M.E. sufferer’s battle back to health | The Argus, Brighton | 29 September 2015

September 30, 2015

From The Argus, Brighton, 29 September 2015. Story by Siobhan Ryan.

A MAN who battled the debilitating condition ME for more than 20 years has spoken of his long fight back to health.

Jonathan Burrell hopes his story may help inspire others struggling with the illness.

The 52-year-old had been forced to give up playing sports and could not hold down a job during his worst years.

ME patients can experience disabling and profound physical and mental exhaustion, accompanied by some of a wide range of other symptoms.

These feeling ill and flu-like, muscle, joint and nerve pain, headache, recurrent sore throat, disturbed balance, poor concentration, sensitivity to light and noise and disturbed sleep.

Mr Burrell, from Hove, was diagnosed in 1989 and ended up house-bound and back living with his parents because he needed so much care.

Mr Burrell said: “The days seemed endless. What I missed most was participatory sport which had always been a large part of my life.

By the mid-1990s the relapses became less severe and Mr Burrell was able to move into his own flat.

He joined the Sussex ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Society and started attending the newly-formed yoga for ME class at Cornerstone Community centre in Church Road, Hove.

Mr Burrell said: “This proved to be a real turning point. Yoga was the first form of physical activity I was able to do without suffering a negative reaction.

“As the years passed by, my stamina and strength began to return.

“During this time, I began to become more confident about pushing myself physically and the fear of relapse diminished.

“From yoga, I progressed first to playing tennis and golf and then to my real passions, football and running.”

Mr Burrell made a return to Sunday league football and at 50 he joined an athletics club in Lewes.

He now runs 35 miles a week, races for the club each weekend and has won medals in county championships.

He is also back in full-time employment as manager of the Cornerstone centre.

Mr Burrell said: “I am now living a life that didn't seem possible during the long, frustrating years of illness.

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