Take control of ME symptoms

Self-help group meets once a month.

ME is a real and debilitating illness and can affect children as well as adults.

That is the message a self-help group is sending out during ME Awareness Month.

SAME, which was founded by Dunkeswell ME sufferer Emma Webb, aims to support those with the illness, as well as their family members.

“The term ‘yuppie flu’ is total rubbish,” said Emma.

“It is people’s narrow mindedness that makes it harder for those with the illness.”

Emma says doctors now recognise the condition and points out: “ME affects your mind as well as your body.”

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She is following a self-help programme which has been hailed a success by other sufferers.

“In order to help yourself, you have to learn to control your energy and activity levels,” she said.

“Make sure you deal with the symptoms before they take over your life. They can be helped by medication.

“You have to establish a really good relationship with your GP.

“It has been important for me to keep control of the symptoms.”

Emma says she always keeps in focus the fact that people can and do recover from ME.

“You just have to accept it while you’ve got it,” she said.

“We’ve got over 250,000 people in the UK with ME.

“I was diagnosed four years ago and I’ve had to learn a lot of things and take life back to basics.

“It’s been about learning to do things at a pace.

“There is hope. Being part of SAME has given me great insight - about how people have suffered in silence and now they’ve got a voice.”

ME can be triggered by a number of things, including stress and viruses.

Symptoms include persistent and overwhelming tiredness, flu-like symptoms, recurrent sore throat, pain, sleep disturbance and digestive problems.

Emma’s 16-year-old daughter, Katie, says living with an ME sufferer can be difficult.

“It is difficult because you never know what mum’s going to be like from day to day. I hate to see her struggling.”

The next meeting of SAME will take place at the Holiday Inn, Exeter, on Friday, May 11. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

Guest speaker will be Mary Davey, who will discuss strategies to rest the body and mind.

For further information, contact sameexeter@hotmail.co.uk or visit www.actionforme.org.uk

Carers can get help and support by calling either 0808 8087777 or 0808 8020202.