If I told you I had AIDS, you would understand that I get tired. You would make the attempt once in a while to see me when I was feeling up to it. If I told you I had cancer, you would call me up once in a while just to see how I was feeling. You would understand if I couldn't attend family functions. If I told you I had arthritis, you would try to understand the pain I feel. You would ask questions and listen to my answers. Because I have ME/CFS & FM, you presume to know "miracle" cures that will work for me, even though you have never taken the time to listen to how I am feeling. The only word you have ever heard is "fatigue" and you close your ears to anything else. After you, you get tired too... Because I have ME/CFS & FM, you presume that I am lazy and don't want to work and am looking for a way to make the government pay for a nonexistent disability. Because I have ME/CFS & FM, when you see me out having a "good day", you presume this is how I feel all the time and, once again, you judge me as a scam artist. If you ever took the time to ask and listen, I would like to tell you how all my symptoms work together to leave me pretty much housebound. I get headaches, sometimes for a month at a time. I get brain fog, so I can't remember simple things. I don't drive much because it's too hard to concentrate on everything. The last time I drove, I forgot how to put the cruise control on. I forget how to put the windshield wipers on. And this is embarrassing - I have a green tongue - even though I use a tongue scraper and mouthwash and brush and floss regularly. I almost always have an earache. I have major digestion problems. Sometimes I vomit 3-4 times a week. (My doctor has diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome). When I can, I try to be physically active. But I usually pay the price. Then I get so tired, it hurts. My body hurts all over. It hurts when I get up in the morning, it hurts all day, and then I take my evening meds early and go to bed at 1:30 p.m. I have trouble standing in one place for any length of time. I get dizzy and have to sit down. I have trouble talking on the phone because I have to concentrate so hard on what you're saying and I don't have any verbal clues. Oh, yeah, and I have "fatigue". Pretty much ANYTHING I do uses up energy. So I have learned to pace myself. When I'm having a "good day", I might get dressed and take the dog for a walk. I might do the dishes. And I might stop at the Dollar Store for a while. That's about it... And that's a good day... On a "normal day", I get up and drink the coffee my husband has made for me. I talk to him, then I read the paper while sitting on my recliner couch. Then I sit some more on my recliner couch and watch t.v. Then I get on the computer for a while. Then I go sit some more on my recliner couch. Then I eat the lunch my husband has lovingly prepared for me. Then I sit some more on my recliner couch and watch some more t.v. Then I go to bed. My goal is to stay up until 4 p.m. but many, many days I go to bed earlier. Guess what? Sometimes I get depressed when I think of the life I have lost. I used to work. I used to be normal. Not only have I lost that life, I have to live with the knowledge that not only do you not understand my disease, but you judge me as being a liar and a cheat because I have applied for Social Security. You think I'm lazy because my husband does all of the work around the house. He works full time. He goes to the store and gets groceries. He does his own laundry and he does all the cooking. He does the dishes, he cleans the bathroom and he vacuums. He takes me to the doctor. After all that, he does all the "man things" such as maintain the house, mow the yard, shovel snow, keep the car going. And yet my husband loves me, he understands me, and NEVER once has he complained. Maybe you could borrow a "pinch" of understanding from him. Oh, yeah, and a little love too... Janice P.