Sunday 12 May 2024

Reflections on M.E. Awareness Day

Today I’ve been thinking about the millions of people missing around the world due to this illness, people like myself missing from education, from work and from society. Missing out on getting the degree and career they dreamed of or missing out from catching up with friends over coffee or a meal or holiday with their family and a million other things.

I think of the lack of funding M.E. receives which means lack of research which leads to the lack of effective treatments not yet found as well as understanding into this illness. There’s still so little that professionals understand about M.E. Even now people with M.E. aren’t getting the care they need because doctors and other professionals don’t understand. They see someone so ill with this illness that the can’t sit up, talk or eat and instead they think that the person is mentally ill instead of being ill with very severe M.E. So many people are facing injustice when it comes to our care.

Statistics from The M.E. Association have found that in nearly a third of patients have the most common waiting time for a diagnosis of M.E. which is between 2 and 5 years - I had to wait 4 years for my diagnosis 

Researchers at the University of Southampton have found that 1 in 3 people with severe/very severe M.E. have no access to local specialist services

Access to care shouldn’t be a postcode lottery. Where I live there’s no access to specialist care at all whatever level of M.E. you have. I also think greater access to social care is needed too. Diagnosis should also come sooner and GP’s should understand better on how to manage our care in the community along with community healthcare services: nurses, Occupational Therapists and physiotherapists as well as social workers to bring holistic care to patients. I also think that more professionals need to be aware of the different guidelines* to help them support people with M.E.

Today I’ve also been thinking about those that have lost their life to M.E.; whether they got too unwell or the illness got too unbearable for them. We need to remember and not forget these people. These people show the reality of M.E. and just how severe this illness can become; that M.E. is much more than ‘just feeling extra tired’.

But we won’t be forgotten. I’m determined to be a voice for people with M.E. and though I might be limited by my own experience with M.E. I will do all I can to help raise awareness, fundraise, blog and do opportunities with charities to let the millions be heard.

More about M.E. including my story, videos and links to other organisations