6 Years Ago Today – Illness Anniversary

This photo capture the very day I contracted glandular fever, exactly six years ago to this date.

I remember the day as clear as anything. I had just turned 16, having finished a very intense week of GCSE mock exams, I was in London with my parents visiting my sister who was working there on her placement year from university.

Enjoying the luxuries of London, me and my sister went site seeing, visited Portobello market, had afternoon tea, bought red velvet cupcakes at the famous Hummingbird bakery, and celebrated Chinese New Year in Times Square.

Walking towards the restaurant on our last day, I suddenly started to feel I was coming down with something. 

By the time we got home it was clear I’d picked up the flu. 

What none of us knew at the time and wouldn’t know for another six months was that on that cold, wet, winter’s day in London, I had actually contracted glandular fever, and whether I knew it or not, on Sunday 10th February 2013, my life had completely changed.


Most of you know the rest of the story – I never recovered from glandular fever and two years later I finally got diagnosed with M.E.

What makes me feel sad though is the fact that girl in the picture didn’t know the rest of the story. But I don’t mean that as a, “she had no idea what was about to come”, I actually mean I feel sad she didn’t know about the part when things were going to be okay.

The part where she would achieve happiness in a place least expected.

The part where she would learn to practise self-compassion instead of self-criticism.

The part where she would learn that although her journey is different from everyone else’s and not the one she had in mind, it doesn’t make it worse, it just makes it different.

The part where she would learn her self-worth is more than achievements on paper.

The part where she would learn to let go of her perfectionism and be happy with who she is.

The part where she would learn to make peace with her illness.

The part where she would learn to accept her life for what it was and to be okay with that.


I wish I could have gotten the chance to tell her all that.

I wish I could have told her things turned out more than okay.

The fact that I grieve for the girl in the photo more than the present me who is now entering the third year of being housebound maybe says it all.

Because the truth is, it really is more than okay. ❤️

(Originally posted on @mindfullyevie Instagram and Facebook)

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1 thought on “6 Years Ago Today – Illness Anniversary”

  1. Firstly congratulations on writing a book!! You are a great writer.

    I read this and burst into tears – no doubt your book will touch the hearts of many.

    For 3 reasons, I cried, I related but you gave me hope:

    1. I was just looking at my 3 year anniversary on Facebook of my last holiday that blissfully unaware it would be the last one were I didn’t have to manage my illness, commit to a 4 day activity hiking in the Borneo jungle, sleeping on boat “tents” and looking at wild orangutan.

    On this journey I started to feel lumps on my head that hurt when lying on my “mat” at night – I didn’t know in 1 weeks time I would be having tests for brain cancer, seeing neurologists and in 9 months be in bed about 60-70% of the week and finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia /central sensitatisation

    2. A therapist asked me last week – do I miss working and I said “no- I miss me” – the “me” that didn’t have to make excuses. I feel I have made “friends” with fibro, I don’t get angry at it anymore, but I don’t think I found peace with it yet. I am greatly improved, I am not house-bound as I have had success with food as medicine, meditation, breathing etc so I don’t need to nap during the days but still regularly
    chronically tired and in pain & not “working”.

    3. Your are so young for this to happen – I hope for you, although you have made peace with this condition, that through clinical scientific research, modern functional medicine, meditation, food we find a solution. Even if it’s a partial so you aren’t house bound and you can get out and sell your book.

    Best wishes and thank-you for you inspirational words,


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