By Carl Jackson 09/05 Updated: 11/05 11:34
A BROMSGROVE woman who has ME is raising awareness of her the delibitating condition ahead of National ME day on Saturday (May 12).
Clare Cartlidge, 22, from Catshill, was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) - also called chronic fatigue syndrome and fybromyalgia - last year, however she has been suffering from the symptoms of the illness since she was 14-years-old.
ME causes people's muscles to feel severly tired and painful after mild exercise or activity. The illness also affects the nervous system by causing headaches, concentration loss and in some cases short-term memory loss. In sever instances sufferers can be bed-bound.
Clare, who now lives in Brockhill, said teachers thought she hated school because she was forced to have so much time off when she attended North Bromsgrove High School.
She said: "In my worst experiences, I haven't been able to move around much at all.
"I find it tiring to walk to the kitchen and cook myself some food.
"A two-minute walk to the shop on one of my worst days would be out of the question."
Clare complained to doctors over the years about a variety of symptoms but only ever recieved tablets to help her sleep and paracetemol for her headaches. She suffered from back pain but x-rays never showed anything up and physiotherapy was ineffective.
It was only after meeting a friend with ME that Clare, who aspires to be a photographer, realised she had the same symptoms.
"It scared me a little and it took me a couple of years of building up the courage to get diagnosed," said Clare.
Now she is urging people to donate to 'Association of Young People with ME' (AYME) to fund research into the illness that does not currently have a cure.
Clare said: "I haven't had any support from the doctors, no referrals to anyone that can help, no advice on how to deal with it, I have had to do it all alone, until I found the AYME website.
"That had so much information about the illness, worded in a way I could understand.
"The site features people with ME who you can chat to about your experiences - it is really comforting."
Clare sells her on own jewellery via Facebook and up until tomorrow (Saturday), 50p of each item sold will be going towards ME awareness. Her jewellery is available at http://www.facebook.com/CeeCeesJewels
For more information on ME you can visit www.AYME.org.uk
● The Worcestershire ME Support Group meets at Bromsgrove Methodist Centre, Stratford Road, between 1.25pm and 3.15pm on Thursday (May 17).
Edwina Evans the Bromsgrove contact for the group can be contacted on 01527 832 245.
The group also holds meetings around the county, for more, visit http://worcsmegroup.weebly.com
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