The connection I’ve always felt to Florence Nightingale, when she is brought up in conversation, I’ve always assumed it was because I was a nurse. Now I’ve learned it’s so much more than that; she suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome as well. May 12th is her birthday and International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME Awareness day!
I’ve just found this in an article I was reading about her:
“But from 1857 Nightingale found herself often disabled by poor health, which some suggest may well have been Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS). As a result, Nightingale now has been adopted as a kind of patron saint by for this under-studied disease. CFS sufferers here and abroad (17 million) commemorate her birthday as a kind of rallying point; their own lamp in the dark.
And the world of CFS is dark indeed — an abysmal place of unmediated pain, disability, hopelessness, financial ruin and sometimes suicide. One doctor told me that if she were to have to choose for herself between CFS and cancer, she would choose cancer. “At least for cancer, there are treatments; if they fail, you die. With CFS you are the living dead,” she said.”