depression vs. CFS

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 5/5/2005 5:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Ok, so I've been seeing a therapist for the anxiety and panic attaks i've been experiencing. Well, I went to see the doctor because they wanted to put me on meds for anxiety. He gave me some antidepressants, lowest dose possible with these ones. But he said that I don't have CFS but major adolescent depression and that almost everyone diagnosed with CFS have it. But I'm rarely ever depressed... I mean i get down but that's b/c i feel so horrible physically and have yet to get an official diagnosis. The only symptoms I have is loss of appetite (but they think I might have an ulcer and I've also been experiencing a lot of bloating), mood swings (because everyone refuses to listen when I say how horrible i feel) muscle aches and like two more. He made me so mad... and now i don't know if I should bother taking these pills. I'm not depressed, I never have thoughts of worthlessness or killing myself, emptyness, i dont have crying spells unless I come home from another doctor that didnt tell me anything about why I feel like this. In general, I'm a happy person and I love my life, despite all the symptoms.
I don't know what to do... I hate this doctor now. He said that if i couldnt tolerate this dose of med I would know it because i'd feel "horrible". and i said, well i always feel horrible. and he's like "no, you'll be able to tell. It's not like 'i feel a little bad'". as if i actually don't feel really bad...and honestly i usually feel so bad I'm not sure if i'd be able to tell the difference. grrrrr!!!!
anyone have any advice on this one?? Should I not take them?

New Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/7/2005 10:40 PM (GMT -6)   
I know what your going thru. I had the problem for years. I went thru many a dr. Not that it helps getting a chronic fatique diagnosis. Nothing they can do . But at least we know we are not crazy. I not sure the Dr believe it though.... I would like to find a dr that really works with the condition..
I feel terrible so much of the time.. If i do anything much i am in bed for a day or two sleeping. I have dropped out of the social world so i dont have to explain why Im missing so often..
birdchick , does that mean you have birds??I do...Dont give up your not crazy.. judbetty

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 5/8/2005 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I figured that... it's just frustrating. I mean, when he asked me what other physical symptoms I've been having I drew a huge blank. I was like....uhhhh memory loss... uhhhh... ya. I forgot to mention the biggest ones like swollen nodes and sore throat, unrefreshing sleep and all that, not that it would have made a huge difference since he obviously doesn't believe it.
yes, I have a budgie. Year and a half old now, frisky little bugger, but sooooo cute. :D

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 1663
   Posted 5/9/2005 7:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi birdchic,
Sorry it took me so long to see your message. I can make several important comments.

First, you will come across medical professionals who think you're depressed and not sick with CFS, a lot. For me, it's been about 50% of all medical types that I see who believe I'm depressed. So it's important to start building your defense, at the same time you build proof you have CFS. Part of your defense needs to be that you've tried the antidepressants and they don't work (or you can't tolerate them). Also, since antidepressants sometimes DO help people with CFS, it's worth giving them a try. But don't waste your time, either. I would suggest trying what they've prescribed. If you can tolerate it, keep taking it until your Dr says it should be working. It takes several weeks for these meds to start working, so when you've taken it for 4 to 8 weeks, with no results, and again assuming you can tolerate them, then go to your Dr and report they didn't work. Your Dr will probably want you to try other antidepressants, and just go through the same routine. And be sure to keep your own records about what you've tried and whether it worked and how well. (I've had Drs claim they can't find my records and they want me to try the med again! So your own records can be helpful.) Anyway, after you've tried as many as you have the patience for, you can use the fact that you haven't responded to any of them, to prove you're not depressed!

And along the way, you can also try things that might tip the boat in your favor, too! And just always keep your own records -- either write a diary or journal or the like -- or make sure to keep a copy of your Dr's records at home.

