safety of my bed covers afraid to go anywhere. I was a massive emotional wreck and the fact I could not attend school stressed me out even more then you can imagine. Before I got ill I was an active, very happy teen who would go out straight after school until the evening to see friends, I would swim for 4 hours and then bike home, shower and sleep then school, and was learning to scuba dive and all that fun stuff. I was slowly getting worse, and I was so stressed I felt completely out of control. It really did not happen over night except from the previous I mentioned.

 I was slowly getting worse and my friends were completely clueless and confused at what was going on. I'm going to be completely honest as I always am on my blog. I decided last year to completely delete this chapter out of my memory because it really emotionally affected me and it really really was the lowest point that I really can't remember the exact timeline of events because I just do not want to go back there. I also found I put on around 2 stone in weight which I've only just finally got rid of, that really did not help matters on the rest of everything else. 

All I remember is going to constant doctor and hospital appointments, frequent blood tests and the most horrible experience was a brain scan. After constantly going to the doctors with the hope they'll find something I finally did. I found doctors really didn't listen to me and I was fogged off with "it's your age" but I was pretty sure growing up didn't feel like I felt. I finally got referred after 2 years of fighting and told everything I was experiencing was chronic fatigue syndrome/ M.E/ CFS /myalgic encephalomyelitis or for some post viral syndrome but as I didn't get a viral infection or flu it wasn't that.  

So, yay you're going to get better and drink some medicine right? wrong. For me, nothing got better. I just had to deal with it. Like I said, I'm going to be completely honest whether writing this makes me feel sad to re-live it or not. 
I was referred to CBT, which was absolutely rubbish personally, some may find it works wonders but for me, no, no not in the slightest. I remember having a huge panic attack and collapsing in the toilets crying my eyes out, I thought I was having a heart attack because I didn't even know what panic attacks felt like, I'd never experienced anything like it before. So, yes I did not continue that course at all.  
I'd became so anxious that I couldn't enter the exam hall and had to do it seperately, I was quickly becoming someone I didn't even know, I'd never been so socially excluded before, I'd done lots of exams without any problem the years before year 11, yes nerves like everyone, but I was a wreck.
After I finally finished school and got my exams out the way, my next hurdle was college. hm. I was still really socially anxious and to put it simply, I found it hard to even go to the corner shop without going with someone, I couldn't do anything without wanting to burst into tears. I cut my self off from all of my friends and deleted every social networking site I had and changed my number. My sleeping was really affected and I never slept, I often stayed awake all night and just stayed up the next day and just felt asleep when I felt like it, I was exhausted and tired and no matter how much I slept it made no difference, it wasn't refreshing sleep in the slightest, I was fed up. I found even the simplest tasks would leave me in absolute pain, my leg muscles made me suffer from doing the smallest amount of walking. If I ever done a big day out such as London I would need 2-3 days before and after of ~recovery~ I remember stumbling on Michelle Phans videos one evening, and I become obsessed with watching her make-up videos, I then found Kayla Hadlingtons blog and absolutely loved how you could document your diy's or outfits of the day and decided to make my own, and well... this is how Sjmwell came about. My blog was something I could escape to and pour my hobbies and loves into from the confines of my bed where I was so fed-up and bored of being without all of my friends. It quickly gave me a purpose and It's only now I realise just how thankful I am for blogging. 

I've literally rambled. I will be splitting this post into two because It's so long! 
Still cannot believe I actually wrote all of this. I will try and have part two up soon, and thank you so much to anyone who took the time to read this.

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  1. Oh gosh, that must have been awful for you...I hope you're beginning to feel better! I've suffered with a similiar condition, but not as bad as yours got though...so I kind of know how you feel/felt. Lots of Love :*

    Megan xo

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting Megan, I hope you're feeling better! xx

  2. That sounds horrible! I hope you're doing better now Sam! :) xo

  3. So so pleased you have shared your story (part one of) I know how difficult it can be going back to such bad times in your mind when all you want is to escape that time. Like you blogging has helped me whilst being so so sick, I don't know what I would do without it now! Are you now at a stage where your symptoms are all under control but you know you can't push it too far? Proud of you for being so open about this and coming forward with your experience. Lots of love!
    Hayley-Eszti xx

  4. The exact same thing happened to me just after I had the swine flu jab shortly followed my my step Dad. The worst part is no doctor understood when I explained how tired and drained I was and I experienced the exact same thing where if I did too much one day, it would take me days to recover. I eventually ended up with chronic depression and gained a lot of weight which I'm battling to get rid of. My step dad finally sore a doctor who deals with Post Viral Syndrome on the Wednesday just gone. He thinks that we have a lack of dopamine in our brains, something people under 31 grow out of. My step Dad however, will need drugs to boost his anti depressants and increase the levels of dopamine in his brain. If your still struggling for a diagnosis (we've been down the M.E/M.S/stroke route) it's definitely something I'd bring up with your doctor x x


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