What's causing my Depression and Fatigue?

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What's causing my Depression and Fatigue?

By: Paul Shearstone

Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Depression are absolutely systemic in our society today. Recent studies done by the AMA and CMA purport one in four people in North America are suffering from some form of chronic fatigue or depression and it's expected eight out of ten of us will experience similar afflictions in our lifetime. But numbers like these don't speak to the cause and only tell half the story.

In June of this year, my new book entitled, " Until You've Walked the Path " hit the bookstores. In it, I chronicle my own real life battle and recovery from CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome]. I am pleased to say that from the responses I've received, the book has touched many people in a positive way, both those suffering from the disease, as well as caregivers, looking for new ways to aid the afflicted.

In conversations about CFS, the one question I am asked the most is, " What's causing My [their] chronic depression and fatigue? " Followed by, " Is it just stress? "

I'll admit I am not a doctor and have no medical training, however, I have done a fair bit of research over the last decade and I am a real CFS Survivor. That said, it is my belief there are three fundamental 'Camps' if you will, that can cause depression or fatigue and it is absolutely essential to determine what camp you are in to expedite speedy recovery.

Camp #1: CFIDS [Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome]

CFIDS is the new acronym for most immune dysfunctional disorders which covers a broad base of causes and outcomes. More specifically, the factors that can bring on CFS are viral. In my case I was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr Virus [EBV]. Another common virus known to cause CFS is the ME Virus [Myalgic Encephalomyelitis]. An outcome associated with CFS sufferers is Fibromyalgia; an excruciatingly painful disease that effects all the muscles and joints in the body.

I could go on but the important point to understand is that most of what causes 'Real' Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is most often viral. These viruses attack the immune system causing acute un-wellness, fatigue and depression. Stress is another immune-weakening phenomenon and is often a major cause for CFS. On the other hand, motivators like post viral infection - as it was in my case - is known to be much of the cause because of the damaging consequences it can affect to an otherwise healthy immune system. One outcome is Depression and Fatigue.

Camp #2: Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are perhaps easier for most people to understand. Not the diseases themselves but rather the fact that there are commonly known diseases like: By-Polar, Manic-Depression and Schizophrenia, to name but three. We all know they can cause behavioral - often unpredictable -changes in those afflicted. Another outcome is Depression and Fatigue.

Camp #3: Substance Abuse

Whether it's drugs or alcohol, [prescribed or otherwise], many people fall victim to their affects that over time, can clearly evolve into conditions of un-wellness.

Stress-relief is often the reason for those who use drugs and alcohol on a regular basis and one need not be addicted to experience many of the health deteriorations that ultimately come about. Another outcome, of course, is Depression and Fatigue.

By now you may be seeing a bit of an assertion I am making in this article which now compels me to make two important points:

1. Depression and Fatigue can be outcomes from many different motivators.

2. It is critical for sufferers to seek out immediate professional help in determining precisely what is causing their fatigue and depression.

I have seen too many people needlessly wither away with diseases like these, never getting the right help. Many of them try to hide their problem and shrink into the shadows because it's not a glamorous disease and for the most part, is still a little misunderstood - even by many in the medical field.

My advice is to find the right medical specialist who deals specifically with what's causing your fatigue and depression. Understand that no doctor can be a specialist at everything and that the medicine, treatment and care for someone with Schizophrenia would be entirely different from what's required to treat someone with substance abuse or a viral infection. The specialist would be just as different.

It's also vitally important for those afflicted and caregivers alike to know that there is a short window of opportunity in getting diseases like these under control. That is to say, from my observation and experience, the longer one goes without proper diagnosis and treatment, the harder it is and less likely it is, recovery can be achieved.

Chronic Depression and Fatigues is not something one chooses to have and treatments like " Suck it up soldier! " or love deprivation do not work. Ignoring it works even less.

The Bottom Line:

What's causing Your Depression and Fatigue could be many things. You need to align yourself with the right specialist, the right medication and the right treatment As Soon As Possible!

The good news? You can recover from it and you can triumph over it! I am living proof.

About The Author

Paul Shearstone is President of The CFIDS Foundation of Canada Inc. He is an International Keynote Speaker, Author, Writer, Motivation, Corporate Ethics, Sales, Time & Stress Management Specialist.

Paul enlightens and challenges audiences as he informs motivates and entertains.

To comment on this article or to book Paul for your next successful event we invite to contact Paul Shearstone directly @ 416-728-5556 or 1-866-855-4590 www.success150.com or paul@success150.com.

