I had had joint problems for many years, tendon problems and more recently, eye dryness, blurred vision, dry nose, dry ears, periods of extreme fatigue, and even more recently, very dry skin and genitals. Of course, I had been to see my GP and various specialists over time, but usually just with one or two of these symptoms. IBS and reflux were also on the agenda. The doctors were always kind, considerate and sympathetic, but I always felt like a heart-sink patient and began to become extremely anxious about seeking advice.
I had been told I was depressed, and possibly, I was – not surprising really, as I was struggling with getting through each day. And I began to feel my illness was ‘all in the mind’. I also developed some lung problems in that time – shown on a CT as bronchiectasis, and then asthma. Not surprising, I also acquired the label of ‘anxious patient’.
My interest in social care and social work started from a young age, stemming from my own personal experiences with understanding mine and my sibling’s adoption. I remember being very curious of the social workers and felt that as a career it must be rewarding, but not really at the time understanding the pressures it brings too.
I backpacked around the world before I started university and knew whilst I was away that I wanted to go into a career that made a difference in some way, shape, or form. At university I studied Social Studies and Sociology and carried out my placement at an alcohol and drug dependency service. This is also where I carried out my dissertation. However, it was during my work experience with a variety of charities whilst at university and also when I graduated that I realised I was interested in working within the charity sector and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Read the rest of Jen's story here...
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Being quite young and having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is very hard because I constantly feel like I am not what I'm meant to be, I'm wasting time and this is supposed to be the best time in my life. I should be out in pubs and clubs with my friends, working towards a career that I trained hard for and enjoying my nieces and nephews with my husband. But since early summer 2010 my life has been anything but all the things you would have expected. Two months after getting the job I had always wished I would have my Dad had a heart attack right in front of me, and a week later I got a flu-bug that I never recovered from. I was bed bound, exhausted and felt like my whole world had been turned the wrong way up. The experts call this “Severe-Onset Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” and very few people ever recover much quality of life. Read more of Lisa's story here.....