Life Testimony:

A fibromyalgia sufferer

I'm not an emotional person, especially not in public, but I cried quite a lot, which is probably good.


Oh so much, so much. I mean, I used to get the mental health problems on the wing.

So, healthcare would ring me up and go [unnamed] we’ve got so and so we need to make about healthcare because we need the room, but you know we’re worried where we’re going to send them, but if you can take him, then you can work with them, and so that’s what I used to do. But that was fine when I was there, but when I wasn’t there, you know, time and time the arguments I have had with people because I’ve written in the book, this is what’s got to happen with this prisoner, and they don’t, and the prisoner ends up self-harming or whatever, and it that, that’s what started getting to me in the end of my time within the prison service, that it wasn’t the prisoners with a problem, it was the staff, the management and I was just playing in my head against a brick wall at the end I in the end I broke, I broke and walked out the prison, especially the way they treated my son as well. But, um, it just broke me, and I just lifted up my back and said, that’s it, I can’t do this anymore.

Health issues fibromyalgia

I know the fibromyalgia didn’t help, but you know, you just thinking I’m working at this system, this is what we meant to be doing. You know I was ill … I’d have prisoners, ‘Miss, why don’t you want to sit down, I’ll make you a cup of tea’, you know. How do they notice it? You know when it was, it was just to the state, you know. I suppose I blame myself in in the sense that I didn’t do anything about it before that happened, but I think I just got into that state, whereas you just, I was on auto pilot, and that was it, and I each day was a very difficult challenge with staff and management, not prisoners. And that was sad, I think that’s what got me. It was sad.

It’s very difficult, because it covers a lot, but generally I’d look at it as a chronic pain condition and there’s no real set diagnosis of what the pain is, or where it’s going to be. But to me it was the exhaustion, um, I found difficult because I could, usually I was working nearly up to 80 hours a week because home issues with difficult partner wasn’t working […] lazy […] So, I was doing over 80 hours a week.

I get very angry about it, but then I also look at exactly what I have done in my life. And it took over my life, what am I? 66 now, a good 8 years, where you know it was either in bed, lots of heavy meds, fentanyl. You can’t believe I think I lived in bed for nearly 2 years.

A better present 

I found this job with my boss, I don’t know if it was a good decision, but it is in one way, because I got me back. You know I detoxed off the fentanyl it took me 18 months and it was only the pain doctor from my surgery that rang me, and discussed and asked me about coming off, you know would I like to try that. So, I did, you know. And I think it did worry me, initially, because you are addicted. I don’t care what anyone says, you’re addicted to all these meds.


I did a degree in counselling now at the Colchester Institute, so I was doing that as well as trying to live, it was a very bad time, so I was struggling, going there and counselling, I mean we meant to have 12 sessions, I think, all in all, I had about 42 from beginning to end, I continued with the counselling. Probably, if I just started it years before, life would be different. But there’s no point resting on that. My counsellor was, you know, it was very good. I had person-centred counselling. I manage.

But I also think well, you managed it, you got through it, and you’ve done it. So that and the counselling really helped. It was wonderful, and I’m not an emotional person, especially not in public, but I cried quite a lot, which is probably good, and we explored many issues, and you know, that really helped at that point. That was good.