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When did you last see an interview of someone who has chronic fatigue syndrome? You probably didn't, unless you were reading about Laura Hillenbrand, the author of Seabiscuit. Hillenbrand was confined to her room for years and the result was a praised and prized novel. But most people suffering from CFS don't have that book to show others. They may spend years or decades homebound and the world conveniently forgets about them. There is no glamour about CFS. Someone just takes over your life and hits the pause button without asking you.

Jat is 20 years old and lives with his family in a suburban area near Toronto, Canada. It has been over a decade since his life was abruptly put on hold. "I got sick in March of 1993, just after we had the bathroom painted. Within a few days my mother, brother and I all became mysteriously ill. At first we assumed it was something that would pass, such as a nasty flu."

But the malady didn't go away. After a while two of them were told they had mononucleosis, which is something patients commonly hear. For some time CFS was even thought to be a form of chronic mononucleosis. Later mono was ruled out and all of the three family members were diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Jat was just seven at the time and hardly remembers anything about it, but the illness led to major changes in his life.

"At first I continued to attend school as though nothing was wrong. But this didn't last very long, and I quickly began missing more and more days. My grades fell, my social life suffered, and I ended up spending most of my time in bed. This trend continued until I eventually couldn't keep up with school at all and had to stop entirely."

So you haven't been in school since? How does that feel? "I missed a large chunk of my teenage life as a result", Jat says blandly. A large chunk of his teenage life sounds like an underestimation. "I grew up with very few or no friends, and never did any of the things a normal teenager does. After I stopped going to school I was technically being homeschooled, but that didn't go very far."

Fatigue and exhaustion

What is CFS really like? What kind of symptoms could be so bad that a small child would have to quit school? Jat tries to explain. "The most prominent symptoms are the fatigue and sleeping issues. While the fatigue can remain fairly light if I stay rested, I'm often hit by an inexplible exhaustion. This exhaustion not only prevents me from doing physical activities, but also impacts my focus to the point that even reading becomes difficult. I also occasionally get pains in my muscles and joints which can make even the simplest physical activities painful."

The concept of fatigue in CFS is tricky to explain to someone who hasn't been there. "It's kind of hard to compare to what it's like not having it, since I really don't even remember what it's like." When I ask whether it feels more physical or mental Jat says it's both. "I'd almost say it's like the end of a long day at work where you feel exhausted. But I've never had a long day at work, so I don't really know that."

Canada is supposed to boast good healthcare, but even that doesn't help when you have something that is as hard to treat as CFS. Even though it's not a mental illness patients are often administered psychiatric drugs, sometimes because they suffer from secondary depression, sometimes because the doctors can't think of anything else. Jat has been prescribed various anti-depressants and sleeping pills. "The anti-depressants did somewhat help the emotional issues I was having at the time, but the side effects made my physical health much worse. None of the sleeping aids ever worked."

Besides the psychotropic approach Jat has never received any specific treatments. "The specialists I've seen have mostly just given basic advice on how to get better. This advice generally comes down to not overdoing it, but also not becoming completely sedentary." Unfortunately this is often the extent of what the doctors do for their patients suffering from CFS. They don't know enough to be able to help.

Coping with the practical issues

When you're living with a chronic illness the worst part often isn't the illness, but the living. There are medications for pain, but none for loneliness. "I haven't had any friends in real life since around the time I stopped going to school," Jat says. "Since I don't have a job or school and usually have other people running errands for me, I don't get out much. Living in the suburbs doesn't help either. There's practically nowhere to meet people and very little entertainment nearby."

But how do you cope with the illness? "After 13 years of being sick, I have, for the most part, learned to live with it. Sure I'm missing out on a lot in life, but I've accepted that. The biggest threat to my sanity is the boredom. It can be very difficult to find ways to kill time when I'm exhausted and feel like I can't do anything." He spends most of his time on the computer and passes time with music, games, movies and reading.

Living in a family consisting of three disabled people is not an easy feat. "The biggest problem with living with other people who are sick is being couped up with them 24/7. Tension can be high at times, and there's really no escape from it. On the plus side, we all understand the kind of position we're all in, so it's very supportive." Obviously there are also financial problems, as no one in the household is able to work.

"My mother has been on CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) for sometime now, and until my brother and I turned 18 we were receiving child support from our father. Now that each of us have turned 18, things have been rough. Both of us applied for ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) shortly before our 18th birthday. It took a year, but I was eventually accepted. We're still waiting to hear about my brother's application."

