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Why Attributing 'Type A' Personalities to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Needs to Stop

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Sly Saint, May 30, 2018.

  1. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "I recently had an experience with a relative that caught me off guard. In passing, she mentioned reading somewhere that it’s mostly “type A” individuals who develop ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis). This was followed by a pause and accusatory glance – that felt more like a guilty verdict than a statement. I starred back, blank faced. Was I supposed to profess deeply hidden type A tendencies in that moment — as if they surely must be to blame? It was an uncomfortable situation to say the least. I responded with, “Isn’t that interesting,” and left it at that."

    full article here:
    https://themighty.com/2018/05/type-a-personalities-stress-sick-mecfs/
     
  2. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I can honestly say I am the exact opposite of every single one of those characteristics
     
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  3. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In contrast, this article:
    Overworking
    "*DISCLAIMER - Before you begin reading, I'd like to be very clear on something. M.E isn't the sufferers fault, nor do we know what causes it. Personally I'm betting on a problem at a cellular level. All I'm saying in this post is that there is a strange similarity in a lot of people's stories, and that a Type A personality seems more commonly hit with this condition. I wanted to touch on it because the "laziness" argument goes right out the window when you take this factor into consideration. This post is merely a reminder to people to take it easy on themselves, and is in no way throwing blame or speaking for everyone*"

    https://www.thisthingtheycallrecovery.com/single-post/2018/05/27/Overworking
     
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  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Any stupid behaviour/instincts/impulses are likely to be unhelpful for ones health in some ways, but I don't see any good evidence particularly linking CFS and type A personalities.

    re the blog claiming that they note lots of type A sorts: I think that the prejudices about CFS can mean that patients try to emphasise how impressive and hard working they are by nature, sometimes to the point of making themselves sound bizarre. Also, maybe 'type A personalities' are keener to promote their stories? Who knows. Hard to say anything from anecdotes, and from my reading of anecdotes/forum posts/etc there doesn't seem to be any particular tendency for unusual personality types amongst CFS patients compared to other people with health problems. The uncertainty, quackery and prejudice around CFS can be unusual strain that affects people badly, but I don't see more than that.
     
  5. Sunshine3

    Sunshine3 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I got this crap from a family friend I contacted recently trying to get him to contact his member of Congress to support the recent ME senate resolution in the U.S...I wrote a detailed letter, e-mailed loads of info...IOM, Unrest. I explained the illness over and over.....this is my most recent response from him after thinking I was getting somewhere. I just wanted to show the mindset we are up against, this man's son is training to be a doctor. I won't be contacting again!! See response below;

    I’m sure I will never be able to grasp how devastating this disease is, unless I contract it. Sometimes however it takes a new perspective at looking at a problem to solve it.
    This is my very limited view on this extremely complex and frustrating quagmire of a disease.
    First... most of the people that Have contracted this are highly intelligent and can articulate extremely well at least the ones that have read about it. They know they are sick and feel they must prove their illness to get well. Its almost more important than getting relief. And even with cancers you don’t see people banding together to prove that they are sick. And why is ME so prevalent now? Where has it been all these years? How can it be a new disease? Why doesn’t the body heal itself from rest? There are no tests that can be performed to verify only the condition of the individual shows up as the disease. So strange
    This is what I believe...the Conscious mind and the subconscious mind are separate and should work together. You don’t have to think about breathing and the functions of any other of your organs, you don’t have to think about healing a cut on your finger your subconscious mind does it without help from your conscious mind.
    With ME it’s like the subconscious and conscious minds do not work in harmony.
    And that’s why I feel you need to strengthen the mental muscles together. It’s like the most frustrating thing when you have to explain why your body won’t heal itself and you need that biosis to feel better to feel better. It’s a total quagmire. The question is how did they get separated? The only answer I have is to force your subconscious to start doing what it supposed to do to heal yourself at rest, and the only way to do it is to convince your conscious mind to convince your subconscious mind to work together , sorry if that sounds weird but it’s it’s stuck in my brain
     
  6. andypants

    andypants Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  7. Inara

    Inara Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I never
    That might be it...

    What's the logic here?

    Because maybe people with cancer don't have to band together, because maybe people with cancer are taken seriously?

    It isn't. It always was there, you just didn't see. Today people speak up, that's the difference.

    You just didn't care to look.

    Because there's some underlying biochemical process? Why don't Aids and cancer heal themselves?

    There you have it. Harmony. Harmony will heal all diseases. Harmony will even overcome ageing and death.

    That person is really going to be a doctor? It's scary.
     
  8. Sunshine3

    Sunshine3 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Sorry, maybe I should have kept it to myself!!
     
