Hello, I'm a new member to this forum, and I'm so glad I've found it! It's always such a great feeling when you find people who can understand what you're going through, when no one else understands. When I go to FMS forums and read other people's experiences, I am always surprised and think, "That's me!!", even down to the smallest detail. I am 20, and I got FMS/CFS right before college. This was devastating, especially because I had to head to college that coming fall and I had never dealt with a chronic illness. This debilitation was and is very hard for me because it prevents me from doing the simplest things and I am so young. Up until i got FMS i have been ambitious, interested in many things, and outstanding in a lot of things. I have been really really motivated. I have been a very successful musician and i have been the top student. I did so many things and was so healthy. However, this has all gone downhill. The FMS symptoms of widespread muscular pain (of all types), fatigue, muscle spasms the list goes on and on, have reduced me to not being able to do the simplest things. The summer before college was terrible. I could not even get out of bed. I went into college in a bad condition. It has been hard at college, with lots of pain. Having been able to pursue my ambitions and passions before and being outstanding, I now have difficulty doing the simplest things such as walking to class, carrying my books, or sitting for more than 30 minutes and so far, i have been in school working hard just to stay afloat. I've given up the extracurriculars i have always enjoyed before (music). It is physically impossible to play the instrument I can't write or use my arms now either. On top of FMS, i have RSI in my arms. It's especially during the flare ups that i have so much difficulty. No one here understands- which is understandable because they themselves have not experienced FMS. I often reflect back to my "old" days 2 years ago when i was perfectly healthy. My college experience so far has been tough because of my health. FMS has debilitated me so much. However, it has always been my dream to study abroad, and I got into the study abroad program in UK i've always wanted. I have to decide whether i should go and im having so much difficulty deciding because i can't predict what my health will be like. There is no basis on which I can make my decision. It's scary! Even here at school, i am having trouble keeping up and suffer so much during flare ups, which come really frequently. I feel like a slacker because before I'd be so enthusiastic and motivated to do work, now just the effort of looking for a pencil may seem like a battle. I can only imagine it'll be so much worse in a foreign country where I know the accomodations are not as good as here. For example, although i live a floor above the laundry facilities, its hard to do laundry- however there, they dont even have washing machines in dorms. Here, i live really central to campus. There, dorms are far and walking is required all day. The list goes on... I feel like so much is going to waste because of FMS. Me two years ago and me now? Completely different. Thanks for letting me vent and thanks for understanding Only people who are experiencing this too can really understand. Anyone have any suggestions? In particular, to the Brits out there, how is FMS/CFS awareness in England, relative to the US?