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New Statesman article: “Society is ableist”: Alice Hattrick on gender, chronic illness and long Covid

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Wyva, Oct 8, 2021.

  1. Wyva

    Wyva Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Alice Hattrick is an author who lives with ME/CFS and has recently published the book "Ill Feelings".

    Alice Hattrick was aged eight when their mother collapsed with mycoplasma pneumonia. The author – who prefers the gender-neutral pronoun “they” – found her on the kitchen floor at their home in Brighton. Their mother was in her early thirties. She experienced flu-like symptoms – fatigue, headache, chest pain and fever – from which she never recovered. It took two years before she was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

    In their book Ill Feelings, a blend of memoir, literary criticism, and analysis into the social effects of chronic illness, Hattrick, now 34, transposes their mother’s account of that day: “‘Alice witnessed this,’ she later wrote, as if I had observed a crime and needed a new identity.” Hattrick started to develop their own symptoms, which bore a striking similarity to their mother’s. They experienced stomach aches and headaches that lasted all day; they felt like sleeping during school break times; they felt pain in their arms and legs after PE. Later, Hattrick too would be diagnosed with CFS, by a doctor at a children’s hospital. “I remember feeling almost pleased with my diagnosis, even if I was not entirely convinced by it,” they write. “It made me feel closer to my mother.”
    Full article:
    “Society is ableist”: Alice Hattrick on gender, chronic illness and long Covid
     
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  2. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Is this a good or bad article? I daren't open it to find out.
     
  3. Wyva

    Wyva Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think it is generally quite good, you should read it. :)

    Hattrick made some interesting claims though, for example that Virginia Woolf etc probably suffered from ME/CFS too and I'm not sure if this really is a serious hypothesis. Or at least this is new to me but it also seems to be part of the book based on Hattrick's research on the topic, so who knows.
     
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  4. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It seems a other people have made this claim, re: Virginia Woolf: https://msmagazine.com/2011/02/22/how-an-ill-woman-found-common-ground-with-a-wild-snail/

    But the text cited doesn't really seem to line up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Being_Ill

    Most descriptions I've seen point to a diagnosis of bipolar rather ME (and most scientists and clinicians seem to agree on this).

    The only evidence of ME I can find is that she was confined to bed over a nine year period due to bouts of the flu--which could be ME or PVFS, but could also just be a factor which aggravated her bipolar.
     
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  5. Tia

    Tia Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Has anyone read the book? It looks interesting. Unfortunately no audio version as of yet.
     
  6. DokaGirl

    DokaGirl Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Interesting article.

    I'm glad rhe author used these term:

    The cultural language of illness - relates to criminality or malingering." Very true.
     
  7. Helene

    Helene Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just got the ebook. Will report after reading it.

    For anyone who is able to read e-books it's available at reduced price of $10. through amazon.ca
     
  8. Tia

    Tia Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I just watched the online book launch for the book Ill Feelings on youtube

    It's a conversation between Alice Hattrick and Abi Palmer, who wrote the book Sanatorium (which I've read and really enjoyed). It's a good discussion and I think both authors come across really well. I'm putting Ill Feelings on my Christmas list!

    @adambeyoncelowe I've never felt that what I know of Virginia Woolf and her illness through her writing particularly correlated with ME for me. Florence Nightingale definitely and perhaps even Charles Darwin. Apparently Hattrick also writes about Louise Bourgeois so I'm interested to know what the connection is there. I know Bourgeois suffered from insomnia and agoraphobia. Perhaps the link is that she referred to hysteria in her work.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2021
  9. Helene

    Helene Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That is a simply lovely interview. Two bright young writers who have been living with a chronic illness since childhood and deal with it with thoughtful maturity.

    Thank you @Tia !
     
  10. Sarah94

    Sarah94 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Heh I know Abi Palmer she was at uni with me!!! Well, a few years ahead of me, she was a postgrad when I was starting undergrad. She was setting up a group for disabled students, which was my first ever involvement in any kind of disability group (I'd been diagnosed as autistic just the previous year, and didn't have ME yet).
     
  11. Tia

    Tia Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That's cool! Abi Palmer's great! I think I discovered her via an article about Wellness in the guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jun/22/wellness-is-a-seductive-lie-abi-palmer-sanatorium

    I got her book for xmas last year and it's brilliant. It's also very accessible as it's written in short sections with few words on each page.
     
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