A business executive has spoken out about a condition that made her life “a living hell” in the hope that it might help to educate others.
Helen Taubman, 65, has described fibromyalgia – a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body and which she has suffered from for a decade – as “a living hell”.
As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia can also experience increased sensitivity to pain, fatigue and muscle stiffness.
Ms Taubman, who lives in Halkyn and is the managing director of a soft drinks company, said at times the condition had left her feeling older than her years.
“I’d been going to the doctor’s for years and years with underlying fatigue which they couldn’t understand and I never got anywhere with.
“I’ve been going through this for at least a decade and it’s got worse latterly.
“I received a referral to an exercise scheme, which helped for a little while, until at one point everything in my being seemed to seize up and for months I felt like the proverbial little old lady, often bent double, because I couldn’t straighten up, with my head feeling too heavy for my shoulders.
“It was making my life a living hell.”
Ms Taubman said that the condition would impact on everyday activities and her working and family life.
She added: “I would go so far and then my back would go.
“When I asked what caused it, the doctor said it was because my body was trying to compromise the pain, but at times I couldn’t stand up straight unaided.
“It’s been miserable because I’m full of life, but in reality what I want to do is marred by pain and fatigue.
“Trying to tell people what it is like sounds like you’re moaning all the time and these sort of conditions tend to be written off.”
She has since sought solace in the works of American Christine Miserandino, who wrote about her own experiences with disability by way of a ‘spoon theory’.
Ms Taubman said: “The theory explains how people with chronic illnesses need to ration energy and for me it has also explained why I get those previously inexplicable bad days after having such a good day the day before.”
Looking ahead, Ms Taubman said she did not want to let the condition get the better of her.
“The diagnosis didn’t really bring me any comfort, but I was told I’d need to take it more seriously,” she added.
“I’ll be visiting the neurotherapy centre in Saltney for assessments with a view to getting the right treatment and now I understand it better I hope to be able to manage it better.
“It’s about making sensible decisions and I don’t want to let it beat me because I’m a very lively 65-year-old, I’m a busy person.”