I hope this info is helpful. And welcome judbetty :-)
* Co-Moderator for Chronic Pain forums
* Moderator for Chronic Fatigue forums

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 10/8/2005 7:56 PM (GMT -6)   
CFS is a mysterious disease.  Cause and cure both unknown.  A doctor and med. school professor here in Los Angeles wrote an article saying there is no CFS.  It is another name for depression.
But whatever you call it, it is bad news.  You can do lots of experimenting.  Some people have reported help w/ various supplements.  I have been taking anti-depressants for over 25 years.  They help, but do not cure.
There is a video out called "I Remember Me".  The title refers to remembering the way we were before we got sick.  I used to work full time, go to law school at night, and have plenty of energy for a social life.  The last few years I was down to working 2 hours a day.
Some people have reported that supplements like malic acid or growth hormones have worked for them.  Haven't helped me, but I still keep looking.
Good luck.

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 10/8/2005 10:08 PM (GMT -6)   
the anti deppressent wont help your system much and if you take them for a prolonged peroid you can get flash backs on them as my mother has them from time to time and she was on the pills for 5 years also my wife was on the pills and they made her worse and since then ive been trying to
 find her a doc to listen for the past 11 years ive seen so called secailists and doc hospital app so i gave up and taught myself to help her and we are staring to win slowlly i found the best thing to do is help your self by finding what work and what doesnt the most important thing is that the person you live with if you do understands it to ive carred for my wife since the day i married her and am still doing  ti because i want to see her through the illness because i know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel you must belive its there  and focus your whole beinge on getting better its a hard illness to live with but it will go away 

Post Edited (squigey) : 10/8/2005 9:16:50 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 10/9/2005 6:07 AM (GMT -6)   

Hey there everyone,

I usually post in the Crohn's/IBS forums with my stupid gut issues...but I wanted to chime into this post because I am studying to be a physician.  I understand that many physicians discount their patients' reports of symptoms that seem to defy diagnosis.  They may tell you it's "in your head," or it's "not real." But the fact is this: no matter what, if you truly feel ill, there is some physiological change occurring that is causing visible or non-visible changes in your body.  This may be a change in neurotransmission (not typically noticeable on various scans, x-rays, blood work, etc.), a change in your immune system (sometimes, but not always, noticeable on your bloodwork)...the list goes on and on.  Medical science has come a long way; it helps so many people; our lifespan is longer because of it.  But - it is not perfect.  It is not exact.  Your symptoms are real - otherwise you wouldn't feel them!  It is very true that feelings of stress/sadness/emptiness can affect how you feel physically.  I learned that when I was 14 years old, the adolescent child of an alcoholic mother and blatantly absent father - I started fainting.  During Spanish class, gym class.  I was miserable, lonely, and afraid.  I had a cardiologist tell me the PVCs were benign and I just needed to learn to live with them.  It was really hard for a couple of years, and then I adjusted, finally.  I'm a social worker now, ready to start med school, and re-encounter the same crap over and over again with the kids I work with.  Our brains are intricately connected with the rest of our bodies, and we cannot ignore that.

I don't know much about CFS.  From what I have read, I understand that it can be totally debilitating for many people.  I am not yet a physician.  But I just wanted to let you know that there ARE people out there who may treat you in the future, and who may be more understanding than your current physicians may be.  Nowadays, it is becoming more common for physicians to be trained in the psychosocial aspects of medicine, which are just as important (if not more) than the physiological aspects of medicine.

I wish all of you the best.  Please know that some of us are trying very hard to educate ourselves before we throw our "professional" advice out there!