Since three people in the same family got sick at the same time, I have to ask Jat if he thinks CFS is infectious (the CDC has labeled CFS as "a number one priority infectious illness"), but he doesn't have an opinion about this. He believes their illness might have something to do with the paint that was used for the bathroom. "Or possibly even something in the area. Some company was dumping toxic chemicals in a creek just up the street we used to go to."

"All or nothing"

Jat doesn't usually talk much about his illness. Most people with CFS don't, for a variety of reasons. You never know what to expect. Sometimes you may be treated with genuine support, but most people are just uncomfortable to hear about it. Blatant ridicule is not unheard of. "I usually try not to mention it in order to avoid any trouble. Not everyone accepts it, and sometimes people give you shit for it. Even well intentioned people can say things which piss me off. But it usually comes up eventually, and I don't explicitly try to hide it."

"The thing that bothers me the most is that people seem to think it's all or nothing. If you can do one thing, you can do practically everything else. There's no in-between. I either have to pretend I can do nothing, or be told that 'surely you can go to school or work then!'" I guess these people never thought about what it's like having to stay home when other kids are going to school. It's heart-wrenching to think where Jat could be now, even though his own attitude about it sounds incredibly mature.

"Prior to becoming sick it looked like I had a bright future. I was top of the class and in a gifted program, popular, athletic, outgoing, etc. Since then things have changed dramatically, and I'm sure I've turned out to be a completely different person as a result. It's been a huge learning experience, and I tend to think that I'm a better person for it. While I may not be successful and have certainly missed a lot of my life, I'm quite happy with the person I've become as a result."

CFS comes in many different forms from mild to extremely severe. Some people get better with time while others decline. Despite having spent more than half of his life struggling with CFS, Jat is carefully optimistic. "Ever since I stopped going to school I've been getting continually better, albeit very slowly. I believe that as long as I continue to take it easy and not overdo it on a regular basis that trend should continue." He's not worried about ending up like the most severe cases. "Physically? I think I'll get better as time goes by (I have so far). Quality of life? More cynical speculation."
Even though I've been working as a journalist for almost six years now, I've only done one interview and that was back in 2001 or so. I interviewed some friends who have a successful short film group and the article was structured in a lame Q&A format. This time I wanted the result to be more literary. I've never really anything like this before and considering that I'm quite happy with the result. But I'd be really happy to hear any critiques and suggestions.

This is my way to honor the CFS Awareness Day, which is today. You can read more about it in my journal. I hope you'll find the piece informative and interesting. Jat didn't want to go with his real name in this interview, which I'm sure you'll understand.

The blue ribbon in the preview image is the ribbon for CFS awareness.

EDIT (May 2007): A year later, I'll update you on Jat's situation, and I'm happy that I have good news. He is a good friend of mine after all. Jat's brother got awarded disability soon after the completion of this article, so their money situation improved quite a bit. Jat also recently got accepted into a housing program which means he can probably move on his own in the near future. He has started on LDN after hearing about the good results I've got with it, and it seems to be helping him. Perhaps the whole family will be on it soon.

EDIT 2 (May 2008): Jat is doing quite fine. He's been on LDN for a year and he also moved on his own last summer. He has found many new friends and I think he's finally able to catch up on some of his missed youth.
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:iconmyn-anthony:
Myn-Anthony Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The title alone made me cry. That's exactly how it happened with my little brother. There's no way I could read the whole thing... I'm sure it's great, though. ^^;
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:iconevilabeyance:
evilabeyance Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2010
I have Fibromyalgia/ Chronic Fatigue, and Si joint disorder and Degenerative disc disease. This is close to understanding how I feel. its been years since i have felt well. Im 19 years old and on disability through work.

Thanks for Understanding
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2010  Professional Writer
Sorry to hear about your multiple illnesses. I also got ill at a fairly young age, 15/16. I am 26 now and much, much better thanks to proper treatment, but still suffering from nasty complications of CFS/ME, like hypopituitarism (meaning I have become deficient in just about all hormones, and it's mostly untreated).

