Letter: Pool resources for better ME treatment

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The Independent Online
Sir: Suzanne Moore wonders why people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or ME) will not accept that their illness may have a psychological cause, when complaints of stress are sounding all around them and "so many of us feel so sick and tired of life".

It is precisely this attitude - that someone who retreats from a busy life because of a mysterious health problem is a victim of a subconscious desire to lighten their schedule - that exasperates those people with ME who know that they were enjoying their lives before becoming ill, and who believe themselves capable of deploying less drastic coping strategies for a full diary.

Despite Ms Moore's assurance to the contrary, the psychiatrists' explanation for CFS is an insult. And for someone trying to hold on to their self- confidence in difficult circumstances, sympathy is no substitute for respect.

For a lot of people with ME, the story seems to be of a premature return to a busy lifestyle after a virus. What motivates this reluctance to recuperate properly is, of course, a mix of personal circumstance, personality and culture. So any purely physical explanation of the ME "epidemic" is, indeed, unfinished. But any psychological one that uses fear and unhappiness as its foundation is misdirected, and arrogantly so.

C M CARDIFF

London SE5

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