Again, I think I'll start with a disclaimer on this one... I suffer
from Chronic Fatigue, so somethings that I write here may not be 100% objective
, but I'll try :-) I'm also not going to go into all the symptoms that I had, as this has all been done so well in the above post.
To start with I was feeling tired a lot, but never had a reason for it. I thought it was partly pure laziness, while at the same time I was feeling ill. It's not at all pleasant. Before I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue, I also had to have an operation for something completely different, and so to begin with my then-doctor thought that it could have been to do with that. But no. After the operation I was still feeling down all the time. I also suffered from what the doctors thought was gladular fever, but the tests proved negative and so that was ruled out. However, a year later I find from different tests that I have had the virus that causes glandular fever at some point within the previous 2 years or so.
I then had a bad summer, complete with the flathunting from hell, at the end of it I was finally convinced to go see the doctor by my partner and a couple of friends. The doctor I saw then, thought it was maybe depression but she said that first she wanted to rule out any physical causes for how I was feeling.
This then caused a year of blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound and various different doctors, in some sort of hope of coming up with an explanation. No such luck. Eventually, just before Christmas, my new doctor said that she would like to try giving me anti-depressants to see if it could help me feel better. The one she has given me is an SSRI (or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor for those who want to know these things :-), and it is beginning to have an effect, I feel. The reason she chose this, was because it was the type of anti-depressant that has some evidence of helping sufferers of chronic fatigue. Also she said that if, as the original doctor thought, I was depressed and that was causing the fatigue, then it would help that. But the difficulty there is that there was no way of knowing whether I was depressed because of the fatigue or vice versa.
I saw her today, and she said that I was beginning to see the balance changing of moods as the drug began to take effect. She also said that it is going to take at least 6 months before I begin to notice myself getting back to normal.
The thing is though, that I've almost forgotten what normal is, as I've been dealing with this for so long. I would not choose to inflict this on anyone, for people who are used to being active and getting out to do things it is incredibly restricting. This in turn makes you feel worse as the doctors can't give you any real reason why you don't have the energy to do the things you are used to doing.
If, like me, you like to know the cause of something, this is most irritating. The doctors can't tell me why I am fatigued, it could have been to do with having Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV - the virus that causes glandular fever), it might have had nothing to do with it.
I also noticed a huge downfall in the length of concentration time from before and after the time I have been suffering from this. I have also noticed a similar decrease in the standard of my course work and exams at uni. I had to resit a year due to this, and am still not doing that well in everything. While I am enjoying the studying, I don't find it easy. Luckily for me, the university seems to be fairly considerate of the problem, despite the fact that my Director of Studies tends to ignore my emails...
I know that I will get better, but when I have a bad day I feel like its not going to go away. It is definitely not a pleasant condition. Hopefully the treatment I am having will take more effect, and I will start to feel a lot better.