Andrea McLean reveals battle with 'absolute exhaustion' that left her 'bedridden'
Andrea McLean has revealed she's been suffering from “absolute exhaustion” for more than three months and feeling so unwell that she was recently left bedridden for three days.
The former Loose Women star, 53, shared with her Instagram followers on Tuesday that it felt like another “one step forward, three steps back” and she is now awaiting blood tests to find out what might be wrong.
Accompanied by a series of pictures featuring her husband Nick Feeney, her mother and her dog Teddy, McLean gave an insight into what she’s been up to, saying she felt "poorly" shortly after attending her ex co-star Brenda Edwards' 20 February event for the one-year anniversary of the death of her son Jamal.
Read more: Andrea McLean says she got her spark back in her 50s: How to rebuild self-confidence
"Things I did to fill my cup this week, that weren’t to do with work…," McLean's caption reads.
"1. I went out with @nickfeeneycoach to support my lovely friend @brendaedwardsglobal on the one year anniversary of the passing of her son Jamal. It was a beautiful, poignant evening.
"Unfortunately, I ended up poorly in bed for three days afterwards. I had pushed myself at the gym that day, which was too much for my tired body. So, another episode of one step forward, three steps back. I am now awaiting blood tests to see why I have been poorly for so long now – it’s over three months of absolute exhaustion. The thinking is that it is Covid / autoimmune related. It’s a nuisance!"
McLean added, "2. I was luckily well enough to get dressed up and take my mum out on Friday for a pamper day as a belated Christmas present. So nails done and to our local Ivy for a late lunch. It was really lovely.
"3. We went round to mum and dads for another late lunch yesterday, with them and joint friends. It was lots of fun – and crossed three decades, we are in our 50s, our friends are in their 60s, mum and dad are in their 70s! How did that happen?
"4. We took @teddymcfeen for a walk, our usual Sunday thing.
"Here’s to a happy, healthy week ahead.
"What did you do to fill your cup this week?"
Her fans have filled the comments with well wishes, sharing what their experiences of extreme exhaustion have been caused by.
"Andrea I feel for you and have had similar condition which was a mix of ME and fibromyalgia as a post viral condition. I think there’s a tendency to fight back doing too much to get yourself feeling better, which actually hinders progress," commented one Instagram user.
"Perhaps try (wrong word here) not “trying” and “pushing”😉! So accepting, going with it and keeping confidence that it will go, but it’s just going to take time!"
Another added, "So sorry you haven't been well; I have ME/CFS & it makes me wonder if it's that.....but I hope not as I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I hope you get answers & treatment if needed & that you feel better very soon."
"Fatigue is so debilitating. I’m the same since October post Covid," wrote another.
McLean has also made references to not feeling 100% in other recent posts this year. In one she said, "I went to the gym 3 times. This is massive for me as I haven’t felt well enough for ages to do this" while in another she wrote, "I can feel myself slowly getting stronger, which is really nice. It’s been a long time since I felt strong!".
In December the presenter also shared she was suffering from the flu – "Proper, good old fashioned hot, cold, shivery, achey, sweaty, shaky flu."
And this isn't the first time McLean has spoken about exhaustion, with her opening up last summer on Metro's Mentally Yours podcast about burnout.
"I was getting up at five in the morning, I was in the gym for half six, I was working out, I was pushing myself really hard to be the fittest I’ve ever been," she said. "I wanted to be the most productive I’ve ever been... but there were two things happening.
"One, I was worrying with stress. I was also becoming more and more exhausted. Until the point where I felt like I was short-circuiting."
She then discussed how she was feeling with husband Feeney. They went on to have couples counselling which she described as a "game-changer" to help them spot and deal with bumps in the road together.
Watch: Andrea McLean on having to sell her house during career change
While McLean doesn't yet know the cause of her symptoms, the NHS points out that feeling exhausted is so common it has its own acronym, TATT, which stands for 'tired all the time'. This may be normal and down to too many late nights, long hours spent at work or the demands of childcare.
However, it adds that tiredness or exhaustion that goes on for a long time is not normal as it can affect your ability to enjoy daily life, and it may be caused by psychological, physical or lifestyle causes. Speak to your GP about symptoms.