BBC Newsbeat film: M.E. And Me

Presenter Emma Donohoe was diagnosed with M.E. when she was 19, an illness which many doctors don’t understand and people still talk about as “yuppy flu” – thinking sufferers are being lazy or too depressed to get out of bed.

Now at 24, Emma has been able to reduce some of her symptoms and wants to find out in a new BBC Newsbeat documentary if anything has improved since she first got sick and what life is like now for other young sufferers who are living with severe M.E.

An estimated 250,000 people in the UK are living with the illness, many bed bound and completely dependent on care. But change is coming as the way the illness is treated is being reviewed by NICE – the organisation which sets best medical practice. This follows consistent fears that the standard NHS treatments may be making people worse.

During the film, Emma meets sufferers and family members of those living with the debilitating condition such as young mum, Sophie, whose severe M.E. means her body is so sensitive she can only tolerate to be around her toddler for five minutes a day. She also meets Hannah whose condition means that when all of her symptoms flare, she can’t even drink water without vomiting.

And finally, Emma is left in tears after meeting the family of Merryn Crofts who lived with severe M.E. for six years and passed away in May 2017 just 10 days after her 21st birthday. Emma hears about the excruciating pain Merryn’s condition caused her, the struggle to find doctors who believed that her condition was physical and the shame she felt having an illness that is often doubted and widely misinterpreted.

In the film, Emma visits the latest research efforts to find new treatments and a better understanding of M.E.

Will she end with hope or despair?

Watch the documentary until 7 May 2019

See also: Chronic fatigue: I was ‘held hostage by ME’

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