Why You Should Never Judge a Book By It's Cover

I’m starting this post off with the use of the oh so famous phrase ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ and this fits in perfectly with what I am going to be discussing. I think the phrase has a part to play in everyone’s life whether it is for something so minor or something quite large. No matter who you are, there will always be a story to your life that links back to this phrase; it is extremely powerful!

Now if you were to look at me in the street, on pictures or if you watch my videos or look at my social media channels you would not have a clue that everything is not as it may seem. I haven’t purposefully been hiding it from you; I just never really seemed the need to highlight my ‘hidden illness’. Now let me put a few things right before I go into this post; I don’t want to really label it as an illness, technically it is but 99.9% of the time I am not actually affected by it but I do a lot of self care that pushes it on the back burner.

When I was younger, I was extremely close to being diagnosed with ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) or some would know it as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).  I cannot say how common this is and I am not fully studied up on this as it is case by case and can be completely different, when I was little I struggled an awful lot with it but as I got older and learnt how to deal with it which results in not really struggling with it.

I used to live at the doctors and hospital, that was once they took my parents seriously and decided to do a little digging as to why I was so fatigued all the time. I was assigned to a doctor on the children’s ward at my local hospital and would have to visit him every month to see how I was getting on, all of these trips included food diaries/copious amounts of blood tests and a weight and height check. By the age of around 12/13 years old, I was signed off at the hospital and could go about living my life normally as my symptoms had drastically improved.

This blog post has come about purely down to the fact that I have reached a particular milestone in my life that I never thought would see happen. I have gone on about it a lot on social media and to the people around me and I am sorry if you are sick of hearing about it but it is a huge achievement and a mini celebration!

I have just completed 14 days straight at work, now this might not seem a huge deal to anyone we can all work long hours but with suffering from severe fatigue this is pretty impressive for me. A regular working week is just about manageable for me, I have learnt to relax on a weeknight and be in bed by 10pm but if I stretch longer than seven days it could hit me for six and I could be suffering a good month after.

Last year I worked a similar period of time and my social life seemed to be a little crazy too, but I ended up going to bed around 6pm and after having a full night’s sleep I would still be just as tired the next day. I would usually have to put everything off for the whole month in my social life just to ensure I don’t collapse or make myself even worse.

Where I managed to complete 14 days of work whilst have quite a busy social life around it, including my first ever blogging event and guess what... I went to bed at my usual time and I have come out of it stronger!

Now I cannot let this go to my head, I may hit a stumbling block in the future where it can affect me, I just have to ensure I manage the rest of my time around the working hours and this is where my self care comes in. It’s pretty straight forward, I go to bed earlier to ensure I get a good night’s sleep and during the week I don’t go OTT with events or socialising, I tend to leave it until the weekend.

So How Did This Start?

When I was about five, I happen to get chicken pox twice; I know that a child only gets it once in their lifetime but for some reason the dreaded itchy spots made a second appearance after having measles too! The second time I got them, they actually turned sceptic and I was in a lot of pain, following on from this I started to get nasty reactions to all of my injections that you need when you are younger.

After this, everything just seemed to go downhill, I felt so weak and constantly tired, and I had no energy whatsoever to even walk from my bedroom to the living room or kitchen. I couldn’t do the usual thing of playing outside with friends much or do after school clubs as I would never have the strength to take part. I used to fall asleep at school; at my desk on the P.E. mat which looking back isn’t always a bad thing as I hated P.E. (I must point out this was never an excuse to get myself out of things at all, I’d choose to do P.E. over feeling so exhausted all of the time).

Jumper: Primark, Shirt: New Look, Skirt: River Island, Tights: Primark, Boots: Dorothy Perkins

I used to dread the trips to the hospital; they were so boring mainly because I was so young and didn’t really understand what was happening. I remember this one trip in particular, I used to go to the chemist first get some numbing gel to put on my arm so that I couldn’t feel the needle going in... well, we had left it too close to the blood test and I felt EVERYTHING!! I hated it but then felt so grown up because I was just like every adult in that room.

Another incident that sticks in my mind and has actually scarred me was the time I was taking part in the school play at high school, now they are like no normal school plays they were seen as a west end show. I didn’t have a huge part but enough for me to have rehearsals throughout the school holidays – yes I know – and every night after school. After the shows were over which were every evening after school and twice on a Saturday I actually passed out in the kitchen through exhaustion, resulting in having a sofa day and not through choice either! I felt horrendous and now it scares me as it was a horrible incident that I don’t want to happen again.

I’m pleased that I have grown to know what self care I need and how to try and stop it from being affected.

So I guess what I am saying is ‘Never judge a book by its cover’. You just don’t know what is going on.

Alice xxx