Martine McCutcheon says her battle with Lyme disease gave her a different perspective on life.

Martine McCutcheon

Martine McCutcheon

The former 'EastEnders' star was working on 'My Fair Lady' in the West End when she was struck down by the serious illness 12 years ago, and she explained how her hectic schedule meant she didn't have time to stop or rest.

Appearing on 'John Biship in Conversation With...' on Thursday night (06.09.18), she says: "My system was weak, I just hadn't stopped.

"When you can't lift your arms when you sleep 17 hours straight, don't know if youre gonna make it to the shop, you look at life differently."

Earlier this year, Martine, 42, revealed she was putting her family in front of her career after also battling Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) - which is also known as chronic fatigue syndrome - and severe depression.

The proud parent is mother to Raffery, three, with singer Jack McManus, and she admitted it has made her reassess her priorities.

She previously said: "After you've been through what I've been through you learn to appreciate everything.

"You start to appreciate the simpler things in life... and then the career comes second. I've got a really nice life. It takes a lot for me to agree to be away from my family and work long hours."

Martine was diagnosed with ME - which causes debilitating fatigue, painful muscles, and disordered sleep - in 2007, and at one point was in such severe pain that she had to use a wheelchair and considered taking her own life.

Speaking about the disease, she said: "I've learned to manage it and pace it. So you get to the point where you don't really feel like it affects you. That's lovely.

"When you kind of don't remember you've got it, that's a good sign. I just take each day as it comes and I don't sweat the small stuff. It's not worth it."

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