Published: 17:00, 24 March 2015
“I was the school ghost, the boy that was never there. I guess in retrospect I was ill from birth, but pain and fatigue isn’t a language that a child’s body understands; just the perpetual frustration,” the 35-year-old told the News Extra.
“Why am I not able to do what all the other kids are doing?
“This was the thought process of a developing mind while I looked out the window at the passing world.
“It was around the age of 10 that I finally received a diagnosis – myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME.
“Severe migraine had been always been an acquaintance of mine, but to receive a label of ME at a young age simply provided me with a kind of normality. It was a way of life.
“Thirty-four years have passed now and a part of me is genuinely quite shocked I’ve made it this far.
“My illness is not terminal, but it certainly feels like the body is wearing out with each passing moment.
“To feel the literal definition of exhaustion, to have pain course through your body like a derailed freight train, to be so sensitive you cannot touch your own skin, or to be unable to look at the dimmest of lights.
Well, these problems are not conducive to leading a ‘normal’ life.
“It doesn’t take much for a prescribed drug to knock me off my axis. Knowing how badly I react to most substances, I was always exceedingly wary of taking any drug.
“When I hit my mid-20s, with health forcing me to give up music, I reluctantly relented and took the advice of fraught onlookers to try cannabis.
“It’s funny, if you say to a stranger you use lavender for therapeutic purposes, it’s instantly understood.
“If you say the same about cannabis, that has actual evidence to support its efficiency, you may well be the recipient of a sceptical and stigmatising glare.
“So now, I seek to promote the voices of others with multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s, ME, fibromyalgia, to name a few.
“A by-product of our current drug laws are that they create an underclass. It predicates stigma and a deep sense of societal and individual shame.
“To seek relief is a basic human necessity, and the time has come to end judgement and end the barbaric criminalisation practices that serve no other use that political profiteering.”