In the beginning of my illness that started 7 years ago, when friends would ask me what's wrong with me, I would try to explain CFS to them and this would be answered by blurry eyes and silence. Over the years, I have lost contact with most of my friends probably more my fault then theirs because I couldn't socialize anymore. I didn't see them at the synagogue, weddings and get togethers because I couldn't attend. Even my neighbors who I was friendly with, have not seen me for a long time. When I do talk to someone new, I don't mention that I am ill anymore. I have learned that it is counter-productive. They just don't understand. I don't know anyone else in my community who suffers from this illness. They might be there but they are probably hiding for the same reason as I am. This past week-end I happened to meet up with some old friends and they wanted to invite me to go out with them. I responded with "I have a bad migraine headache, so I really can't but thank you". I got so much empathy from them!! They UNDERSTOOD "migraine headache" because someone in their family also suffers from them and when I told them that I chronically suffer from them (which I do) I can see the empathy they had for me and kept wishing me well. In my whole seven years of suffering this was the most empathy I ever encountered. It is because they understood my pain and my diagnosis. I think from now on until they have a name change from the outrageously ridiculous "chronic fatigue syndrome", I am going to use "chronic migraines". Even though this is only one symptom out of many that I suffer from, it is one that most people can understand and empathize with.