I have been suffering with M.E. for over 4 years now and life is still a struggle. I'm incredibly lucky not to be bed-bound, but continuing with "normal" things is made very difficult but this hideously unrecognised illness.
Just over 4 years ago I started fainting for no reason. I've always been fit and active and enjoyed playing sport for up to 5 nights a week. The worst case of fainting happened when I was at work and I fell down 2 flights of stairs - I was lucky not to have broken anything and walked away with bruises.
I then endured a year of visits to my local GP who told me on every single visit that as a 23 year old at the time, I had obviously been burning the candle at both ends and perhaps I should consider an early night. I persisted and managed to get referred to various cardiologists before finally meeting an amazing specialist who immediately diagnosed me with M.E. The relief was incredible and I shall remember that diagnosis for the rest of my life.
Since then I still have my ups and downs. I get a lot of muscle pain, headaches, episodes of fainting without warning, very low blood pressure and of course extreme exhaustion to name but a few. I struggle to work full time (often heading straight to bed when I come home) and still participate in my favourite sports but at times this is impossible. Some friends are unable to recognise that I am tired more than they are after a night out and my social life has been turned upside down. Whenever I go out, it is like a military operation - I need to know exact times, how far I might have to walk and when I can get back to the car to head home.
I get frustrated at the attitude of qualified doctors and also society to the point that I now dread going back to the GP. At work I have been asked to go to see the company doctor as no-one believes I'm unwell yet they see me struggling to walk on occasions!
Even now, my ever-so-helpful GP tells me to just avoid any situations where I might feel faint and just to stop driving altogether. Not very helpful advice for an ambitious and conscientious 27 year old!