Chronic fatigue syndrome has a silly name that describes only one symptom of a multi-system disease. Probably everyone has long-lasting fatigue resulting from illness or life circumstances at least once in life. So, the name chronic fatigue syndrome poorly distinguishes patients with a devastating illness from the rest of the world.
Then there's that word fatigue. It sounds wussy, like a smashing of fatty and league. Big whoop, a group of fat people yawning. Couldn't we use exhaustion, with that long second syllable expressing length and severity? Couldn't we use enervation, with that nerv sound pointing to central nervous system malfunction?
There are better names out there, so let's use one of those instead: myalgic encephalomyelitis/encephalopathy or systemic exertion intolerance disease.
Photo credit: Marco40134, Flickr Creative Commons
Darla Nagel is an editor and writing tutor who has an invisible chronic illness. She wants to help other patients and enlighten health care professionals about our experiences. If you’d like to be alerted whenever she writes a new post, sign up by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.