I have suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome since my mid teens. My mother and my older sister also suffer from this disorder and now my 18-year-old daughter also seems to have the same ailment. I have been to see many doctors over the years but they all put this down to depression. I, however, feel that I am depressed because of my lack of energy and huge requirement for sleep. I cannot keep up with any daily routines. I have a lot of creative talent, which I have been unable to access professionally and put into good use. All my (ex) partners got frustrated and angry with me because of my lack of energy etc. Some even got violent. This got so bad that I now have to stay single to avoid these kinds of confrontations. I want to be so much more than I am, do so much more. Please can you offer me any advice?

A: In either case, if it is from the chronic fatigue syndrome, or from a separate diagnosis of depression, the bottom line is you have the symptoms of depression. This past year the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health day was devoted to the relationship between physical and mental health symptoms. I’ve previously written about this and the article is linked here. In essence one can affect the other.

My guess is the professionals you went to were arguing for antidepressant medicine to be prescribed along with psychotherapy. While it may not be what you want to hear, I would concur with this. Even if the chronic fatigue syndrome is to blame, the result may be a depression. I would encourage you to give therapy and medicine a try. The research indicates this can be the most helpful way to cope. If you need a referral in your area you can use the find help tab at the top of this page.

In addition, some of the new research coming from positive psychology may be important to apply. The link below will bring you to the Proof Positive blog where many applications for applying these techniques are described.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral