Martine McCutcheon appreciates "the simpler things in life" after years of battling illnesses.

Martine McCutcheon

Martine McCutcheon

The 42-year-old singer and actress has struggled with depression, Lyme disease, and Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) - which is also known as chronic fatigue syndrome - and has said that following her lengthy disease battle, she no longer worries too much about her career, as she's busy focusing on getting the most out of the life.

She 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 get offers to do TV shows and films, but often they are things that aren't special enough or it's something I don't think I can bring anything to."

The former 'EastEnders' star - who has three-year-old son Rafferty with her husband Jack McManus - added that she's now trying to focus her energy on her "nice life" with her family.

She said: "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."

And the star now gets "loads of messages" from other sufferers who claim that her decision to be vocal about her battle has helped them face it themselves.

Speaking to the Daily Star Sunday newspaper, she said: "I get loads of messages from people who say I've helped them and that's nice. It's lovely to see that I'm inspiring people. Hopefully it makes people feel a bit better and they think, 'She's got through it, maybe I can crack on as well'.

"People have grown up with me. I try not to think about that too much because it's such a huge thing. It's lovely but you don't want to get anything wrong... you don't want to say the wrong thing. But if people like me and that means I can inspire them then that is fantastic."

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