Basic Stuff

  • Name: Ishtar
  • Country: Scotland, United Kingdom
  • County: Edinburgh
  • City: Edinburgh
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 71
  • Education: Ph.D Degree
  • Primary Illness: Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS)
  • Diagnosis:
    • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Year Illness Began: 2011

Functioning Interrupted

Former Level of Functionality: 100
(No symptoms at rest; no symptoms with exercise; normal overall activity level; able to work full-time without difficulty.)
Current Level of Functionality: 70
(Mild symptoms at rest; some daily activity limitation clearly noted. Overall functioning close to 90% of expected except for activities requiring exertion. Able to work full-time with difficulty.)

Work Interrupted

  • Former Occupation: Psychologist & Dance artist
  • Job Responsibilities at Former Occupation:

    I worked full time as a psychologist for the chronic pain service in the NHS. I ran mindfulness groups and saw individual patients. I also had a part time private practice in psychotherapy. I also had a dance project on the go.

  • Current Occupation: Psychologist in private practice, dance artist
  • Current Job Responsibilities:

    I had to leave my NHS job due to ME/CFS. I am able to work as a psychotherapist by spacing out my clients. I have done a dance film by doing short bits of movement followed by rest.

  • Years of Work Lost: 0
  • Current Work Status: Still working

Income Interrupted

  • Minimum Current Annual Income Loss:


Other Interruptions

Certified Disabled: No

  • I reduced my work hours
  • I left my job or retired early

Most Impactful Loss

Unable to dance or be physically active. Unable to socialise unless I am not working.

My Story

Prior to becoming ill, I had a rich and full life. I was part of a pain management team, I ran mindfulness groups and trainings, I was funded for a dance project and regularly did tai chi, yoga, pilates and walking. I became ill suddenly one day at work and did not get better. I was bed-ridden for about a 6 months, house-bound for another 6 months and had to leave my NHS job and cancel my dance project. All this was devastating to me. I felt like I was dying. Any attempt to do anything like pilates, even for ten minutes, would leave me bed-bound again. I was fortunate that I have a loving husband who looked after me and took over much of the household chores, shopping, cooking etc.

I gradually improved over the course of around 6 years. I used yoga nidra meditation and frequent rests and made sure to rest when I felt symptoms coming on. I got back to around 90% of where I was until 2021 when I relapsed. I was not as bad as the first time and generally have been able to work part time but am still now getting post-exertional malaise if I do too much physically. I can walk for about ten minutes. I had been funded again for a dance project that I had been working on for some years. I was too ill to perform the piece but was able to make it into a film. I would do small bits of movement and lie down repeatedly throughout the day. I did NOTHING else during the two weeks of filming. I got a lot of support from others to be able to do this. I remain hopeful that I will continue to improve again and get back to where I was prior to relapse. I have attached a link to the trailer for my piece that I managed to do in spite of my illness! It had it's first screening in September 2023. Since then I have improved to some degree. I am able to socialise a bit more a do about 30 minutes of movement practice twice a week.

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