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Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Difference between fibro and depression

I am in constant pain and everything is too much trouble. Just want to sleep struggle to wash and never iron. The diagnosis is ME/fibromyalgia and hypothyroid - does everyone else have these symptoms because I just read someones answer to a question suggesting the person is depressed which has made me ask how many people spend copious amounts of time sleeping and are too weak and lack motivation to do "normal" tasks

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I think sometimes its like the chicken and the egg, Ive never been depressed before I was ill, yes Ive been down, or prementrual but never seriously depressed, Im always optimistic, but this illness literally has changed me, I now do suffer from depression, but for me the illness came first, now I get so down its like a dark pit,Im so exhausted some days its like a living death, as for washing and ironing its been forgotten


Thanx ditto. I got more and more tired the pain got worse and worse I agree it's like the living dead. The mind or spirit is willing the bodies unable which is so frustrating and yes- depressing!!


Hi Jeannie and welcome as we haven't met before,

Fibro and Depression are two completely different conditions.

However, Fibro sufferers commonly suffer from Depression and there is no surprise there.

You haven't said what medication you are taking, but if you are taking an anti-depressant it doesn't sound like it's doing it's job and if you aren't, you should be. It's part of the standard arsenal of Fibro medications. The two recommended being Venlafaxine and Duloxetine, because of the way they work.

Also recommended are Gabapentin or Pregabalin to take care of the neuropathic pain and a simple analgesic from Paracetamol to Opiates depending on the level of pain, to take care of the rest of the pain. Being in constant pain makes you depressed and whacked out.

What you don't need is any anti-inflammatory analgesics because none of your diagnosed conditions are inflammatory and I think I would avoid anything like Amitryptiline if I were you as muscle relaxants can make you really sleepy.

Your Hypothyroid condition will also be playing a large part in your fatigue and maybe the dose of Thyroxine that I hope you are taking, needs adjusting to help.

I think you need an appointment with your GP soon as, because it sounds like you either aren't taking the above or the types or doses aren't right for you.

Have a read of this link to the Fibro Action site and the pages that follow it


Then you poor thing, you have ME as well, so it's no surprise that you have no energy and you shouldn't be beating yourself up because the ironing or anything else isn't getting done. My brother in law has it and if he walks to the end of their garden and back, he has to sleep for 4 hours to get over it.

Everybody has the same Fibro symptoms but the degree varies from person to person and day to day and you have two further conditions that will make the fatigue worse.

I have a friend who is always in the s**t with his wife and when ever I ask him how he is, he says 'it's only the depth that varies' and that's pretty much how I feel about my Fibro.

loads of happy hugs, kate :)


Hi Jeannie, I think you've had pretty good advice and information already.

I suffered from depression so I already had a sort of 'tick box' exercise to see if I was clinically depressed or just naturally upset about something.

As others have said, many people with a whole range of chronic illnesses become clinically depressed as a result of the chronic illness. It's a complicated relationship but I always see it as the depression occurring as a result of the life limiting nature of the chronic illness. You'll see from the forum that many people become depressed after sufferring fibro for a while and also the other ones like me who were depressed first.

I generally have a list of questions I ask myself. Am I in pain?, is my fatigue particularly bad?, is there anything going on in my life that might be upsetting me? etc there are more, but that's the general idea. If I answer no to all my questions but I still feel like life isn't work living then I consider I might be depressed and I go to see my GP. BTW, I'm hypothyroid too and getting the dose and which thyroid hormones work best for you right is really important.

I'm sure the main site - see the links Kate has sent and I'm sure you will get more help. Mind publish a simple question and answer thing on their webiste.

Don't let anybody try to convince you it's all in your mind is the key thing.

Whippet x

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Hi, I am new to this site but not to fibro/cfs/me and underactive thyroid. I think many sensible and helpful comments are posted above especially the fact that having fibro etc. can be the cause of becoming depressed because of how it can impact and change your life. I did some internet research and the following link is interesting from a respected website used by recognised Health workers: patient.co.uk/health/Fibrom...

I know that when people list things that can be major stressors in life it includes 'grief' I think that if I look back I can see how I have lost the life I used to have and I even feel as if I am not the same person I used to be before the onset of chronic illness. both of these things are major losses and include all sorts of things, not being able to do the things I did, be who I was etc. I would say this sort of grief could well bring on depression of sorts, I also think that the physical changes experienced could be a root to depression, possible changes such as; a lack of serotonin, sunlight and Vit.D, neurological changes, changes in our immune systems ... it is hard to fathom what is going on physically but it must impact our thoughts and feelings to some degree or other.

I think that one of the hardest things to deal with along with the illness is the feeling or thought that others don't believe or understand what i'm going through. If I had a broken leg and was unable to walk for a few weeks people would understand but because so much of fibro etc is invisible to an outside observer it becomes so hard to explain, not just to others but to ourselves as well. All the associated symptoms etc. can cause a great deal of anxiety.

At the end of the day, even though I have been told I have fibro/cfs and ME on good days I can feel as if 'I am a fraud' or 'is it all in my mind' and yet if I try to do all the things I think I should be doing on a good day I can then be virtually bedridden for days afterwards. This is why we are told not to overdo things even on good days and sometimes to push ourselves a little more on bad days - they call it 'pacing'. Trouble is it takes so long to work all these things out, to keep diaries, check nutrition etc. infact it takes a load of energy, something that I used to have and take for granted, but lack now, so it is kind of a viscous circle - not having the energy to do the things that might help me.

I like the last line of the post above about not letting anybody convince you it is all in your mind and I would add that 'anybody' could include ourselves. If we can't control symptoms and how others react etc. the only thing left that we have some control over is our minds and we all feel better when we have good thoughts and feelings, so i'm trying to stop myself from being too negative about things and to stop beating myself up as if it is all caused by something i've done or am doing wrong, I suppose I am having to learn to be kind to myself.

I think it is still important to see the doctor when various symptoms occur and persist for more than a few hours or days, (if you're like me they can change from hour to hour and day to day), and if the symptoms are new ones that I don't experience on a regular basis - so it is worth recognising how the illness effects me most and then learning to reduce my anxiety about those symptoms. My husband has learnt to calm me by saying 'you've had this before, it will pass - just rest' because sometimes a pain can be so bad I start to panic and think it must be really serious, I suppose it is natural to think that pain has a cause and the severity of the pain tells us how bad the cause is, but because our nervous systems and immune systems can be out of whack and i've read we can feel pain as 5 times worse than someone else would, perhaps pain is not such a reliable indicator with this illness, i'm struggling to write what I mean, hopefully you'll understand.

This has taken me all evening and my back, shoulders, neck and concentration all need a rest, i've started to feel nauseous - I have to stop now, it will all ease as I rest, but i've managed more than I often can and hope some people may find what i've written helpful in some ways.


I had post natal depression after I had my daughter, she is now 14 and I'm still on anti depressants and was diagnosed with fibro in January this yr. if I'm in so much pain I'm taken to my bed I get very depressed simply cos I can't get out and I'm looking at the same four walls every day, then as soon as I'm able to get out I feel a lot better.


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