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We are the 'undeserving sick of society'

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That's what Michael Sharpe, a psychiatrist of the Wessely school of thought, called those of with M.E./CFS!

Isn't it nice to know that someone who has taken an oath to 'first do no harm' has such a compassionate attitude to those of us with a serious neurological illness that has been proved to be of viral and genetic origin?



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Although I would not wish this on ANYONE, maybe if he contracted our 'undeserving sick' illness, he might just retract all he has said about us. Just a thought.. Sorry if I offended anyone.


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What can you say to something like that?! Its hard enough fighting CFS without having to fight comments like that.



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I haven't met a psychiatrist yet that is not really strange. Every experience has been negative for me. I even went to one that got angry because I had to bring my at the time 18 mos old baby with me to the appt. I know he was distracting but we had a therapy appt I had to take him to afterwards. Never went back.

If someone I trusted could actually tell me of a good psychiatrist I may be willing to try it but then of course they most likely wouldn't be a participating provider on my ins lol.

Anyways too bad they allow this loser to speak.


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We are the undeserving sick. I am certain that none of us "deserves" to have this terrible disease.
[This Message was Edited on 04/15/2008]


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What exactly does "undeserving sick of society" mean....I trust that all of you have gotten the context of this correct..

but honestly when I first read it...I did not take it in a bad way....has my fibromind gotten that bad that I am not taking this like it was meant?????

This is what my initial thought was " that we do not deserve to be the sick people we are" in this society????

Ok, everyone slap me into reality ....I feel so dumb right now..."Doxy looking around all innocent":)



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Hi doxy

Bluebottle does have this right. Michael Sharpe quoted another's words and applied it to patients with ME, CFS, FM, GWS, OPP, MCS etc.

In fact there were many other similarly disparaging comments made by Sharpe. When Wessely et al were saturating the medical media with their opinions, Sharpe showed himself to have a particularly vitriolic style.

When declining to participate in an interview Wessely told the investigative journalist that he had not appreciated the power of the word. Too bad neither he nor Sharpe made any attempts to put things right.

tc, Tansy


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Lecture given in October 1999 by Michael Sharpe, hosted by the University of Strathclyde

“In my lecture this evening, I would like to talk to you about myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS (which) for convenience I will refer to as CFS."

“We know that in the majority of cases CFS can be effectively treated. CBT has been shown to have substantial benefits for patients with CFS (and) can reduce disability in most patients."

“I shall argue that patients themselves have played a part in denying themselves this type of treatment"

“Despite a lot of media comment and much hypothesising relating CFS to modern concerns such as toxic exposures, there is very clear evidence that a condition which appears identical caused similar concerns a hundred years ago (and) the causes were thought to lie in the concerns of that time namely, the changing role of women….in our time it is allergy and toxins."

“The conventional wisdom is that illnesses are made real when they are legitimised by a doctor’s diagnosis"

“Does CFS have biology? Yes – not conventional disease pathology"

“The majority of patients with CFS have no doubt how they prefer their conditions to be seen….the vehemence with which many patients insist that their illness is medical rather than psychiatric has become one of the hallmarks of the condition."

“Clinically, it appears that interpersonal stress appears to be a major factor giving rise to development of CFS"

“Over-solicitousness and the reinforcement of unhelpful illness beliefs can have an unhelpful effect on patients’ attitude and coping"

“Purchasers and Health Care providers with hard pressed budgets are understandably reluctant to spend money on patients who are not going to die and for whom there is controversy about the “reality” of their condition (and who) are in this sense undeserving of treatment."

“Those who cannot be fitted into a scheme of objective bodily illness yet refuse to be placed into and accept the stigma of mental illness remain the undeserving sick of our society and our health service.”




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There was a blogger who complained about this quote because she has ME.

Michael Sharpe himself jumped into her blog and defended himself with the very lame excuse that he was making an (unattributed) reference to George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, in which Eliza Doolittle's father is referred to as one of the "undeserving poor." He said that he didn't mean that people with ME are actually undeserving, but that he was referring to the social conventions around illness.

(I'm not convinced, needless to say.)

If people are interested in more context, I recommend checking out this site: http://fumblings.com/msharpe.html It's too long to cut-and-paste, I'm afraid, but worth reading because the blogger brilliantly deconstructed Sharpe's argument.



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These doctor names are like something out of Dickens

Wessley-- "Weasely" as Rafiki said earlier
White-- symbolizing the ivory tower, know-it-all, toadie
Sharpe-- self-descriptive

The fact that I couldn't have done a better job, myself-- if I'd had to think up last names for villains-- leads me to believe that this is all going to end in comedy: meaning, their folly will be made known to all.

So, I foresee good things happening for us eventually as they "slip up" in their attempts to hold on to their positions of influence.