I was touched by the story of twenty-four-year-old Karina Hansen because I too suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or M.E. (myalgic encephalomyeltitis) as it is called in Europe.
On February 12, 2013, five policemen, two doctors, two social workers, and a locksmith came to her home and forcibly removed Karina from her bed and transported her to Hammel Neurocenter.
Doctors in Denmark do not classify M.E. as a physical illness, but a mental illness. When Karina and her family would not cooperate in the suggested treatment plan, she was taken to the Neurocenter.
Karina was able to make a call to her parents the next day and said, ““How can I get out of here? I can’t take this”. Then the line went dead.
She has been there ever since with limited access to family and friends.
Nils Balle Christensen, the psychiatrist in charge of Karina’s care, works for The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics. This clinic classifies illnesses such as CFS, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome as “bodily distress syndrome.” This is a new diagnosis created by these doctors and is classed as a type of functional disorder. The treatment for a functional disorder is listed on their website as cognitive behavioral therapy, graded exercise therapy, and in some cases antidepressants.
Graded Exercise Therapy is exercise that starts out slowly and increases in very small steps. It is very controversial in the M.E. world and can be detrimental to patients with M.E. Studies have proven that people with M.E. respond poorly to exercise, especially patients who are severely ill, like Karina.
I am outraged that something like this is even possible. Karina’s case sets a very bad precedent for other M.E. sufferers in Denmark and around the world. Is this the future of M.E. treatment? We have all worked hard at trying to be believed by our doctors that Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are real conditions. Do we want to go back into the dark ages? How frustrating for us when we were laughed at or brushed away by our doctors and even our family and friends. Some of us may still be facing this.
Karina’s case has become widely known in Europe and I really want to make those in America aware of her situation too.
What can you do? Here are some simple ways you can help Karena:
1. Send Karina a postcard. Let her know that you support her. Information can be found here.
2. Like her Facebook page. This can be done here.
3. Sign the petitions, change.org and causes/org.
4. Watch the youtube video.
5. Tweet my post or share it on Facebook.
Karina’s story is our story. Let’s all help to get her released.