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Image / Editorial

Coronavirus Diaries: The 38-year-old with chronic fatigue syndrome who’s housebound in Dublin


by IMAGE
19th Mar 2020

Being housebound is nothing new to this 38-year-old mental wellbeing coach from Greystones, Dublin 


I feel that I am more prepared than most to adjust to living with the restrictions put in place. 

I have had depression for 27 years, diabetes for 20 years and three years ago I got a virus, a common one, and got sick. 

Due to my weakened immune system my body couldn’t get rid of it which led to what is known as chronic fatigue syndrome. There is no medical cure for this. It requires, even forces, a complete lifestyle change. 

At the age of 36 I had to give up my career, rent out my home and leave the life I had built for myself in Edinburgh. My only financially viable option was to move home to live with, and be cared for, by my parents in Ireland. 

Decades of depression and then chronic fatigue means I am well versed in feeling lost and unsure about what my future holds, or even, if I get to have one.

Being housebound isn’t new to me. Cancelling plans isn’t hard. I had to cancel my whole life at one point! Decades of depression and then chronic fatigue means I am well versed in feeling lost and unsure about what my future holds, or even, if I get to have one. 

I face-planted off the fast treadmill that was my life, and do you know what? The world kept on spinning. The company I left didn’t crash without me, all of my self importance got a reality check, and I was forced to find real meaning in the world without all I once had and who I once was. 

One thing I have learnt from illness, and the hard times in life, is that they bring great gifts. 

The last two years I have spent nourishing my body back to health and then building back my trust in it. I found the energy to retrain for a new career and have started the business I quietly dreamed of most of my life. 

My days contain vegetable smoothies, lots of water, medication and supplements, Mindfulness, breath work, weightlifting and nature.
Purpose and growth are as important in keeping me well so I am always studying something and working on growing my business. 

This journey has not been as easy or progessive as it may sound. There have been many setbacks! 

Balancing multiple illnesses and living a life is like walking a tightrope. You get used to it and find your balance, but then additional issues arise and it’s like someone shook the rope. That’s how I feel just now. 

All of my illnesses are impacted by self isolation, fear and stress. My diabetes has gone haywire.

All of my illnesses are impacted by self-isolation, fear and stress. My diabetes has gone haywire. Multiple times a day my sugars go low which kickstarts anxiety and each one physically drains my body. My chronic fatigue is in turn impacted but I must push on and make sure I get some daily exercise for my health and mental wellbeing. 

I’m exhausted but I need to find the strength quickly to rebalance them all again in this new environment. I will adjust, accept and thrive like always but it is hard right now to hold on to all of that and believe. 

I know as the days pass my mind and feelings will settle and that I will see my path forward clearly again. I just have to keep safe as I am one of the vulnerable you hear the government speak of. I am one of the ones whose life they are asking you to try and save. 

I have been self-isolating for over a week now, in a house where others have still been trying to live their normal life. I have a decontamination ritual for anyone coming in the front door but I know this is limited in keeping me safe. 

I welcome more strict lockdown rules so I don’t have to feel bad for asking more from people than they want to give willingly. 

I find the whole coronavirus distressing and I have shed tears of fear and anguish, but I’m used to what needs to be done on an individual level and have had years to get to the acceptance stage. Everyday freedom has not been a given for me for years now. 

I know the frustration and anger people must be battling with, and I understand that we need people to get to a point of understanding and acceptance in a matter of days, not years like I have had. It’s a hard ask but such an important one. 

We each get the choice on whether we are part of the solution or part of the problem. The part that makes me want to get on my knees and beg for my life is that if we don’t ALL choose to be the solution, a problem will be created and lives may be lost unnecessarily. 

This is an amazing time for people to slow down their life treadmill and decide what their future will be after this. 

I am so thankful to be here in Ireland. As a vulnerable person I feel so regarded and cared for by the leaders and people of Ireland.

If there were no restrictions or consequences what would your ideal life look like? What would a normal day in that life feel like and what would contribute to creating those feelings? How would you like to live your life differently after this experience? 

For all dreams there is a realistic and practical version of it available for us. 

I am so thankful to be here in Ireland. As a vulnerable person I feel so regarded and cared for by the leaders and people of Ireland. They talk about finding your tribe. What a tribe we are turning out to be!

The love, kindness and goodness we are seeing in the communities has me welling up daily. It may sound strange but it feels a privilege to be alive and part of this evolution. 

Keep safe, well and sane. 

If you want to be featured anonymously in our Coronavirus Diaries series, contact [email protected]

Photo by Pexels

Read more: Coronavirus Diaries: The Cork yoga teacher who’s worried about her elderly mother

Read more: 8 positive coronavirus stories you need to read today

Read more: IMAGE Round Table: are you wearing make-up while you work from home?

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