Who Am I?

The “who am I” question can be one of the hardest and most important questions to answer. It is a question that can take years to truly wrap your head around and it’s also one of the most personal questions that you can be asked. However, it’s a question that you should never be afraid to ask yourself as you will likely find answers that can surprise even you.

One of the best ways to get to know yourself is to spend time in your own company, without distractions, and ask yourself what you value most in life. This can help you to understand why you make the decisions you do and what drives you in life. Once you have a clearer picture of yourself, it can be easier to decide who you want to be.

For some, figuring out who they are is a very long process that can involve getting to know themselves through the lens of different perspectives and relationships. Some people also choose to look outside of themselves and seek out mentors, friends, or therapists for support and guidance on their journey. In this way, they can see who they are through a different lens and gain a deeper understanding of themselves.

Other people will go to great lengths to try to avoid the “me” question altogether in order to not feel like they are letting others down or avoiding their true self. This can be particularly hard on people who struggle with chronic illness such as ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). Many patients with ME report that they are misunderstood and judged by other people because of their illness.

ME is a complex and multifactorial condition that affects a wide range of bodily systems. The most well-known symptom is post-exertional malaise, which can range from mild to severe and results in significant impairment from physical or cognitive activity. While there is no definitive test to determine ME, many specialists use a set of criteria to make the diagnosis. Most patients who suffer from ME have spent years waiting for a correct diagnosis and up to 90 percent of those diagnosed are either misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.

There is evidence to suggest that ME may be triggered by certain infections. These include glandular fever (EBV), Epstein-Barr virus, herpes viruses, herpes simplex and shingles, and herpes B and C. Infections such as Q fever (caused by Coxiella burnetii) and Ross River virus have also been associated with ME. However, most cases of ME/CFS do not fit these categories. A 2006 Australian study of ME/CFS based on the IOM’s diagnostic criteria found that only 9 percent of participants had EBV, herpes viruses or Q fever. The remaining 91 percent had only fatigue, neurocognitive difficulties and unrefreshing sleep, which are also symptoms of ME/CFS. This study was later criticized for using a very limited group of people and failing to evaluate all the symptoms of ME. It was also criticized for not including people who were severely ill.