Welcome to


The Board Game for the Whole Family!

LIVING HELL is an exciting game of many mysteries and challenges that are virtually unbelievable! Once you've begun playing, you'll be seized with a sense of wonder as to how you may ever get out!

As fantastic as this game may seem, it is actually based medical facts that have been observed, although not yet confirmed, by a battery of double-blind placebo controlled trials that will be published in a peer-reviewed journal in about five, ten, or fifteen years -- if they are accepted after their final review.

If you are reading this only for the humor, then
jump down to the Description of the Squares


A player's piece moves from square to square on the board. For each square there is a stack of cards, each with a letter designation. Roll the dice, and their sum determines the letter of the card that you must choose. Follow the instructions on the card. The game is arranged so that the square that is visited most often will be Symptom Hell, and it is difficult to reach the Land of Remission or the Land of the Living.

Lay-out of the Board:

 |   ENTRY    |       ___________        _____________
 |Always Tired|      |DOCTOR HELL|------|BENEFITS HELL|
 --------------\      -----------        -------------
                \    /      \          /         \
                    /        \        /            \
       ____________/__      __\___________      ____\__________
       ---------------      --------------      ---------------
                \               /        \        /
                 \             /          \      /
             _____\___________/_           \____/____       \
             |LAND OF REMISSION|-----------|JOB HELL|        \
             -------------------           ----------         \
                                                         |   EXIT    |
                                                         |Land of the|
                                                         |   Living  |

When it is your turn, you go to your next step in accordance with the various possible rolls of the dice as follows:

 7, 11 or doubles -                 alternative A

 3, 5 or 9 -                        alternative B

 Other combinations higher than 7 - alternative C

 Other combinations lower than 7 -  alternative D

Start at ENTRY: Always Tired. Roll the dice and, in accordance with the scheme above, go to one of:

[ A ] -- Symptom Hell

[ B ] -- Doctor Hell

[ C ] -- Job Hell

[ D ] -- Personal Hell

Description of the Squares

(See the rules above)

     Symptom Hell      Doctor Hell    Personal Hell

       Job Hell       Benefits Hell   Advocacy Hell


[ A ] Your diagnosis: 'probably' depression. Prescription is 90 days of Prozac, psychotherapy, and heavy work-outs at a health club. You can choose: follow the prescription and go to Symptom Hell; OR remain here in Doctor Hell.

[ B ] Your doc admits he's baffled, but refuses to refer you elsewhere. He just feels like keeping you as "his" patient. Lose one turn.

[ C ] A doc you're considering says he "knows all about" CFS, but he insists on making love to your spouse. Your choices: acquiesce and go to Personal Hell, OR remain in Doctor Hell.

[ D ] You've found a doc who is actually familiar with CFS and you follow his treatments. Roll the dice again. If you get 7 or 11, jump to the Land of Remission; OTHERWISE, go to any square other than the Land of Remission (Sympton Hell, Benefits Hell, Advocacy Hell, Job Hell, or Personal Hell).


[ A ] You explore the wonders of Migraine. Lose a turn, and then choose any square as your next step except "Land of Remission" (Sympton Hell, Doctor Hell, Benefits Hell, Advocacy Hell, Job Hell, or Personal Hell).

[ B ] You wake up and it's next week. Lose a turn.

[ C ] Brain fog sets in. Choose any square as your next step except "Land of Remission" (Sympton Hell, Doctor Hell, Benefits Hell, Advocacy Hell, Job Hell, or Personal Hell).

[ D ] Pain surges forward. Go to Doctor Hell.


[ A ] You had switched to part time work in order save your job for when you "get better". But now you're sicker and you may be fired. And now you find out that since you are now a part time employee, you no longer qualify for a disability benefit that you can live on. Go to Personal Hell).

[ B ] You ask your doc to support your disability application, but he refuses, explaining that "the CFS diagnosis I had given you was for *you*, NOT for the benefits office". (?) Your choices: go to Symptom Hell Symptom Hell or to Doctor Hell.

[ C ] Your disability application is turned down again. Lose a turn.

[ D ] Your disability forms have been in process for so long that you ask the staff at the benefits office to sign an affidavit in support of the application you've sent to the United Nations that you be accorded refugee status. The benefits office people do not see the humor. You may roll the dice again.


[ A ] Your boss needs a medical note from you to explain your lateness and productivity problems, but your doc says that your "depression" should have been cured by now, so no medical note. Go to Doctor Hell.

