• Agroves1976 - Hitting Rock Bottom

    In my last years at school I had a string of viruses and had to sit my GCSEís in-between being in bed like quite a few people Iíve spoken to. I recovered and went to college and had glandular fever and more viruses. I had my tonsils out in an attempt to reduce the sore throats, and later had a horse riding accident and hurt my back.

    Exactly 2 years after starting college I caught a head cold and never recovered. The doctors ran loads of tests but couldnít say what was wrong.

    At the time I registered unemployed and spent another 2 years looking for a job while spending the rest of the time in bed. I finally got a job away from home in High Wycombe just as the doctors diagnosed me with CFS. I moved and spent a hellish 8 months trying to hold down a full time job and I used to be so tired that I would come home and go straight to bed. I never had the energy to cook myself a meal and I lived on bought sandwiches at lunchtime. I lost over 2 stone in weight and eventually had to come home.

    After that I couldnít hold down any kind of job and fell into temping with a local agency which I did for another couple of years working a day here and there. I eventually had enough and went to the doctors to demand some kind of help, having received none previously. Then followed a period of trying every anti-depressant on the market, none of which worked.

    My family were incredibly supportive and together we worked out a plan of diet and rest and I managed to think about getting a job again, after all no-one can live on fresh air. I worked so hard to make myself well enough and found that I no longer needed to sleep midday and I got myself a civil service job which I loved.

    Then the inevitable happened, I caught a virus. After seeming to get over that I started having to sleep all weekend just to be able to get up Monday morning. I would get up from my desk and go over to the photo copier and completely be unable to remember what I was supposed to be doing. Iíd sit at my desk and burst into tears for no reason.

    So off I trot to the doctors again, Ďoh youíre depressed; try these pills and no working for 3 monthsí. I was stunned but took the pills anyway and had the time off work. The pills yet again didnít work and I would spend 48 hours awake and then sleep for days. My work had to let me go after I had been signed off sick for over 6 months and that really upset me as I loved my job.

    I then hit rock bottom and asked if the doctors could refer me to a specialist as this had now gone on for more than 8 years and I was beginning to think I was loosing my mind completely. I waited for another 2 years to see the specialist on incapacity benefit only to be told that my entire system was depressed and that I should consider a graduated exercise programme and I was given a list of three psychology books to buy and read.

    So the books were duly bought and read and the exercise programme started and a year later I had a benefits agency medical which I failed on the grounds of a faulty doctorís report. I appealed against his report and as I expected, I failed to score anymore points, but I still scored. It wasnít enough to continue on the benefit and I had to sign up to jobseekers allowance.

    I donít know if anyone else has this problem, I have fallen in-between the benefits criteria, I am too unwell to work but not ill enough to get incapacity benefit and not unable enough to be disabled, even the staff at the jobcentre were confused!

    So to bring everything up to date, I now have a part-time job that I know will eventually make me ill and the jobcentre people have their hands tied and canít help me in any way at all. It will be 10 years this July since experiencing the first symptoms and even with the WHO recognising the illness and the government setting aside buckets of money, doctors STILL seem to think that this is all in the mind and that popping a few anti-depressants will make everything work again and treating sufferers as hypochondriacs. This has been made worse in my area as a former sufferer has had articles published in the local papers saying that while she had ME/CFS she went to college and did a holistic therapy course and cured herself. The article on Points West was fabulous to help restore some balance and gave me hope that Iím not going insane and suffering from delusions and also that some of the symptoms I have are shared by other people.

    Wishing Foggy Friends continued success at reaching all those affected.