Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also sometimes called Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is a long-term (chronic), fluctuating, neurological condition that causes symptoms affecting many body systems, more commonly the nervous and immune systems.
Read more about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)
M.E. affects an estimated 250,000 people in the UK, and around 35 million people worldwide. One in four are so severely affected that they remain house and/or bed-bound.
M.E. cost the UK economy at least £3.3 billion each year; this figure accounts for healthcare costs, disability-related welfare payments, productivity losses and unpaid informal care. Yet research funding into the condition represents less than 1% of all active grants given by UK mainstream funding agencies.
People with M.E. experience debilitating pain, fatigue and a range of other symptoms associated with post-exertional malaise, the body and brain’s inability to recover after expending even small amounts of energy.
Even in its so-called mildest form, M.E. can have a significant impact on an individual’s life, and not just on their health. A lack of understanding and awareness about M.E. means children, families and adults affected by M.E. can experience disbelief, and even discrimination, from friends, family, health and social care professionals, teachers, employers and colleagues. Many people with M.E. struggle to access appropriate care and support, with less than one third of NHS commissioning bodies holding any data on M.E. prevalence.
Vast numbers of adults and children with M.E. do not have access to any specialist service at all, even though research shows that people with M.E. score lower overall on health-related quality of life tests than most other chronic conditions (Hvidberg et al, 2015).
So it’s not surprising that frustration, anxiety, low mood and depression are sometimes experienced by people with M.E. as a consequence of having to cope with the impact of the condition. Sadly, people with M.E. are six times more likely to die by suicide compared to the general population.
M.E is not just physically and socially isolating. The lack of acceptance can also make this condition a very lonely place. One young person with M.E. told Action for M.E.: “My friends try to be helpful, but I don’t like talking about it much, and sometimes I think I haven’t said enough. More than once I’ve assumed they knew how difficult something was for me, and then found that them talking about how hard life must be for a more visibly disabled friend.”
(Source: Action for M.E.)
Patient support charity
You might also be interested in this graphic novel (book-length story using words and images) about one woman’s experience of infertility and M.E.:
Because M.E is an invisible illness I wanted to create a piece of artwork design that would get peoples attention by creating a strong visual impact as to what it feels like to suffer from M.E
M.E awareness design of how it feels to suffer from M.E, The sewn up mouth not being able to speak, tears from the eye sadness, confused brain, brain fog, all races and genders are affected by it.
I wanted to create a motivational poster for M.E. awareness. Having M.E. does feel like you are fighting a battle every day, so I wanted to depict that in my artwork – she is wielding a sword as thought she is going into battle, although still in her pyjamas to show she’s unwell. I made her pyjamas blue (the colour for M.E. awareness) as well as the gems on her sword. She’s also wearing an M.E. awareness ribbon.
I have had M.E. (C.F.S) for 20 years. I haven’t been well enough to do any art in the last two years, so making this felt like a big achievement.
You can buy a print of this at:
100% profit from this picture will be donated to M.E. charities.
Follow me online…
Deviant Art: https://www.deviantart.com/imagicaart
I have had ME for almost 40 years. The first time I was 14. This drawing was done in my late teens before my diagnosis at 21, trying to explain the pain and types of pain I was having and how it felt. My mouth is drawn stitched up because I didn’t have the words to express what was happening to me. All the pains are connected by the hooks and string and movement causes more and the horror is the small paintbox I can’t reach.
Occasionally, times of enforced bed rest become opportunities to experience peace and gratitude.
The ME pain monster, never far from my body, leaves me feeling helpless.
Visualising healing hands to ease the pain and discomfort
This is how I visualise energy, the energy I lack and so dearly want to recover.
Feeling so exhausted, longing for energy, trying to draw some from the earth (or draw some from drawing the image of energy..)
Some of the dials I’d like to have build into me to recreate inner balance.
Wishing I had dials on which I could adjust all the things that become out of balance when suffering from ME.
Severe fatigue makes the world around me shrink to almost nothing.
Insomnia – feeling deeply exhausted yet utterly unable to sleep.
Early on, before diagnosis, just knowing that there was something wrong, my whole body felt wrong. But nobody seemed to believe me.