Monday, 13 May 2013

M.E Awareness Week: Book Recommendations

This is a bit of a different kind of post for me today but a very important one. If you read my blog regularly you'll know I mention having health problems every so often. Since I was fourteen I have lived with an illness called M.E or Myalgic Encephalopathy. It has robbed me of my teenage years, isolated me from friends and most importantly it has caused me many horrible symptoms which affect my day to day life.

This week is M.E Awareness Week (12th - 19th May 2013) and May is M.E Awareness month so I wanted to raise awareness through this blog and hopefully educate people on how devastating this illness can be. But don't turn away just yet! This is a book blog after all, and so at the end of this post I will have some recommendations for books to read to learn more about M.E. I'd really appreciate you taking a look!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the illness, here are some facts:

What is M.E? M.E, also known sometimes as CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is an illness that affects around 250,000 people here in the UK. There is no known cause of M.E, although in many people it follows after a virus such as glandular fever.

What are the symptoms? M.E has a wide range of symptoms, the main one being extreme fatigue which is worsened by physical or mental activity. This is not average tiredness but a crippling exhaustion that can make it difficult or impossible to do simple things such as walking and caring for yourself. Often sufferers are left housebound or bedbound. Other symptoms include muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, headaches, nausea, sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, cognitive difficulties such as poor memory and concentration, difficulty sleeping and unrefreshing sleep, dizziness and sore throats.

M.E affects people of all ages and has been cited as the most common cause of long term school absence in the UK.

For more information and support, please visit the following websites. - AYME (The Association of Young People with M.E) Action for M.E - M.E Association - Invest in M.E - Smile for M.E

M.E Book Recommendations
Falling Through the World by Rachel Clarke
Summary: Behind the tightly drawn curtains of an ordinary house, something strange is happening to Sarah – something she knows simply cannot be. Her body is turning against her, the world she knows falling apart. It seems nobody can help. The doctor’s confused, her parents argue constantly and her boyfriend, Dan looks on bewildered. Even outspoken Ali, her closest friend, seems powerless against the force of events.

Buffeted by ignorance and conflicting advice from the very people who should be helping her, Sarah trawls through her unravelling life, searching for the moment where it all went wrong.

But can she put the pieces of her world back together again, before it’s too late?


Verity Red's Diary: A Story of Surviving M.E by Maria Mann
Summary: Filled with mischievously wry wit, this semiautobiographical narrative is an inspiring and hugely enjoyable day-by-day account of a year in the life of a myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, sufferer. Privy to the notable events, everyday routine, and innermost thoughts of Verity Red, the skepticism and lack of understanding surrounding this recently recognized condition is addressed, as well as the common symptoms--boredom, the feeling of low self-worth, exhaustion, and the craving for comfort foods.

One Last Goodbye by Kay Gilderdale
Summary: Watching her child die is the hardest thing a mother can ever do, but for Kay Gilderdale, saying a final goodbye to her only daughter Lynn was exceptionally painful: she'd played a part in her death. Lynn was just 14 when she was struck down by the crippling disease ME, leaving her paralyzed and in constant agony. Over the next 17 years, she became desperate to escape her miserable existence, even begging her mother to help her die. So, one night, when Kay found Lynn attempting suicide, she was forced to make an impossible decision. Continue watching her child suffer or help her end the pain? Eventually, fighting her every instinct, Kay helped her precious daughter take a fatal overdose. But while Lynn was finally free, her mother faced a fresh agony—a possible lifetime behind bars. The highly controversial trial that followed opened a fierce public debate on assisted suicide. Is it murder or mercy? Here, in her heartbreaking story, Kay reveals the harrowing truth behind the headlines and the desperate lengths a mother will go to for the love of a child.

The State of Me by Nasim Marie Jafry
Summary: It's 1983 and 20-year-old university student Helen Fleet should be enjoying the best days of her life, but while all her friends go on to graduate and have careers in London, she is forced to return to her parents' home, bedridden with vile symptoms that doctors can't explain and often don't believe. She is eventually diagnosed with M.E., a cruel illness that she must learn to live with over the next decade.All of her relationships are tested -- and changed -- by her condition, but Helen's story is so much more than an account of her suffering. At times sad and at times funny, the author skillfully leads the reader through the trials and tribulations of Helen's life, perfectly capturing her unusual experiences as a twenty-something woman living in 80s Scotland with a mystery illness. 

A Beginner's Guide to M.E/CFS by Nancy Blake
Summary: The Beginner's Guide to ME/CFS states unequivocally that it is complete rest from the very beginning of this illness which creates the necessary precondition for progress towards recovery. Currently recommended treatments - Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Graded Exercise Therapy - can wipe out this possibility, sending patients down a path towards severe and long-term disability - for which the patient can then blamed. The Guide contains useful advice about how to maintain a semblance of normal living while conserving physical exertion. Les Simpson's research - ignored by the medical community - provides additional recommendations which can improve your well-being.

Thank you for reading this post and if you could share it and spread the message it would be much appreciated!


  1. I think it is fantastic that you made this post. I suffer from health problems too and I know how difficult it can be when nobody really understands what you are going through because they do not know enough about certain health issues. Keep up the good work of spreading awareness!

    1. Thank you so much Justine! I'm sorry to hear you have similar problems. I agree awareness is so crucial. I've had a lot of mixed reactions to my illness over the years and most of it down to ignorance, so educating people is key! Thanks again for the lovley comment :)


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