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Danielle's mum: My 'invisible illness' Negativity model daughter faced may have triggered chronic pain.

Byline: TOM BELGER Social Affairs Reporter @tom_belger

DANIELLE Lloyd's mum has opened up about her battle with chronic pain and depression to raise awareness of an "invisible illness".

Jackie Lloyd, 57, from Aigburth, said fibromyalgia had taken over her life, leaving her unable to work, socialise or even walk short distances without being overwhelmed by exhaustion.

rto sleep until 5am because of the condition, which leaves an estimated one in 20 people with fatigue and pain all over but is not wellknown.

Ms Lloyd said the huge level of attention her daughter, then only 20, had suddenly faced in the mid-2000s after winning Miss England may have played a part in the illness.

She made clear 34-year-old Danielle was not to blame, but said the "negativity" she faced was a stressful experience as a mum, and stress was a known trigger for fibromyalgia.

Ms Lloyd, a former Barclays bank manager, spoke out in a frank interview with the ECHO to highlight the condition, which MPs are set to discuss next week with campaigners calling for it to be recognised as a serious illness.

HOW DAILY LIFE BECOMES A STRUGGLE She described how fibromyalgia could make parts of daily life that many people took for granted incredibly difficult for sufferers. She said: "It runs your life and takes it over. I go to bed at about 10pm, but I'm still awake sometimes to 5am with the pain.

"My hips are really sensitive to touch so lying on them is painful, and I get pain in my neck and legs too trying to sleep. So I end up not waking up till 11am.

"Walking even a short distance, my feet swell up and the pain is horrendous.

"It leaves you completely exhausted and depressed as you feel maybe you shouldn't have pushed yourself.

"But I do try to do things, as otherwise you would never leave the house.

"I can't do as much as I used to - I don't go down to see Danielle in Birmingham very often now, as my hands and shoulders ache too much holding the steering wheel that long.

"I used to love walking the dog but I can't now as even holding the lead my hand gets too sore. If the dog ran off it'd pull me over."

ISOLATION AND DEPRESSION She struggled for years to work out what was happening, initially putting the symptoms down to the men-opause. She said: "You feel guilty as no one can see it.

"You lose a lot of friends, as it got to the stage when I was working where I started shutting myself off.

"I would be panicking at the idea of going out for a drink - knowing I'd be exhausted just getting ready, wondering if I'd be able to get a seat, if we'd have to walk to another pub. You just say you can't come."

Her condition worsened to the point where she was forced to take time off work and eventually stop working altogether in 2009.

She added: "I used to feel guilty at the fact my husband had been out all day on shifts at work, and I was still in bed.

"That makes you more depressed.

I was prescribed antidepressants too."

DIAGNOSIS AND WHAT TRIGGERED THE ILLNESS It was only many years later that she finally managed to get a diagnosis from a specialist in 2017.

She said: "Nobody understands it, even lots of medical people - it's quite hurtful.

"I don't think even my family understood what fibromyalgia was at first, only after I went to the Walton Centre in March last year.

"That helped me explain to family and friends what was going on. My husband Arthur was shocked and upset when I spoke about it there."

The consultant who recognised her symptoms as fibromyalgia also said she may have had it for longer than she realised.

The actual causes of the condition are not known, but women are much more likely to be affected and it often develops between the age of 30 and 50.

Many sufferers have seen it triggered by stressful events - and Ms Lloyd said she could trace the symptoms back to one period of her life in particular.

She said: "I went through a very stressful time after Danielle was thrust into the public eye.

"There's so much negativity on social media - for every nice comment there are lots of negative ones, and it affects you as a parent.

|Faye Dempsey "It was stressful for everybody. Stress can be a trigger for fibromyalgia. That would fit in with the timescale of the symptoms."

'SWITCHING ROLES' She also spoke about how strange it felt to have Danielle and her son now caring more for her than she was for them or for her grandchildren.

She said: "My kids have their own families now but your family has to support you in ways you wouldn't want them to.

"It switches your roles around. Danielle didn't understand it at first, but after I opened up she and her brother started asking more about what they could do for me than I did for them.

"I used to be able to look after Danielle's and my son's children, but I can't do that any more. It's upsetting to not be able to spend more time with them.

"They jump on you or grab your hand and you have to say they can't."

TOO ILL TO GET TO WESTMINSTER The mum and daughter decided to go on a breakfast show together last year to raise awareness of the condition.

Danielle broke down in tears as Jackie told ITV's Lorraine: "I've had every tablet under the sun. Nothing takes that pain away.

"It's an invisible illness because no one can see it."

She said another Merseyside sufferer, former Stars in Their Eyes winner Faye Dempsey, had then told her about a petition calling for more recognition of fibromyalgia as a disability.

More than 80,000 people have already signed it, and she encouraged others to do so to show MPs how much it matters when they meet campaigners on January 31.

She said she had wanted to be there but the journey alone would cause too much discomfort, and paid tribute to others for enduring the pain enough to even make it to Westminster.

She said she was still battling depression, but described how meeting others with the condition had not only inspired her to speak out but also helped her feel much less alone.

She also said she had been inundated with messages of support from people with similar symptoms since she appeared on TV.

Ms Lloyd told the ECHO: "We need more recognition and a better understanding of it and its effects on people and their families.

"We need to educate people that fibromyalgia is real - it's there and it's not going to go away, until they find a cure."


|Faye Dempsey

|Jackie Lloyd, mum of model Danielle, suffers from the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia JASON ROBERTS

|Danielle Lloyd at last year's Pride of Britain awards

|Jackie Lloyd with daughter Danielle
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 28, 2018
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