CHANELLE Hayes says she's taking seven medications a day to ease the agonising pain from M.E.
At her worst, the mum-of-two has been left bed-bound for days after drinking just one glass of wine or doing a workout.
Chanelle compares the pain to childbirth, saying she constantly feels like her “bones are going to explode”.
Her health has got so bad she's been forced to give up going to the gym, drinking alcohol and enjoying nights out with friends because she’s always so exhausted.
And the former Big Brother star, 34, says she's missing out on time with the kids because she's always asleep.
"It's a hidden disability that people scoff at thinking you're just being lazy," Chanelle told The Sun in an exclusive interview.
"But there are days I've slept for 14 hours and when I wake up in the morning I still haven't got enough energy to brush my teeth or do my hair.
"It's literally awful and so frustrating. I've found myself crying because I get so mad at how tired I get.
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"I can't understand why my body won't let me do certain things.
"I'm a qualified personal trainer and love going to the gym, but I physically can't go anymore. Once I go I'm out of action for about four days in bed.
"I feel like I am missing out on lots of time with the kids because I'm sleeping so much. I've even lost more weight than I wanted to because of how much I'm asleep."
Chanelle – who found fame on Channel 4's Big Brother in 2007 when she was just 19 – has struggled with fatigue, as well as joint and muscular pain for years prior to her diagnosis.
She says her M.E. went undiagnosed for years because of her obesity and was only discovered after she lost nine stone.
The star's recent weight loss from a gastric sleeve op helped curb her “addiction” to binge-eating.
But despite now being in the best shape of her life, the mum-of-two has secretly been suffering with the chronic fatigue syndrome that leaves her in excruciating agony.
The student nurse told The Sun: "I always put my symptoms down to being so obese.
"I thought 'I'm overweight, it's my own fault, no wonder I'm tired all of the time and no wonder my joints are killing me.'
"Then as I started to lose weight I felt like the pain was getting worse and worse."
Chanelle has told how she's been forced to take three-hour naps after doing the 35-minute school-run to drop her kids Blakely, 11, and four-year-old Frankie off.
Describing the discomfort she feels on a daily basis, Chanelle said: "The pain feels like there is a volcano inside my bones and they're just going to explode.
"And that's only my bone pain. Then I've got muscular pain. If you were to just gently press on my muscles it would kill. It feels like my whole body is bruised.
"I've given birth twice – once without any pain relief. And when I was 9cm dilated it was the equivalent to the pain I get inside my bones.
"I wouldn't wish it on anybody – not even my worst enemy – because it stops you living your life until your body decides it can carry on functioning again."
Despite numerous trips to the doctors, the 5ft 3ins star has been told for years her issues were linked to being 17st 4lbs.
But after dropping from size 18 to a size ten, Chanelle pushed for answers – and has finally been told she's got M.E.
"I've had so many tests done on me I feel like a lab rat," says Chanelle.
"They tested me for thyroid issues, hormone issues, and arthritis, but everything came back absolutely normal and I was given a clean bill of health.
"Unfortunately it means the only thing left that it could be is M.E.
"When the doctor told me he said 'it's not good news' because it doesn't really ever go away."
Since then Chanelle has been researching the incurable condition to understand how she can avoid flare-ups.
"I've been trying to work out what makes my symptoms worse," explains Chanelle.
"I've got more mental stress at the moment and that's a trigger for a flare-up.
"I also know that drinking alcohol causes me pain so now I do my best to avoid that, but it seems to be mental health that can floor me.
"I've been overwhelmed by it."
Ironically, trainee nurse Chanelle spent time last year caring for patients who were suffering with severe M.E.
She fears the condition will hold her back at university where she's being given a 13-week hospital placement in March, which will see her work 40 hours a week.
But Chanelle – who lives with her accountant boyfriend Dan Bingham – insists she doesn't want people to think she is feeling sorry for herself.
"I'm very grateful I've only got mild to moderate symptoms," she says.
"Some M.E. sufferers need full-time care. I'm hoping it will never get to that point for me, because there is a lot worse it can get further down the road.
"It's not something you can ever get under control, it's about trying to work out my triggers.
"I put such a brave face onto everyone. I don't think anyone but my boyfriend Dan has actually seen how bad it is.
"It's made me realise what an attribute he is and how I wouldn't want to be with anybody else.
"He's really stepped up. I honestly don't know what I would have done without him."
What are the signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue symptom (CFS)?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms. The most common symptom is extreme tiredness.
CFS is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis.
It can affect anyone, including children, but is more common in women, and tends to develop between your mid-20s and mid-40s.
As well as extreme tiredness, people may have other symptoms, including:
- sleep problems
- muscle or joint pain
- a sore throat or sore glands that aren't swollen
- problems thinking, remembering or concentrating
- flu-like symptoms
- feeling dizzy or sick
- fast or irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations)
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