Kirsty Young has revealed that fibromyalgia left her in so much discomfort that it felt like she had "glass in my joints".
The radio presenter, 53, hosted BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs from 2006 until 2018, when the chronic pain condition – which was coupled with rheumatoid arthritis – forced her off air.
Young told The Sunday Times Magazine that she had been dealing with "severe, relentless and sometimes debilitating pain"
"I’d wake up and I’d feel like I’d got glass in my joints," she said.
"I felt like somebody had come in with a baseball bat and given me a ‘doing’, as we say in Glasgow, in the night.”
One of her symptoms was severe physical tiredness, which she explained meant she "couldn’t walk up the stairs without stopping in the middle.
"It’s not like tiredness if you’ve had a big walk or done some gardening. It’s like somebody had drugged me, like you’d taken a sleeping tablet at the wrong time in the day and you were completely losing it.”
According to the NHS, fibromyalgia – which also causes difficulty sleeping and problems with memory – is a condition estimated to affect one in 20 people, and is seven times more common in women.
At the beginning, Young tried to "soldier on" but she was "forced to act" after struggling to pick up a bottle of water while in the Maldives on holiday in 2018.
The presenter was forced to step down permanently from her role in July 2019 after an 11-month absence.
However, she is now feeling "much better" and will soon return to the BBC to anchor the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee coverage.
Young is married to Nick Jones, the founder of the Soho House private members’ clubs, and is mother to their two daughters, Freya, 21, and Iona, 16.
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