Letter from Jill, in Great Britain
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"In Britain, FM is even less understood or recognized than in the States, neither is CFS/ME. In fact, they are both diagnoses that the doctors give to the patients who don't fit into other categories, and there are as many different ways of treating them as there are GP's.

I have never seen a rheumatologist, even some of them are skeptical about FM, and I had to search the Net and print off reams of stuff to give to my GP, before she would stop offering antidepressants, and take me seriously.

This time of year, when it's dark, cold and wet, is when I want to hibernate. I think for me there is an element of S.A.D. as well. I always feel better in late Spring and Summer, until the weather gets too hot, of course! (I only seem comfortable in quite a narrow temperature range).

OK, Potted history time. I am currently just 60, just made grandmother for the first time. My daughter is married and encountering the shock of motherhood on her otherwise tidy life! My 18 year old son is in College, and in a few months we will be moving to the coast. (currently we live 15 miles from Stonehenge). Quite useful for Summer Solstice, et al.

I had an ordinary white collar family childhood, only shone at school in English and Art, was acceptable in other subjects, but lost Maths as soon as we got to Algebra! Lived in a small country village, which now is just on the edge of the Capital! (60 years of Urban encroachment!).

Went to Drama School for three years, but decided quite soon that 'resting' isn't a career path! Still do the odd bit of Am-Dram, usually behind the scenes now though.

At 18 I began ballroom dancing, and went into competition with my partner, with the aim to teach eventually, but that didn't happen, so had a total about-face and became a nurse. (I had been a member of a Voluntary First Aid Organization for several years before that). I worked in Coronary Care, Accident and Emergency, and in the workplace. I also Lectured and Examined on First Aid Courses for a Government Department called The Health and Safety Executive.

In the 90's I took up Belly Dance (Raqs Sharqui and Beladi), but have had to give up now. I was part of a performance troupe for several years. When I can see, I still help folk with costumes, as one of my hobbies is bead working.

I was by now married with two very young children, and a husband who was a workaholic. He worked for a Datacomms company based in Connecticut, and we lived there for a year before returning to England, where his department was downsized to zero. He started drinking heavily and became violent, so eventually I took the children and went to a Women's Refuge, where I started divorce proceedings. He committed suicide.

So I have brought up my children on Widow's Pension, not having any family I could not work because of the costs of child care, although once they were both in school I managed odd jobs for people, so we scraped by. I have downsized, from a 4 bed house, to a 3 bed, and I have inherited a house by the coast from my late Aunt, and the sale of my current house should go a fair way to providing us with a comfortable life as long as we are careful. Needless to say, I'm hoping my son spreads his wings fairly soon and gets himself a good job so he can contribute, or get an apartment for himself!

My aim is to potter into old age growing my own vegetables and embarrassing my children!

When I can see well enough to drive, (cataracts permitting!) I like to take my VW camper out for a few days. At the moment she is sulking, because I can't drive until I get the eyes sorted!

I get together with other Pagans at Camps a couple of times a year, Mixed Traditions, we share Rituals, food, songs stories, etc. around the camp Fire. (Think Boy Scouts with Pagan Attitudes! )

I'm also a member of a Living History Group, showing how people lived in the Bronze and Iron Ages, in the area around Stonehenge. This is in association with a regular dig organized by Sheffield University. Not sure how useful I'll be this season, though!

Well, that's me, roughly!

Bright and slightly belated Imbolc Blessings!"

Midori (Jill)

Used with permission