Early diagnosis and management of M.E. are probably the two most important things for anyone with the condition, so therefore if you have (or if you think you have) got M.E., then the first thing to do is to get an early diagnosis. This is necessary so that you can learn as much as possible about the illness and how to manage it - but sadly, it is often easier said than done. You will need to find a GP who is sympathetic and who has some knowledge and experience of helping those with M.E.
If your G.P. does not want to help, then it would be worth changing to one who does. You will be able to find out about sympathetic G.P.s in your area from other M.E. sufferers and local support groups, which may have lists of consultants and G.P.s that have been recommended by others with the illness. If your G.P. is not helpful, or not very knowledgeable about M.E., you could try giving him some information about the condition. Although your GP probably won't know a lot about M.E., he can refer you to a specialist who will be able to confirm your diagnosis and give you further advice.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of understanding of M.E., you might well be advised to undergo various treatments/therapies that could not only be unhelpful, but could actually make your condition worse e.g. Graded Exercise Therapy (G.E.T.) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (C.B.T.). In a survery carried out in 2004 by the 25% M.E. Group, a group for the 25% of M.E. sufferers who are severely affected by the illness, 93% of sufferers found C.B.T. to be unhelpful, with 95% finding G.E.T. unhelpful. Worryingly, of those who tried G.E.T., 82% reported that they were worse afterwards.
The best person who can help you is yourself! It is a
good idea to find out everything you can about M.E. - read books,
magazines, leaflets. Although there is no cure for M.E.
there are things that you can do that will help. You should
also encourage family and friends to read up on M.E. as well,
so that they can appreciate your problems more fully.
1) Rest - there are many so-called "treatments" for M.E., some of which can be helpful, but the only one generally agreed on is rest. Rest, especially in the early stages of the illness or during a relapse, increases the chances of recovery as well as the recovery rate. Rest should be seen as a positive treatment for M.E., not as just "giving up". As soon as you start to feel tired - mentally or physically - you should stop what you are doing. Going on to the point of exhaustion could mean taking weeks or months getting over a relapse, rather than hours or days.