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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: 10 Things People Misunderstand About This Fatigue

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
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I think we can all agree that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a stupid name for an incapacitating illness. I think we can also agree that it is exceedingly misleading to the casual observer.

Here are ten things that are often misunderstood about the "fatigue" of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

1. This Fatigue is not the same as tired.
I'm not tired. I run out of energy, but it doesn't make me drowsy. It floods my nervous system with static and it makes me bump into things. It distorts my vision, erases my memory and renders me incapable of speech or understanding, but it doesn't make me tired.

Tired is a sweet curled-up kitten by the fireplace. CFS "fatigue" is a juggernaut dragging me in a free-fall through empty space, while everything I love goes to smash.

2. This Fatigue is not the same as lack of energy.
When CFS "fatigue" hits, it can leave me unable to get up off my face. I may not be able to stand up for more than a minute or two before feeling like I'll fall down.

Then it's time to find a flat surface like a bed and become limp while trying to get enough air, and maybe make the shaking stop.

3. This Fatigue is not the same as sleepy.
For years, when I was my sickest, I never got sleepy though I had to sleep most of the day. Instead, I knew it was time to go to bed because I was vibrating.

My face was numb. My hands and fingers were too clunky to operate. My arms, hands and face tingled and burned. I couldn't fathom what anyone said, and couldn't think a thought to completion.

4. This Fatigue is not the same as depressed.
When I was very ill, I spent far more time angry and frustrated than I ever did depressed. Because I WANTED to do things. I wanted to see people and be involved in life outside my bedroom.

But I couldn't. Because CFS "fatigue" had stolen my ability to move, think, and communicate.

5. This Fatigue is not the same as exhausted.
We're going way beyond the normal experience of exhaustion here. CFS "fatigue" makes breathing a full-time job. It causes me to gasp for air, and it leaves me unable to lift my head.

Add a Comment20 Comments

orangebricks

Someone with fatigue should get a complete evaluation to rule out causes for their fatigue. Including tests for anemia, thyroid, infections and autoimmune. An integrative approach addressing lifestyle, diet, exercise and stress. A whole food antinflammatory diet, exercise and stress reducing techinigues are a good place to start. Supplements and medications may also be indicated.

You can consult more doctors here:
https://www.healthtap.com/doctor_answers/chronic-fatigue-syndrome

May 5, 2012 - 5:14pm
Jody Smith HERWriter

Hi Shari,

You'll find information that might be helpful on my website, www.ncubator.ca that goes into a bit of detail.

Essentially, my naturopath has focused on removing toxins and building up my immune system and detoxifying my liver.

Avoiding foods I'm sensitive to and staying on a low carb diet has helped. Natural anti-virals, liquid chlorophyll, vitamins B12 and D, omega-3 oil, adaptogens, whey protein powder, non-hydrogenated coconut oil, have all made a difference over time.

I take no drugs nor want to. I get acupuncture once a month. I try to get some rest every couple of hours. When I was very sick, I spent a good deal of my time in bed, resting or sleeping.

It has been a slow process and I'm not 100 percent but I'm able to work, freelancing for 20 - 30 hours a week, can cook meals, spend time with my family and go out for very short trips. Light years ahead of where I was 4 yrs ago.

I hope you find something useful here or on my site.

Jody

April 26, 2011 - 7:05am
Sharingme2

I see that you answered my question above...sorry I missed it.

Thanks again!
Shari

April 26, 2011 - 6:58am
Sharingme2

Hi Jody,

Thank you for writing this article. I saw a link to it on FB yesterday and put it on my profile. One person responded that she read it and found it so interesting bc she never understood CFS before and this helped her. I have been dealing with CFS for most of my life, but most debilitatingly in the past 15 years - with varying levels of recovery and relapse. I was curious when you said you found a treatment that was very helpful for you. Can you say anymore about what the treatment is? Of course we are all always looking for something to help.

Thanks,
Shari

April 26, 2011 - 6:56am
Jody Smith HERWriter

Hi buttersgal,

In general, it's been a matter of getting rid of toxins and reducing the load on my immune system, avoiding foods I have senstivities to like grains and many carbs ... and building health with foods that nourish me (in my case, meat, vegetables and healthy fats) as well as supplements like omega-3 fish oil, Vit. B12 and Vit. D, whey protein powder, liquid chlorophyll, coconut oil, and natural antivirals.

I get acupuncture once a month. I pace myself by taking frequent breaks through the day. Avoiding doing anything for more than 2 hrs at a time, then have a rest.

This is an overview, I'm sure I've left stuff out. But my website http://www.ncubator.ca has many articles that touch on my recovery process.

February 26, 2011 - 1:58pm
buttersgal

Oh my goodness. I felt like as I am lying in bed right now thst mst of these words were coming right out of my mouth. Please, what made you feel better as you stated ?

February 26, 2011 - 9:22am
Jody Smith HERWriter

Thanks, Dreams.

I appreciate your encouragement. :)

November 19, 2010 - 1:46pm
DreamsAtStake

Excellent work, Jody -- as always.

November 19, 2010 - 1:28pm
Jody Smith HERWriter

I think sending it to people is a fine idea.

And while perhaps your dog wouldn't read it, you could always read it to your dog. :)

In fact, I'd bet your dog would understand it better than anyone, living with you and seeing what you go through. Thank God for loyal pets who never walk away. (Well, maybe the cats do that. :)

November 1, 2010 - 5:14am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Thanks Jody this is great.Very well done.I don' think anyone in my bedroom( my dog) would read it though.I would love to send it to about 20 people I know however.

November 1, 2010 - 2:56am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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