Where to start? Some of you might remember I spoke about creatine injections for CFS a while ago and how enthusiastic I was about the results. In July I was doing so well on the injections I even started looking for part time work after the summer. Sadly, the creatine I am now taking in liquid form is not working even half so well. In fact, I doubt it is doing anything at all, given that I feel as ill with it as without. And the job search is in any case (destiny protecting me?!) looking rather hopeless. There are hardly any ads for part time as unemployment here in Italy is quite high. People are so desperate to work they will do any jobs, including many hard manual factory ones, even if they are qualified to do other things. I am signed up with quite a few temp agencies, but they admit part time is like gold dust, even though they appreciate my skills. On the one hand I was looking forward to working again. I felt I could manage it (just), with a lot of 'rest engineering'. I didn't know who was going to clean the house, but never mind. On the other hand I increasingly felt (and still feel) I was not physically or mentally able to do a job, even a part time desk job if one could be found. I've had some offers for some language teaching hours which I am starting to accept in desperation. Teaching of any sort wipes me out and gives me headaches for the concentration. BUT... after seven months with no salary and no state help I feel that having any income at all would be a psychological boost. I know there are a lot of teachers in here, and how they must be struggling too. And I know there are sufferers forced to work as they have no state help or partner support. Meanwhile, my boyfriend is working in a factory (a heavy dirty job) and supporting me, often doing overtime to get us by. Obviously, we are feeling the strain financially but more importantly it's putting a strain on our relationship. The worst thing is we don't talk about it, me because I am afraid of being even more selfish than I have to be and making him remember the problem, he (I assume) because he tends not to talk about problems in general. When I first stopped my teaching job he was the one who convinced me to stay on and be supported by him. I wasn't sure about accepting this, but in the end it seemed better than a long separation. One friend keeps reminding me that not every partner would do this so willingly, and of course this is true. However, although he now after some struggle believes I have a real illness, he is not well informed about the details and finds it hard to live with my myriad of capricious symptoms (typically lately: backache, neck ache, shoulder ache, sleep disturbance (taking anti-depressant drops to help this), headache, poor concentration, possible candida (following posts on this with interest). When I am lying down in the dark with lavander balm and a cold compress on my forehead looking like a mummy I know it is really hard for him, and he suffers as much emotionally as I physically. I am concerned that his perception of me has altered so much from when we met two years ago, that he wonders what's happened. Where is the girl he fell in love with? The one who used to socialise and go jogging... The main point is I am so so sick of this illness, and increasingly am having moments of despair like many others I've been reading here. For many months I had strong hope and determination, and even some patience. But as time goes on, and I feel as ill as ever, I start to doubt the very expensive doctor, even though he's the only one who has helped me so far with CFS. My next appointment is 8 October, and I am stressed about it as I will have to report a lot of negative feedback this time, whereas last time things were going great. I plan to ask about magnesium and vitamin B injections etc, to see if there are viable alternatives. During the last appointment, the doctor warned me when it was going well not to cry victory too soon... I read in one of my M.E. books about how important it is to live your life for the moment and not only wait to be 'better', because it may take a long time and may not even happen. A close friend of mine has suffered from FM and CFS for over 17 years now. I have tried so hard to sustain myself, and friends and family have been very supportive. But this is the hardest test of my courage so far. The rest of my life seems easy compared to this, even though I may have complained in the past. I don't want to lose a good relationship to illness (as well as my job and other activities), though I appreciate many do, it figures. I followed the posts about things we have gained from illness, and there are many too. Like real strength, forebearance and empathy for others. I haven't considered counselling yet as there is no way we can afford it. I must find out if the state can at least provide this... from my not very CFS friendly local doctor. Thinking about trying to explain it Again is stressful, even if that doctor is a good listener. I also would not want to see a counseller who is not properly informed about CFS. I don't need to hear that if only I will pull myself together... etc. Phew! Hope it makes sense. Thanks for listening! Liz PS Although I was diagnosed this year I had already suffered for a year before that, and continued to work - I don't know how - as normal before realising I couldn't go on. Logically, I should not be working as I realise it could impede any recovery. But equally I don't think I can watch my boyfriend pushing himself like this indefinitely. He gets back ache and swollen hands from his job. I worry he'll get CFS or worse. The alternative is to go back to UK to my parents and receive at least some income or disability support. And to constantly fight with my mum! And probably lose my boyfriend.