WHAT it is like to have an illness which makes sufferers feel so tired they can’t put one foot in front of the other, or even drink a glass of water, and which many doctors don’t believe even exists, is examined in a new two part BBC ALBA documentary: An Sgiths Nimheil (The Toxic Tiredness).
ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, now affects around 250,000 people in the UK – including a number of islanders – but medical opinion remains split over its cause.
It is characterised by severe fatigue that can leave sufferers unable to continue with normal life.
Some claim its roots are purely physical, occurring post-virally, others believe that psychological triggers are involved.
The truth is unclear and there are wide divisions between the different schools of though, all explored through the new Trusadh documentary.
The first show focuses on five people who have ME, finding out the impact the illness has on their lives and their quest for respite – Allison MacColl, a nurse and mother from Lewis; Sean Ankers, a divinity student from Inverness; Neil MacLean, a policeman originally from Lewis but no living in Easter Ross; Kim Ayres, a photographer and entrepreneur from Dumfries; and author Nasim Marie Jafry.
The second programme takes a closer look at the scientific debate behind the frustrating uncertain world of ME and its treatments, exploring the work of David Michel, a Scottish doctor who believes he has found the ‘cure’ for MR though a talking therapy which addresses an imbalance in the emotional centre of the brain.
Although he has no scientific proof, he claims a positive success rate.
The Trusadh team follow Allison and Kim as they undergo Mickel’s controversial therapy, as well as hearing a very different perspective on the illness from neurologist Prof. Peter Behan, who has carried out ground-breaking studies on ME at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.
Trusadh – ME: An Sgiths Nimheil / The Toxic Tiredness begins on Monday, January 23 and concludes the following week, Monday, January 30, on BBC ALBA.