As well as reading for my Introduction to Theology class at Kingsley, I also try to make time to read books dealing with issues that interest me, as the need arises. In I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just a Little Unwell, Australian journalist Leigh Hatcher writes of his experiences as a sufferer of chronic fatigue syndrome. I have several friends and acquaintances who have either suffered or are currently suffering from this much misunderstood and debilating illness.
As a pastoral care issue, my reason for reading this book was to gain a better understanding of this issue. I've never suffered from chronic fatigue myself, but genuinely sympathise with those who do. In 2001, basically through over exertion, stress, and inadequate sleep, I went through a period of constantly being tired and run down, with a host of unpleasant symptoms that I won't write about here. After some blood tests, which only revealed a low platelet count, my doctor advised me to make some lifestyle adjustments, and eventually this seemed to rectify the situation. However, as you'll see from Hatcher's book, chronic fatigue is a complex illness to manage.
In vividly describing his experiences, Hatcher takes the reader inside the mind of the chronic fatigue sufferer, to the extent that you see the world through his eyes. We also see the hurt and betrayal he felt from friends and colleagues who questioned that he was genuinely ill. Sadly, some of those who hurt and betrayed him were Christians, who you would somewhat naively hope would be more compassionate, supportive, and understanding than that. Nevertheless, Hatcher's faith was instrumental in his recovery, and gave him the strength to persevere and recover.
If you suffer from chronic fatigue, or indeed any other long-term illness, or know someone who does, this tome comes highly recommended to you. You'll draw some encouragement and inspiration from it. It's available from Koorong and other good Christian bookstores. For more information, visit Leigh's website, http://notcrazy.net/