Woman With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Slams Trolls Who Accuse Her Of 'Lying' About Invisible Illness
A woman with chronic fatigue syndrome has been forced to defend herself against trolls after she was accused of "faking" her disability and using her wheelchair as a prop.
Georgina Wasdall, 21, from Nottinghamshire, has suffered the debilitating condition, which affects up to one in 100 people, since the age of 10.
The illness causes sufferers to feel extremely tired, and many suffer from constant flu-like symptoms, muscle pains and migraines.
Growing up, Georgina was a keen dancer when she was a child and attended a dance and theatre school from the age of three.
However by the age of 10, Georgina felt tired constantly and would often come out of her dance class in tears because she simply didn't have the energy to do what she loved.
Over the next three years, doctors could not diagnose what was wrong with Georgina despite her undergoing a series of tests including, MRI scans, blood tests, ultrasounds and electrocardiograms.
When she was 13, Georgina was referred to a specialist who diagnosed her with chronic fatigue syndrome / (also known as CFS or myalgic encephalomyelitis/ ME). It is thought that the illness could be caused by problems with the immune system, however research on this is limited.
Chronic fatigue syndrome affects almost one in 100 people, and research suggests it is higher among women. In worldwide statistics, approximately 1 per cent of the population, 17 to 24 million people, suffer from this condition.
Georgina was unable to stay in school and left when she was 13 years old. With her illness being invisible, she even had doctors question the severity of her condition. However, she says that almost 10 years on from her diagnosis, there is more empathy for those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.
"I wasn't born with my condition. Instead, it came into my life when I was just ten years old," Georgina said. "I would complain to my parents of flu-like symptoms and would often come home from school feeling generally unwell.
"My parents would wake me up in the morning and I would just have no energy, even after having enough sleep.
"This cycle continued for months and my parents and I went back and forth to the doctors with no real answer.
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"I was referred to a specialist clinic where I finally got the diagnosis in 2012. It literally turned my life upside down - to begin with, I felt a lot like Alice falling down the tunnel to Wonderland.
"I ended up having to leave school aged twelve due to my health, under the advice of my specialist and I was home-schooled with a session a week for maths, English and science.
One of the biggest challenges for Georgina was accepting that at just 14 years old, she required the use of a wheelchair after being so active in her early life. Since Georgina is a wheelchair user but is still physically able to stand, she has had strangers give her funny looks when getting in and out of her wheelchair in public. One person even accused her of 'faking' her illness in order to get attention.
Georgina has also received comments from trolls on social media who have said that her condition doesn't require a wheelchair and that Georgina is using her wheelchair as 'a prop' for her photos.
"Now, after some time, I'm thankful to say that I am through the other side - although some days can still be tough which I am not ashamed to admit.
"It still feels like there are some people who are not accepting of wheelchairs or aids.
"When I stand out of my chair to switch into another seat, people give me looks down their noses. You know they are thinking, 'Why does she need a wheelchair' or 'It's a miracle.'
"I tend to not give a second thought to what other people may or may not think because at the end of the day, their views aren't going to change me.
"I got a comment on one of my latest TikTok videos saying that, 'Your condition doesn't put you in a chair,' which did make me annoyed.
In April 2017, Georgina's life changed drastically after she was signed to the Zebedee modelling agency which aims to increase diversity in the industry. Despite being nervous during her first shoot, Georgina loved the experience and has since gone on to raise her profile as a model, but also her confidence dramatically.
"I started modelling in 2017 after my mum got in touch with an agency who had the goal to make the world of modelling and media more inclusive.
"They responded saying that they wanted to see me so I was booked onto a test shoot.
"I didn't know then but I was about to embark on the most exciting journey and find myself along the way.
"I truly believe that I am in the best place I've been and on the right path for me."
Featured Image Credit: Media Drum World
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