Sunday, 28 January 2018



This time of year can be depressing for many of those living in the northern hemisphere of the world. But suffering from real depression is something different and needs to be treated. I only once had post-natal depression after the birth of my daughter and have suffered no depression since then.

However, after becoming ill with M.E. I've lost track of how many times I've been asked if I'm depressed! I get fed up and down because of this chronic illness that is hard to support and feels never ending and without hope for a cure. It makes me cry sometimes. But it's no more than that!! 
As this picture aptly says M.E. would make a Klingon cry. 

So what is depression?  

According to the DSM-5, a manual doctors use to diagnose mental disorders,
you have depression when you have five or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks:
  • A depressed mood during most of the day, especially in the morning
  • You feel tired or have a lack of energy almost every day.
  • You feel worthless or guilty almost every day.
  • You have a hard time focusing, remembering details, and making decisions.
  • You can’t sleep or you sleep too much almost every day.
  • You have almost no interest or pleasure in many activities nearly every day.
  • You think often about death or suicide (not just a fear of death).
  • You feel restless or slowed down.
  • You’ve lost or gained weight.
When you look at these symptoms you can see that some of them are in common with M.E. 

So it's hardly surprising that depression is confused with M.E. 

M.E. is not the same as depression. They have different symptoms. Exercise can help people with depression but for someone with M.E. this causes post-exertional malaise. 

But if you do suffer from depression alongside M.E. then you should get help and treatment. There may be secondary or reactive depression as with any other debilitating chronic illness.

Recently the M.E. community lost another warrior to suicide. In her last farewell Anne Örtegren wroteDepression is not the cause of my choice. Though I have been suffering massively for many years, I am not depressed. I still have all my will and my motivation. I still laugh and see the funny side of things, I still enjoy doing whatever small activities I can manage. I am still hugely interested in the world around me – my loved ones and all that goes on in their lives, the society, the world (what is happening in human rights issues? how can we solve the climate change crisis?) During these 16 years, I have never felt any lack of motivation."  

Anne chose to end what to her had become a torturous life. 

In such cases death becomes more appealing in order to end the suffering. 


Dead but I`m still living
Empty of all meaning
Pointless just existing
Reason is now fading
Endless days of drifting
Sad my past life grieving
Sad and feel like crying
End my life I`m thinking
Death is more appealing

I'm sorry if this blog is adding to your depression. 

I'll try to end with some suggestions to help combat depression
  • speak to family and friends
  • ask for help when you need it 
  • share how you feel on social web sites 
  • write a blog
  • write a journal
  • look after yourself 
  • get enough sleep and rest when able
  • try to eat as healthily as possible
  • it's ok to get angry or have a good cry sometimes
  • try to find moments of happiness 
  • find something that makes you smile or even laugh
  • perhaps you can find a new interest or hobby 
  • for some praying or meditating can help
Perhaps you have other ideas and ways of coping. 

Above all if you develop severe depression seek help from a professional either a doctor or a counsellor and don't feel ashamed or guilty in doing so. It's incredibly hard to live with a lifelong chronic illness. 

A bientot 
From the French Femme 


Friday, 12 January 2018



Let me start my first blog of 2018 in wishing you Bonne Année and Bonne Santé.    

It's at this time of year that I'm reminded of when I became seriously ill in 2003. I had no idea what was happening to me and was very worried. I had started to realise that something was not quite right when in 2002 I had what seemed like bouts of flu. I would take time off work and rested. Then I would start to feel a little better and would try to go back to work. This pattern repeated several times throughout the year. I'd never had flu before in my life and couldn't understand why I suddenly had the flu that Summer. My doctor was not much help and suggested that I have the flu jab in September. I think that only made me worse. So by the end of the year I completely collapsed and was unable to go back to work in the January of 2003. In fact I never went back and remained severely ill. I despaired of my doctor who was clueless and so changed my doctor. I was eventually sent for lots of tests and of course nothing showed up. However with my history and symptoms I was told that I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ( I was also told that the name had recently changed from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). It was not the flu!!! 

The cause of M.E./CFS is not clear and there are many theories. Although the dominant theory seems to be that it's caused by a virus.

Some people seem to become ill suddenly overnight and can in fact recall the very date when that happened. They may even celebrate their 'sickaversary' - a term coined to celebrate one's anniversary of becoming sick.  

Others like myself seem to become gradually ill over a period of time. I cannot forget the years 2002 and 2003 when slowly everything changed. The activities and the life I loved bit by bit disappeared. In place I became a sick person with a multitude of symptoms. 

I'm still that person today. 

However I won't be celebrating. The champagne is on ice until the day when the definite cause of this dreadful, life destroying illness is discovered and a cure is found. 

I hope it's in my lifetime. 

A bientot 
from the French Femme

How it started

It started
like the flu
that never
went away.
I wanted
 to sleep not
just at night
but by day.

Yet I still
felt tired
despite of
all that sleep.
was all gone
and I felt
very weak.

My throat was
very sore
and my glands
seemed to swell.
There was pain
in my legs
and I felt
so unwell. 

A fog came
in my head.
spun around.
It became
hard to think
and words could
not be found.

Yet since then
I’ve suffered
more symptoms
that are new.
I think that
it was more
than the worst
case of flu!

It started
like the flu
that never
 went away.
I still have
most symptoms
and suffer
to this day.