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Covid-19 and ME/CFS

In many ways Covid-19 seems to be a big picture, slap in the face look at the problems and failures riddled throughout our medical, healthcare and government systems that are supposed to keep us safe and protect us. Not to mention a peek into the dark side of our society which has let itself become so ignorant and manipulated by our corrupt political system that a subset of brainwashed people are literally happy throwing themselves at the virus if, for no other reason than the president says to do so. Or do they really miss The Olive Garden’s free breadsticks that much?

All these factors causing such an abysmal response to the pandemic are, I think, a gross manifestation of the very same factors that have kept ME/CFS in the dark for 40 years, neglected by all the same institutions. Both illnesses follow a very similar trend- a huge discrepancy between the suffering inflicted by the illness as well as the number of people afflicted with the illness and the response from the government/medical community/society. Our country’s reaction to Covid-19 is eerily similar to our country’s reaction to ME/CFS.

I guess it takes a worldwide pandemic to shine a light on these failed institutions.

I see two factors at play with the new reality that Covid-19 presents, both acting at the same time.

Covid-19 has a known cause and diagnosis and is much easier for people to understand compared to ME/CFS yet our country has still failed miserably in it’s response. So I think people could be overwhelmed already fighting this reaction and may be jaded right now to another, much more difficult to understand illness with the same pattern.

I’m worried this could disrupt the huge upward momentum we’ve built over the last 6 years or so. It’s a distraction. No one in any of these institutions is going make the changes we need made to what they currently see as an insignificant "condition" while there’s a global pandemic going on. Everyone’s perspective has shifted. Even more so with things happening like medical and healthcare workers having to stand up to ignorant protesters as well as their own employers treating them unjustly.

And when the pandemic is over what then? I’m not sure this sort of hyper-reality shift will go back, at least not right away. I’m afraid that we will be even more unseen and have to fight even harder to get our foot in the door. But if that’s the case we will fight harder.

On the other hand, it may have shed light on this failed response from all levels and institutions of our country and be an opportunity to shed light on what this response has done to ME/CFS. People may be more open to the idea that it’s a serious illness that has been neglected by this failed response that (most of) the country now understands pretty well.

And if we can connect the horrors of ME/CFS to the tangible fear of Covid-19 by spreading awareness of the likelihood of getting ME/CFS after "recovering" from Covid-19 I think we have a real opportunity. This community is already making a serious effort to do so, and I think it should be our number one goal right now. This epidemic has been a huge life changing event for most people, shifting their views on probably everything and we have to make sure that while this happens, fear of ME/CFS wins over jaded thoughtlessness.


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