Hi lymegirl and justme,
Welcome to HealingWell and the CFS message board!
Unfortunately there just isn't anything that helps everyone. The best way to treat CFS and it's related illness, Fibromyalgia Syndrome, is to treat your symptoms, as best you can, any way you can. This means paying close attention to each of your unique symptoms, what makes them worse or better, how they interact with each other, and one at a time trying different treatments for each one until you find one that works. Start with the symptom that either bothers you most, or is the most disabling (not always the same thing ;-)).
And let me stress: One At A Time! Because if you go and take something to help you sleep, say, and something for depression, and maybe something for aches and pains, all at once for the first time, and then you get this weird and disturbing side effect--how do you know which treatment caused it. And this goes for alternative treatments as well as OTC and Rx medication, as well as physical therapy, exercise class, therapeutic massage--everything that can be considered a treatment. So for example, try a treatment for sleep, and if it doesn't work or has undesirable side effects, try something else, and keep trying one thing at a time, until you find something that works for sleep. THEN work on finding a treatment for depression (for example). Depression is one of the most frustrating symptoms to try to treat, because antidepressant medication is notoriously intolerable by the majority of people who try them, any of them. And it takes anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months for them to start to work. So if you can tolerate the medication, you still have to take it long enough to know if it's going to help your depression, before moving on to try another one, if it doesn't. Many people with CFS/FMS have tried many different antidepr--however, many have eventually found one they can tolerate and that works! And THEN (for example) once you feel stablized on those 2 treatments, move on to treat your aches and pains. Once you know what to expect from each treatment, you can take them all at the same time.
So please keep in mind that all of the above are just examples. YOU might actually find fatigue is your most disabling symptoms, and want to work on it first. And/or you may have other symptoms I did not mention. So treating CFS is all a very individualized effort. That's why it's so important to find a Dr with whom you have, or may potentially build a good working relationship or rapport. In my opinion, this is more important than the Dr's training, knowledge or understanding (or "belief") of CFS. I have found most Drs are quite willing to read legitimate info I bring them to read, and if they are in agreement with it, even to prescribe meds or other treatment based on the info, even if it's something that is news to them. And I've often found that Drs who are completely knowledgeable and up to date with current researach, are often inflexible--they have personally adopted a treatment standard and aren't willing to try something else, even if I have brought them valid info about it!
Please feel free to read through this message board. There is a wealth of info here. If you're just starting on your CFS journey, you might plan to run a search on each symptom, worst and most immediate concern first. If you're scientifically inclined at all, there are plenty of medical journals which you can search through via your local medical library (if there's a medical school in your community). But if not, you can still find a lot of info in newstand magazines, which can be searched at a regular library. Then after you get through your first search for info, read all your articles, if you still have questions, or just need clarification on something you read, feel free to go ahead and post your questions here, and we'll try to answer them. Also, try your local bookstore or library, there are all kinds of books written on CFS now! [And in a shameless plug -- Try the HealingWell bookstore, called Wellness Books, click on anything that says "Bookstore" and you'll be taken there. A small portion of proceeds goes to maintain HealingWell!]
Hope some of this info helps. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions
*Co-Moderator for Chronic Pain forums
*Moderator for Chronic Fatigue forums
*Temporary Co-Moderator for Fibromyalgia forums