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Woman who is 'allergic' to the 21st century has no physical contact with the outside world

Monday 20 October 2014


From Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph:


Amelia Hill
Amelia Hill has closed herself off from the rest of the world.
(Picture: Jodi Nash)

Woman who is 'allergic' to the 21st century has no physical contact with the outside world

By Amelia Hill
Sunday Style
October 19, 2014 12:00AM

FOR almost five years, I’ve lived in one single room, stripped of all possessions – apart from a fold-out bed that doesn’t even have a mattress.

Yes, you read that right: one room for five years!

My family and friends can only speak to me through a glass wall; I eat the same six foods on rotation; and can wear just one outfit.

I’m not in prison and this isn’t some kind of Big Brother social experiment.

I have a condition called multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), as well as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS).

This means I’m intolerant to an endless list of everyday items, including fragrances, fabrics, plastics, cleaning products, computers and Wi-Fi technology.

Minimal exposure can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction – my airway swells, I can’t breathe and feel like I’ve overdosed on sedatives.

You could say that I’m allergic to the 21st century.

The only way for me to survive and have any quality of life is to seal myself off from my friends, family and the outside world.

I am now 38, but my symptoms began when I was 15, though they became more severe as I got older.

At school I was always exhausted and short of breath, but every blood test came back negative and the doctor said I was either a hypochondriac or suffering from a form of glandular fever and should get better over time.

For a while I did seem to improve, or I just became better at hiding my symptoms.

After high school I began a career as a fashion stylist and, throughout my twenties, to the outside world I was living the dream, working for magazines and running my own fashion label.

But I was plagued by tiredness, nausea, breathlessness and unexplained pain.

I hid my symptoms from everyone but my mother, as I didn’t want my friends to pity me.

I was totally in denial, but as the years passed I had a strange sensation that I was sliding down a dark tunnel, trying to grab at slippery walls.

Then, shortly after my 33rd birthday, my body literally gave up overnight.

I remember the day before; I’d been running around the city picking up clothes and furniture for a photo shoot.

When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe.

At the time I was living alone in a flat in Adelaide and somehow managed to call my mother, whispering down the phone that I needed help.

I was admitted to hospital, where, for the next few weeks, every blood test and X-ray once again came back negative and I seemed to get worse by the day.

I don’t blame the doctors for not diagnosing me.

There is very little education about MCS in the medical profession, despite the fact it’s more common than you’d imagine.


The full article can be found here.


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