The latter two problems you mention are quite difficult to treat, as you probably know all too well - though that will greatly improve in the near future - but CFS/ME and fibromyalgia are well-treatable in most cases.
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:iconalyssa-wyssa:
alyssa-wyssa Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010
Great article, I have CFS, aswell as Fibromyalgia, it's great to spread awareness, the article is so true, well done :hug:
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:iconsarah-vafidis:
Sarah-Vafidis Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
that is truly great...
you captured the emotion and the feeling very well.
i also suffer from ME/CFS and it isn't a walk in the park, but with a few more pieces of work like this, word will get out and hopefully more people will be understanding.

great work.
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:iconxiewan:
xiewan Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2007  Hobbyist Photographer
I have CFS, and I think this is fantastic. It explains the disease and the sufferers thoughts so well! Thank you so much for being a part of creating awareness.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2008  Professional Writer
Thanks a lot. I'm glad to hear you appreciated the story. In case you didn't notice I also have another article about CFS on DA, [link] but it is about a person who's much more severely ill, and can be quite depressing to read (as if this one wasn't, but even more so).
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:iconxiewan:
xiewan Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh! Thank you. I'm going to read it.. just not right now. (I've got cotton in my head. hehe.)
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:icontaboh:
Taboh Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2007
I read both articles, the one that received the DD and this one. Both are very, very informative, and not outright attacking any party, but more simply stating the feelings of sufferers of CFS. Thank you for raising the awareness of the community. Thank you so much.
I'm really lucky that I don't suffer from it myself...I lead a very active lifestyle and I can't imagine what it must be like to have that gone over the course of many years, or, in more severe cases, just a couple of weeks, or faster.

It's also interesting to approach this article from the point of view of one whose relative and close friend recently (seven years ago) had a stroke and can no longer use the left side of his body. He was in therapy for six years after his stroke and gave up entirely on trying physical therapy. Presently, he's, and I hate to say this but I feel it is true, a guinea pig for some of the medication that doctors suspect can help to reconstruct some brain tissue after it has been damaged and/or lost. What I hate about it is that all of the tax money that, under California's former governor, might have gone toward researching 'cures' or treatments for his condition, has been contributed to researching trifling things like cosmetic solutions to melanoma.
It's so elating for me to read about a patient who is so optimistic about his condition, because being around the uncle who gave up on Physical therapy, and almost gave up on chemical and medicinal therapy, it's easy to become lulled into the belief that optimistic patients were a dying or dead breed.
Thank you so much.
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:icondaniellekiemel:
daniellekiemel Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2007  Student Photographer
I have CFS and this is amazing. Really well put together and it explains it so well! :]
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2007  Professional Writer
That's great to hear (not that you have CFS of course, but that you liked the piece). :-> I have some stuff about CFS in my journal as well, and I'm probably going to post both a journal, a Deviation (with another interview article) and a news article about the subject on the international CFS awareness day (12th May).
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:iconekokaos:
EkoKaos Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2007
I suffer from CFS myself (have done for 3 years-Im 16 now) and I think that you have written this article very well, you have really captured the affect of CFS on the physical and mental side as well as social. Im glad there are articles like this to raise awareness.
Thank you.
If anyone has any questions about CFS then feel free to ask and I'l do my best to explain.
Eko xx
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2007  Professional Writer
I'm very glad you liked it. I'm sorry you too have been suffering from CFS since such a young age. I was 15/16 when I got sick. In case you're interested (and didn't notice) I have two journals up about CFS too.

I'm currently working on another interview-based article about a friend who has had CFS since she was 12 or 13, some 12 years now. I'm hoping to have it published in a Finnish magazine for the CFS Awareness Day in May. I'm also going to upload an English translation of it on DA on that day.
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:iconekokaos:
EkoKaos Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2007
thank you and I cant wait to read the next interview.
hope you're ok
much love xx
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:iconmymorphine:
MyMorphine Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
My best friend has CFS. She is the other half of my soul.
I can't even begin to say what it's done to her.

Thank you for telling people.
Thank you.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2006  Professional Writer
I'm very sorry to hear your friend has CFS, but she's lucky to have a friend like you. Many people with CFS don't have any friends and that contributes a lot to the suffering. I'm luckily not one of them, but most of my friends live in different countries.

And thank you for the support, it means a lot to me. I spend as much of time and energy as possible trying to educate people about CFS.
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:iconmymorphine:
MyMorphine Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been trying to convince her and her sister (who also has CFS) to join dA for ages now. I knew there would be a support system here, and that we just had to find it... I think both of them need the emotional support of intelligent people in the same boat.

