Her body spoke louder than she did. Each arm movement felt like a heavy sack of potatoes and each step felt like walking with lead boots. It was a near paralytic fatigue.
Tauranga resident Kira Fallas, who is now a counsellor at Complex Chronic Illness Support, says she lost her job 14-years-ago, because she was so burnt out because of chronic fatigue.
“I spent three years predominantly in a darkened room, struggling to get up and walk,” says Kira. “My appetite was also shot to pieces.”
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, is a misleading name for a highly complex illness that affects multiple systems in the body, limiting a person's ability to carry out ordinary daily activities.
Kira says it’s hard to describe what it feels like to have chronic fatigue, but it’s far more than feeling tired.
“I used to be quite a ‘Straight A’ student prior to this happening, and it got to the point where I couldn’t understand what people were saying to me,” she explains. “It was almost like I’d had a stroke.
“It was a very frightening place to be. When you don’t have any explanation of what’s going on medically, when you are able to think a little straight you freak out.”
Chronic Fatigue doesn’t have that magical white pill and often falls through the mainstream medical cracks.
“No one knows exactly what causes chronic fatigue and everyone experiences it in different ways,” says Kira.
“For me, my brain was quite shut down, but when I did come to life to some extent it was like the living dead. When I was with it I was concerned about my children the most.”
When her brain started to come back, she connected with other people online and that’s where she learned that people from all around the world had recovered from the illness.
“There I started my wellness journey, and it took me about six years to get back on my feet.
“It’s been very much a passion of mine to inform people about chronic fatigue because, for me, there was no information out there for me to help myself.”
For more information about the condition, or to seek help, visit: ccisupport.org.nz