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/8/2005 11:37 PM (GMT -6)   
I am a 26 year old male in Phoenix, Arizona with EBV/CFIDS. I was diagnosed with EBV (in which EBV, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia here in Phoenix, Arizona at the time was locally known as and was often referred to as "valley fever")shortly after my 18th, birthday after months of illness and cold symptoms through a blood test from a Ear/Nose & Throat Specialist. Then a few months later, was told Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Before I started to have any symptoms of CFS, I was a very active 17 year old with a full time job, very sociable and very active in various hobbies. I had no signs of depression, didn't have anxiety/panic attacks or any self-esteem issues. In a single day, I would go to work, working full-time, come home, run a few errands for my parents and still have enough time and strength for spending time with friends, being very sociable. By friends and family members, my energy and productiveness abilities was quite impressive to them and became reputably known that way. I was diagnosed at the age of 6 with ADHD and was prescribed Ritalin, Cylert, Prozac etc... None helped, was "bouncing off the walls" but continued on assorted meds anyway til' I was around 11 years old when I started showing signs of depression and shortly after my Doctor diagnosed me with Depression and Bi-Polar Disorder, then was prescribed anti-derpressants which most had terrible side-effects. I still would get outbursts of hyperness and still remained quite energetic. Around the age of 13, I was diagnosed with Manic depression, Panic Attacks, Anxiety Attacks and as severely Agoraphobic. I was prescribed Clonidine, Klonipin, Diazepam, Wellbutrin(which was to blame for a suicide attempt at 13 and was hospitalized for), Xanax, Remeron, Celexa, Paxil, Aventyl, Trazodone(age 13 - 21 for sleep), Eskalith(Lithium) and a few others. At the age of 16, shortly before turning 17, I abruply stopped taking all meds that I was on except Trazodone and in days, I was feeling so great, energetic and very active. I had not felt as good or as happy to be alive after I stopped. I felt as if I had been cured! It was a miracle! Months later I started to become slowly ill. I would wake up coughing, sneezing, sore throat and feeling very fatigued for weeks at a time. All OTC cough and cold remedies weren't helping at all like they used to when I would come down with a cold which back then only lasted only a day or two. My Doctor would prescribe Pennicillin or Amoxicillin which did help but not for the fatigue. When I was first diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue, I didn't get sick anymore like i did at first but the fatigue was rather mild so after a while, I started getting used to being so tired all the time and would get up and go places. After a while, I just used to the fatigue. During the first 3 years, I came to terms with this illness and accepted the fact that theyr'e may never soon be a cure or treatment of this therefore, I still was rarely depressed or emotional, in fact Chronic Fatigue was hardly ever on my mind, I was pretty much always happy til' a few years ago when I would have mild, non-violent mood swings which was a concern for me so I approved for a few sliding scale visits to see a Resident Practitioner at a free health clinic here in Phoenix which did not help the mood swings. My mood swings got worse because the Practitioner only wanted to prescribe me Wellbutrin and Zoloft which there was plenty of free samples there. I explained to the Practitioner about Wellbutirn and the suicide attempt at 13 and even after seeing it in my chart, still only would prescribe Wellbutrin and I took it anyway for a few months. Wellbutrin made me very moody and very angry all the time and for no reason so I stopped taking it and when I went back for another appt. is when I was asked to try Zoloft. Zoloft did the same as Wellbutrin so I stopped that and the last 2 meds given to me was Doxepin and Lexapro which I didn't take. I gave up and was recently terminated from all services at the free clinic. As each year passes, the fatigue gets worse, harder to adjust to especially laying down in bed all the time gives me alot of time to think about what all i'm missing out on in this world by being restricted, frustrated because of Doctor's, worrying constantly about weight gain, and just frustrated about the neverending fatigue and now, all of a sudden here recently, i'm having constant physical pain in my back, neck, arms and legs. Right now it's to the point where I can't leave the house because of fatigue and now even a car ride is too painful to handle!! Frustration, Physical Fatigue and Chronic Pain is the cause for my depression, not the other way around like i've been told! "All In My Head"........I really wish it was that simple! Then I could at least take a break from this for a while! As for now, i have a current prescription and am taking Provigil for CFS but Provigil hasn't helped me at all!                  As for Depression vs. CFS, CFS does cause me to be depressed because of having CFS and is in no way at all, to me, the same as the diagnosed condition of Depression. Neither, in my opinion, is the cause of CFS and I absolutely refuse to ever believe it!!!!! They're both very different. I don't think Depression makes CFS worse and it sure the heck don't make it any better!!!!!