I wish the best of luck to you. :hug:
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2006  Professional Writer
There are many Deviants who have CFS, so far at least ten have contacted me and there must be many more I'm not aware of.

I'm assuming that your friend and her sister are in their 20s, so I'd also recommend that they join the CFS-20s mailing list [link] - it has been rather quiet recently, but I've been a member of several years now and it has been an excellent resource. It doesn't matter if you're not yet 20 or if you're a bit over 30 as long as you're in the similar age group anyway.
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:iconmymorphine:
MyMorphine Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
They're actually quite young. My best friend and I only recently turned 15, and her sister is turning 17. They've had CFS since they were each respectively 10 years old.
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:icondave-hoghtoncarter:
dave-hoghtoncarter Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2006
Impressive piece - informative and empathetic, and very well written and structured. Reading between the lines, the resolve of your subject in coping with his condition shines through admirably. Running through other posted comments, I would very much agree that dismissing an illness as 'psychosocial' due to a lack of comprenhension or medical experience is rather reprensible. I'm a Crohn's Disease sufferer myself, and I've had first-hand experience of borderline malpractice situations, though I'm not the kind of chap who is inclined to sue the NHS.
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:iconkristymariethomas:
kristymariethomas Featured By Owner May 12, 2007  Professional General Artist
You should read this - an effective treatment for Crohn's...

[link]
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:icondave-hoghtoncarter:
dave-hoghtoncarter Featured By Owner May 14, 2007
Indeed. Diamondie pointed LDN out to me a couple of months ago :)
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:iconjeywolf:
jeywolf Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2006
Pretty good, I actually read the whole thing ;). I do often wonder, when I hear someone say they have CFS, if it has an environmental poison trigger. There are a lot of things in our environment that can and do hurt us. It really pisses me off that "doctors" wanna go straight for the crazy diagnosis rather than really investigating why people get CFS or that chemical sensitivity thing, migraines, asthma etc. I know that some chemical gases, like oil based paints, formeldahyde etc causes me to have migraines. It's not far fetched to think it could cause people to have other physical symptoms or even permanent damage.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2006  Professional Writer
Thanks. CFS is very often connected to multiple chemical sensitivities. For many people it's so severe that they're entirely housebound and if they get a new television, a piece of furniture or something it might cause symptoms for weeks. I'm lucky that I haven't got any of that, just some food-related sensitivities and intolerances (including a recent development of a contact allergy for chili, fortunately I can still eat the stuff without problems). But I'm afraid of getting exposed to something that would trigger MCS.

I think that diagnosing a patient as a nutcase or malingerer just because the doctor can't figure out the problem should be something that could lead to the loss of license. It's totally inappropriate for a practitioner to make such a conclusion yet it happens all the time with all kinds of illnesses and injuries.
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:iconjeywolf:
jeywolf Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2006
I absolutely agree (losing license for writing people off as crazy or faking for whatever reason). If I had got this wrist injury from working and getting workers compensation, I'd simply be written off with no treatment because they believe any injury like that that goes on as long as it has for me is "psychosocial" in nature...meaning people are faking to collect more workers comp and stay off work. I swear I would do anything, pay any amount of money I have, mortgage my own soul to have use of my hand/wrist back. Also people with that Morgellons thing, I think that is totally real, some illness or parasite as yet "undiscovered" by modern science but those poor people getting it are called delusional. One kid recently killed himself because he couldn't take the disease anymore on top of just being called crazy for having it.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2006  Professional Writer
I don't know what to think about Morgellons, there is very little actual information available about it. It could be just mass hysteria, but I'm willing to believe it's real. I know that many illnesses have peculiar symptoms that could be easily taken as fabrication. It hasn't been that long since MS was considered to be a form of hysteria.

CDC is now investigating Morgellons, but even if they conclude it's not real I'm not sure I can believe them. After they "investigated" the Lake Tahoe CFS epidemic in the 80s they claimed that it never existed. It's really unbelievable. I'm going to write more about this in my essay collection. The first essays are nearing completion, but I don't know when I'll get them up.
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:iconjeywolf:
jeywolf Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2006
I do believe in some cases it probably really is some unknown parasite or virus or something. I'm sure with every kind of disorder or disease out there, there are people who think they have it but don't.
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:iconventurus:
venturus Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2006   Writer
an intelligent piece of journalism. i do think though, that having opened the door of 'causation', you need at least a paragraph devoted to it. the fact that three family members lapsed at the same time suggests an external trigger. even if you only end up saying 'no one knows what causes CFS'.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2006  Professional Writer
Thank you for the comment and the favorite, it means a lot to me. You always manage to notice something that other people haven't picked up and you do have a point.

