I suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and had reached a point in my life where the lethargy had become so extreme that all I could do was work and sleep. Extreme fatigue is a known characteristic of the condition and, although it goes up and down, I’m aware that it’s something I’ll have to live with forever. I’m very lucky in that I hold a senior position in a great company that gave me flexibility in my working hours but when it reached the stage that I was only awake for five hours a day and all I did in that time was force myself to work, it became very depressing. That is no way to live and I knew that something had to change.
There is no cure for MS. Although the GP had made me aware of medications that could help, they all come with their own health warnings and I didn’t want that. I was adamant that I didn’t want to be on drugs so a medical student working with my GP had an idea about Social Prescribing as an alternative.
It’s not something I’d heard of before and I didn’t have any great expectations about it but, despite my misgivings, the experience was nothing less than transformational for me.
My health and well-being coach spent much more time with me than a GP could have ever done, learning about my situation and what I wanted to achieve.
"She was really good at listening and wasn’t afraid to ask questions about the illness. She looked things up to learn more about my condition and anything she didn’t understand."
Social Prescribing Impact
Having done some research, she came up with a number of suggestions for practical adjustments that I could make. These were simple things like having a daylight lamp to help regulate my sleep cycle and using essential oils to help me keep awake during the day but they made a huge difference to my life.
It was great to have a different, fresh perspective; somebody looking at a range of options for me but also working collaboratively with me to figure out what would work.
She also recommended massage and reflexology and found some online music and exercise resources for me. For example, I had previously been into yoga but hadn’t been able to do that for a long time and she got me back into it.
It started with really short five minute YouTube sessions but I eventually worked up to being able to complete half hour yoga sessions which I couldn’t have even imagined at the start.
I’m now in a much better place and I’m managing it all without medication.
"Without the Social Prescribing project I would have probably wallowed into a further pit of depression and sleep. Or I would have had to take drugs. I’m just amazed at the difference it’s made to my life and can’t thank my coach enough for all her support."