To look at Alison Morton you would be hard pushed to know anything was wrong with her.
But 29-year-old Alison is one of millions of people suffering from a debilitating ‘invisible’ disability.
Following an operation to remove her gallbladder in 2013, Alison, formerly of Longbenton, developed fibromyalgia; a painful condition that affects the central nervous system.
“I was in constant head-to-toe pain in all of my joints,” she said.
“I was having muscle spasms that would be so strong they would literally lift me off my bed and back down again. My skin was too tender to touch, like I was one massive bruise and sometimes even my clothes hurt me.
“My legs felt like I was walking through thick, heavy mud and my brain was foggy to the point I couldn’t remember words, how to get to places, people’s names – it was horrendous.
“I was a 25-year-old woman who from the outside looked completely normal. Fibromyalgia is an invisible illness, so you can’t see it, but I can certainly feel it.
“I felt so isolated, like no one around me understood or believed what I was going through until I found my local support group.”
This week – September 3 to 10 – marks National Fibromyalgia Awareness Week and Alison, who is now the chairman of the Newcastle Fibromyalgia Support Group, is looking to raise awareness of this often unheard of and misunderstood condition.
She added: “Four years on and the pain has never gone away, but Newcastle Pain Management changed my life and in some ways I’d say they saved my life.
“I now have a focus and drive to help other people going through the same journey as me and become an advocate for people living with invisible disabilities.”
Newcastle Fibromyalgia Support Group holds meetings on the third Monday of every month. It is also holding a coffee afternoon at The Oxford Centre, Longbenton, from 2pm to 4pm, on Saturday, to raise money for Fibromyalgia Association UK.
For more details, visit www.newcastlefibromyalgia.co.uk