There is a reason why I didn't delve deeper to this aspect and it's because in general I tended to follow Jat's lead with the things he was keen on discussing. Unlike I he's not the kind of person who researches the whole illness thing with passion and comes up with theories.

Like you can probably see Jat has a very pragmatic approach. He's all about getting better and making the most of the life he has, past is past and there isn't much we can do about it. (I wouldn't have minded hearing more about his childhood and early teen years, but most of it was either something he didn't remember or something that he really didn't want to think about).
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:iconthecuddlydevil:
TheCuddlyDevil Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2006
This was really really great. I know, not exactly "critique", but if this was in a newspaper I wouldn't stop half-way. I'm a newspaper kind of guy.

The ridiculing of the ilness is just sick, but not a surprise. These things happen I guess.

The only real time I appreciated my health was when I got a sort of migraine. I'm not even sure what it was. There was a serious headache, incredible pain in my eyes. I mean, those 3 hours were pretty fuzzy. There was also nausia, the feeling of coldness, and shaking. I got it 3 or 4 times. The doctor didn't know what it was, but I'm not worrying too much about. I realized after then what health was really like. I'm sorry if I sounded so insensetive (what with comparing a headache to CFS). I guess everyone has their experience.

Have you published this yet?
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2006  Professional Writer
Thank you. I also have migraines thanks to CFS, but they aren't very serious. But for some people they are much, much worse. It's not a condition I would consider lightly. I really hope you won't be getting any more of the attacks.

Where would I publish this? I've been thinking about it, but I have no idea. It's going to be in the next issue of Hugi, a downloadable electronic zine, but I have no idea how it's going to be received there.
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:iconkingnothing04:
KingNothing04 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2006
I live in the Greater Toronto Area, so I felt really bad for this guy. Toronto really is a beautiful place to live, and to not be able to enjoy it is a horrible crime. However, your piece comes off as clearly not trying to extract sympathy from the reader, but to inform. The Q & A format suits it perfectly for that reason. And it flows very well.
Sidenote: Douglas Coupland and Douglas Adams are brilliant. Last year I went to a reading of Coupland's and it was such beautiful randomness. :)
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2006  Professional Writer
I'm envious to you. Coupland is a big idol of mine. Actually I have one short story in my gallery (Letters from Norie) that was written for a contest that he was judging, but the volume of entries was crazy and my piece never ended up read by him. :-/
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:iconkingnothing04:
KingNothing04 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2006
That's still pretty cool. I wrote an article about the reading I went to, but I can't find it online and I really don't want to have to retype it. It was a reading for Eleanor Rigby. Apparently there's a movie/documentary coming out about him...sorta. It shows the Canadian landscape, Canadian culture, Canadian experiences through the eys of Coupland and his family.
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:iconjerm123321:
Jerm123321 Featured By Owner May 29, 2006
As you might know (or at least have guessed) I'm not one for advanced critique, especially on articles (or interviews, for that matter). It's sad that such a bad thing can happen to good people. You really help to get the information out about CFS. Having never experienced something like it, I can't possibly know what it feels like, but it's helpful to know the facts. You should be very proud of this article - pretty butterflies are nice, but this is what the world needs.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner May 30, 2006  Professional Writer
Thank you for the comment (and of course for the favorite as well). Even if you didn't offer any critiques it was a thoughtful comment and one that made me feel that I didn't waste my time with this piece despite the generally low response. It's good to know there are people who care, even if this isn't something personally relevant to them.

