A WOMAN diagnosed with arthritis at just 34 has told how she has turned her life around to help others.

Charlotte Walker said the excruciating pain she suffered affected her mental health and at times she did not want to live.

However charity Arthritis Action has helped the 40-year-old from Swanage open up and feel 'more like herself again' and she has even become a personal trainer for patients suffering with arthritis, fibromyalgia, MS and Parkinson's.

Speaking on World Arthritis Day to highlight the debilitating condition Charlotte, who has osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and joint hypermobility, said: "“When I was first diagnosed, it was strangely a relief because I had a name for my condition.

“When the pain and fatigue was at its height, it was very depressing. "On bad pain days, I remember thinking I wish I was dead.

“I suffered with pain in my right shoulder, which was like a hot spot for me. The way I would describe it is like having my arm sawn off with a blunted saw, the pain was that severe,” she said.

Charlotte said the fatigue was even harder to deal with and felt like being ‘run over by a bus and being asked to get up again.'

She said: “My mental health wasn’t great especially when the pain was bad.

“You sort of grieve the person that you lost, because you realise that you can’t do the things that you used to be able to do.”

Charlotte wasn’t able to take part in activities or hobbies and found solace in her pets.

“They are non-judgemental and give unconditional love which is what you need when you are at your lowest point,” she said.

But since joining Arthritis Action in 2014, Charlotte said the support she has received has enabled her to do some of the things she used to again.

“As we mark World Arthritis Day, I urge policymakers in the UK to prioritise arthritis and help charities like Arthritis Action to raise awareness of the issue to help them make a real difference to the lives of the millions of people living with this debilitating condition,” she said.