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#ME Insults on Twitter

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ME Insults

In my post of 6th Oct I mentioned that the poor treatment of people with CFS or ME was a scandal. And I had mentioned the ME Insults timeline on Twitter. A bit more about this now.
Twitter is marvellous for connecting with people worldwide on endless topics of interest.
Recently someone posted (tweeted) a message suggesting that people share any insults they had received since having ME or CFS. This then quickly expanded to include any comments which were – ignorant, hurtful, nasty, silly or just plain stupid. It was suggested that any replies included #Meinsults in them – so they would be recorded in a separate timeline in Twitter.
And it just took off.
Hundreds of people posted messages – maybe even over a thousand in just a day or two. What started off as a way of sharing and venting frustrations about how folk had been treated became more serious as all the posts (tweets) came thru.  And were read.  Seeing so many examples in black and white of how many people had been treated poorly (by GPs and/or friends, family, relatives) was incredibly shocking. None of it will be news to many people who have had CFS or ME – especially if over a long period of time.  But seeing so many examples in writing somehow made it really hit home.
Some random examples from the #Meinsults timeline as follows :

“You have been unwell for far too long now. Its time my son found himself a new wife.”
(Has got to be one of the most cruel ones.)

“That shooter had something wrong with his head – and you have too.”
(Incredibly from a GP to his patient and referring to a gunman who had shot and killed several people in the city earlier that week.)

There is something wrong with your head.
(A variation of above but from a GP’s receptionist this time. Yes – the receptionist.)

“It doesn’t matter how bad it makes you feel – you must keep doing it.”
(My 1st GP’s view on keeping on exercising on top of working full-time while my health and symptoms got worse and worse.)

Do you not get bored in the house all day ?

We all get tired but we just have to push on.

Maybe you should try to be a bit more positive.

If you bring her back to school tomorrow then we will say no more about it.
(From a head-teacher to the mother of a severely affected pupil.)

I couldn’t be bothered with that.

I’m not the sort of person who would get that.

I don’t really believe in all that.

I don’t think he is really trying to get well.

You really shouldn’t keep him indoors so much – its not good for him.
(From a GP to the mother of a severely affected sufferer who had deteriorated to the extent he was almost bedridden.)

We don’t do home visits for fatigue here.
(A GP surgery refusing to visit a severely affected housebound sufferer.)

This is just a very brief selection.

Some thoughts :
Why is this still tolerated today ? And why do people feel it is ok to speak to sufferers like that ? And would these sort of comments would be made to people with cancer or multiple sclerosis ?

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You Look Fine . . .

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You look fine or You look well or You Don’t Look Ill

Thought I would give this one a post of its own.

We have all had this comment.
In fact – not just us with CFS or ME, but many others who have what’s termed an invisible illness.
There are 3 different ways this comment is made in my experience :

1) As a genuine compliment.
Made from somebody who really means well or cares.
And in this case it is very welcome. As it is usually obvious that the person is saying it with genuine affection and all good intentions.
And it is a nice thing.

2) It is said in a doubtful manner.
This can be a difficult one – as its not always very clear how it is meant. It usually doesn’t “feel” like a compliment. Or as though it was said in encouragement.
You are left with the feeling that the person is questioning the validity of your condition – CFS or ME.
But impossible to respond to – because of the way it is said.

3) This one is said more aggressively.
And you are left in no doubt that the person either thinks there is nothing wrong with you. Or that you are exaggerating things for some reason.
In my experience this has always been impossible for me to respond too also. Usually because of being taken aback by the manner of the person making the comment. But also some of the typical CFS or ME symptoms seem to kick in – like not being able to find the right words when needed.  And I have always been left unable to make any sensible and non-angry response.
Several hours later – I will think “Oh I wish I had said . . . .  “  .
But the moment has passed.

More of those comments

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Have you no hobbies to fill your day ?

What – on top of being a Landlady and trying to keep a property portfolio (albeit a small one)  afloat thru the credit crunch & recession ? And the daily struggle with household tasks?  I‘m just grateful if I have any energy left over to eat my dinner or watch TV some days.

Your lucky you don’t have children – as you would just have to get on with it.

How would that work then?
Have you tried just getting on with it when you don’t have enough strength left to even stir a cup of tea ? But even more seriously – the whole issue of people with CFS or ME not managing with their children can cause much guilt or heartbreak.  Just read the book Shattered by Lynn Michell – there is a heart-rending section about this in it.

Nobody can be that tired (that they can’t make a phone call)

Want to bet ?
I rely on email a lot because of my CFS – as you can take as long as you need (to think) plus stop for many breaks. You can’t do that during a phone call – the person would just hang up on you.

I know you have your issues  

OMG – my “issues” – what are these then ?
From a friend I hadn’t seen for abbout 18 months. Did you maybe mean to say how are you and how are you getting on . . . ?  No ?  Oh well .

You must keep exercising – no matter how bad it makes you feel.

Unbelievably this was from the GP I kept going back to for years and years before I got diagnosed. She was very abrupt. In fact I’m not sure she was actually a GP – just somebody doing a very bad impersonation of one . . .

Let me know when you will be ok to go out 

How will I know ? Understand this one if from people who don’t really know me – or anything about CFS. But from other people . . . A bit frustrating.

She gets a bit tired at times.

This from my husband trying to explain it to people for me – and failing dismally . . . !  A major cause of much stress and rows over the years – but that’s another story.

Just let me know in advance if you cannot make it

Again – how will I know ?

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