Have you ever met someone who suffered from a chronic illness? Do you know someone experiencing nerve pain in their body? Someone who felt depressed due to a sickness?
All of these complications are what Meaghan Summers, ’17, has felt since her first year of college. Summers has a chronic illness called fibromyalgia. The illness is characterized by overall nerve pain in the body from below the waistline to the upper body. In order to be diagnosed with the illness, there has to be nerve pain remaining for about three to six months. The illness is known as the “invisible illness” because there are no known causes for the disease.
“I lived in Myers [Hall] when my symptoms started to occur, so I confined to a friend’s room on the first floor of Myers. I decided to stay in school,” Summers said.
After, Summers revealed that she had to go to the hospital 15 times. She also had difficult times that she went through while battling the illness.
“Sophomore year I was in a wheel chair, I couldn’t move or think; it sparked major depression,” Summers said.
Although Summers was facing a battle with her health, she managed to stay positive and have pep talks with herself and others. Throughout the tough battle, friends and family were very supportive to Summers.
“All my friends were extremely supportive and they treated the illness like it was normal. They played an amazing role the whole time,” Summers said. “My family is really supportive, but at times it was difficult for them to understand.”
Summers was put on medication for the illness, but decided to self-medicate.
“I’m self-medicating now. I write and I talk to people which is the best thing I can do,” Summers said.
Fibromyalgia hasn’t slowed Summers down; she is a English major with two minors in creative writing and religion. On campus, she is involved in Kappa Delta, works in the Writing Center, is the co-editor of Wittenberg’s Spectrum publication and is an intern with the Springfield News-Sun.
“Even though I’m not a 100 percent better, I can be a bit of a success story because I am not dependent on medication,” Summers said.
Summers shared advice to help others who may be struggling with a disability.
“I would say it’s going to suck, but I shouldn’t be the person to say it’s going to get better because I don’t know if it will. Don’t shut anyone out and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Summers said.