Support group aims to help chronic fatigue

(l-r) Kayden, Bobby, Marie and Crystal Spencer. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142608-2127)
(l-r) Kayden, Bobby, Marie and Crystal Spencer. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142608-2127)
Theresa Paddon with her two children, Lee, 18 months, and Darren, three, at their home in Leigh Park

THIS WEEK IN 1984: Give me the facts says worried mum

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IT IS often mistakenly put down a lack of motivation or just plain laziness.

But for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and similar disorders, it can be a struggle just to sit up properly.

Nobody knows that better than Marie Spencer, of Cosham, who has suffered from fibromyalgia for the past five years.

The 26-year-old wants to start a support group for people with chronic fatigue syndrome and related disorders fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalopathy.

She said: ‘There are a lot of people who don’t know about it or think it’s just laziness.

‘It can be difficult to talk about it because there’s no-one to understand what people are going through.

‘It would be nice for people to be able to help each other and have a chat about the difficulties they’re having.’

Mrs Spencer said the group would meet regularly over a cup of coffee so sufferers could talk about their experience of what remain highly misunderstood conditions.

Mrs Spencer said the condition affected all areas of her life, from work to interacting with her children, Crystal, seven and Kayden, four.

She said: ‘I’ve got two children but I can’t do as much as I’d like to with them because I am in pain for much of the day.

‘With fibromyalgia you have difficulties sleeping and when you do sleep you don’t feel like you have had enough.

‘I don’t work, I would like to try but at the moment when I’m not sleeping, I’m lacking energy a lot of the time.’

Dr Charles Shepherd is medical advisor for the ME Association.

He said disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome were not even acknowledged by doctors just a few decades ago, but awareness was growing.

Dr Shepherd said: ‘I was told it was a non-existent illness when I studied medicine 30 or 40 years ago and there are still quite a few doctors who are still sceptical about this condition.

‘There is still a lot of uncertainty about how it should be managed.

Mrs Spencer said anyone interested in joining the support group could get in touch via the website