Today, 12th May, is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Happy Birthday Florence. It’s 191 years since she was born. It should be a day to remember the incredible woman who helped so many people during the Crimean War, saving lives and shaping the standards for nursing and hospitals. Sadly though today is celebrated for a different connection. Florence Nightingale came back from the war and suffered from several bouts of illness which kept her bedridden for six years. Many believe that Florence was one of the first documented cases of ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and as such today is recognised as ME / CFS Awareness Day, in fact the whole week is now seen as ME Awareness week.
There have been many posts by fellow sufferers, aiming to raise awareness and understanding during this period, of a condition which is very little understood. I’ve been writing a few posts over the past few weeks and have held them back to post today.
There are so many misrepresentations and misunderstandings about ME; but people have very strong views on it. In fact it can bring out very angry and spiteful reactions from complete strangers.I’ve been lucky not to get too much of this; but I have had people question me ever since I was first ill, implying that I was faking, pretending or just not trying hard enough which is incredibly hurtful. I don’t understand why some find the condition so threatening, especially when it has no direct affect on them? It’s almost like they take your illness as a personal insult. I’ve written more here:- ME Awareness – Acceptance. I don’t know if other conditions get the same response and I would be interested to hear from others.
Another post I’ve done is to do with ME being seen as a very new illness, I’ve been thinking more about why that might be – ME, Numbers on the Rise.
I’ve got to a point in my illness where I’ve accepted my ME and I’m living my life the best way I can. In a way I try not to think too hard about it. The condition is just part of my day; but it’s not the main focus, I’m used to working round it and I don’t consciously think of myself as being ill or disabled, unless I’m talking (or writing) about it. It’s the only way I’ve found to be able to cope with an illness that has no treatment or cure. I can’t change it, so I try not to think about it.
I find it hard on days like today when there’s a focus on my condition and I am reminded that not everyone lives like this. That compared with a lot of people I would be classed as seriously disabled; but that’s not how I see myself, I’m just me, I only happen to have ME.
If you’ve blogged about anything in aide of ME Awareness Day, let me know and leave your address below.