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Transcript of 'The ME Adventures: Energy and Exertion' By Laura Chamberlain


Transcript of Laura Chamberlain’s comic about the difference between chronic fatigue and just being tired.

drawing of two women, Maddie has ME and Nancy doesn't, with caption saying they have met for coffee and for Maddie it will be high energy and Nancy it will be low energy

The title of the comic is “The ME Adventures: Energy and Exertion” by Laura’s Pen, laurachamberlain.co.uk.

The first section is labeled “0 hours” and has a drawing of a woman sitting at a table with a cup of coffee. The caption says “This is Maddie, she has ME.” Next to that is a drawing of a woman also sitting at a table drinking coffee, and the caption says, “This is ‘Normal’ Nancy.” Below the drawings it says, “They have met for coffee. For Maddie this is a high energy activity. For Nancy this is low energy.”

drawings of nancy and maddie saying maddie is tired and goes to bed and nancy goes shopping

The next comic is labeled “1 hour.” There is a drawing of Maddie on a bus with the caption “Maddie goes home.” Next to that is a drawing of Nancy looking at a rack of clothes with the caption, “Nancy pops to the shops.” Under the drawings it says, “Maddie is exhausted. Nancy goes and gets some bits while she’s out.”

The next comic is labeled “2 hours.” There is a drawing of Maddie with the caption, “Maddie rests in bed.” Next to that is a drawing of Nancy holding her purse with the caption, “Nancy goes home.” Under the drawings it says, “Maddie feels very ill and has to go to sleep. Nancy finishes shopping and decides to head home.”

drawing of maddie and nancy watching tv with caption saying maddie is tired and nancy is just relaxing. maddie goes to sleep and wakes up tired, nancy goes to sleep and wakes up refreshed

The next section is labeled, “4 to 8 hours.” There are drawings of Maddie and Nancy each watching TV. The caption says, “Maddie and Nancy both warm up a ready meal and watch TV. Maddie does this out of necessity. She has no energy to cook and struggles to follow the TV. Nancy does this out of choice because she wants to relax.”

The next section is labeled “16 to 20 hours.” There is a drawing of Maddie in bed looking tired. The caption says “Maddie wakes up.” Next to that is a drawing of Nancy brushing her teeth. The caption says, “Nancy gets up.” Below the drawings it says, “Maddie wakes up feeling as though she hasn’t slept (she has). Nancy feels a bit tired but perks up once she gets up.”

drawing of maddie too exhausted to go to work and the full effect of going out with nancy hit her later

The next section is labeled “20 to 29 hours.” There is a drawing of Maddie sitting on the couch with a cat. The caption says, “Maddie stays at home.” Next to that is a drawing of Nancy typing on a computer at work. The caption says, “Nancy goes to work.” Under the drawings it says, “Maddie can’t work because of her ME. But also feels slightly worse because of yesterday’s exertion. She is happy, however, that she doesn’t feel as bad as she expected.”

The last section is labeled “24 to 48 hours.” There is a drawing of Maddie laying in bed. The caption says, “Maddie’s exhaustion hits.” Next to that is a drawing of a doorknob with a sign hanging from it that says, “Be back soon. Currently off enjoying life.” Underneath the drawings it says, “Maddie thought she’d got away with doing something fun with only minor repercussions. But the full effect of her exertion hits her like a ton of bricks 24 to 48 hours after meeting Nancy.”

fast facts about chronic fatigue syndrome explaining how exertion makes you feel like you're wading through treacle and hungover

There is a box with the title “Facts to remember.” In the box, it says: “People with ME suffer from something called post exertional malaise (PEM). PEM is a worsening of symptoms that kicks in 24 to 48 hours after exertion. It can last days, weeks, or be the trigger for a relapse or deterioration. It doesn’t just make you feel “a bit worse,” it makes tasks you can normally do feel like wading through treacle with the flu and a hangover.”

The cartoon was originally published on Laura’s Pen.