Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – The ‘Missing People’ Enigma


By Aisha Dow in The Age.


At her lowest point, Krista Callinan lay sobbing in the bath and wondered “am I better off dead?”

Before the 38-year-old was struck down by a painful disease with an unknown cause, she was a busy business owner and an experienced ski patrol volunteer.

Now she can’t go to the supermarket without a wheelchair to help preserve her energy, and is often confined to her apartment, watching the world from above.

Everyone else hurries along.

Krista has myalgic encephalomyelitis, a highly-stigmatised and misunderstood condition also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

More than 200,000 Australians are thought to suffer from the disease. They have been described as “missing people”, because as their symptoms get progressively worse, they disappear from employment and much of public life.

A recent research by advocacy group Emerge Australia surveyed more than 600 sufferers and found that while 52 per cent had been in full-time work before the onset of the syndrome, it plummeted to just 7 per cent afterwards.


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