“I CANNOT wait to get back to being a normal teenager.”
With those words, South Tyneside schoolgirl Jessica Thompson outlines her determination to win her health battle
The 14-year-old was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome back in November, forcing her to withdraw from classes and take a break from the performing arts she loves so much.
Sadly, her fight to cope with the condition hasn’t been helped by the abuse and rumours thrown in her direction, with some classmates saying she was lazy, had been kicked out of school and even that she was pregnant.
But Jessica, of Harton, South Shields, is vowing to put it all behind her, return to school and get back on the stage she loves so much.
She said: “I will get better, hopefully by the end of this year.
“It’s been really awful. I get really upset and depressed, and I was having a breakdown every week.
“There was a lot of rumours I had to deal with as well, and they hurt. The pregnancy one was the most ridiculous. I’m not skipping school, I can’t go because of an illness.
“Now it’s getting better because I’ve opened up about how much it’s affected me.”
The Harton Technology College student is desperate to get back to her dance, drama and music as a member of the borough-based Performers stage and dance schools, as well as her involvement with the 3rd South Shields Sea Scouts.
But she knows she has to take one day at a time.
Jessica, who is now often confined to a wheelchair, added: “I’d be taking part in shows and just coming back knackered or being in bed for days.We went to the doctors and it was just loads and loads of blood tests – I’ve had enough to last a lifetime.
“Then I had X-rays and CT scans and once they had eliminated everything else, I was diagnosed with CFS.
“I was pushing through as normal at first but then I started going to school less as I was picking up viruses, and now I can’t go at all and have tutoring.”
Jessica, who hopes to one day become a doctor, has found it hard to be away from the classroom, especially as she’s due to start her GCSE work in Year 10 in September. Schoolwork is also classed as a high-energy activity, which means she can only do so much work done before her concentration wavers.
She added: “I hope to start school again next term, even if it’s just for half-an-hour. I’m a self-confessed geek.
“I can’t wait to get back to dancing and just back to being a normal teenager having shopping sprees and going to parties.
“I just want to tell people, just because we look OK doesn’t mean we are. The next day we will probably be in bed, and people with CFS normally lie about how they are feeling.”