The main psychological and emotional issues faced by sufferers of ME/CFS are:
- Emotional Liability
Depression is a separate illness in itself, but as with other conditions many of the symptoms are similar to those of ME/CFS. (Similar but not indistinguishable – there are differences to look for.) For example, depression can make your feel fatigued and disconnected, you can have difficulty concentrating or get aches and pains with no obvious physical cause. Sound familiar? These days there is a lot of information around on depression, the top site when I searched being
There you will find information on many types of mental health issues including depression and anxiety, and suggestions for where to look next if you think you might need more information, help or support.
Unlike depression and anxiety, I had never heard of emotional liability until I read ‘Living with ME’ by Dr Charles Shepherd. In this book he explains that emotional liability is when,
“. . .the emotional state and mood may start to fluctuate widely, often for no apparent reason. . .”
Although it is sometimes connected to the frustrations of living with ME/CFS. Unexpected tears, irrational anger, or sudden low spirits can all be part of it.
Bizarre as it may sound, having a possible explanation – even if there’s no treatment – may make a person feel better simply because there is a reason for how they’re feeling. I experienced it when I was first diagnosed: the relief of having an explanation and knowing I wasn’t making up how badly I felt, of having someone say it was ok. It happened again when I started researching the condition recently: when I read about emotional liability I had one of those ‘that is so me!’ moments, where before I’d thought I was just being bad tempered. Then again, maybe I was. . .!
Put another way, although I’ve lived with this condition for years I hadn’t realised how many different things it can affect both physically and emotionally, and that there are levels and nuances between clinically depressed and low spirits. I’m not physically better for knowing this, and it doesn’t stop me feeling bad, but it has given me some sort of reassurance/comfort/positivity/solid ground from which to face the difficult times.