A Poet Contextualizes Our Struggle

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Poet and artist, Christiana Baltais, writes about moving the mountains of stigma that harm people with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) in this poignant poem.
She asked that we share her poem to encourage our community and beyond – people with ME, friends, family and allies – to donate to our cause on #GivingTuesday.
Facebook and PayPal are matching donations on Tuesday, Nov. 27. #MEAction and many other ME organizations have set up Facebook fundraisers, and are offering opportunities to double and triple your donation. (#MEAction’s fundraiser is here.)

Christina was a four-year medical school student in Ontario, Toronto before become severely ill with ME twelve years ago.
Moving Mountains
by Christina Baltais
they say
“it’s all in our heads,”
as if that wasn’t my first thought
when I fell off
the face of the earth,
landing on my bedroom floor
unable to move.
as if the stigma of mental health,
was something we’re evading,
and this disease
is our getaway plan.
they say
we’re “against science,”
when our truest ally
stands in all the journals
they’ve never read.
while history
rolls over in its grave
and screams again,
must the denial of a disease
always preclude its discovery,
when its existence
has always been there.
they say
“angry patients,”
which is easier
than understanding
the roots of activism,
and how the channelled rage
of oppression,
has moved mountains of injustice
time and time again.
I wish I could patchwork
all our stories
into a quilt to wrap
around our shared pain,
offering the comfort
in knowing we are not alone.
when the only medicine
is hearing
I believe you.
over. and. over. again.
words that go a long way
when it’s miles more painful
having your reality denied,
than the loss of everything in it.
what they say will not last.
our voices will prevail,
truth always stands the test of time,
we too have showed up to move mountains.
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3 thoughts on “A Poet Contextualizes Our Struggle”

  1. Thank you Christina Baltais for this beautiful and very moving poem. I cried because you’re also telling my story and experience along with the many millions of other people who suffer and lose life. I’ve been sick for 32 years and I am angry. But even more so, there’s this great, sometimes overwhelming sorrow that is always present (and no it is NOT depression!!) after three decades of watching my life be destroyed. After three decades of being treated with such hostility by the medical community and society in general. Sadly, I carry this illness in secret with shame.

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