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ME mentioned in Sunday Times (UK) article about BBC presenter Kirsty Young's fibromyalgia

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by JohnTheJack, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. JohnTheJack

    JohnTheJack Moderator Staff Member

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    This is the kind of article I hate. Trying to be sympathetic but perpetuating the psychological myth.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/...ring-break-from-desert-island-discs-2pkjdbfbn

    Includes:

    I worry, though, that Young’s affliction is a form of “overachievement syndrome” known to strike women with particular ferocity. Between 75% and 90% of sufferers of fibromyalgia are female. To suggest this illness or its cousins such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) and lupus might in any way be psychosomatic is to invite a heap of condemnation from sufferers. “Fibro fog”, as it is often called, may well be genetic in origin and can be triggered by an infection, physical trauma or surgery, but psychological stress is also known to play a part. Whatever its causes, the symptoms are all too real: terrifying musculoskeletal aches and pains, migraines, lack of sleep, anxiety and depression, as if your whole body is rebelling on you.
     
  2. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That is just complete crap. Lupus has nothing whatever to do with ME or fibro. The guff about genetics and triggers is just lain ignorant too. So who is ghost writing here? Why does nobody care that journalism is so bad?
     
  3. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Time for a letter to the editor?
     
  4. JohnTheJack

    JohnTheJack Moderator Staff Member

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    It shows, I think, how these illnesses are generally understood, and also how the majority of people are absolutely convinced about the psychological factor in illnesses. 'It stands to reason.' It's deeply entrenched.

    30 years ago the businessman with a stomach ulcer from stress was a media trope.
     
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  5. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Sarah Baxter is apparently the deputy editor of the Sunday Times. Says it all really. About the Sunday Times.
     
  6. Lucibee

    Lucibee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Not sure about ghostwriting, but Sarah Baxter is on the byline.
     
  7. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I wonder if they ever ask themselves what the reason for this is. Is it because patients can't handle an uncomfortable truth or because it's a harmful myth?
     
  8. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    My experience of the mechanics of medical articles in newspapers is that most of what is written is actually a transcript of material provided by people the journalist has rung up the week before. Some bits appear as quotes but even the other bits are mostly re-writes of what the 'ghost-writers' (sort of) have provided.

    Baxter appears to be giving as medical information, such that one would presume she has checked this at some time with a medical source. But to suggest that lupus and ME are 'cousins' would have a red line through it by anyone with a medical training. It is just about consistent with one of the elderly failed GPs or venereal disease specialists who haunt national newspapers but even they tend to remember a bit of what they were taught. It is just gossip, fag end stuff, Chinese whispers from quack clinics. And it is the sort of thing that self-styled psychotherapists are very capable of coming up with. So my suspicion is that the 'ghost writer' here is some such psychotherapist Baxter had coffee with the day before so that they could enjoy a bitch about the fact that 'poor Kirsty couldn't hack it, being so famous'.
     
  9. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Please write in and fact check them.
     
  10. Sarah

    Sarah Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Also:

    '“Fibro fog”, as it is often called[..]'

    Except it isn't. 'Fibro fog' is the cognitive dysfunction experienced by some patients with a fibromyalgia diagnosis. It isn't a synonym for fibromyalgia.
     
  11. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  12. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Because if there's one thing overachievers are known for, it's definitely failing to achieve much because they end up believing themselves sick.

    Galactic brain-sized intellect right there.
     
  13. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Rube Goldberg's razor: trying every convoluted explanation possible in order to avoid acknowledging that the simplest explanation is most likely correct.

    Is it ghosts? Cold mothers? Repressed memories of intense guerilla warfare? Woodland fairies? Overachieving personalities? Zeus? Underachieving personalities? Perseids? Lust for one's mother? All of the above?
     
  14. hellytheelephant

    hellytheelephant Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "Achievement syndrome" would hardly explain how young children have it.
     
  15. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In children it's achievement syndrome per proxy. Children are innocent and we can't blame them, but we can blame their parents.
     
  16. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Lupus??

    "To suggest this illness or its cousins such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) and lupus might in any way be psychosomatic is to invite a heap of condemnation from sufferers."

    It's kind of nice to see Lupus in there, in a crazy sort of way. It's terrifying this is from the deputy editor of the Sunday Times.
     
  17. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @Jonathan Edwards

    Have been trying to link to the Times article without success but it is at the top of this thread


    https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/sep/01/pain-rollercoaster-
    fibromyalgia-kirsty-young-desert-island-discs


    With reference to the Times, it is ill informed and gossipy without any substance. The Observer article is in great contrast.

    Please could you challenge the Times article. It was prominently placed so as to obtain a good readership but is rubbishy gossip. I am concerned about the effect it will have on its large readership in the way it was prominently positioned. I feel it needs to be challenged from a scientific position to counteract the gossip nature of its content.

    Would be grateful for your input.

    ETA: last sentence after reading through
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  18. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    I read the comments section of the original Times article, and was shocked by the number of self-declared FM sufferers who bought into the idea that psychological stress/trauma may have triggered the onset of their illness. I cannot imagine many of us here giving lip service to these sorts of "just so" stories.

    I wonder what the difference is? Between the attributions of PwMEs and PwFM? Different experience of onset, that makes it seem to the PwFM that their psyche may have been to blame? Or is FM more accepted than ME, so people haven't learned to become as wary of psychological generalisations?
     
  19. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think the difference is that with ME, the psychological explanation was more easily recognized as nonsense, and also did more harm. So patients tend to believe less in it and feel more confident fighting against it. FM also appears to have better treatment options.

    The psychological explanation for FM appears to be (possibly distant) emotional trauma and stress in the past. I'm guessing that appears less outlandish, and is also harder to disprove, than "unhelpful illness beliefs and deconditioning". Patients know that deconditioning cannot explain the full range of symptoms or the marked fluctuations in symptoms, and that exercise doesn't cure the illness in a short time as it should if deconditioning was really the problem. Many patients are also unaware of or even in denial about the full severity of the illness in the beginning, so the notion of unhelpful illness beliefs seems implausible. I think the work on PACE also helped clarify that this explanation is really nonsense (before, the patient community thought it would apply to and help a significant subgroup).
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
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  20. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot of people believe what their Drs tell them. With ME there are other patients and organisations who flag up the issues but I’m not sure that’s the case with FM.
     

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