[ B ] You see your boss privately and explain that your illness requires you to avoid stress. Your boss explains that this job IS stress, and promptly doubles your assignments. Go to Symptom Hell.

[ C ] Your boss won't write in support of your disability application unless you have a medical note, but your doctor won't consider writing a medical note unless he sees documentation of work problems from your boss. Catch-22. Lose a turn.

[ D ] Your health falls to pieces and you're threatened with losing your job. Go to Benefits Hell.


[ A ] Your lover reads somehwere that CFS is contagious, and becomes distant. Lose a turn.

[ B ] You meet a very interesting person of the attractive sex who pointedly asks you what you do for a living. You very slowly contemplate that inquiry as though it were a Great Philosophical Question. Then after a while you notice that their ride has come and whisked them away. Lose a turn.

[ C ] At a holiday gathering, your uncle seems to ask very sincerely about your health condition. You give a detailed answer and then he asks, as though you hadn't said anything, "So -- have you found a job yet?" Lose a turn.

[ D ] Your mom insists that since you're "not doing much anyway", you should do all the shopping and cooking for the whole family every day from now on. Stress reaction. Go to Symptom Hell.


[ A ] You call in to your local newspaper's health editor to request that they run an article about CFS. You get a return call from their secretary who says she was instructed to tell you that if you're looking for information, you should obtain the government "CFS Facts" booklet from "the CDC -- they know all about it". Choose any square as your next step except "Land of Remission" (Sympton Hell, Doctor Hell, Benefits Hell, Advocacy Hell, Job Hell, or Personal Hell).

[ B ] You write 28 letters for the May 12 campaign and feel very proud. But then you relapse. Go to Symptom Hell Symptom Hell.

[ C ] For the upcoming public meeting of the government commitee that is responsible for CFS issues, you prepare your own statement of recommendations that you will present to the committee. At the committee meeting, just before your turn comes up the CDC's Dr. William Reeves prattles on for 10 long minutes about how the *public* is a fault for not understanding the alleged 'fine accomplishments' of the CDC on CFS issues. Although you are usually a calm person, you become filled with "CFIDS rage" and shout down Dr. Reeves, demanding to know how his years of avoiding public interaction and accountability can square with the his claim that it is the public who is at fault. Before Reeves might respond, the committee's chairman (who is the U.S. Secretary for Health) gavels you out of order and moves on with the meeting. Lose a turn.

[ D ] You plead with a wide variety of government health officials to change the name of the disease, and specifically to at least drop the "F" word (fatigue) from the current name. You explain that the word "fatigue", coupled with misimpressions about an alleged psychiatric origin of the illness by doctors, employers and the general public, makes life doubly and unnecessarily troublesome for those who have this severe and misunderstood illness. The officials reply that "fatigue" is a well known medical term which everyone understands, and so there's no need to change the name. Lose a turn.


[ A ] After feeling "good" for two weeks, you decide you're all better. You get accepted for a good job in your field, you sign up for two college courses, and you buy a condo. On your 2nd day at your new job, you have a major relapse. Lose a turn, and then go to Job Hell.

[ B ] You do better for a time, but then you suspect your mind might be getting foggy. One morning while in the shower, you kind of 'awaken' and realize that you've been washing the same body parts for the 3rd time. (A confirming clue.) Go to Doctor Hell.

[ C ] Following an irresistable impulse, you dress up (or down, as the case might be) and to go to the Metallica Reunion rock concert. You chug a case of beer and dance in the aisles for hours, right by the giant guitar amplifiers. Surprise: major relapse. Go to Symptom Hell.

[ D ] You go to a mountain retreat and read the books by William Collinge and Kat Duff, study David Carradine's Tai Chi video, and practise meditation. You re-align your personality and find yourself at one with the world. Your remission is complete, and you EXIT to the Land of the Living.

The Land of the Living

You call up your old boss and say "I've reached down and I've gotten a grip. I'm ready once again to shuffle papers with the best of them. Please hand me that LTL005 form, and heck -- I'll generate a productivity record that you'll *really* be able to memo the Quality Task Force about!"

God's in His heaven, an all's right with the world!

Also note these other important CFS information resources:

[CFS / M.E. Information page]    [CFS Frequently Asked Questions]    [CFS Quick Index]

This page is maintained by Roger Burns of Washington, D.C.
E-mail: cfs-news-request@maelstrom.stjohns.edu