  9. andypants

    andypants Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Just sorry you had to be told that from a friend even after all your efforts! People really, really want to believe it’s in our heads it seemso_O
     
  10. MsUnderstood

    MsUnderstood Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Crap for sure. The only characteristic listed under Type A personality that applies to me is a sense of urgency -- basically only when I need to push my body and brain to work faster than is comfortable in its current impaired state (i.e. to meet a deadline). Post-ME, I don't do deadlines. Otherwise, I (like many of us on the forum) had Type A "accomplishments" when healthy. This had nothing to do with my personality, but rather a reasonable work ethic and high (but not unreasonably high) standards.

    That raises another characteristic often assigned to ME patients -- perfectionism. To me, a person is a perfectionist only when they believe in the concept of "perfect", and when their inability to achieve their own standards causes them grief, or stress. I can think of a few people that I have considered to be perfectionists, despite having much lower standards than mine.

    But back to your family friend, @Sunshine3. Actually, at times I do have to think about breathing because if I don't, I stop . . . breathing, that is. I think it's all part of the autonomic problems many ME patients experience. At least with respect to breathing, I can force myself to breathe. So far, I haven't found a way to similarly control my body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.

    Did your family friend give any pointers on how to "force your subconscious to start doing what it supposed to do"? If so, I'd love to hear them. If not, he has nothing of value to add to the conversation. I'm so sorry to hear you experienced this disappointment. I've given up trying to explain ME to family and friends. One of the last times I did was with a cousin whose son developed PTSD after serving in Afghanistan with the Canadian armed forces. I thought he'd be a supportive ally. Unfortunately, not.
     
  11. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh @Sunshine3 sorry to be vulgar but what a knob

    Some people just like the sound of their own voice and clearly your “friend” is one of those.

    If he just went on Facebook in particular and some of the forums he would encounter hundreds of people who don’t fit his stereotype.
     
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  12. Daisymay

    Daisymay Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Hmmmm...... the word bo.....s comes to mind!
     
  13. Sunshine3

    Sunshine3 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @andypants, I went to such effort, handwritten 9 page letter even a phonecall and I hate phone calls...numerous emails over and back explaining.....sigh....I have 3 more people in the States I could contact...distant relatives that I don't know very well...can't wait to start with those!!!
     
  14. Sunshine3

    Sunshine3 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    He is contacting his members of Congress, I sent him ME Action standard email to forward....so maybe some good might come out of it....maybe...
     
  15. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    You dont see people who've never been accused of a crime going around shouting "i didnt do it", do you?

    No. I wonder why, might it be because there is no need. You may as well say to someone who lives in the arctic circle 'even in Africa no one goes around in thermal underwear'

    It wasnt 'stuck in his brain', his brain is stuck.

    God the bullshit we have to put up.
     
  16. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    His subconscious mind must be quite different to other peoples.

    It's disappointing that your friend responded the way he did after the effort you put in, @Sunshine3 but let's hope he does help by contacting congress members.
     
  17. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    The irony is, your friend is probably quite intelligent. He just isn't very good at reasoning. At separating the facts from what he wishes to be true. His feelings and world view get in the way.

    It might turn out that this person can actually reason well in some situations - when they're in a domain where their feelings and beliefs don't get in the way. Or when they take the time to use proper reasoning, rather than just describing their assumptions. F***ing subconscious and conscious minds, what a crock!

    I'm becoming more and more convinced that being able to think rationally and objectively has little to do with intelligence. Its about discipline and constant awareness of the short-cuts we're prone to make when reasoning, and the way our broader beliefs and motivations can distort our thinking.

    Its about learning to enjoy the experience of being challenged, surprised or proven wrong. Lots of smart people cannot endure any of those things, so they can't reason very well.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  18. Inara

    Inara Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Or what we measure via "intelligence tests" isn't intelligence at all...

    I am reminded of the book "Thinking fast, Thinking slow" about the fast reptilian part of the brain (e.g. intuition, feelings) and the slow part, the neocortex (logic, ratio...). Maybe one part of intelligence is how well we can handle those two guys.

    After meeting several doctors I think many of them actually aren't very intelligent. You have to be excellent in learning by heart - which is a skill I don't have - but combinatorial and (logical) thinking skills aren't so important it seems.
     
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  19. Subtropical Island

    Subtropical Island Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Funny, I’ve always thought of intelligence as being exactly that: enjoying the experience of being challenged, of learning, and of challenging and changing your assumptions.
    ...but maybe that’s just the path to enlightenment. ;)
     
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  20. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    That's a really nice way of thinking about it. I loved that book! It talks about how proper logical reasoning is effortful, and so we tend to avoid it when we can and fall back on more "automatic" ways of drawing conclusions - using probabilities based on prior experience. That works well most of the time, but the problem is that we don't always know when we're cutting corners. It takes practice and self-awareness, and even then, we can probably only achieve it in certain situations, not all the time.
    No, and I think their trade encourages making quick decisions based on probabilities, and discourages doubt and self-reflection. And that might work well for a lot of situations. But not when you really need to think.
     
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