Friday, 21 December 2012

'Voices from the Shadows' - A Powerful Story of Courage in the Face of Tremendous Neglect and Abuse

“I hope you are not saying that (ME)CFS patients are not as ill as HIV patients. I split my clinical time between the two illnesses, and I can tell you that if I had to choose between the two illnesses I would rather have HIV”.
Nancy Klimas, leading AIDS and ME/CFS physician and Professor of Medicine and Immunology,
in the New York Times (15th October 2009)

'Voices from the Shadows' is a powerful, hard hitting hour long documentary that literally moved me to tears.  It illustrates the abuse and neglect ME Sufferers face from the UK medical establishment by telling the stories of five sufferers of Severe ME and their families.

Hidden away in dark and silent rooms for years on end, men, women and children are suffering.  Although severely ill many are disbelieved and denigrated; their lives shattered by medical neglect and even abuse by the very professionals who should care for them.  This desperate situation has been denied for too long.

Voices from the Shadows unmasks some serious issues which are causing irreparable harm.  This film uniquely reveals the love, courage and determination of five sufferers and their families as they struggle to regain their health.
Taken from the DVD sleeve of Voices from the Shadows

I had heard about 'Voices from the Shadows' via Invest in ME but it was the death of Emily Collingridge that finally prompted me to order my copy of this documentary.  The morning it arrived, I was feeling very ill after a horrible night of little sleep, however I decided to watch it immediately.

What I liked about this documentary was that it didn't go too deeply into 'what is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis?'.  It is a witness to the experiences of severely ill ME sufferers; it is their voice from the shadows.  It clearly showed the effect that current policy and medical practices had had on the lives of the people shown in the documentary.  I already knew of Linda Crowhurst, Lynn Gilderdale and Sophia Mirza, but it was still difficult to watch their suffering.

Although this film may be of interest to ME sufferers, I believe it is more important that it is seen by as many non-sufferers as possible.  Those of us unfortunate enough to have our lives blighted by this illness already know what it feels like.  We are all too aware of the neglect and abuse; of how no one believes us even when we are racked with pain from head to toe.  I would ask that others watch this and question how civilised our society is where the weakest are being tortured in such a barbarian manner.  Where doctors who dare to help us are reported to the General Medical Council and face being stricken off the medical register.

Please consider visiting the Voices from the Shadows official website to find out more about this film and about ME.

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