Hello all. :-} only landed here a few days ago (though I think I was here before in another incarnation, on another pc – I forget, that is the way with this DD). I probably haven’t yet earned the right to consider myself one of you, to be counted as one of the ‘we’. Except that is in as much as: I am one of the millions worldwide whose days and nights are shaped, moulded, overshadowed and often blighted by an illness that no one can see, and few who do not experience it believe in or even try to understand. ‘We’ live daily with: pain, fatigue, weakness, sleeplessness, ‘brain fog’, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, hypersensitivity to noise and smells, intolerance to certain foods, and so very much more. Yet ‘we’ are ridiculed, doubted, and disbelieved. ‘We’ are denied our rights to benefits, and adequate medical care. ‘We’ are often isolated and lonely. ‘We’ have had to learn to live within our means and energy and pain levels; for some of us the four walls that make up our bedroom or our home is our entire world. ‘We’ often have to lean more heavily than we would choose on our ever-decreasing circle of friends and family. Those of us who have to be in bed all day make a minute by minute super human effort just to breathe; just to be. Those of us who are able to get out of bed make super human effort to do whatever ‘we’ are able Not surprisingly ‘we’ sometimes get down and depressed about all of this. Then ‘we’ are told that depression is our real problem. Sometimes ‘we’ get to thinking that the doubters are right and ‘we’ go into self-denial and start believing that it is all in our minds. Well ‘we’ are only human after all. Only human maybe but what an amazing force ‘we’ are. ‘We’ have had to develop coping strategies that would leave many of our contemporaries breathless in admiration. Our illness means that ‘we’ have learned to cope with pain, loss, and disappointment. ‘We’ have learned empathy, understanding, and compassion. ‘We’ have learned patience and to believe in tomorrow – even when tomorrow seems so very far away. ‘We’ have learned the true meaning of life and to prioritise and value the important things. ‘We’ have gained knowledge way beyond our years. ‘We’ have each learned to juggle the balls of our pain, fatigue and other symptoms with what we want and are able to achieve. ‘We’ have learned both to bite our tongue when others doubt us and to stand up for our rights. You know I sometimes think that ‘They’ are afraid that if ‘we’ were ever get better we’d take over the world. I have a challenge for the medical profession. Isn’t it time that ‘we’ were afforded our rights? Time that the medical profession woke up to the reality that ‘we’ who have fibromyalgia syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome have to face each and every day - These conditions are real and debilitating. They deserve to be treated seriously, so do ‘we’. Hmmm that turned into a bit of a sermon. :-/ Leo.