For more information and how to order Paul's new book, " Until You've Walked the Path " please visit www.paulshearstone.ca

"Every day millions of people struggle valiantly with the pain of CFIDS and Depression... the very real physical pain and the excruciating psychic pain of the soul. Paul gives both voice and face to their pain. More importantly, he gives expression to their courage, resilience, and valour. By his account of his own remarkable journey, he gives hope to the millions of others who are still on theirs".

Karen Liberman

Executive Director

Mood Disorders Association of Ontario



amy_27 15.05.2010. 02:38

How do I resolve the catch-22 of depression causing fatigue and being too fatigued to exercise, etc.? I really want to eat right and exercise to feel better, but due to the fatigue caused by my depression, I hardly have energy to take care of my basic needs. How do I break this very frustrating catch-22?


Admin 15.05.2010. 02:38

It's a tough one, that's for sure.

Maybe it's time to go to the psychiatrist and get on medication.


runestone 25.02.2011. 21:18

Do you have extreme fatigue that you think is too bad to be caused by depression alone? I know they say depression can cause fatigue, but my fatigue is extreme, i sleep 12-16 hours a day and am still tired all day. I have no desire to do anything and get pleasure from almost nothing. Sleep is the only way also to stop thinking obsessivee thoughts.


Admin 25.02.2011. 21:18

When you say,"Sleep is the only way to stop my obsessive thoughts," that is powerful and meaningful!
That is why you are so tired! You answered your own question . Depression and OCD are 2 different things! And if you suffer from both then that could easily explain why you are so tired. And it sounds to me like you are not just tired but welcome sleep as a way of escaping your problems. Given your complaint many people would do the same! If your brain is working so fast that sleep is your only way out then you need to see a psychiatrist. The sooner you see one the sooner you will be on the road to recovery. Sounds like you have what I call "faulty wiring." It may be due to nature or nurture or both and you may need a good talk therapist as well as medication. But please find someone who comes highly recommended! The right treatment can turn your life around! You do not have to suffer. And you do not have to sleep your life away. Go on psychology.com. They have resources there that can help you find a great doctor and make sure he is board certified!


kittiekat 10.06.2009. 01:07

What could cause the following combination of symptoms? I have a doctors appointment in a few days, but I'm just trying to do a little research before I go in.... what could possibly cause the following combonation of symptoms

depression, fatigue, panic attacks, forgetfulness,


Admin 10.06.2009. 01:07

Depression and Anxiety....like from stress of some sort


Madi Leigh 17.09.2008. 02:45

What are the causes and symptoms of depression? I don't have thoughts of suicide but I, and those around me, have noticed a change in my behavior. Lately I have been feeling nauseous, tired, agitated, and I have also been very reclusive and sad. I've had a lot of trouble getting up in the mornings, which is very odd for me. Also, I've haven't been able to concentrate very well. None of these things are common with me so I was wondering what it was. I heard that some of these things are symptoms of depression. I also wanted to know what causes depression. Any and all suggestions and or comments are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Madi Leigh

Admin 17.09.2008. 02:45

Symptoms of Major Depression

Sleep disturbance (insomnia), sleeping too much
?Empty? feeling
Loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities
Difficulty in thinking clearly
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Loss of concentration
Lowered self-esteem
Not as talkative as usual
Excessive fatigue
Prolonged sadness
Loss of appetite
Socially withdrawn
Persistent permission
Significant weight loss
Persistent thoughts of death of suicide
Attempted suicide


Jacquie<3 12.01.2009. 03:50

How can the Sun be a cure for depression? (I need a somewhat scientific answer please!)? Im writing an essay for science on light, and i need to know how the Sun can cure depression, and maybe how lack of sun/light could cause depression. Thanks!


Admin 12.01.2009. 03:50

Unraveling the Sun's Role in Depression
More Evidence That Sunlight Affects Mood-Lifting Chemical in the Brain

WebMD Health NewsDec. 5, 2002 -- A sunny day may do more than just boost your mood -- it may increase levels of a natural antidepressant in the brain. A new study shows that the brain produces more of the mood-lifting chemical serotonin on sunny days than on darker days.

Researchers say the findings provide more evidence that lack of sunlight and reduced serotonin levels are important in the development of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

People with SAD develop symptoms of depression in the winter months when there is less daylight. Symptoms include difficulty concentrating, low energy or fatigue, loss of interest in daily activities, moodiness, and sleeping excessive amounts.

Serotonin levels have been found to be normal in previous studies of people with SAD. But researchers say those studies looked at serotonin levels in the fluid that circulates around the brain and spine, which may have interfered with their results.

