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Overcoming chronic fatigue

I read this article with interest:

I went down with chronic fatigue 10 years ago and I now consider myself "recovered", although I use that term optimistically - I am now able to function like a normal person if I am careful and I don't do too much. So then, how did I recover?

- doctors did not help
- CBT did not help in the form it was given
- revising my expectations about my situation did help (this required an extremely honest occupational therapist) although it did not help my condition
- exercise did not help, but it became a useful measure of my recovery over time
- supplements and diets did not really help, other than it would a healthy person
- relaxation and mind control did help with day to day symptoms
- time and the healing process was the main thing

When you go down with chronic fatigue (a bit of flu, you are unable to function like a normal human being in any sense of the word for a year or two afterwards), your body has experienced an extremely serious illness - I thought I was going to die. In times gone past, if you experienced an extremely serious illness then you would expect to spend several years in recovery and, by and by, people would understand. These days however we expect an instant fix and some pills to get us right back on track. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of how the body works - it has processes that occur over years and it remembers everything we do to it. So we should not be surprised then that it takes many years for the body to recover - this is what chronic fatigue is: managing the symptoms as the body slowly recovers from some massive autoimmune event. Exercise and the other things have their part to play in this longer picture, when you are ready for it, but, essentially, there is nothing we can do other than stay positive.

I'm not going to go into the other aspect of this illness which is the havoc it visits on your working life and your family life, and the sense of 'what the **** do I do now, now I'm at the other end. Our modern world does not really accommodate us for a massively long illness and the people in it are generally not capable of understanding of what illness means.


Pali said…
Glad to hear that you are recovered! You may find the beginning of this very interesting:
Lightfoot said…
Thanks for this. I like the idea of turning off illness and turning off time just by flicking a mind switch. Indeed there is this idea that there is no illness at all, which is clearly bonkers, but a deep look finds a place within us that is unaffected by illness. I went to meet a highly developed monk once who overcame his life threatening illness, but it turned out he was very tired a lot of the time and he spent many hours a day resting to recover. Clearly there is more to this than we would hope to believe

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