Ok, it's M.E. Awareness Week. I may not be able to cope with what has happened to me in my own life, but the least I can do is attempt to create some awareness. I apologise if these posts are badly written (worse than usual that is). I've something akin to brain fog going on at the moment.
I should also add that Blogger.com has switched me to their new system. I have absolutely no idea how to make the blog post title link to the articles I'm writing about anymore, so I'm going to have to sneak links to articles into my posts from now on. Sorry.
Let us start off our awareness with an absolutely fantastic article in ... The Daily Mail. Yes, I know that's a contradiction in terms, but there you go. Sonia Poulton has written an article entitled "All in the mind? Why critics are wrong to deny the existence of chronic fatigue". I'm told that the original title for the article compared M.E. to AIDS, which it still does very briefly at the end. It's not an unusual comparison .... but only between those who do understand M.E.. Those outside seem to respond as if the concept is pure blasphemy. How dare we compare out laziness to one of the world's most devastating diseases?
Well, Sonia's article explains clearly and simply why we dare. She starts off by describing how she had previously held the general tainted view that most people do of M.E.:
"M.E. sufferers are workshy malingerers. They whine, constantly, about feeling tired. They are annoying sympathy seekers.
Damn it. We're all tired. Especially those fools like me who work all hours God Sends (and even some he doesn't) to support the type of people who say they are too tired to work.
Oh, and mostly, importantly, M.E. is 'all in the head' and can be overcome with a bit more determination and a little less of the 'poor me' attitude."
She then goes on to break down the commonly held misconceptions about M.E., listing them as:
1: ME is a mental illness
2: ME is just extreme tiredness, right?
3: M.E. is just like a bad flu
4: M.E. sufferers should just 'pull themselves together'
5: Only adults have M.E.
6: You can 'catch' M.E.
7: Real M.E. sufferers are few and far between
8: Only severe cases of M.E. are worth acknowleding
9: Children with M.E. have neglectful parents
10: Physical exercise will benefit M.E. sufferers
And she's absolutely spot on. These are things that we all hear all of the time. It's so hard to respond when people say these things to us, particularly since usually people aren't really interested, so they turn off as soon as you start to tell them they have a preconception.
The only slight quibble I would have with Sonia's article, is that she has started off by questioning why the records regarding M.E. are locked away for 75 years. It is intriguing, and worrying, but to those who don't know about M.E. and simply do not care, it sounds like conspiracy theory. I've tried discussing it with people myself obviously, and even with other M.E. sufferers I usually receive a blank wall in reference to this subject. I imagine that many readers will get to the part that sounds like conspiracy theory and lose interest in the rest.
However, the important thing is that this is an extremely well written article, and will be extremely useful to quote when I try to explain some facts about M.E. to people.