Sophia is one of thegrowing number of young people whose life has been turned upside down by CFS and who have found themselves with nowhere else to turn.
Sophia is now on a path to recovery and is keen to share her story so that others can benefit from her experiences.
Prior to becoming unwell I was working, enjoying a busy, social life and preparing to move to London to begin a degree course. I experienced a slow onset of my condition; I did not understand why I was feeling so unwell and put it down to working too hard, needing a holiday and general life stresses. In hindsight, I realised that I had pushed myself too far which then led to a rapid decline. At first I was very reluctant to take time off work; I had always been able to juggle a variety of things and thought that I could add having ME and Fibromyalia to the list of things to deal with and just push on! I struggled with a variety of symptoms and found the overwhelming fatigue, continuous headaches and the constant pain everywhere particularly hard to deal with.
It became clear that I needed to take some time off work and I believed that if I rested for a few months I’d be able to return to work and then start my degree. I continued to get worse and had to make the decision to withdraw my university application. By this stage I had reached rock bottom. My diagnosis had left me feeling pretty lost because there did not appear to be a clear treatment plan or one place where I could access support specifically for people with ME and Fibromyalgia.
“ I then found Salus, and this was the turning point in my recovery. From the moment I arrived I felt
like I was with people who truly understood the condition; they were warm, welcoming and most importantly to me, positive.”
I was surprised and impressed by the amount Salus had to offer. There are workshops covering a variety of topics such as nutrition, aromatherapy, pacing techniques and sleeping strategies. They offer monthly support groups across Birmingham as well as inviting occasional guest speakers who are very experienced in their field of work. The practitioners at Salus are friendly and supportive and offer advice and practical information tailored specifically for people with ME and Fibromyalgia. The sessions are delivered in a way that enables you to quickly and easily implement changes in your own life. There is also the additional support from fellow beneficiaries and volunteers. Salus has a sense of community where you feel safe to share your experiences with others and you realise that you are not alone with your condition.
“It was not until I arrived at Salus that anyone had told me that I was going to get better (after a quick online search you can begin to feel like being well again is far from achievable), and yet here I was, with people who had had ME and were now healthy again.”
That being said, we are not sitting around crying into our cups of herbal tea! It really is a very positive environment, where we do not dwell on the negatives and where we learn strategies on how to cope with the condition and ways in which we can all improve our health. Moving forward, I am going to continue to focus on my health. I hope that it will not be too long before I am able to return to work and begin my degree course.
“I have come a long way since my diagnosis and although I still have a long way to go before I am well again Salus has equipped me with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to get there. Salus has been instrumental in my recovery journey and I am forever grateful that I have them in my life.”
After attending Salus for just over a year Sophia recovered enough to return to work.