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4 people with hidden impairments
Norton's experiences with M.E.
Thanks for your e-mail and the link which I've looked at and which seems very useful.
There are visible impairments with M.E., such as, in my case, walking slowly or limping, breathlessness, slurred or hesitant speech, the inability to lift things, and allergies which show as skin problems, all of which other people could easily notice.
However, that's the tip of the iceberg. The 'hidden impairments' of M.E. - again I can only speak about myself - are: tiredness at different times of the day and tiredness on some days and not others; sometimes tiredness so bad you feel like you have flu, sometimes feeling normal; confused thinking, lack of concentration which can appear to other people to be stupidity; hunger at certain times of the day which causes tiredness; needing to sat indoors some days because you're too tired to go out and therefore being literally invisible; when you get a cold or virus, it goes 'underground' and your symptoms come out as tiredness instead of the ones you'd expect; anxiety, depression, fear, disturbed sleep, over sensitivity to noise, mood changes, overreaction to small stresses, anger and irritability; short-term memory loss; strong reaction to medicines and foods or drinks such as alcohol; headaches or falling asleep after concentrating too hard.
Although I've had to give up some of the things I used to do such as lengthy analytical work and have decided to ditch some things like my teaching skills (I used to be a secondary school teacher) because they've been destructive to me, I still have lots of things I can do: read, write poetry, cook, learn the computer (I'm still a beginner), shop when I'm well, organise the household finances, follow art and music, play the guitar, travel when I can, do yoga and try tai chi, meditate, I still feel that the government would rather I limp to the nearest call centre and get off their welfare register.
Daily I meet the barrier of misunderstanding, ignorance and a lack of provision for my condition. That leads to self-doubt. have I really got it? (Yes). Are the symptoms real? (yes).
I hope that goes some way to describing the 'hidden' side of M.E. and it might be of use on your site. Keep in touch.
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