I sleep for 14hrs and need long naps after the school run because of M.E, but people think I'm lazy says Chanelle Hayes

CHANELLE Hayes says she sleeps for 14 hours and still needs long naps after doing the half-hour school run because of her chronic fatigue battle.

The former Big Brother star, 34, is suffering from a condition called M.E., which went undiagnosed for years because of her obesity.


The mum-of-two says she's missing out on time with her children Blakely, 11, and four-year-old Frankie, because she's asleep all of the time.

In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Chanelle says: "It's a hidden disability that people scoff at thinking you're just being lazy.

"But there are days I've slept for 14 hours and when I wake up in the morning I still haven't got enough energy to brush my teeth or do my hair.

"It's literally awful and so frustrating. I've found myself crying because I get so mad at how tired I get.

"I can't understand why my body won't let me do certain things.

"I'm a qualified personal trainer and love going to the gym, but I physically can't go anymore. Once I go I'm out of action for about four days in bed.

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"I feel like I am missing out on lots of time with the kids because I'm sleeping so much. I've even lost more weight than I wanted to because of how much I'm asleep."

Chanelle – who found fame on Channel 4's Big Brother in 2007 when she was just 19 – has struggled with fatigue, as well as joint and muscular pain for years prior to her diagnosis.

Despite numerous trips to the doctors, the 5ft 3ins star was told her issues were linked to being 17st 4lbs.

She recently lost nine stone after a gastric sleeve op helped curb her “addiction” to binge-eating.

After dropping from size 18 to a size ten, Chanelle pushed for answers – and has finally been told she's got M.E.

"I always put my symptoms down to being so obese," admits Chanelle.

"I thought 'I'm overweight, it's my own fault, no wonder I'm tired all of the time and no wonder my joints are killing me.'

"Then as I started to lose weight I felt like the pain was getting worse and worse."

"I've had so many tests done on me I feel like a lab rat.

"They tested me for thyroid issues, hormone issues, and arthritis, but everything came back absolutely normal and I was given a clean bill of health.

"Unfortunately it means the only thing left that it could be is M.E.

"When the doctor told me he said 'it's not good news' because it doesn't really ever go away."

Since then Chanelle has been researching the incurable condition to understand how she can avoid flare-ups.

"I've been trying to work out what makes my symptoms worse," explains Chanelle.

"I've got more mental stress at the moment and that's a trigger for a flare-up.

"I also know that drinking alcohol causes me pain so now I do my best to avoid that, but it seems to be mental health that can floor me.

"I've been overwhelmed by it."

Chanelle compares the pain in her joints to childbirth, saying she constantly feels like her “bones are going to explode”.

She's on seven medications a day to keep her chronic pain at bay.

Chanelle said: "The pain feels like there is a volcano inside my bones and they're just going to explode.

"And that's only my bone pain. Then I've got muscular pain. If you were to just gently press on my muscles it would kill. It feels like my whole body is bruised.

"I've given birth twice – once without any pain relief. And when I was 9cm dilated it was the equivalent to the pain I get inside my bones.

"I wouldn't wish it on anybody – not even my worst enemy – because it stops you living your life until your body decides it can carry on functioning again."

But Chanelle – who lives with her accountant boyfriend Dan Bingham – insists she doesn't want people to think she is feeling sorry for herself.

"I'm very grateful I've only got mild to moderate symptoms," she says.

"Some M.E. sufferers need full-time care. I'm hoping it will never get to that point for me, because there is a lot worse it can get further down the road.

"It's not something you can ever get under control, it's about trying to work out my triggers.

"I put such a brave face onto everyone. I don't think anyone but my boyfriend Dan has actually seen how bad it is.

"It's made me realise what an attribute he is and how I wouldn't want to be with anybody else.

"He's really stepped up. I honestly don't know what I would have done without him."


What are the signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue symptom (CFS)?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms. The most common symptom is extreme tiredness.

CFS is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis.

It can affect anyone, including children, but is more common in women, and tends to develop between your mid-20s and mid-40s.

As well as extreme tiredness, people may have other symptoms, including:

  • sleep problems
  • muscle or joint pain
  • headaches
  • a sore throat or sore glands that aren't swollen
  • problems thinking, remembering or concentrating
  • flu-like symptoms
  • feeling dizzy or sick
  • fast or irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations)

Source: NHS

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