Martine McCutcheon’s brave battle with illness that ‘turns world upside down’

Martine McCutcheon shares video clips on Mallorca holiday after CFS flare up

EastEnders star Martine McCutcheon struggles with a number of invisible illnesses which sadly left her hospitalised on her husband’s birthday last year. The actress shared her plight on Thursday, explaining that she had been left feeling so dizzy that she could not stand up.

The mum-of-one, 47, was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) in 2011, a serious and long-term illness that causes extreme tiredness.

She was then diagnosed with Lyme disease, an infectious bacterial infection which is passed on from being bitten by an infected tick. While the condition is easier to treat if diagnosed early, a few people continue to have symptoms like tiredness, aches and loss of energy.

In addition, the Love Actually star also battles fibromyalgia, an incurable condition that causes widespread pain as well as tiredness.

Speaking to Daily Star in 2017, Martine said her “life felt like a living hell every day” and it had “been one thing after another”.

READ MORE: Martine McCutcheon hospitalised on husband’s birthday with chronic illness

She later told HELLO! that her illness has made her feel “unsupported”.

She said: “The illness can turn your world upside down and everybody’s situation is very personal and unique to them. I think that it’s key to remember that. My disease is invisible and it can make you feel unsupported or misunderstood.”

Appearing on Loose Women in 2016, Martine described her symptoms which include aches, pains, cracking and tight muscles and joints as well as migraines that feel like being “hit on the head by a mallet”.

She explained: “You can also have fatigue, changes in temperature, brain fog, sensitivity to noise, light, smell and parts of the body really hurt. Sleeping doesn’t always make you feel refreshed and you fatigue very easily. A bit like the flu but it doesn’t really fully go away.”

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Martine’s condition was so debilitating that she told her husband, Jack McManus, 39, that she would understand if he wanted to “find someone else”.

She told the singer-songwriter she didn’t want him to “lose out because of me”. But he assured her, saying: “Don’t be stupid, we’ll get through this together.”

The pair share a son, Rafferty, who was born in 2015.

Martine shared her frustrations that her conditions have forced her to slow down, despite how hard she tries to keep going. She said: “It was horrible stopping. I wouldn’t want to do it all over again. I’ve learned from it.”

In 2021, the Tiffany Mitchell actress says she has learned to spot the signals her body may be experiencing a flare-up, telling HELLO! Magazine: “I look at it that when I get symptoms or when my body starts clanging, it’s a sign for me to pace myself, rest.”

She says cold showers can help to alleviate her fibromyalgia symptoms and that she’s keen to try cryotherapy.

She also tries “to take extra special care” of herself, eating “natural and organic food” and practicing “gentle yoga and breathing”.

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