Thursday, February 2, 2012

Response to Ricky Gervais


Western Mail Letters.

If Trudy (played by Rachel Isaac) had phoned in sick (The Office star's
battle with ME, Western Mail, 28 January 2012 --
and her "Office" manager, David Brent, was equally ill-informed and
sadistic as Ricky Gervais, the actor who plays him, he would have said,
'M.E. - not MS, not the crippling, wasting disease - oh no, M.E. That's
the one where, "'don't feel like going to work today," ...' (You Tube* -
see below my signature for links, if you wish to see Ricky perform it).

Ricky says that he has apologised to people with M.E., 'I thought it was
psychosomatic but it's physiological ... very misunderstood, so easy to
ridicule ... the symptoms are not apparent, like losing a limb ... they
say, "We're tired," and we go, "How do we know that," ... seems like a
molly coddling society that accepts this new disease that wasn't around
100 years ago [Sic. This is not necessarily true]' Many of us do not
accept his as a sincere apology since he later repeats the same offence
elsewhere and does the same to people who have other illnesses and
disabilities, who, "are not gonna have a go at me, are you?" I don't
think Ricky does believe that there is a real illness called M.E.

It is true that there is no universally agreed diagnostic test for M.E.
- such as a blood test for Diabetes, or a scan for MS - but you would
have to believe that millions around the world, with so much to lose and
nothing obvious to gain, were malingering or hypochondriacal. The legal
principle of, "innocent until proved guilty" seems to be inverted here
to, "faking until proved ill."

I believe that Rachel Isaac was genuinely ill but I do wonder whether
she had M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), or some other illness. She
might, for example, have been burnt out, exhausted, by all the events
happening in her already busy life, which called for rest, or a change
of lifestyle, to put her right; or she may have had a viral infection,
one like Epstein-Barr (Glandular Fever), which took an unusually longer
time from which to recover, as did Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper
and actress Barbara Windsor. These are examples of chronic illness but
not M.E. Some people think it doesn't matter and we can diagnose all
illnesses that have this rather vague symptom of "fatigue" under one
collective term, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It is known, however,
from hard-knock experience and research evidence (Twisk&  Maes, 2009)
that treatments recommended for some CFS patients, such as Cognitive
Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Graded Exercise Therapy (GET), may be
disappointingly ineffective and even harmful for M.E. sufferers.

Incidentally, people with MS were once treated with the same scepticism
that M.E. sufferers are now expected to endure, until a test confirmed
it for them. We have learnt nothing from this experience. It is no
laughing matter.

Yours sincerely
Dr John H Greensmith
ME Community

* We have been unable to find the original version of Ricky Gervais,
alone, performing this sketch - we believe it may have no longer be
available to view on You Tube but the main substance is at the start of
these two videos.

Comedian Ricky Gervais on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis (You Tube, 5 December 2010)!


CFS/M.E - The Torturous Disease (You Tube, 24 August 2009)

--- Ends ---
* * *
Similarly, the only court in the US in which someone is guilty of attempted fraud until proven innocent is disability hearings.  In every other court, there is the presumption of innocence until someone brings actual proof of wrongdoing.

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