Northampton woman suffering from 'invisible illnesses' wants to change attitudes surrounding disabilities

Isobel Baker
Isobel Baker

A woman who has found herself bed-bound for up to three-and-a-half months since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2008 has said she has been treated differently using a wheelchair.

Former rugby player, Isobel Baker, 32, who lives in the Mounts, suffers from chronic widespread pain, hypersensitivity and struggles to walk. She is now coming to terms with the fact there is no cure for the disease.

She said that there are treatments to help relieve some of the symptoms but she claims the pain has "robbed her of the ability to write, draw and paint."

Now she wants to urge others, who might be quick to judge, that not all people who suffer from disabilities and illnesses are wheelchair bound and advises them to have some discretion when seeing people who look 'able-bodied' park in a blue badge spot as their disability might not be defined by a wheelchair.

Isobel said: "Much of my day is spent in the dark in bed unable to do anything. I am regularly in so much pain I cannot get out of bed and have been known to be bed bound for months at a time.

"I wake every morning with chronic pain and most days I would rate my pain seven out of 10. I have to wait for my body to start co-operating with me before I can do anything. Getting up, washed and dressed is a struggle so it is usually a two man job.

"Sometimes I can't string a sentence together, I suffer from paralysis from the waist down and struggle to swallow. It's quite debilitating, I can't express myself, it's torture. You're willing your brain to write but your hand won't move. I would rather not be here because the pain is so bad, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy."

As well as Fibromyalgia she also suffers from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) - known as different types of fatigue - and has found herself suffering from depression as a result.

"There are lots of us out there unable to communicate or interact with the world due to illness. I would like people to think and be less judgemental," she adds.

For anybody who is suffering from the conditions, Isobel recommends swimming, relaxation and practicing mindfulness.