This is my first posting here, and I am feeling very sad. Such that this morning, I was determined to move on, but at the last minute, I couldn't go through with it. Petrified, terrified, gripped and siezed by fear. I have every reason to move on, but yet I have failed the test :-( So obviously, I am still more attached to life than I thought... It is hard to give a full accounting why. I'm 40ish, yet I have never worked. After Uni, I had health problems - headaches, tiredness, depression, and list of physical symptoms. I felt at the time there was a very physical dimension to my illness, but for the doctors I saw, it didn't add up to a diagnosis. So eventually I was referred to psychiatry. Their diagnosis is bipolar. And avoidant personality disorder, which I basically agree with. They treated me over ten years with a wide range of meds, none of which really helped. Antidepressants didn't worked for me. Altho I do admit that tranquillizers can take the edge of an acute depression/anxiety, altho they are addictive. At some stage, I think I complained about the physical symptoms too much, and they decided to diagnose me with somatization disorder. Which is just professional jargon for accusing the patient of creating the symptoms with their own thoughts. It's only slightly better than calling a patient a hypochondriac. And the trick is that you can't deny having somatization disorder without showing your ignorance, because everyone does it to a greater or lesser degree. But no, I didn't agree entirely. I think sometimes, the mental health crowd are just full of crap, and basically ignorant of somatic illness of all kinds. If there is such a thing as full blown somatization disorder, that isn't what is going on with me. And after a clinical psychologist spent 3 monthes tryng to hard-sell therapy me on the idea, I completely lost my sense of humor with them about it. But at some stage, I found Traditional Chinese Medicine. The doctor is highly trained from China, and her explanations are convincing, and the herb treatments work better than anything else I've had. Sore backs, headaches, tinnitus, tiredness, digestive, weak immune,.. all these spurious symptoms have lessened dramatically. Her suggested diagnosis is ME/CFS, together with depression/anxiety. CFS = chronic fatigue disorder. Now I know TCM has its critics, unscientific etc... But for me, this patient, she understands me best, and I think she is basically right, as right as right is right. And she has stuck with me through so many setbacks and relapses, and built me up whenever I get run down. Without her help, I would have stayed an irredeemable train-wreck 52/24/7. So for all you other patients out there, I say that if you find a doctor and treatment that really works for you, you keep hold of it at all costs. Fight your corner, don't let uninformed types and doubting thomases steal your oxygen, talk you out of it. That said, I have never sought a diagnosis of ME/CFS in the conventional medical system. It is very easy to get diagnosis of depression/bipolar, but it is well nigh impossible to get a diagnosis of ME/CFS. It is considered a diagnosis of exclusion. And if they can attribute your long list of physical symptoms to diagnosed mental illness, then ME/CFS is ruled out. Indeed, ME/CFS is controversial with doctors - some think that it exists, but don't really understand its cause or how to fix it. So I decided to save myself a lot of grief, and not go that direction. They can't offer me a treatment for ME/CFS that is better than what I'm already receiving anyway. Its like they say; the nail that sticks out get hammered. But ten years ago, I did self-harm, something quite lethal, or so I thought. But woke up in hospital instead. After patching me up, I was sent to acute psych ward for 7 weeks, which was very traumatizing. A tough-love psychiatric bootcamp full of acute psychosis patients. No place for sensitive types like me. And the psychiatrists ran the place like a gulag, ruthless and machiavellian. I'm afraid to say I came out worse than when I went in. Monthes later, I still had bad dreams about that place. Since then, I have radically distanced myself from psychiatry. I need a doctor I can trust, who is honest with me, who understands me the way I need to be understood. To offer a treament that I would want to take. But that isn't them. A times, it felt like they were punishing me for having an illness, and burdening them with it. Like we psych patients are just naughty children that deserve to be scolded. Their treatments haven't worked, but yet at no time ever will the penny actually drop, and they will admit it isn't working. So should I have stayed longer, and let them guinea-pig trial me on the whole pharmacopia? They completely invalidated the physical side of my illness. And they are biased against alternative therapies like TCM. They think that psych patients are vulnerable to being exploited by unscrupulous alternative medicine practitioners. So I have struggled on... still a depressive who doesn't know how to be happy, my thinking is all screwed up. But at least with the TCM, the physical side of my illness has gradually improved. But now the depression is really kicking in again. And the government is looking to reduce my benefit. Which basically means less TCM treament. It is the only support I have, and without it things will progressively deteriorate. If I seek health from public health, they will refer me to mental health (psychiatrists), and that whole nightmare will start again. I've kinda concluded that they will just do what they've done in the past, which just makes it worse. The best thing would've been a supportive cousellor to help with the depression, one that supports patients for TCM and ME/CFS, but I don't have any money. I don't even have internet at home, so I'm typing here from a cafe. But while I'm busy feeling sorry for myself, I don't want to reach the point where I'm putting my own family or the TCM doctor through all kinds of hell either. My family live in another city, Mum and Dad are elderly, they give me all the support they can anyway. Part of me thinks that a quick death is preferable to placing an untenable burden on all these good people. Coz I am the patient that can't be helped. Or at least thats the thinking at least. And that would have been the end of it. This morning. Except I don't have the courage; I've failed the test. I've been viewing a death as a neat solution to these problem, for all concerned. But now tha option is off the table, and I need to find some other way to cope. Something that I can accept. Probably go have a conversation with my GP about the unfairness of life and illness - I'm already dreading it. My life feels very surreal. If only my path thru life had been easier. If anyone out there has managed to read this far, you should pop a prozac right now, coz you deserve a medal. Not exactly a easy read.