...I've been having my own bear of a time. I got dog sick 2 1/2 years ago - systemic candida and the first year it almost wiped me out. I was so sick I couldn't even concentrate, the pain level was horrendous (the whole body but esp the rib cartilage which was breaking apart) and the flaming docs told me to see a psychiatrist cuz the blood work was coming back pretty good ... and not one, and I saw like 35-40 docs, recommended vitamin testing, which eventually proved extremely low vitamins A & D. Osteomalacia, aka adult rickets, fit(s) my bone and muscle syptoms perfectly! And I had seen close to 8 bone doctors and they were so focused on X-rays and non-vitamin testing that they could not give any kind of diagnosis or even a hint! Disgusting!). Long story but now I'm my own doc and am slowly slowly improving. I've learned tons about disease and diet control, and I eat only food that I prepare .... and I feel great! The down-side of all this is that my traveling days are temporarily at a halt cuz I'm so dependent on simple foods that are both gluten free and extremely low glycemic and also only those I prepare. I refuse to let that get me down. I MUST think positive .... and so I just focus on: I feel great! BTW, my favorite word is PROACTIVE :)My friend responded in a way that I had felt when I was so sick the first year. She was so confused at her symptoms, and so missing her healthy youth. We're the same age and we're both too young to be so sick. She told me she's been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and these are complicated by spinal and head injuries from a car accident in which she was seriously rear-ended. All her problems were results of outside forces and she's depressed and feels helpless about the tailspin of her former good health. I do know from experience that pain can be managed by a careful diet. I've been managing my systemic candida difficulties with a strict, strict anti-candida diet. People might deride me for having a very limited food selection and say that "I'm not living", but my answer is to smile cheerfully ... and keep toting my lunch to restaurants to eat with friends (or just sitting with friends but not eating). To eat the wrong food is NOT an option. It just plain makes be sick -- first grumpy, then depressed and then the aches start. And so my reply is, "I AM living, and I'm living very well MY WAY."
I'm sooo glad I decided to respond to your comment! My studies on health have taught me tons about fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, which btw are related. Careful eating for those is essential for improvement. (MDs dispute it but they were trained by pharmaceutical companies to believe in pharmaceutics, surgery and other invasive procedures to heal - what a load of crap, excuse my language, but I've heard all sorts of nonsense from them concerning my "problems" and early on I even tried some of their treatments cuz I was desperate but I had some horrible reactions to some of their chemical-drugs ... well, hello, bacteria in general and especially candida love chemicals!).
Anyway, let me explain about what I've discovered to be big causes of fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, celiacs disease and the other autoimmune diseases: bacteria. [It seems diff kinds of bacteria or at least bacteria located in diff places in the GI tract are one of the big sources of autoimmune health evils. Nutritional imbalance is another, but then, bacteria overgrowth causes nutritional imbalances, and vice versa ... (I wish someone would do some specific research on this particular disease-bacteria link!) I've only found data on three specific diseases related to three specific bacteria so far: Crohn's disease, a low grade fever caused by a can't-remember bacteria in the lower GI tract, Grave's disease which I was diagnosed with 6 yrs ago & forgot the bacteria also but it's definitely one of many forerunners for systemic candida, and Parkinson's disease which my dad has & is often caused by h.pylori]. The overgrowth of bacteria can come gradually or in my case just explode suddenly within the body.
I'm not totally sure my bacteria IS the much talked about candida albicans (there are about 17 kinds of candida) since it's self-diagnosis and when I've pointedly asked 3 docs in diff fields and who knew my long sick-history, they all told me in quick reply and without any testing "you don't have candida". I knew that doctors don't regard candida as a problem since everyone from about 6 months old has the bacteria (although not out of control). But total disregard to it causing a problem?! Ergh! So much for getting a specific test for diagnosis!!! Docs have been absolutely no help! Many docs also told me I was too food focused and to stop talking about food - hello, that's where my symptoms were coming from!!! So, it took me 1 1/2 years to systematically self-diagnose myself, and when I put myself on the strictest of candida diets b/c any kind of sugar, even small amounts of fruit sugar or root vegie sugar, set me off, within three days my pain was minimized and I could start thinking more clearly!!! Wow, the brain fog was clearing up!!!
Anyway, according to my research bacteria is what's causing the auto-immune disease(s). So to combat the bacteria, you have to stop feeding it, but of course you need to feed yourself or you'll die so you have to nourish yourself on the simplest, lowest-glycemic foods and foods that are not glutinous to your compromised GI track. You have to also eliminate all processed foods - canned, packaged, instant - and eat whole foods and vegetarian foods (meats have hormones out the wahzoo and dairy should never enter the mouth as its a known bacteria carrier).
I hear you when you say you just have no energy to do much and it's easier to go out to eat. I spent about 3 months barely dragging myself home after classes and lying on the floor. Thank goodness for my cat. She knew something was terribly wrong and after I'd lay there for a couple of hours, she'd scream in my face and I had to take care of her ... she was what kept me moving. It was awful cooking during that time and I had almost no ability to plan my classes - 3 hours to plan a lesson that would formerly take me 10 minutes! I got a crock pot and would put beans (only low-glycemic beans: black beans, lentils and chick peas) in it in the a.m. and add some vegies when I got home - eat 1-2 hours later and pack leftovers for lunch the next day. Rice cooker was good for brown rice, 율무 (job's tears), quinoa, sorghum grain, buckwheat and occasionally millet (no barley, oats, wheat, rye or triticale). Breakfast was made in the blender with a massive pile of green vegies (no root vegies cuz of starch, no tomatoes cuz acidic, no peppers cuz of inflammatory capsicum, no squash except zucchini cuz of starch and higher glycemic index ... no fruit for months but 1/2 a green apple later on). Anyway, my kitchen appliances saved me working in the kitchen.
Honestly, R~~, I think you should try the diet for 1 week, and if you feel a difference in the pain level and clearer in the head, you know you're onto something helpful. You have to remember, though, that you have to be strict during that week (no gum, candy, coffee or tea except peppermint tea. It's best not to eat between meals; just give your GI track time to clean out and if you continue with the diet it can heal, at least to some degree.) The first week was hard cuz I didn't really know what I was doing ... had to keep getting stricter and learn by trial and error [not much on the internet for the strict candida diet]. But it's been 10 1/2 months for me ... and like I said: I feel great! BTW, my symptoms before were wild beyond what I mentioned earlier - had bad symptoms for multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They're closely related among the autoimmune diseases as is fibromyalgia. Those symptoms just niggle a bit, but with the diet, I am in control; without the diet, they are in control.
... Another secret I've discovered is to stay focused on others and not yourself. Wow, cuz other people's probs are HUGE in comparison with mine ... haha, but then you know, I like my word: PROACTIVE!