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In my wanderings online yesterday, I came across a recent article on the BBC about the abuse that some chronic fatigue syndrome/ME researchers face in the UK. One in particular noted getting everything up to death threats and having to have his mail scanned for suspicious devices. The reporter was all aghast, wondering how it is that he could keep working under such conditions where the patients don't seem to want to get help, with him giving a "you do what you have to do" sort of answer.

While I too was surprised that people would have such a reaction to a researcher into such a debilitating condition(s), I wondered if there was more to the story. So I Googled his name, Simon Wessely, and let me tell you, if I was in the UK, I'd sure wish him dead even though I'm not the type to send death threats, seeing how I don't want to go to jail or anything. This man has spent nearly a quarter of a century denying the thousands of papers that exist documenting physical abnormalities in CFS patients and instead trying to get it classified as a psychiatric disorder. He, of course, is a psychiatrist. He has even gotten children removed from their homes when parents have sought to get medical treatment for this "psychiatric" disorder. He's not just some lunatic fringe lone wolf, though. He's a major researcher at King's College and has numerous colleagues putting forth the same views as him. This group also has various ties to corporate interests who would fare better if CFS was considered a psychiatric disorder because of the reduced benefits granted in the UK for those sorts of thing.

The reading I've been doing on this guy is simply chilling and is a good example of what much of my previous opposition to a national healthcare system stemmed from. When a real, physical disorder gets classified as a mental illness in a system that is administered nationwide under the same standards...what's a person to do? I get someone like that, which the first pain specialist at the clinic I go to definitely was, I can keep looking until I find someone more sympathetic. But when the system is set up so that everyone, everywhere with a certain illness has to legally be treated that way? Bad, bad, bad. There is so much else that is also bad with our current system in the US, I have to reluctantly support the establishment of a properly run system (which in my opinion Obamacare doesn't qualify as), but the current situation in the UK due to these clowns is a realization of my fears.

Interestingly enough, reading up on this guy's treatments makes me feel like I dodged a bullet. I'm fairly certain that oh-so-vague psychologist I saw in February was trying to push a similar Cognitive Behavior Therapy/Graded Exercise Therapy treatment program on me. I might not be making any progress with the PA I'm seeing, but I'd prefer to make no progress with someone who wants to try things without promising a miracle cure over those promising a miracle cure who blame me for my problems or think I'm mental when the "miracle" doesn't work.

October 2012

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