Empty shoes lined up on the groun, with a red Millions Missing poster alongside it
Photo from a Millions Missing protest, which takes place around the world every May to draw attention to the plight of ME/CFS patients

What is ME/CFS?

ME/CFS is a chronic illness that affects the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems, and for which there is…

Instead of helping me, many doctors minimized and misinterpreted my debilitating and constant vertigo.

Blurry photo looking up at a tree branch and green leaves.
Image courtesy of istock photos

Do you know what your worst fear is? Take a moment and think about it.

Okay, time’s up. What was it? The loss of a loved one? Being made homeless? Perhaps losing a limb, or being surprised by a shark in the sea? It doesn’t really matter, of course. …

Ok, so when I write book reviews I usually write them quite conventionally: here’s what the book’s about, this is what I did/didn’t like, this is why it is/isn’t clever, if you like x, y, and z you will/won’t love it, and so on. But I think I’m going to go a bit off-piste with this one because I have too many feelings, so sit down and grab a cuppa, because we are about to have a conversation — if quite a one-sided one.

But first: buy this book. Buy it now. Don’t even finish reading this review before you…

Shoes left during a Millions Missing protest, representing the M.E. patients missing from their lives

A lot of things have been written recently about patients living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), often erroneously known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Last week, Reuters published a long-form piece focused on psychiatrists working in the field, who claimed online activists were silencing their work.

Reuters quotes Professor Michael Sharpe, one of the authors of the controversial PACE trial, which was this year debated in Parliament, and is responsible for the current NICE guidelines that recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) to patients.

“It’s just too toxic [a field],” he says, and Reuters adds their own context…

To you, dear Reader. (I’ve always wanted to start a piece of writing that way!)

Happy New Year

I don’t know who you are, and you probably don’t know me, but I wanted to remind you of something: you are still here.

It might be that this year has been amazing, in which case, that’s wonderful! I’m happy for you and I hope it continues. Or it might be that you’re ending this year wondering if you can make it through the next. …

Artwork by Leonora Carrington, copyright of her Estate

The nights are drawing in, Netflix is featuring its creepiest shows, and Halloween in all of its gothic glory is very nearly upon us. While the gothic tradition has more than its fair share of virginal, swooning women designed to be rescued by men, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of women writers out there making weird fiction into something powerful. Here’s just a small selection of some of the women you should be reading, if you like your horror with a healthy dose of feminism.

Charlotte Dacre

An advert for the original Flex-Straw

The UK government has formally announced its plan to ban the distribution of plastic straws, drinks stirrers, and cotton buds, despite vocal objections from disability rights campaigners around the world. A protracted effort by environmental activists is to thank for the consultation, scheduled to take place over the next year, but while cotton buds and drinks stirrers are just the kind of frivolous waste our planet could do without, the same can’t be said for single-use plastic straws.

Quite simply, plastic straws are an accessibility tool. They were invented in the form we all know them as today in the…

“And there was no safe place, the baying of the outside world had collapsed the walls between public and private. Everything living outside, lived within.”

Sometimes a book comes along that’s so vivid in its portrayal of the world, that it both opens your eyes, and draws your attention uncomfortably to the gaping void it’s filling. By the second chapter of Haroun Khan’s masterful debut from DeadInk Books, I was painfully aware that I’d never read anything like it before — and that this in itself was shocking.

Photo from DeadInk Books

Set in and around a South London council estate, The Study Circle…

Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

“Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They seemed to be having a very good time.”

This is one of the most striking moments from Dr Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who she says sexually assaulted her when she was only fifteen. It is striking, because it perfectly encapsulates the experience of so many women who have found ourselves acting as the unwitting punchlines for the actions of men.

And it’s for that reason that men like Kavanaugh are so terrified.

The Pervasiveness of Rape Culture

For both men and women, patriarchy is the water we swim…

“No one sees me. I am a ghost. I am invisible.”

When Kasia, a teenage girl housebound with ME witnesses what appears to be an abduction from her bedroom window, she immediately calls the police. What follows is a remarkable story of mystery, intrigue, and resilience that will be familiar to anyone with a chronic illness, and everyone who’s ever wondered what goes on behind the locked doors on their street.

Kasia is a complex and sympathetic character, and author Penny Joelson — an ME patient herself — has done an incredible job of describing an illness that so often…

Laura Elliott

Disabled freelance journalist and copywriter. Words on feminism, disability, books, and healthcare — probably. Twitter @TinyWriterLaura

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