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People of Cessnock is a blog by local resident, Rebecca Murray. The project seeks to value the people of her home town by sharing their stories value and raising the profile of people living outside metropolitan areas.

Thirty-Five

Thirty-Five

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“Well, I’m a music historian. I love all types of music. I’ve got probably hundreds of thousands of songs.

Sadly, I don’t play an instrument. But I’ve got the music inside of me. Without music I wouldn’t be here. Music is my life blood. It’s like a drug to me.

Music keeps me going … and it saved my life.

My family was three generations of workaholics. I think I have been a workaholic all my life. I’d never had a holiday and I was a real estate agent for 45 years. I did acting. I was also a Lifeline counsellor. I used to do the all-night shift from 10:00pm till 8:30am. And I also did radio work down in Sydney.

In the end I got Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I went from having virtually no sleep to needing 14 hours sleep and when I’d awake after 14 hours sleep I was still totally exhausted.

It attacks your central nervous system. You ache all over, you know? Like every muscle in your body aches. And it’s just this shocking ache. It’s just like your muscles are falling out of their sockets. I could hardly walk for about six months.

In the end my doctor said, “Well, you’re just going to have to probably, totally, just quit real estate. You’re going to have to have six months away from what you’ve been doing.” He said, “You’re going to have to probably quit a lot of the other things that you’ve been doing too.”

So, I quit Lifeline - I’d been doing that for 12 years. I quit the acting, which I’d been doing probably for about 15 years. And then I had to also quit the radio.

I got this book later, after I was diagnosed. It’s written by an English doctor and he called it ‘the living death’ and that’s exactly what Chronic Fatigue feels like.

So, when I say music saved me … I mean it sort of brought me back to life again; brought me up again.

Innamorata by Dean Martin. If I had to choose, that’s one of my favourites.”

Thirty-Six

Thirty-Six

Thirty-Two

Thirty-Two