At the age of 24 I was an Olympian and a three time world champion, I was on cloud 9, I was ready to raise the bar and take on the world again. That was until my world quite literally fell apart….
Have you ever woken up when you don’t feel ready to start the day? Have you ever felt that you haven’t had enough sleep? The energy is there but you just don’t feel like activating it? (Monday mornings?) Well, what if it was worse than not feeling like getting up? What if you simply couldn’t? The energy that you needed to roll off the bed, get your feet onto the floor and sit up, simply wasn’t there? Your body is effectively on strike.
In April 2003, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. An illness that the medical profession argue about in diagnosis and so you can imagine how difficult it is to treat. However, the effects are palpable, it is a serious illness – not something a couple of days in bed was going to cure. If you break your leg, you’re back training in 6 - 8 weeks. CFS kept me out of my sport for two whole years.
I wasn’t bad enough to lie in bed, but equally I didn’t feel well enough to be out and about in normal every day life. It was like being locked in a half way world; not fully in the 'sick' world but not fully in the 'well' world either. Occasionally I was able to energize myself to do things in the outside world, but would feel thoroughly whacked out afterwards.