You’ll know precisely how Kirsty Young feels if you’ve ever suffered from the chronic disorder fibromyalgia. In an interview with The Sunday Times Magazine, Young said that “the wrong medics and the wrong medication” had sent her down “lots of blind alleys” in her search for recovery.
You might know Kirsty Young from presenting the flagship news programme Channel 5 News in 1997 and previously presenting Crimewatch on BBC One from 2008 to 2015. In 2006 she was known as the new presenter of the long-running BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs. She stayed in the role for over a decade and said her goodbyes in 2019, unknowing to the public it was because she was suffering from fibromyalgia.
Those who suffer from chronic fibromyalgia illness have overall musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Up to 1 in 20 people suffer from fibromyalgia, and this difficult to detect cause of illness makes many people question if they have fibromyalgia (if they even know they have it, that is). Former Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young conveyed how she was in so much discomfort that it was like someone struck her “with a baseball bat”.
Young had spoken publicly about being diagnosed with secondary fibromyalgia for the first time. For those without a clue about how Kirsty Young and approximately 4 million other adults feel, fibromyalgia is a long-term disorder that induces pain across the entire body. Fibromyalgia inflicts intense exhaustion on its sufferers as well as causing rheumatoid arthritis.
“It was like somebody had drugged me, like you’d taken a sleeping tablet at the wrong time in the day, and you were completely losing it,” she told the magazine. Due to suffering from this disorder, Young thought “clearly the only option” was to quit Desert Island Discs and sadly mentioned she had not listened to it since. Lauren Laverne shortly took over from Kirsty as the host of Desert Island Discs in 2019.
Whilst living with fibromyalgia, she felt depressed. She said, “I’m not a medic, I don’t know the difference between low mood and depression, but I remember talking to my specialist.” On top of this, she kept her illness from her children and step-children, mentioning, “I just thought, soldier on. You don’t want to admit defeat, do you? I was shovelling down the painkillers.”
It’s common for people who suffer from pain to think they are the only ones going through it and feel as if they shouldn’t burden anyone. After receiving help from a specialist, Kirsty Young happily came off most of her pain medication, noting, “That’s four years. That’s how long it’s taken”. Recently, Young agreed to host the BBC’s Platinum Jubilee coverage, which she “couldn’t resist”.
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