Monday, 4 March 2013

ME/CFS is NOT Demonic Possession

It seems completely unnecessary to have to say "ME/CFS is NOT Demonic Possession" but apparently it still needs to be said regularly.  I haven't posted for over a week because as much as I loved visiting my family last week, it really took it out of me.  I managed to get some basic work done this week, but I've been barely functioning and then along came the monthly monster and that did not help at all.  But what has spurred me to write today is an e-mail I received from someone.  The message is extremely ignorant, bigoted and the sheer arrogance of the man to actually send it to me is astounding, but still I am thankful as it has fired me up, after being a numb blob for most of the week.

I regularly write articles (or lenses as they are called) on Squidoo and I write about a variety of topics including recipes, horror movies, book reviews, product reviews, tarot and divination and of course living with a chronic illness.  Every now and then I get someone sending me a message telling me why I have ME/CFS or a chronic illness.  These are not from people who are doctors, fellow sufferers or even any kind of therapists.  These are people that have seen I have a chronic illness and then they proceed to tell me how one of the other interests I have is causing my illness.

Here are some examples.  I wrote an article for Halloween called Ghostly Horror Movies Based On True Events which was just a collection of horror movies where the makers have based their movies on actual events.  It does not claim that the movies are real or even says that the ‘true events’ have any real validity.  Yet, somehow this article has lead people to send me messages telling me about how my illness is caused by evil spirits that I have attracted by watching and writing about horror movies.  I really wouldn’t care if these people just left comments on my articles, as controversy is actually good for discussion and I encourage people to tell me what they think.  These people though, seek out a way to contact me privately and send me e-mails telling me their wacko theories.

Another example is the message I was sent today, which unfortunately is not the only message of its kind that I have received.  It stated that CFS is “correlated with demonic activity” and this person then sent me links to an article about how reading tarot cards leaves you open to demonic possession and some youtube videos.  I have to say that the guy that e-mailed me today was very sincere in his e-mail and even said it was sent with the best of intention.

Often, these people have not read or looked at my articles, but have just seen the titles and assume things about me.  Just because I write about a topic, it does not mean that I advocate or believe in the subject.  Even if I totally ignore the validity of what they believe, why do they feel the need to warn me? 

I find it extremely insulting that anyone would contact someone and state that their illness is the result of some superstitious and unfounded idea.  I also find that people do it to me more because I have ME/CFS; I’m sure if I had any other ‘real’ (for them) illness, they’d be less likely to do it. 

Unbelievably, as I have been typing this post, I received another message from someone on an article titled How to Explain Your Chronic Illness to Friends and Family which states that there is no such thing as chronic illness and the person who wrote it claims to have had a “close call” with the symptoms and issues I write about.  Not surprisingly this person is the owner of an empath website, so I’m sure he or she believes I am just an empath that is not controlling it properly.

This second kind of comment is actually more worrying than the first because its author does not believe there is any kind of illness at all, and to write about it or acknowledge it is seen as negative, and to give in to illness.  I don’t agree with that at all and it is very similar to the awful ‘ill-thinking’ rubbish people who believe ME/CFS is psychosomatic come out with.  The former types of comments remind me of those times when people suffering from schizophrenia would be accused of demonic possession.  People stopped believing that, but it seems ME/CFS sufferers are still fair game when it comes to these types of ideas.  The fact is that ME/CFS sufferers come from all walks of life and are of all ages.  We have different beliefs, different lifestyles and some of us only have this awful illness in common.  So even if tarot has opened me up to demonic possession, how do they explain the ME/CFS sufferer who has been ill since childhood and has never had the chance to do anything to allow demons in?

It is ridiculous and their reasoning falls apart with very little probing, but the arrogance of these people to contact ill people with their drivel is shocking.  It is insulting and an awful thing to say to someone, no matter how good people believe their intentions to be.  Do you think I'm over-reacting or do these people have a point?


  1. Hi Jay,

    Ugh. Thank you for writing about your experience. Of course you are not overreacting. It is necessary to fight back.

    I tried to make sense of it historically in

    It is a 3-part series, but part 1 can be read without reading the other two.

    Alex3619 has also written about a different aspect of it in "The witch, The Python,
    The Siren and The Bunny".

    The denialists are the ones who need to be stopped. Then it will not matter.

  2. Hi Samuel,

    Thank you for the great comment and for sharing your post - I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and look forward to exploring your blog more.

  3. When I read the title "ME/CFS is NOT Demonic Possession," I thought it was a joke. I have suffered from M.E. for nearly thirty years, and this illness has stolen my life. No wonder you were upset by those ignorant messages. I applaud you for persevering and continuing to write and to share your experiences.

    Patricia Carter

    1. Hi Patricia,

      When I sat down to write this post I had the same surreal sense that this has to be a joke. But people send me these types of messages all the time. It's a disgusting thing to do, especially as they seem to specifically have a problem with chronic illness. Thank you for taking the time to visit and to leave a comment.

  4. Oh wow. Opening up a whole nother line of inquiry. Bet some research funding can be found for this.

    Some say we need to exercise but clearly we need to exorcize.

    If only.

    1. Hi Creek,

      If only indeed. Exercise or exorcise, these people clearly have no idea whatsoever. Thank you for your comment; it made me smile.

  5. OVER-reacting?? Hell, no. I am glad at least that these absurd and dangerous comments fired you up enough to write about it. I like the way you write and am happy to have found your blog.

  6. Hi Libby,

    Thank you so much for leaving such a lovely comment and for your support. I was a complete zombie last week, but reading the bigotry did indeed fire me up!

  7. i went to peru and drank ayahuasca with shamans,who cured me of chronic fatigue syndrom.Shamans still believe in spirits,good and bad,and knows that sometimes they can prey on people,and will not leave unless powerful medicine is used to clean the body and soul.In the west,modern science does not understand the deep spiritual issues of man.

    1. I'm glad you feel better, but your comment and 'recovery' actually raises more questions than it answers. What illness did you actually have - CFS can be such a wastebasket diagnosis? A deep spiritual issue could also be called a psychosomatic illness, so cases like yours actually help those who try to prevent ME/CFS being seen as a real illness.

      I do thank you for your comment though, as it is good to hear from both sides of the issue.


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