7 to 22: 15 Years with ME

Posted: 23 November 2022

A monarch butterfly, perched on a Hydrangea with a black background.

Authored by Steph Spearing

 
Hello everyone
My name is Steph, I’m 22 years old.
 
15 years ago, I became too ill to go to school, which marked the moment I developed M.E.
 
Within a year I would go from having mild M.E. to severe M.E., because of harmful “treatments” like G.E.T (Graded Exercise Therapy) advised by doctors.
 
My body has never recovered from this.
Dry winter vegetation with a snow bank in the background.
I was severely ill for over 6 years; I teetered on the edge of very severe M.E. during the first 3 years.  In those 6 years I experienced over 50 different symptoms, affecting pretty much every system in my body.
 
By 2015 I was improving into the moderate category of M.E.
 
I’ve now had moderate M.E. for over 7 years but this means I’m housebound & I have to rest all day to keep my symptoms stable.
 
I have found things I’m able to do & enjoy, to entertain myself, pass the time & to stay connected.  One of those things is photography.  In my mid-teens it became my main creative outlet.
A closeup of fall colored leaves, floating on near-frozen water.
In the warm months I go into our garden & take photos of flowers, trees & whatever else nature has to offer.  In the winter it’s just too cold for me to venture out, so I take photos of our arctic like surroundings through our windows.
I would not have made the progress I have in last 15 years without the care & advocacy of my mum, she saw what the doctor’s “treatments” were doing to me & followed her instincts to go against them. She did countless hours of research to find the help that I needed.  My mum found understanding doctors, who helped to improve the severe symptoms I had at the time & that put me on the path to getting to where my M.E. is today.
A robin perched on a tree branch with nest building material in its beak.