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Monday, 25 April 2016

The Oak and the Reeds

I've been pondering a possible name for M.E sufferers if M.E was to be 'rebranded'. Personally, I do not call myself a Spoonie for two reasons. 1. Spoonie sounds cute and fluffy; there is nothing about this illness that is cute and fluffy (though it is a great way to explain energy levels) 2. It's not M.E specific. It was originally for Lupus sufferers and has been eeked out to cover anyone with a chronic illness.  I am also not a Warrior or a Fighter. It is impossible to fight against this illness. Yes, we have resilience and 'bounce-back-ability' but, as we all know, if you start to fight against it it will come and bite you on the bum two-fold! Survivor also gives the wrong message, although a few people have died as a result of M.E symptom complications, it is extremely rare to die from M.E. However, those people who recover from M.E and get to the other side often describe themselves as being a 'survivor'.
So, I started thinking about alternatives. I was thinking along the lines of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (Blade of grass - BLADE sounds cool! No matter how many times it is cut back it regrows and flourishes) but stumbled upon this Aesop Fable (Found at http://fablesofaesop.com/the-tree-and-the-reed.html ).
The Oak and The Reeds
A Giant Oak stood near a brook in which grew some slender Reeds. When the wind blew, the great Oak stood proudly upright with its hundred arms uplifted to the sky. But the Reeds bowed low in the wind and sang a sad and mournful song.

“You have reason to complain,” said the Oak. “The slightest breeze that ruffles the surface of
the water makes you bow your heads, while I, the mighty Oak, stand upright and firm before the howling tempest.”

“Do not worry about us,” replied the Reeds. “The winds do not harm us. We bow before them and so we do not break. You, in all your pride and strength, have so far resisted their blows. But the end is coming.”

As the Reeds spoke a great hurricane rushed out of the north. The Oak stood proudly and fought against the storm, while the yielding Reeds bowed low. The wind redoubled in fury, and all at once the great tree fell, torn up by the roots, and lay among the pitying Reeds.

I believe saying 'I'm a reed' is more appropriate than Spoonie, Warrior, Fighter or Survivor. Reeds bend with forces of nature but recover once the storm has passed. We do not break or fight against the elements but adapt to our environment in order to survive. Maybe a nickname change will help non-sufferers understand the nature of the illness better.
Sally xx

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