Mine is not the usual horror story of ME and I don't even admit to having ME: I claim "only" to have CFS (my GP diagnosis) as a result of burn-out and have been treated for depression for about six years.
I first started to feel really ill after neglecting a bout of gastric flu. I was a teacher and didn't want to miss the start of term but never really recovered. I limped on for a while but soon succumbed to more bouts of flu-like symptoms that didn't go away and had three months of sick-leave for "stress-related depression."
I left my post when I soon felt just as ill again and was unemployed for a several months but had to seek continuous work again.
Despite strenuous efforts on my part to keep well and fulfil my duties to the best of my capabilities, I suffered a complete collapse in September, 2003 and was almost bed-bound for many months.
I have been unable to work full-time since then and even very small, part-time jobs cause the flu-symptoms, severe headaches, blackouts, loss of balance, nausea, weak limbs, IBS, brain-fog and exhaustion to start up again.
I'm one of the lucky ones. I was able to sell my house to avoid mortgage payments and buy a cheaper house elsewhere with the equity and after struggling to work part-time for a while, I became eligible for my OAP pension.
I think I've reached a plateau now. I'm as active as I can be, doing exercises every day, walking my dogs at least three times a day (even if I sometimes have to use a stick to remain upright!) and looking after myself without outside help.
I now do as much as I can to help support the others who are less fortunate with this horrible illness and would dearly love to see an effective cure for it.