Showing posts from January, 2011

Chronic fatigue pacing part 1 - why is pacing difficult?

First and foremost, a strong will is necessary. Luckily, feeling dreadful all the time was incentive enough to make me want to do it. Here are some other points to note:

- It requires effort to plan a routine and effort is in short supply when you're wiped out.
- It's boring. Sticking to a routine lacks excitement.
- It's frustrating. You have to deny yourself constantly, even when you are feeling bouncy.
- Guilt. If you don't stick to your routine you feel bad and we don't want that.
- More guilt. Pacing is restrictive for you and the people you live with. They don't generally enjoy it.
- It's a struggle. Trying to rest even if you don't want to rest is a bit of a tussle.
- Resting is difficult. Unless you're trained in the arts of resting and meditation, having a lot of resting time is difficult to fill. How do you rest?
- It's a long term thing. It takes a long, long, long time to get lasting results.
- You're trying to alter your habitual mind. I…

Chronic fatigue and pacing - introduction

I've decided to do a series of posts on pacing since I seem to have a lot of notes about my experiences with pacing and what I've been doing with it over the last few years. If you see a chronic fatigue specialist in the UK, or even a therapist who knows what chronic fatigue is, they'll recommend you do pacing. It's also one of the NICE guidelines for treating the condition. If you have another condition, such as lupus, that has a massive fatigue component, I would recommend pacing to help with that. I'll be writing from personal experience and it will be informed with my love of psychology, science, behaviour therapy, life and Buddhism (a laymans form of Buddhism).

So what is pacing? Pacing means planning your day so that you have plenty of rest between any activity you choose to do. In short, you do an activity, rest, do an activity, rest, and so on. It also means not doing activities that are beyond your abilities, i.e. not planning a 10k run (as if!) followed by…

The persistent desire for comfort

Here's a thing a noticed when I had a tooth go wrong. Having toothache was annoying and I wanted the pain to go away, but I also noticed that there was an implicit assumption in my mind that I should always be comfortable. When something unpleasant arises in my mind, there is this instant need to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling and return to a state of comfort. I assume that I should be comfortable all the time.

Then I realised that this can never be true. There is always something arising that takes me away from this place of comfort, especially given the constant problems of illness. So then, what next? Perhaps comfort is not all it's cracked up to be, perhaps there is something more satisfying. Who knows?

From a Buddhist perspective, this is an example of greed, aversion and delusion all operating merrily away in my mind. It's easy to be caught by these things, but it's nice to know that Buddhism has a vast toolkit of techniques to pick through the details.