A Review by Dr Sarah Myhill, of my memoir: ME and Me

The weeks go by, whether or not we are in lockdown, or a tier or whatever. Some aspects of the general slowdown of our lives have actually left me feeling pretty relaxed. In recent weeks I have embarked on a new novel, and to date it is going well. The characters are clear and known to me, (that doesn`t mean they are people I know.) I`ve reached 13000 words without a hiccup. One should aim for between 70,000 and 120,000 words, so those numbers are in my mind, if not necessarily in the minds of my characters. (They don`t even know they are in my mind. But I do.)

Meanwhile…. Dr Sarah Myhill read my memoir, available on Amazon and Kindle, `ME and Me,` and responded with this incredibly positive review. Thank you, Sarah. Thank you very much….

“ME and Me” Book Review by Dr Sarah Myhill

Debbie gives us a detailed and honest account of how ME has prevented her living to her full potential. The fact that this is beautifully written, without self-pity, by a highly intelligent, talented, driven character from an equally gifted family makes it a compelling read. It also makes me ashamed to be a member of the medical profession. Debbie consulted all the right doctors. Many refused to, or were unable to, recognise the clinical picture of ME. I suspect many did recognise the ME picture but……………because ME did not fit into the modern medical paradigm of treating symptoms with symptom suppressing drugs, these doctors had no idea how to go about treatment. It is much easier, and of course not intellectually challenging, for doctors to deny the existence of ME. This medical dishonesty is despicable but terrifyingly common.

However, in my view the greater crime is for those doctors who do profess expertise in treating ME still fail to look for the under-lying reason why? They use bloods, scans and ‘oscopies: tests which do not ask the right questions and which fail to identify the underlying pathological lesions to opine that nothing physical is amiss. ME patients are then referred to the psychiatric dustbin because it must all be in the mind.. Psychological treatments are all that is required and when the patient fails to respond – well they must be hypochondriacs. Thus doctors drive sick patients into insanity.

Debbie’s story is one that I have heard on many occasions from thousands of my ME patients. These people have every right to believe that doctors should be trying to diagnose the mechanisms by which they have become ill – indeed it is the only logical way to proceed! It is clear from Debbie’s account that is what she believed and when those medics failed to deliver, so she was left high and dry trying to fashion an existence for herself…………..how Debbie maintained her self-respect and sanity throughout, and achieved what she did in the literary world, is a measure of her character and determination…