Kirsty Young admits her fibromyalgia struggles made her feel like she was ‘going mental’ as she discusses quitting Desert Island Discs because of her ill health
Kirsty Young has opened up about her struggles with fibromyalgia and how it made her feel like she was ‘going mental’ when her symptoms were at their worst.
The BBC radio DJ, 54, was forced to quit as the host of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2019 after 12 years due to her struggles with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the joints while fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body and tiredness.
Kirsty first suffered with arthritis which led to her being diagnosed with secondary fibromyalgia, which occurs in a patient with an underlying rheumatic disease.
Speaking about her health struggles, Kirsty admitted she felt like she was ‘going mental’ due to the horrendeous pain caused by her fibromyalgia.
Health: Kirsty Young has opened up about her struggles with fibromyalgia and how it made her feel like she was ‘going mental’ when her symptoms were at their worst
She told how the pain started to ‘corrode’ her personality and left her feeling ‘like a loser’ because she was unable to do things that she could have done before.
Speaking on The Adam Buxton podcast, she said: ‘It was at its worst for a couple of years. You feel like you’re going mental. Quitting my job didn’t make me feel like it, but the pain it starts to corrode your personality.
‘You start to lose your sense of humour, you can’t really cope with things that would normally wash over you.’
‘I felt like a loser because you can’t do things; if there’s a long drive to take your child somewhere, you can’t do that long drive,’ she went on.
‘Or if it’s standing out in the cold to watch a hockey match, that makes you feel very bad. That’s part of the grinding down your sense of self.’
Kirsty told how it was ‘complicated’ to have her fibromyalgia diagnosed because it was linked to her rheumatoid arthritis, meaning they were hard to ‘untangle’.
She said she was taking many ‘complicated’ medications to treat fibromyalgia, but told how it is ‘under control’ now and she only takes some medication to manage her arthritis.
Exit: The BBC radio DJ, 54, was forced to quit as the host of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (pictured on the show with David Beckham) in 2019 due to her health struggles
‘It’s all calmed on now, it’s under control. It is treatable,’ she said. ‘You have to do things to keep your health good, and if I don’t make sure I get good sleep, have lower stress levels, walk every day, do yoga – and I took a whole of complicated medications, which I’m glad to say I’m off now.’
Kirsty first temporarily stepped down from Desert Island Discs in August 2018 before announcing her permanent departure the following year, with Lauren Laverne taking over as host.
She said of her exit at the time: ‘After 12 incredibly happy and fulfilling years on Desert Island Discs I’ve decided to step down permanently.
‘Having been forced to take some months away from my favourite job because of health problems, I’m happy to say I’m now well on the way to feeling much better.
‘But that enforced absence from the show has altered my perspective on what I should do next and so I’ve decided it’s time to pursue new challenges.
‘Having hundreds of Castaways share their triumphs, tragedies, tribulations and tracks with me over the years was a huge privilege and an education.
‘I am so thankful to Roy Plomley for the brilliance of his format, and I wish the programme and Lauren all the very best.’
Hard times: Kirsty told how the pain from fibromyalgia started to ‘corrode’ her personality and left her feeling ‘like a loser’ because she was left unable to do things
Exit: Kirsty temporarily stepped down from Desert Island Discs in 2018 before announcing her permanent departure the following year, with Lauren Laverne (pictured) taking over
Kirsty had presented the show since 2006 and interviewed hundreds of guests such as Dame Kelly Holmes, Victoria Wood and Sir David Attenborough.
She presented a total of 496 episodes of the programme as well as fronting its 70th and 75th anniversary celebrations.
Kirsty married millionaire entrepreneur Nick Jones, who is the founder of celebrity haunt Soho House Club, in September 1999 and have two daughters, Freya and Iona. Nick also has two children, Natasha and Oliver, from a previous relationship.
WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA AND HOW IS IT TREATED?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that is associated with widespread pain throughout the body.
This occurs in an estimated five million people in the US, and 80 to 90 per cent of those are women.
Researchers have looked into fibromyalgia developing due to an issue with how the brain responds to pain receptors.
- Chronic pain
- Muscle spasms
- Cognitive difficulties (‘fibro fog’)
- Sleep disruptions
Treatment is used to minimize the symptoms, not to rid the body of the disorder.
There is a variety of medications to help treat pain, sleep problems and muscle spasms.
People can also turn to therapy, messages, acupuncture and yoga to see if it helps lessen the symptoms.
There is no current cure for the chronic disorder.
Source: Mayo Clinic
WHAT IS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS? THE AGONISING LONG-TERM ILLNESS THAT IS INCURABLE
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects around 400,000 people in the UK
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects around 400,000 people in the UK and nearly 1.3 million adults in the US.
Women are up to three times more likely to develop the condition than men. Those with family history of rheumatoid arthritis are also more vulnerable.
It is a long-term illness in which the immune system causes the body to attack itself, causing painful, swollen and stiff joints.
RA, the second most common form of arthritis that often begins between the ages of 40 and 50, tends to strike the hands, wrists and knees.
Scientists are currently unsure as to the exact cause of RA, but smoking, eating lots of red meat and coffee drinkers are at higher risk.
A cure has yet to be found, but treatments are available and proven to help slow down the progressive condition.
RA is a complex autoimmune condition that is diagnosed and treated by a Consultant Rheumatologist in secondary care and the patient is followed up on a regular basis by a consultant-led multi-disciplinary team in hospital.
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