A WEST Dorset woman has spoken out about living with a debilitating condition.

Hayley Green, 26, suffers from myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME, which leaves her feeling extremely tired and mostly housebound.

May is ME Awareness Month and Hayley hopes that sharing her story will help others understand more about the condition.

She said: “When I do go out, I get payback for it, and I can’t see family and friends as much as I used to.”

Hayley was a senior insurance sales advisor before she became ill in 2008.

She wasn’t diagnosed until 2011, a delay that is not uncommon for people with ME, as the condition is still not properly understood, and there is no definitive test for it. ME is a very variable illness, with symptoms changing over time, and it affects people in different ways and to differing degrees. This means that what might help one person may not help another.

One of the main symptoms is extreme tiredness, which can leave sufferers struggling to function after carrying out simple mental or physical tasks.

Hayley, from Beaminster, said she could feel the impact straightaway, but more typically it could take a day or two to kick in.

She added: “I find that a combination of pacing, supplements and dietary changes helps me get through the day.

“A positive approach massively helps me cope, as well as getting the best quality sleep possible, and avoiding stress.”

Pacing means Hayley balances physical and mental energy with regular rest periods.

This technique is used by many sufferers to manage their symptoms but is not a cure for the condition.

Charity Action for ME is calling for more research into the condition to find out the causes and why it affects people in the way it does.

For details, visit actionforme.org.uk