I was in my first term at university. A couple of months later, I was bed-bound because of the debilitating pain.
After I received my Fibromyalgia diagnosis at the age of 18, I couldn’t properly comprehend how it would impact me for the rest of my life.
I not only struggled with the constant pain but also with the dramatic change in my lifestyle.
I was unable to do the simplest of tasks like washing my hair and filling up my car with petrol.
‘I dropped out of university’
I gave up studying while I was visiting specialists, on a weekly basis, to try to get some answers.
I felt isolated, as no one could understand how it really felt to live in pain every day.
Image caption Leanne returned to studying English Literature at the University of Sussex
Despite looking like a typical student, it was really a very different story.
Fibromyalgia was once for me, as it still is for many, a completely grey area in terms of medical conditions.
An invisible illness
There is such a lack of understanding for the condition because it is an invisible illness.
I think the most frustrating aspect is the fact that some specialists did not fully understand it themselves.
One even told me that I should just continue with my life as normal and try to remain positive. This seemed impossible to me because the pain was too overwhelming. However, the majority of the doctors I have met over my journey have been incredible.
Lady Gaga has reassured me
Once I met doctors who actually listened and could begin to understand how I felt, I was overcome with a huge sense of relief and I remember thinking, “wow, I am not crazy, there is actually an explanation”.
Fast forward four years, I am now 22 and I have learned how to manage the pain so I can continue to live my life to the best possible degree.
However, knowing that someone like Lady Gaga is a fellow sufferer is reassuring.
I hope it will bring awareness and understanding tor other fibromyalgia sufferers, who must live their life with an invisible illness.