In the current study, researchers measured serotonin levels in the blood vessels leading directly from the brain -- a more accurate measure of serotonin levels, they say. The study, by Gavin Lambert of the Baker Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues, appears in the Dec. 7 issue of The Lancet.

Samples were taken from 101 healthy men during each of the four seasons and compared with various weather factors, such as temperature, rainfall, hours of bright sunlight, and atmospheric pressure.

Researchers found that regardless of the season, the turnover of serotonin in the brain was affected by the amount of sunlight on any given day. And the levels of serotonin were higher on bright days than on overcast or cloudy ones. In fact, the rate of serotonin production in the brain was directly related to the duration of bright sunlight.

No other atmospheric conditions were related to serotonin levels.

The researchers say their study shows that the prevailing amount of sunlight clearly affects serotonin levels in healthy individuals, but more research is needed to see if people predisposed to SAD are affected in the same way by environmental factors.


Allen-at-home 11.06.2007. 02:52

How many people are aware of SUMMER Seasonal Affective Disorder? I think most people are aware of WINTER Seasonal Affective Disorder which causes depression during the winter months when the skies are grey much of the time, but how many are aware some people get severely depressed during hot, summer weather, the kind of weather that MOST people call "beautiful"?


Admin 11.06.2007. 02:52

Yes. It's much less common than the winter SAD and the symptoms are usually the opposite. Winter depressions usually involve increased appetite, weight gain, lethargy, excessive fatigue and sleeping much more than usual. Insomnia, decreased appetite, weight loss, agitation and anxiety are usually seen in recurrent summer depressions. The causes of summer depressions are more obscure than that of winter ones. Some researchers believe that some people's brains are particularly sensitive to the increased heat and sunlight during the summer.


Dixie 03.09.2012. 05:13

Question for people who are familiar with vitamins? I'm learning that lack of certain vitamins can cause depressions...I tke a multivitamin and fish oil, but I suffer from extreme fatigue and depression, my antidepressant does not seem to be working all that well...Are there any vitamins I should add and how much that would help improve my depression, agitation, and mood swings?


Admin 03.09.2012. 05:13

Quite frankly, if you eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and make sure your daily serving of meat, pork chicken or fish is grilled or baked and not fried; you don't really need to take a multivitamin. It is better to get your vitamins through healthy eating, than through man made vitamins.

I wish you well.


Alexa_V 09.11.2007. 17:20

Does fatigue cause depression or the other way around? I have been feeling fatigued and "out of it" for a few months now and it seems to be paired with depression. I was wondering: which one is caused by which and what do you think the cause could be? It's becoming quite difficult to cope.


Admin 09.11.2007. 17:20

See a physician to rule out an underlying condition like anemia. A few months is too long for you to feel this way. No one here can tell you what might be causing it.

Best of Luck,


malcolm 01.03.2013. 09:17

Is there an antidepressant that will help me? I suffer from bad depression. Terrible fatigue and lack of concentration and memory, all side effects of depression. Also awful daily tension type headaches. I have been diagnosed iam about to go down the medication route, not through choice.Has anyone had any positive experiences with any meds?

Yes i do eat well and exercise daily btw.


Admin 01.03.2013. 09:17

Ok first of all let me give some information.
There is a big difference between 'feeling' depressed and actually 'having' the mental disorder "Depression".
Most people who do have the disorder have had it passed down genetically to them from their parent/ or grandparent/ aunt/ cousin, etc.
So first thing is to find out if there is a family history of "Depression" in your family. The disorder is caused by brain chemistry being 'off' and requires medication daily--for life--to help supplement what is missing in the brain chemistry.
Now the type of doctor to assess you is a psychiatrist. A psychologist is not a 'medical' doctor, but does 'talk therapy'.
If you are under 18 yrs of age, most psychiatrists will not prescribe any type of antidepressant.


Aaron 13.05.2010. 11:28

How to deal with fatigue caused by depression? I'm so tired no matter how much I sleep. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to pass out just standing up. How can I get energy when I don't have any because of depression.


Admin 13.05.2010. 11:28

Depending on how long this has been going on, you may want to see your family doctor about your fatigue to rule out any biological problems. And whatever you do, do not get psychiatric meds from your PCP - general practitioners are not well trained in this area.

Aside from that, one of the best ways to decrease fatigue is to have a healthy sleep hygiene protocol, daily exercise and HEALTHY eating habits. Cut down on the caffeine and sugar. All of this will assist with your metabolism.


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