I heard a news story today which made me so angry I had to write about it here.
Researchers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) have received death threats from a number of ME suffers.
Why would they do such a thing? Aren't these researchers just trying to help them?
The reason for the threats is the suggestion by a number of researches that the condition is a mental health problem and not an unknown virus, and can be potentially treated through psychiatric care.
For some strange reason people are offended if they are told they have a mental health problem, but being told that they have a weak and feeble body is apparently fine.
It is not even just a simple case of blame diversion, because there are other instances where the cause of a problem can be "blamed" on the patient but they accept it. For example if someone goes to the doctor with back pain they may well accept the statement that the cause is the way you sit at your desk, every day your posture is causing structural issues with your back and causing you back pain. In this example clearly the "blame" for the condition is the patients and they can correct their behaviour to resolve the problem.
Take as an example the following variation on the theme, you go to the doctor with back pain and he suggests that the root cause is stress related, that every day through being overly critical of yourself you are reinforcing a negative neutron structure that is generating back pain, you can treat this by positively reinforcing your daily achievements which will recreate a positive feedback neural structure and remove your back pain.
Cause and treatment is heaped on the patient in both cases, but tell someone they have a physical health problem and they can correct it through physical means they are happy, tell them they have a mental health problem and well they will send you death threats.
If what the researchers say is true, then perhaps mental health needs rebranding. The researches should say
"the ME virus has disrupted the neural path ways in your brain causing your condition, currently the only way to treat this is through specialised brain training. Obviously we are researching medication, but so far nothing has been found to be more effective than braining training exercises with a professional brain trainer".
Perhaps it is just the words mental health that cause offense?
I am not saying the researchers involved are correct, but if they are not you should prove they are wrong rather than send them death threats! I would be very surprised if they were trying to do anything other than help patients, yes people can be wrong, but I would hope that anyone can see that further research and rational discussion is going to be a much better way to get to the truth, plus if you threaten the people trying to help you, well then there will be less people trying to help you and an even greater chance that no cure can be found.