Society Logo
ME/CFS Australia Ltd
Please click here to donate ME/CFS Australia (SA) Inc
 
 
Facebook
 
ME/CFS AUSTRALIA (SA) INC

Registered Charity 3104

Email:
sacfs@sacfs.asn.au

Mailing address:
PO Box 322,
Modbury North,
South Australia 5092

Office:
Suite 506,
North Terrace House,
19 North Terrace,
Hackney, SA, 5069


Phone:
1300 128 339

Office Hours:
Wednesdays, 11am-3pm

ME/CFS Australia (SA) Inc supports the needs of sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related illnesses. We do this by providing services and information to members.

Disclaimer

ME/CFS Australia (SA) Inc aims to keep members informed of various research projects, diets, medications, therapies, news items, etc. All communication, both verbal and written, is merely to disseminate information and not to make recommendations or directives.

Unless otherwise stated, the views expressed on this Web site are not necessarily the official views of the Society or its Committee and are not simply an endorsement of products or services.

Become a Member
PDF Application Form (PDF, 242KB)
Why become a member?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome vs. depression: one doctor's view

Thursday 22 December 2011

 

From About.com's Adrienne Dellwo:

 

WomanChronic Fatigue Syndrome vs. Depression: One Doctor's View

By Adrienne Dellwo, About.com Guide
December 17, 2011

For decades, people with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) have battled the misconception that they were "just depressed." Many doctors and a large chunk of the general public believe that myth - in spite of a wealth of research showing numerous physiological abnormalities across multiple systems.

In a recent comment here, a doctor (obviously one of the good ones!) left a comment that really rung true with me and I think is the best description I've ever seen of the difference in mentality between depression and ME/CFS:

"In my years of practice I have seen hundreds of pain sufferers with depressed mood, but only a couple of patients with true clinical depression. One of the features of true depression is anergy or the lack of desire to do anything (it is very difficult to put this in words). Another feature of clinical depression is "social apathy" or having no desire to participate in social activities. These features are exceedingly rare in people suffering from all types of chronic pain and/or ME. Indeed, ME sufferers uniformly have an unabashed yearning to be able to DO things, to participate in life!" - Doc ForthePeople

I really think the doctor summed it up perfectly. In the 4 years I've been hearing personal stories about ME/CFS, I've come across a lot of people who say they miss the things they used to do, that it hurts them to stay home when everyone else is off having fun, or perhaps that they've given up trying to participate because they pay so dearly afterward. However, I just don't hear people say that they don't want to do things anymore.

Certainly, some people with ME/CFS become depressed. That's true of every single chronic, debilitating illness out there. When illness hits you out of the blue, derails your life, takes away myriad things that you love and that provide you with a sense of worth, and leaves you miserable and disabled ... um, yeah. It's depressing! Depression is a major issue in cancer and no one blames the tumors on depression. Likewise, it's being falsely implicated in ME/CFS. The same logic applies to fibromyalgia.

I've seen the difference first hand. I have fibromyalgia and a close family member has severe depression. Early in my illness, I spent a large portion of my flagging energy researching my illness, trying different treatments and working to figure out what I needed to do to get better. That was in spite of searing pain, intense fatigue and thick brain fog.

My relative, by contrast, laid in bed. She wouldn't read the information other people sought out for her, she wouldn't keep her counseling appointments, and she wouldn't take her prescription meds. She frequently made statements such as, "Nothing's going to work. I just have to accept that I'm going to be this way forever." And that was before she'd given anything a chance to work.

From the outside, she and I look fairly similar. We were both mothers and successful professionals who quit our jobs and withdrew from nearly everything we used to do. We both had pain, fatigue and cognitive dysfunction. But on the inside, we're different because our illnesses are different.

Do you agree with the doctor's view of the differences? Have you faced the myth of your illness being "just depression"? How has [it] impacted you?

Learn more or join the conversation!

NEWSLETTER | FORUM | BIO | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Understanding & Treating Depression
Coping Strategies: the Good & the Bad
Keeping Yourself Organized

 

The above, with comments, originally appeared here.

 


Arrow right

More Fibromyalgia News

 


 

blog comments powered by Disqus
Previous Previous Page