The CFS Service positively encourages patients to read about their condition and ways of managing it and below are some resources you may find useful.
- Fighting Fatigue: a practical guide to managing the symptoms of CFS/ME, edited by Sue Pemberton and Catherine Berry, published by Hammersmith Press
- Overcoming Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a self-help guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques, written by Mary Burgess and Trudie Chalder, published by Robinson
- Living with the Enemy: coping with the stress of chronic illness using CBT, mindfulness and acceptance, written by Ray Owen, published by Routledge
- Mindfulness for Health: a practical guide for relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring well-being, written by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman, published by Piatkus
Support accessing benefits
Many people with CFS or ME may be eligible for welfare benefits. The application process can be difficult and at times stressful, therefore make use of support agencies like ME North East or your local Citizens Advice team.
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
- Citizens Advice, Redcar and Cleveland
- Citizens Advice Bureau, Stockton-On-Tees
- Citizens Advice Bureau, Hartlepool
Support with employment and education
Action for ME have a number of useful leaflets aimed at supporting people with CFS or ME to access and sustain employment or education. These can be downloaded from their website listed above.
Some people with CFS or ME may require carer support, assistive equipment, housing adaptations etc. Please discuss your needs with your GP, who can refer you to the appropriate team of your local social services department.
One in four people experience mental health difficulties at some point in their lives. Emotional distress can have a detrimental impact on CFS or ME symptoms and may impact your ability to manage the condition. If you are struggling with anxiety, low mood, or symptoms associated with difficult life events, you can access support through Talking Therapies.
Talking Therapies is an umbrella term used to describe psychological treatments for common mental health problems. Talking Therapies may be delivered by a range of mental health professionals, using a variety of approaches, for example CBT, mindfulness, counselling etc.
If your difficulties are unrelated to your CFS, and you want to improve your psychological well-being, you may benefit from accessing Talking Therapies. Please discuss your needs with your GP, who will be able to direct you to your local service.
Help your GP to help you
When you visit your GP, you may find it beneficial to write your difficulties down before your appointment, detailing your symptoms and how they affect you. This can help focus the appointment and give the GP the information they need to best help you. Alternatively, take a carer or friend with you who can act as your advocate and help express your needs.
The British Association of CFS/ME (BACME) released a useful guide for GPs and you may wish to make them aware of it.