I've been addicted recently to the Netflix TV series
is the new Black. It's about a
middle-class young woman in the North-east US, Piper Chapman who, because of a
past indiscretion involving smuggling drugs, ends up in prison in Orange . New York State
She is from a comfortable background, is engaged to be married, but has to serve a 15 month sentence in a woman's prison. The show is mainly about her struggles to adapt, to fit in to this alien environment, and to come to terms with her lack of freedom and her changed circumstances.
The show is brutal, realistic (I imagine), funny, compelling, and I can't stop watching it. It also got me thinking about something that has occurred to me on more than one occasion before. Having CFS is like being in prison.
In episode 8 of the series, one inmate says to Piper, the main character, "I feel like I'm missing so much." Me too, I felt like saying, me too.
And I think that this is what inmates and PWMEs have most in common, we are both simply trying to survive, while watching the rest of the world moving on.
Like prison, of course, there are different levels of sentence. Some people, like me, are on a day release, they can work in a limited fashion, have some kind of contact with friends, travel to a limited extent, have a limited form of freedom. We have a taste of the world outside without being able to experience it fully.
Others, of course, don't even have that. They are in maximum security, locked down for 23 hours a day, some in a form of solitary confinement, given the exhaustion and difficulty even communicating with friends and family causes. Their days are regimented and strictly limited by their disease, and the outside world begins to seem very far away.
It is about freedom and control. Inmates in prison have lost their freedom, and have little control over their lives. Our jailor is our chronic condition that has deprived us of some of the basic liberties that most people take for granted.
ME is a prison sentence. Our lives are constrained and constricted like prisoners, squeezed until all some of us have left is a form of house arrest, and no known release date. We are tunnelling, most of us, desperately looking for a way out. There is no parole board, no time off for good behaviour. We try to appeal our case, and it goes nowhere.
At least we can watch Netflix. Check out
is the new Black if you get a chance.
(I should really be getting this blog post sponsored!) Orange