One might think that because I am a Chronic Fatigue Survivor, caring for others battling this insidious disease, would be easy. Sadly, that is not the case!

In my book “Until You’ve Walked the Path” about my struggles with CFS, I refer to Danny, a good friend of mine that made a miraculous recovery from years of Chronic Depression. With the right medication and treatment from the Homewood Clinic, Danny finally found his way back to the light and put his depression behind him. That was a decade ago.

Recently, I received news that Danny had slipped back into a depressive chronic state to the point where he needed hospitalization. For whatever reason, Danny had decided to go off his medication.

In a tiny white hospital room on the third floor with no TV, no pictures and barely enough space to hold a single bed, I visited my friend. He had already been there for a week. He looked terrible!

Our conversation was strained and mostly one-sided. I understood and empathized due to my own firsthand experience with his condition. When one is that depressed, simple conversation is often a chore. Nevertheless, I persevered or more aptly put, we persevered.

While we talked, I found myself reminiscing the feelings I had back in the early 1990’s when doctors knew little about what was once coined the Yuppie Flu – a disease most people at the time had trouble believing was even a disease at all. Malingerers! That’s what they thought we were. How more wrong could they have been?

I remembered how fatigued and depressed I was and how difficult it was to articulate the gravity of my condition to others. And, for those fortunate enough to have never experienced ‘Real’ depression believed the tough-love “Suck-it-Up Soldier” to get over a little despair should surely work – shouldn’t it?

No… it never does.

As my conversation with Danny grew more one-sided, I found myself trying hard to be patient and even harder to hide any sign of impatience from him. It was then I caught my reflection in a tiny mirror on the clothes cupboard door in his room. Seeing the look on my face made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I had seen that face before. That distinct, exasperated expression, I had witnessed years ago on the faces of my family and caregivers who loved me enough to genuinely want to help, but felt so totally helpless in their efforts to do so. And, after all that, there I sat, this time, fortunately, on the other side of the fence, but nonetheless, feeling equally helpless in my efforts to help my friend.

Chronic Fatigue / Depression does not limit itself to the individuals who suffer from it. It also takes families, friends and loved ones hostage, rendering them unwitting victims to its demoralizing affects.

What makes this all so potentially worrisome is the recent statistics from studies done by the AMA and the CMA that purport: One in four people in North America are currently suffering from some form of Chronic Fatigue and/or Depression and eight out of ten of us will do battle with these diseases in our lifetime. Many will give up and lose the battle.

…………………………………………………

On a more positive note, those afflicted with these challenges “Can” recover. I am living proof. Clearly, specialists today are much better at diagnosing and treating these problems as is the success rate from medications now widely available that can be tailored to suit the express needs of any individual.

The most important advice I can give is for sufferers to seek out the right specialist IMMEDIATELY! Time is of the essence when it comes to chronic issues like Fatigue or Depression. The longer one takes to address the problem with the right treatment, the longer and more difficult it is to recover from it.

The second most important issue for those affected or those caring for it, is, Don’t Ever Give Up Hope! If you address the problem with the right prescription and management, renewed health – the experience of simply ‘Feeling Normal’ again – is achievable. I promise you!

As for Danny, he has a challenging road to recovery ahead of him. Where he is now and the medication he’s receiving is the right solution for getting him back to where he needs to be. It won’t be easy for him or his caregivers, but it will happen. He / they, have done it before.

My advice to caregivers is, the best medicine for your friend or loved one is your patience, your understanding and your steadfast belief that they can and will get better. Remember that the Helpless will look to you, to embolden their Hope!

Author's Bio: 

Paul Shearstone is President of The CFIDS Foundation of Canada Inc.He is an International Keynote Speaker, Author, Writer, Motivation, Corporate Ethics, Sales, Time & Stress Management Specialist.

Paul enlightens and challenges audiences as he informs motivates and entertains.

To comment on this article or to book Paul for your next successful event we invite tocontact Paul Shearstone directly @ 416-728-5556 or 1-866-855-4590www.success150.com or paul@success150.com

For more information and how to order Paul’s new book, “Until You’ve Walked the Path”please visit www.paulshearstone.ca [also available at www.Amazon.ca and www.Chapters.ca]

“Every day millions of people struggle valiantly with the pain of CFIDS and Depression... the very real physical pain and the excruciating psychic pain of the soul. Paul gives both voice and face to their pain. More importantly, he gives expression to their courage, resilience, and valor. By his account of his own remarkable journey, he gives hope to the millions of others who are still on theirs".
Karen Liberman
Executive Director
Mood Disorders Association of Ontario