What if it takes more than rest to cure your fatigue?

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
Linda Tannenbaum with Stuart Murdoch, Belle and Sebastian

Sometimes people experience a profound fatigue that won’t go away no matter how much they rest and try to recover. And often that feeling of utter exhaustion includes migraines, dizziness, cognitive impairment, orthostatic intolerance, unrefreshing sleep, worsening of symptoms after exertion, and widespread pains and chronic infections.

This disease – which is recognized by the National Institutes of Health – is called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME/CFS, and it affects more than 2 million people in the U.S. alone as well as 17 to 20 million people around the globe. The NIH defines it as follows: “ME/CFS is a serious, chronic, complex and multisystem diseases that frequently and dramatically limits the activities of patients.

“In its most severe form, this disease can consume the lives of those whom it afflicts.” (NIH, 2015) It’s also been recognized by CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in a recent Turning Points episode as a serious disease.

So if rest won’t help, what will? How will people affected by profound fatigue and other symptoms thrive once more?

As the mother of a sick teenager who came down with this disease, I decided to do something to help find a cure after I found there is no diagnostic test, no treatment, and even worse, no recognition of the disease in most of the medical community. After my daughter’s health improved, I started a nonprofit, Open Medicine Foundation (OMF), to raise funds and invest in research to cure ME/CFS.

That was six years ago. Since then, OMF has raised more than $15 million, started two collaborative research centers – one at Stanford and the other at Harvard – and engaged a team of scientists that includes three Nobel laureates and several members of the National Academy of Scientists. This disease is being looked at from every scientific angle: genetic, the immune system, metabolic, and even the brain and bacteria in the gut.

Recently, we funded our second annual symposium at Stanford University with a three-day working group for scientists and a full day of presentations for our community of clinicians, patients and caregivers. Three hundred people attended the community event and over 4,800 from around the world streamed the event live. And to inspire even more people to help us find a cure, we recently enlisted Stuart Murdoch, front man for the popular Scottish indie band, Belle and Sebastian, to become an OMF Ambassador.

So if your fatigue has lasted more than six months, and if you experience some of the symptoms I’ve listed here, you may have ME/CFS and may wish to ask your doctor about it and/or find a patient support group in your area

Sometimes rest is not enough to thrive. But as long as OMF is leading research into this terrible disease, be assured, there is hope for a cure.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


A Psychotherapist Shares How She Copes with an Invisible Illness

by Sarah Simms
Lordn / Shutterstock

Signs You’re Exhausted

by Darcey Pittman

How to Handle Chronic Fatigue According to Dr. Bomi Joseph

by Joey Claudio

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.