Emma Franklin, who lives with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), on how cannabidoil changed her life.
CFS is like having the worst flu of your life ALL the time so your energy is very limited and you are debilitated (there are different severities). You only have so much energy each day almost like a battery that goes flat really quickly and you have to wait until the next day until it’s charged again.
For example, with my current energy levels I have a few hours each day where I can ‘do’ things – they include making food / eating / showering / watching tv / replying to emails / any work etc / meeting a friend / having conversations then once that energy is gone it’s gone.
So it’s hard for me to do ‘extra’ things like reply to emails when I only just have enough energy to look after myself, there isn’t much spare! Most people with CFS also have other symptoms like joint and muscle pain – which can be so debilitating – and cognitive problems like memory loss and poor concentration, which is partly why I’m limited in the amount and type of work I can do.
Sore throat and enlarged lymph nodes are also common, The point being it does affect my life still every day but I’m so grateful for how much progress I’ve made and continue to make.
I believe CBD oil has been a really important part of my recovery. I was diagnosed with CFS aged 19 – eight years ago – and spent about five years prior to the diagnosis seeing numerous GPs and specialists on the NHS doing a lot of different tests. None of them could find out what 35 was wrong with me until, eventually, an immunologist diagnosed me with CFS.
It was actually my mum who first knew something was wrong. She was the one who started taking me to the doctors because I was coming home from school going straight to bed, getting up to eat then going back to bed until the next day. Fatigue is different to tiredness; it’s debilitating where you physically cannot do things no matter how hard you try.
Imagine the worst flu of your life multiplied by 100. You just physically can’t get out of bed. With CFS your body is like this ALL the time it doesn’t come and go. I didn’t realise something was wrong though I assumed everyone was like this because I was so young!
Just before I was diagnosed with CFS I was working part time at Topshop as a personal shopper and I had to quit my job because I couldn’t stand up enough to work. I used to go to the toilet every hour and lie down on the floor because I wasn’t able to be up and about. I still had no idea what was wrong with me.
I had to quit and soon after I was diagnosed. I was out of work from the age of 19 until last year aged 26 when I started to work from home as a part-time freelancer. I had managed to go to uni for two years to study Fashion Communications and Journalism in London and Sydney, Australia.
But by the end of the 2nd year I was in a wheelchair, had to return home from Australia and couldn’t go back to uni after that. When I was bedridden I didn’t have a routine. I was paralysed of the arms and legs, unable to eat, walk, stand or talk, and my mum used to spoon feed me puréed food.
Then every two weeks she’d lift me out of the bed into the bath, wash me, change my pyjamas and put me back in bed. I couldn’t tolerate any light or noise so I lived in silence and black out for seven months.
I didn’t have much feeling I was so unwell; it was like I wasn’t there and you couldn’t communicate with me. My mum was forced to give up work when I needed 24 -hour care. She gave up her entire life to look after me and help me get better. She couldn’t even leave the house or see family or friends for a year because I needed round-the-clock care.
My dad financially supported my treatment during this time. I wouldn’t be here today without them! I have struggled with depression from the trauma I experienced and being so debilitated and limited. My life hasn’t exactly been ‘normal’. I also have anxiety and fear of ending up like that again from post traumatic stress.
I see a psychologist though who is amazing and helps me a lot. Sadly I lost a lot of friends from being ill. I went from being the fun outgoing person who lived life to the full 36 to not being able to go out so much or have much energy to maintain friendships.
Thankfully I’ve made many new friends who I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t become ill, which I’m really grateful for. I’ve faced a lot of judgement and criticism over the years because I don’t look sick and I’m generally a happy, upbeat, optimistic person so people wonder ‘how can she feel so bad when she’s like that?’
People just don’t understand when you have a chronic illness those symptoms aren’t going to be going anywhere anytime soon so you either make the most of the situation and what you can do despite how bad you feel or you just give up, which wasn’t an option for me.
I’ve learnt to not care what other people think though. As long as I’m happy with where I’m at and what I’m doing, that’s all that matters! Last year I tried CBD for the first time.
I had seen many different types of CBD advertised but found it overwhelming with so many different types and so much information to process and understand. But I chose Hapi Hemp. It appealed to me because it’s an independent British business which I always love to support.
I also really liked their ethics; they felt much more approachable, friendly and family orientated than other CBD brands available. I began to take the CBD to help with CFS and anxiety and depression. Over a period of a few weeks I began sleeping more easily. Prior to this I used to stay awake for hours each night unable to sleep.
These sleep improvements have meant I’ve been able to return to work after seven years out of work. I’ve also seen huge improvements in activity levels as my pain levels have reduced. I’ve taken CBD every day for nearly nine months now and will continue to take it as part of my daily routine.
My doctor believes CBD is a really important part of recovery for anyone who has CFS / ME! It’s wonderful to have my doctor’s encouragement and support. Taking Hapi Hemp CBD oil fits perfectly with my routine health limitations
As time goes on I hope it will allow me to work more and more, growing my freelance social media business and my online community to help as many people as possible with the information and knowledge I’ve learnt over the years so they don’t have to go through what I’ve been through.
I would also like to spend more time with friends, family and travel more which I’ve not been able to do as much as I like. I feel like social media is a very important tool because without it I wouldn’t have discovered Hapi Hemp or CBD generally.