JADED, miserable, aching, terrified -- for thousands of sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, it seems their bodies have turned savagely on them.
And there is little hope. Some doctors will treat CFS as a cover story for deep depression, or simple malingering.
Now a psychologist has come up with a treatment she says cured her CFS -- a combination of nutrition, medical treatment, de-stressing and self-help.
Kristina Downing-Orr is a Harley Street psychologist, a specialist in social anthropology, writer of many popular psychology books, and broadcaster.
When Chronic Fatigue Syndrome struck her down, "at some points I was so blighted by it that I was paralysed, bedridden and barely able to function," she admits.
Blinding migraines left her as weak as jelly. She dreaded going to sleep for fear she would not be able to get up -- which was, finally, what happened.
Up to 12,000 people in Ireland are estimated to suffer from CFS.
Downing-Orr says she has whacked the demons, and in Beating Chronic Fatigue she offers sufferers her solution, the "Fusion Model" of medical, nutritional and psychological treatments.
She warns that before you take action, you must see your doctor and rule out other causes. After all, some symptoms are shared by tuberculosis, Crohn's Disease, alcoholism, Sjogren's Syndrome and other diseases.
"Consult your doctor before embarking on this programme," she warns.
The warning is very necessary -- she recommends an eyebrow-raising cocktail of remedies: nimodipene, gingko biloba, evening primrose oil and L-glutamine.
Her second step targets gut health. "Many healthcare professionals acknowledge -- although controversial -- that a healthy gut is vital to a healthy body and mind."
She recommends a probiotic powder called Prime Directive, or any "good-quality probiotic capsule teeming with billions of micro-organisms" for two to three months.
She suggests slow "detoxification", using antioxidant mixture Revenol (a combination of Vitamin C, beta-carotene and maritime pine bark, plus milk thistle).
Next comes a list of food no-nos -- white flour, sugar and yeasts, plus mushrooms, stock cubes, food containing vinegar, citrus fruits, etc.
Downing-Orr has a second method involving diet. Again, if you've serious health problems it is certainly a good idea to involve medical help.
And even here, pills are involved: D-Ribose, Acetyl L-carnitine, Rhodiola, N-acetyl-cysteine and a long list of others.
Stress-busting and exercises in self-motivation -- and, sensibly, a gradual return to exercise -- are part of her treatment.
"You can regain your health and vitality and do all those things that you thought were a distant or impossible dream," she promises -- and finally say goodbye to CFS.