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/10/2005 8:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there, i suffered form cronic fatigue and doctors could not help me, i went the natural way and helped myself i took some great products which helped me so much, i now recomend them to alot of people, if you are interested please email me at
thanks jodie x

Sheri E
New Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 1/8/2006 8:59 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't know if any have herd that the syptoms of cfs and fibro are very close.I have fibro and have sleep issues, I'm on a anti deprent and add meds. I take something herbal to sleep. dreams are weird but being able to function better the next day is worth. I suggest to keep trying different herbs (walmart) to sleep. I also take a antidepresent. I was totallyagainst taking it, I realized the good it realy done( I see it as a chemical imbalance. I have a great gereal dr. and she realy listens to me. NO CAFFEE AND NO SUGAR you'll see the difference.I don't take strong pain meds unless I have to. Ib first. I try to controll my life and be the best I can be. I look at the weather and know it will be a slow day. Those with cfs aught to read up on fibromylagia and get some ideas and info it might help. There was a web site about fibro and add and adhd I cant find it any more. I swim for exersie and that helps. I figure when the weather is better and their is more sun the exersire will show. Has any one used the lamps with sunlike bulbs? I hope some I have said will help some one never give up keep reading and taking care of your self. Keep your your minds on good thought and things. Bless you all for letting me write.

Cyborg Ninja
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 660
   Posted 1/15/2006 10:50 AM (GMT -6)   
What meds are you taking right now? Are you or were you having frequent panic attacks. If so, how often? Panic attacks are an inappropriate response of our body's fight or flight system. When it happens, your body produces more epinephrine (adrenaline). If you're having frequent attacks or even after just one you can feel fatigued afterward because your body has used so much. Beta blockers diminish the response and keep epinephrine from doing its job. Hyperthyroidism is similar in that too much epinephrine is running throughout the body and isn't limited to just panic attacks - it's all day. So people with hyperthyroidism, while they are usually easily excited, also feel drained at times. I suppose having frequent anxiety would produce a similar effect.

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/24/2006 2:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Among many other illnesses, I suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia ... now for eight years at least. I feel hopeless at times because my family has made comments about me being on a lot of meds for other illnesses and surely this is just something in my head. I believed them for a long time and guilted myself for staying in bed. I discounted my symptoms as being a hyperchondriac (msp?). A few years ago, a rheumatologist diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. Unfortunately I could not tolerate the typical anti-inflammatory drugs he prescribed. I developed bleeding ulcers. For the chronic pain, I've been able to tolerate Lortab for a few years now. I thought if I didn't hurt so bad maybe I would have the energy to "get up" and do something, be social, anything. My husband of six years did not understand my inability to physically function like a normal person. Slowly he's understanding and supportive and comes to my defense. He understands now when the house stays unkept its not because I am lazy ... or that I don't care ... I used to have the energy to be productive; a career; an active member of society; and my surroundings were kept neet. I've been on anti-depressents and anti-anxiety meds for 10-15 years before the downfall of cfs. Last year I began taking Cymbalta for depression. Yeah, it helps with that perhaps, but not cfs. I was born with asthma and have always had to take rather aggressive meds for that and will for the remainder of my life. My present complain with the cfs is the insomnia associated with it. Seems like I'd rest well with sleeping med(s) I take which include Doxepin and occassionally Ambien but alas I do not. Thank God for good reading material, cable t.v. and my fiest terrier k-9 companion when I'm at my wits end with no sleep. For me, it was such a relief to hear that there are sooo many people out there with same/similar symptoms and I was not alone. I enjoy keeping in touch with new research and real life testimonies about cfs and fibromyalgia. This helps me keep faith that I too shall and can endure this without absolutely losing my mind. If you don't have a support system, even if it is just one person, like my husband, I suggest you get one. Don't listen to people who are not educated about cfs and fibromyalgia and tell you it is all in your head. Instead, educate them! Gain strong character from this. I still have some family members who dismiss this as a bogus illness and yeah it still gets me down in the dumps at times because they do not support me. But I know in my heart I will always have faith and will roll on, maybe while lying down, but I will.
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