CFS is not depression.
If it resembles anything, I suspect it might be Alzheimer's.
Let's tackle the depression angle first.
Depression is a terrible thing. I have dealt with it myself in times past and it sucks the life right out of you. Makes you want to hide away even from things that used to bring you pleasure. There IS no pleasure. The world is a dangerous, frightening place.
There is no shame in admitting to depression. If that was my deal I would say so.
The reason I argue against it and get infuriated by the very suggestion that I am depressed is simply because, it's a bald-faced lie.
People with CFS get depressed, no question. This is a hard-sluggin' life to try to live. But alot of us got here, in part, because we DIDN'T want to retreat from our lives, even when we needed to. Where the depressed individual wants only to curl up and hide away, the person with CFS is being dragged away, kicking and screaming, from all the things they loved, STILL love, and STILL want to do.
They don't want to go to bed. They don't want to take time off. They don't want to quit. And long after their body and brain has tried to get the message of "Stop!" through to them, they are still in the ring, swinging. In spite of the fog and confusion, in spite of the fractured vision, in spite of the hopped-up nervous system.
Some days I could hardly see, hardly stand up, hardly think, but I was still taking on more tasks, more responsibilities, writing more lists, and running more races.
Does that sound like depression to you?
Nope. It's more like Alzheimer's.
When I can't remember what you JUST told me a second ago. When I reach for a word and cannot find it. When I stare at my computer and can't remember what to do with a program that I used to know like the back of my hand. When I walk into a store and have no idea what I came in there for.
When the thoughts are moving at lightning speed in my head, but cannot find the right spot to light, cannot lock into the right category. I can feel it happening sometimes and it is freaky.
When I see your lips moving and hear your words but ... give me a minute because I'm having trouble processing right now ... give me a minute ...
This used to be constant for me. Now it comes and goes. Less and less frequently than it used to, thank God.
The muscle and joint pain, the swelling legs and feet and arms and hands, even the body stone where everything inside whirls and sings -- all these things I could function around if I had to. I could still live a life.
But the mental kaleidoscope of intermittent imbecility was what used to do me in. No matter that I was capable of moments of brilliance. I was an idiot savant -- emphasis on the former. So what if I was sometimes smart. Too often I was out to lunch.
And you just can't make it anywhere that way.
Totally apart from the seriously physical symptoms we CFSers deal with, the mental side (take note, I did not say emotional) is a showstopper.
It is not that we do not feel well to the point of despair, as in depression.
It is more that, we cannot think well. And it drives us crazy.