February 2, 2012

Fighting Fibromyalgia & Ignorance

Posted in Health tagged , , , , at 2:33 pm by potofcallaloo

Controversial Sun newspaper columnist Rod Liddle has caused a great upset among disabled people and sufferers of ME and fibromyalgia – people who he calls ‘the pretend disabled.’

People like me who suffer from debilitating, chronic muscle pain and exhaustion, along with a slew of symptoms that impact on our daily lives. People like me who live on strong pain killers and medicines just so we can get by. Yet, he calls us ‘the pretend disabled.’

In his latest column he writes, “My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to become disabled. Nothing too serious, maybe just a bit of a bad back or one of those newly invented illnesses which make you a bit peaky for decades – fibromyalgia, or M.E.”

Liddle went on to say that being disabled is now “incredibly fashionable.”

“And being disabled is incredibly fashionable. The number of people who claim to be disabled has doubled in the past ten years.

“I think we should all pretend to be disabled for a month or so, claim benefits and hope this persuades the authorities to sort out the mess.

“It has become easier to claim those benefits, partly as a consequence of the disablement charities who, out of their own self-interest, insist that an ever-greater proportion of the population is disabled.”

Criticisms

The crass remarks have been condemned by many charities representing the disabled and people with these conditions.

Pressure group Social Welfare Advocacy responded by saying,

“Rod Liddle’s blatant and insensitive attack on sufferers of Fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is absolutley disgraceful and unforgivable. Both of these conditions are extremely debilitating yet despite this many sufferers find it exceptionally difficult to successfully claim disability benefits which directly contradicts Mr Liddle’s claims that claiming disability benefits “is easy”. Whilst a few sufferers will be able to hold down a job with these conditions many more find it impossible and live in constant pain and agony despite the use of very powerful pain relief and pain management techniques.

On its Facebook page, local charity UK Fibromyalgia has called on the British public to boycott News International. The call has attracted a flurry of strong criticisms from its almost 3000 members.

Liddle and The Sun should apologise for this disgraceful article, which has since been removed from the newspaper’s website. It has caused great offence and hurt to the disabled and those of us battling against fibromyalgia and ME.

People like him make life even more difficult for sufferers, setting us back several steps in our struggle to make people aware that these conditions are very real and not all in our heads as some claim.