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It's so frustrating

Chris Walden, 13, tries to attend Year 8 chemistry, English and music lessons at the John Henry Newman school in Stevenage. He has suffered from fatigue since he was 10 and was diagnosed with ME a year ago.

"When I started secondary school I was missing about every alternate day and then every alternate week. The teachers got angry with me because I didn't do as well as they thought I could.

I'm at home with Mum during the day. I can't sleep at night so I get up about one. The school pays for a taxi for me to go in. Sometimes I go in for lunch so I can see my friends, though it's tiring standing in a queue.

I have three or four friends, but the other kids make jokes like, "Oh Chris, you're in today."

I've just started having a home tutor every Monday and Wednesday. He comes for an hour; he's going to help me keep up with chemistry and maths. Some teachers send me work home. I read Horrible Histories and play Xbox.

You have no idea how frustrating it is. I want to go to school, so I rest for a couple of days, then I go in for a day, and I get ill again. I don't rest at school because when I'm at school I'm never tired. While I'm doing something it's fine; when I stop I go zonk.

I've moved down a set in maths. That was the first time I've ever moved down. I wasn't there for the test so I got a zero.

I don't know what I'll do when I'm older, because I don't know how long I'll be ill. Hopefully not too long. It feels like I've been ill for a very long time."

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