Bad things happen to good people all the time. But I think it's even more sad if something bad happens to someone who can't yet be either - a 7-year old kid can't be "good" or "bad", he's just a kid, if you know what I mean.
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:iconjack-cade:
jack-cade Featured By Owner May 16, 2006
Very affecting. You can understand, to an extent, why people react the way they do, as it doesn't really fit the template of accepted illness, where some recognisable body part or function can be shown to have failed in some way. Also, the symptoms must sound so familiar to most people - as I'm reading it now, I feel horribly drowsy, and my muscles ache, making typing more of an effort than usual. If that's how everyone feels from time to time, then you can see them not believing that it counts as a 'proper illness' when those symptoms are listed to them. Which is why you need to read about it in more depth before you fully understand and appreciate what CFS is.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner May 16, 2006  Professional Writer
Yeah, that's true. It doesn't help that the name of the illness makes it seem like fatigue is just about the only symptom. For some people it isn't even the worst or most disabling symptom. Many with severe CFS have all kinds of peculiar and disabling symptoms, such as epileptic seizures, extreme sensitivity to sensory input, temporary paralysis and things like that. But I wanted to portray Jat's case, because if you haven't been chronically ill you might not understand what it's like, but I think almost everyone can imagine how bad it is to be a young person who's stuck living with his family, unable to go to school, work, enjoy most hobbies or meet other people.
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:iconforbiddensnowflake:
forbiddensnowflake Featured By Owner May 15, 2006
I'm glad to learn a bit more about it, it sounds awful, and because it's so well written, you've projected the potential severity of it all as much as you can without someone going through it personally.
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:iconholy-mecha:
Holy-Mecha Featured By Owner May 14, 2006
I think that you made the right choice for this article - this format works much better than a simple Q & A for the purposes of conveying emotion and empathy, as a person's life deserves.
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:icondemonlight:
demonlight Featured By Owner May 13, 2006  Professional Writer
Well worded and competently written, but then I'd expect that :p. As far as the article is concerned, all I'd really ask for is more sources - perhaps a comment from a medical journal or professional, and maybe another sufferer. I don't suppose that would be terribly easy though.

Having suffered from re-occuring sinusitis and glandular fever (what I assume you mean to be 'mono') as well as stress-related insomnia, I can well imagine some of the reactions sufferers are forced to put up with. It sounds like an odd borderland of illness, perhaps like Post Viral Syndrome, that no one can really define or
deal with in a medical sense, which is a shame. It's good that some people are trying to highlight the situation though.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner May 13, 2006  Professional Writer
Well, I think this is more of an interview than an article (of course interviews are articles too, but you know what I mean). This is why I didn't include more medical information, I wanted to concentrate on the interviewee and his life, what CFS means for him. Like a case study or something. As you can see Jat is not overly concerned about the reasons why he is sick, he concentrates on improving his health. The piece is more like "how" than "why" - and the small amount of "why" in there is more like "why do bad things happen to good people".

For many CFS sufferers the illness probably is a kind of post viral syndrome, for other it seems to be an active viral infection that just goes on, and for some the illness is triggered by other factors, like chemicals or vaccinations. I know my illness started with a viral infection, but I don't know if it was just the trigger or the actual cause. Even the infection specialists treating me don't know that.

Thanks for the comment. I was hoping you'd find some problems I could fix, but now I can delude myself with the idea that there aren't any. ;-P
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:iconshurakai-zero:
Shurakai-Zero Featured By Owner May 12, 2006
Generally well written, but the paragraph that begins, "But how do you cope with the illness?" seems like you're asking your interview subject that question, rather than posing a rhetorical question of your reader (which I assume was your intent). You could try reconciling that dichotomy by starting out with something like "I asked Jat how he copes with his illness." Then go straight into the quote, perhaps. Either that or perhaps you just need one connecting sentence between the two thoughts. Something like "But how do you cope with the illness? Jat's own experience offers considerable insight." (followed by the direct quote).

Hope that helps.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner May 13, 2006  Professional Writer
Thanks. It was meant to be a direct question, not a rhetorical question. If you think it's still bothersome I could try to fix it. But "considerable insight" sounds like politician language, not something I would say, especially in this context.
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:iconshurakai-zero:
Shurakai-Zero Featured By Owner May 13, 2006
Yeah, I guess it's a little stiff at that.
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:icondrumboy:
Drumboy Featured By Owner May 12, 2006
Wow. you'd think something that devastating to a person's life would get more attention - this only the second time I've heard of it, and I had no idea it was that bad. or this just me proving what a large rock I live under?

I think this format is definitely more effective than Q & A, not just in terms of presentation but because there's such a large amount of background information.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner May 12, 2006  Professional Writer
I don't think you're living under a rock. I live in Finland and here it seems like 95% of people have never heard of CFS - when it comes to doctors the percentage is probably still way over 50. Even in countries where the name is better known most people probably still couldn't say anything about the actual illness.

Thank you. I'm glad you found the piece informative.
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