Letter: Don't blame the helpless ME patient

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am sure I am not the only person who has had some kind of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) who finds Suzanne Moore's glib attempt at intellectualising and applying cultural diagnosis to the illness highly offensive.

CFS affected me for 18 months severely and three years after that chronically. Only now , having recovered, can I see how much it disabled me. I do not know where it came from, but it was ghastly. I am sure it was some kind of nervous disorder, but whether the cause was internal or external to myself or a combination I am still unsure.

What I can state is that I did feel optimistic and happy in myself when CFS symptoms first occurred. I was not as Ms Moore implies "sick and tired of life". It was only after a long time and when I began to feel that the symptoms would not go away that the kind of outlook on life Ms Moore expects is the root cause began to develop. The alienation I began to feel was not helped by glib hypotheses about my condition from others who had not been where I then was.

CFS meant that I spent my mid-twenties looking fine but feeling how I expected to feel when I was 80. Unless you have experienced it you cannot imagine what it feels like. Everyday experience of lethargy, listlessness and frustration does not prepare one for it.

MELVIN GOLDSMITH

Chelmsford, Essex

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