This is a heart-rending article by Maria Farrell, who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She details her experiences for Long Covid suffers, and it’s not easy reading.
I’m including this quotation mainly because she talks about the impact of the Tory government in the UK over the last decade or so. It’s easy to forget that things didn’t use to be like this
I hid for two years in graduate school, the first year in a wonderful and academically undemanding programme with a tiny, lovely class. I wrote an essay about Walter Benjamin and interactive media that winter, and I remember pulling each sentence rather brutally from the morass of my former abilities and piling them on top of each other. Let’s just say the angel of history made sense to me in a way she had not, before. Minute on minute, I could barely make the letters settle into words, forget about forming sentences or ideas, but day on day it turned out I could do it. It just took a higher threshold of discomfort than I’d previously believed manageable, and about eight times longer. I’m so glad I learnt this. The knowledge that impossibly difficult intellectual tasks can be worked through piecemeal – not in darts and dashes of caffeinated brilliance – was not natural to my temperament, and it’s why I can still do things.
It’s a very bourgeois thing to be able to hide out in grad school. I’m always embarrassed when people remark on how many degrees I have. It put me into financial penury for quite a few years, but it felt worth it to still outwardly look like a person who was moving forward in life, not someone whose clock had stopped in August 1998 when I failed to heal from glandular fever. All that is harder now in Britain, as Tories systematically steam open the institutional creases people like me could fold ourselves into, and dismantle the social welfare that would have held many others as they waited to be well. I started off with moderate M.E. and now, much of the time, I would say it is mild.