These first few posts I'm going to use to give a basic outline of the symptoms of ME (mainly the ones I suffer personally, as I can give first-hand accounts of them) and some background on my history.
Fatigue - This is not mere "tiredness", this is crippling exhaustion, and this is constant. At all times I feel a pervading weakness in my body, and after the smallest task, such as using the toilet, I often need to lie down and rest. There are times when I'm so weak and completely devoid of energy, that I struggle to even lift my arm a centimetre in the air.
Pain - This comes in many forms, many guises and many places. The worst is usually my legs, both lower and upper, and is manifested as a burning sensation in my muscles which can leave me in agony, and this pain often keeps me awake at night. I also get this in my arms and feet.
Migraines - These I get extremely bad. My head often feels like it's going to split open, and I have found myself screaming and needing to go to A&E on account of these.
Idiopathic stabbing pains - Pains in my head that, as the name suggests feeling like being stabbed, repeatedly, in the brain. They come on suddenly and without warning, and leave me crying out, clutching my head, sometimes losing vision and, if I'm standing up, falling over.
Nausea - Again, this can be quite constant, and quite crippling at it's worst, to the extent that I can't move for fear of throwing up. It's not just limited to my stomach either, strangely; I often feel it in my chest, back and neck. Try explaining that to doctors.
Sensitivity to light and sound - Even without the sun shining, daylight is often too much for my eyes to bear and I'm forced to wear sunglasses, even indoors, and I have to sleep with an eye mask. Loud noises cause me a great deal of pain, whether it's the sound of a police siren or people's voices. I have to wear ear plugs when resting because people's voices, even downstairs, are too much for me to bear.
Cognitive difficulties - I find it difficult to articulate myself because I can't think of the right words or my mind goes blank. I have trouble taking in what people are saying to me, or I take it in, even respond, and then instantly forget it completely, which is furstrating for me and for the person with whom I'm trying to converse. This is just to name a couple of ways this affects me.
Disrupted sleep - Even though I might feel exhausted and too weak to move, I often find it impossible to sleep, or I wake up numerous times throughout the night, and when I do sleep, it's spent mostly in a state of REM and so I actually get very little rest and benefit from it, and wake up feeling sometimes even weaker and more exhausted than when I went to bed.
The reality does go far beyond what can be expressed in a symptom list, but I hope this gives an idea, albetit quite rudimentary.