Why behind the mirror?
All our lives, we're told to get on with it, push through, try harder, just a little more. We grow up believing that any problem can be overcome if you work hard enough. We are told repeatedly that honour comes from pushing yourself to be more than you are.
So what happens when a problem arises that these basic rules don't apply to? It isn't easy to overcome a lifetime of conditioning. CFS is one of these problems. It is a sickness that does not respond to drugs, that punishes you when you try to get on with your life and that sets down strict limitations that change daily, hourly.
CFS takes everything you have ever known about illness and turns it upside down. Those around us struggle to understand that we have to rest more, when we already spend most of our time in bed, that when lying on the sofa watching a video, we are doing the most we can, we are pushing ourselves to our very limits. They find it difficult to accept that we cannot meet them for lunch today when we were out shopping yesterday, or that, just because we have been standing for five minutes, that doesn't mean that we can stand for another five. The lack of understanding from others is well documented. What is talked about less, is that we find it difficult as well. We don't understand why we can't do more, why we can't just hang on a little longer. We have to change all our old opinions about sickness as well, and we have to do it faster, because unless we do, we will die.
Sometimes, when you have this disease, it feels like people see what they want to see. They forget that we have to deal with understanding it as well. But, unlike us, they can choose not to understand, and it becomes easier to say that we're not trying hard enough or that we are malingerers than to change their basic opinions. And so, they choose to see a mirror where they once saw a person. They see how they would react or what would cause them to act like we do. Instead of trying to understand, they project their own desire for rest onto us and decide that we are just faking. They stop seeing the person and start seeing their reflection. We are stuck behind the mirror, screaming to be heard, to be understood.