Since ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia patients seem to have such a wide variety and severity of symptoms, I thought I would list mine here so that readers of my site would understand my personal perspective on the diseases and understand that my experience may be very different from their own or those they know.
Fatigue: This symptom has been present consistently since the onset of my illness about two years ago. The severity has ranged from, a lack of stamina and tiring easily, to not being able to climb a flight of stairs or lift my arms higher than chest level. Some days I can barely lift my body from the bed or couch. I needed lots of sleep and I become so tired during the day I need to lay down for two to three hours.
Weakness: These first two symptoms are interrelated and sometimes it's difficult to define what exactly I'm experiencing. I usually define weakness as a feeling in the muscles. For example, when I walk, my leg muscles feel shaky and burn when they're even slightly over-exerted. It's as though you're driving an old car that's running out of fuel, sputtering and shaking. When I'm experiencing severe bouts of weakness, I can't, for example, fold bed sheets. The weight of the sheets is too heavy and I can't lift my arms high enough, the muscles simply give out. This symptom, also, has been present from the beginning, varying in severity.
Shortness of Breath & Heart Arrythmias: These two symptoms have appeared during particularly severe episodes of the disease(s). They usually appear together. When I'm walking or otherwise exerting myself, my heart pauses, then beats one strong beat that almost sounds like a deep "clunk". I find myself sighing frequently and suddenly feeling as though I'm suffocating and need to take a big deep breath.
Profuse Sweating: This also appears in phases. Sometimes walking across the room or even bending down or reaching high will cause me to start sweating. I have to change my clothes several times a day because they're soaked through.
Body Pain: This sounds like a generalization but it's the only phrase that really fits. The pain I feel is everywhere in my body from my fingers to my toes. It's hard to describe, but the best comparison I can think of is the deep aching pain you get when you have a high fever. This symptom is usually lasts for at least a month when it shows up. I usually spend a lot of time laying on a heating pad and taking hot showers since that's the only thing that helps at all. I notice that lack of sleep definitely intensifies the pain.
Eye Pain: Usually the eye pain is present at the same time as the other body pains. My eyes become very sensitive to light and feel heavy and sore.
Sore Throat/ Hoarse Voice: This is another symptom that comes and goes. The sore throat is never severe, really just annoying. I always feel like I need to clear my throat and my voice gets gravely.
Feeling Feverish: When I first got ill, I must have taken my temperature four times a day. I just couldn't believe that I didn't have a fever. I was flushed, sweaty, hot then cold with chills and of course, had those feverish aches. This sensation is present a lot of the time but to varying degrees.
Cognitive Impairment:This was something that took me a while to realize. At first it seemed like I was forgetting names and appointments more than normal, but I'm a pretty forgetful person to begin with so I thought maybe it was my imagination. When I started making major mistakes at work, I knew something was different and very wrong. I'm the manager of a small hotel and normally very detail oriented and precise. After a few occasions where guests called the hotel, claimed they had spoken to me and I had no recollection of the conversation, I really started to worry. One day I made so many mistakes and was so confused, that I called my employers and told them I needed to take a medical leave. Sometimes when I'm really in a "fog" I have a hard time following a simple conversation.