CFS and mental health. This is a subject full of landmines. Does CFS affect my mental health? Oh yeah. Unfortunately, when I say this, some mistakenly assume that CFS equals depression. Or that it is a psychosomatic condition. That I'm mentally ill. That I can't cut it in normal life and am in hiding.
So you can understand that I try to stay away from this subject. But maybe it's time to dive in and get messy.
I personally have been pretty fortunate. I don't run into this brick wall too often. And I know that most people reading this article are open to a greater understanding of CFS. For this openness I am very grateful. It gives me hope that the prejudices so many of us encounter may change one day.
Many compassionate readers will be astonished to learn that the response that so often meets a CFS sufferer, is rank disbelief.
CFS is a VERY physical illness. This point apparently needs to be made over and over again. Emphasized and dragged back into the forefront of the CFS discussion. Because the reason my mental health is affected is, that these symptoms are SO physical. They dog my entire day every day.
The neurological problems. The immunological problems. The endocrinological problems. The heart and circulation problems. The gastric problems. The orthostatic intolerance. The muscle and joint pain. The problems with speech and understanding what is being said.
It gets me down. It affects my mental health. And the assumption on the part of some, including many in the medical community, that these symptoms are not -- "real" somehow -- REALLY gets me down.
Not being able to go out and do the things I used to do frustrates me every day of my life. What it has done to my homelife and my non-existent social life is still a shocker even after all this time.
Many of us with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome must repeatedly re-define "mental health" as it relates to CFS, to so many people who do not seem to understand. This saps an enormous amount of our tiny energy stores. Gets us down.
But I am willing to do this as many times as it takes. CFS is a VERY physical disease, that has a powerful dampening effect on my mental health. And I guarantee it has this same effect on every other person who lives with this illness.
I spent 15 years losing the battle against CFS. Two years ago, I found treatment that worked for me, and now I am making a comeback.