You Know You Have M.E When

Living with M.E isn’t without its quirks. And so, for those of you looking for something a little more lighthearted and sometimes just downright bizarre and ridiculous, I’ve decided that I’m going to slowly chronicle the moments with brain-fog (and perhaps this is a cover for one’s own stupidity).

Brainfog cannot be explained adequately in modern medicine. Whether it’s a psychiatric condition, a state of delirium, some metabolic disorder, or whatever is, it can be rather treacherous to live with (especially when you’re trying to get a qualification or earn a living); you forget the end of the sentence that you intended to speak… you come to the conclusion that your house is filled with ‘Borrowers’… your mind feels rather ‘fuzzy’ or filled with cotton-wool…there appears to be a firm connection between that faculty which processes your thoughts, and that which can get you committed to an ‘Institution,’ this connection manifests itself on a regular basis.**

In addition, I shall write a few of the joys of having M.E; rather than having two lists, I shall compile them under the heading, You Know You Have M.E When. I have shamelessly appropriated this title from a popular thread on one of the online support groups that I occasionally visit; many of the following I will have already posted to there. Many, you will not find particularly funny if you happen to be a member of “the land of the Professionally Well,” but I hope you enjoy them nonetheless :)


If you have any contributions, feel free to send them my way and I’ll add them to your list (with your name/username, should you prefer).

So, let’s list the few that I have written-down somewhere:
You know you have M.E when:

1. When the most distinctive feature(s) of your clothing is all the feathers stuck to you from having ‘just woken up’…A cousin tells me it’s a sign of angels reminding me that they’re there. I’m convinced that I’m being haunted by a duck…

2. When you find yourself thinking:  “I wonder what the dark side of the Sun looks like…?”

3. When you’re so used to taking pills with every meal that the sight of you pillbox makes your stomach rumble and your mouth salivate!

4. …When you try to ‘eat’ your tablets with a fork.EDIT : When you try to take your tablets with a fork to ‘eat’ them…. I think that makes more sense. I think you eat them with your teeth, not so much your fork…

5. When the word you’re looking for is ‘moss’ and instead you say ‘muesli’ and thus say: “We have a lot of muesli growing in the garden” Someone should market that (TM)

6. When you and the cat compete as to who has the most extensive nap-schedule. And you always win…….., yet the cat refuses to share his treats….. (I must thank my cousin Saz for pointing this one out to me).

8. When you find yourself remarking to a family-member at the dinner table:”I can’t believe you have so much energy!” after only lifting a plate…

9. When you wish you had at least four hands so you can cover your eyes and ears in a bright, noisy room!(this one was surprisingly popular online…

10. When, as an adult, you have more than one regular nap-time during the day!

11. …when you go to take your night time medication, realise you’ve taken it by counting the pills remaining in the blister pack, then still reach for a mug to swallow your non-existent pill which you’ve imagined it’s still on your tongue!….

12. When you look up at 00:02 on January 1st and wonder why on earth people are letting fireworks go off next door……..and then instinctively reach for your earplugs!

13. How about…when you’re trying to recall the names of the lead actors in Grease because you spot a lookalike of the lead male….and the best you can come up with after ten minutes of thinking is…”that James fellow” and some woman called “Edwina Newton…” Tragic? Well that one could go either way.

14. When you think that you got your paper-cut from a spoon.

15. …when you know that there’s at least one thing that’s right with your body when you need to get a regular haircut!

16. When you want someone to hand you your sunglasses  but you don’t know how to articulate it, so you end up saying: “Show me the eyes!” instead of “may I have my sunglasses?”

17. You know how… when you lose your mobile phone…you might try to call it from another?: Well, you know you have ME when you pick up your phone in order to call  your lost eye-mask…

18. When you mean to compliment your cousin on how much his son resembles his wife and you say, sincerely, “at least we know who his mother is…” with a smile on your face.

“Imraan…if you were ‘normal,’…!”

19. When you enquire about someone’s ‘pestle and mortar’ as opposed to their ‘tassel and mortar board’ on the occasion of their university graduation!


**Disclaimer: I am, sadly, quite aware of how devastating this symptom of the condition of M.E can be, and particularly in Severe M.E. I have friends that cannot work as a result of this, others who have lost the ability to read for pleasure and for information, others who end-up as mute for long periods of time because speaking takes too much by way of concentration, or is impossible for them; this is just a way of finding the joys in life whilst some unknown entity ravages our cognitive faculties.

In fact, one of the first things I noticed during my experience with M.E was a loss of my cognitions, which is precisely what I said to my general physician in early 2008. I would, eventually, collapse at a desk, or find myself laying on the floor of the University’s library (in the Indian Buddhism section, incidentally enough) after having read a couple of sentences or a paragraph.