I had been feeling really tired and worn out for a while (approx 3 months), with swollen glands in my neck that would fluctuate up and down. I visited my GP twice and was told it was probably just a virus and would ‘sort itself out’. However, the symptoms continued and I returned to my GP who referred me for blood tests. I was then diagnosised with Glandular Fever (mononucleosis).
My main symptoms were headaches, muscle pains, ‘foggy’ head, large and painful swollen glands and severe fatigue. The symptoms fluctuated in severity, but the constant fatigue remained with me for a year. This was an extremely difficult year for me. I had to take four months off work and then reduce my working hours to part time, in order to help manage the illness. I found the illness incredibly tiring, frustrating and often lost hope that I would ever get better. These strong feelings would often lead to days of feeling really low, isolated and tearful.
When I finally began to recover, my glands started to return to their normal size, my energy levels started to slowly increase and my blood test came back as negative. I believe I still experience post-viral symptoms (9 months later) as I tire easily, although this is not as severe as when the virus was active in my system, I have a lowered immune system (as I tend to ‘pick up’ colds etc far more easily than before the illness) and often struggle to concentrate for long periods of time.
However, I have a strong belief that if I manage my energy, give my body the proper rest it needs and eat a nutritious and healthy diet, I will fully recover. This process is long and sometimes painful, but through it I have come to learn a lot about my body and myself.
Throughout this experience, I am positive that one of the most important elements that helped me get through it was being listened to. I was fortunate enough to have a key person that took the time to listen (even if I was saying the same things!), not judge and provide encouragement and support. This was essential in venting my frustration, loneliness, anxieties, questions and hopes. If I hadn’t had the opportunity to voice these concerns, then I strongly believe that, for me, my recovery time would have taken far longer.
My understanding of support that is available for Glandular fever ‘sufferers’ is that it often involves seeing a councillor or accessing alternative therapy . Although I completely endorse these therapies I also recognise that some people would prefer not to access that level of support for personal reasons and on a practical level because it involves going out (which is hard work with glandular fever) and it comes at quite a cost!
It is with this in mind that I was inspired to create this website and offer a listening support service to any sufferer of Glandular Fever who may think it beneficial to have space to air their concerns, anxieties, frustrations etc without any judgment. If you would like to know more about this service, then please go to Listening support.