Social worker for 25 years
Principal Officer Health for 3 years, planning mental health care.
UKCP Accredited Neurolinguistic Psychotherapist for 20 years.
Recovering from ME/CFS since 1986
As an expert in mental health issues, I know without any doubt that ME/CFS is not a mental health issue. It is a serious, disabling, multisystem illness, and current treatment recommendations make patients much more ill.
I am undertaking a Ph.D. on the conflicting ideas about ME/CFS, particularly investigating how the psychiatric concept gains influence despite medical evidence and the testimony of patients.
My 'Beginner's Guide' is based on the premise that Ramsay's definition, and treatment recommendation for complete rest from the onset is essential advice for anyone diagnosed with ME/CFS.
Everything I wrote in 'A Beginner's Guide' seems to be supported by subsequent research and patient reports. At the same time, the idea that CBT and Graded Exercise Therapy are appropriate treatments seems to be gaining influence, notably in Denmark and the U.S. For patients, this is a desperate situation.
In February, 2015, the US Institute of Medicine produced a report on ME/CFS which states unequivocally that this is a disease in which exertion of any type 'may adversely affect many organ systems in the body'. They want the name CFS to be got rid of completely, and to rename this illness 'Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease', in recognition of its seriously debilitating nature, and the fact that exertion does serious physical harm.
This completely validates the message of 'A Beginner's Guide to ME/CFS', which is that rest, and conservation of exertion, is the essential, most effective current treatment for this illness.
'A Beginner's Guide to Lifting Depression' is another joint effort with Les Simpson, Ph.D. (now sadly deceased). He wrote a detailed account of current theories of depression and about how certain areas of the brain show blood flow problems typical of depression. He makes several suggestions about ways to improve this, including exercise and high doses of fish oil. My contribution to the book is as a psychotherapist experienced in using NLP, as well as my own techniques, to help my clients lift their depression. The book thus offers two approaches which you probably won't hear about anywhere else, as doctors aren't taught hemorheology, and most counsellors and therapists are unfamiliar with NLP.