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People who are ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are severely taxed in the energy department. Some have about enough energy to breathe and that's about it. Others are in somewhat better fettle than this.
But even the most hearty have a small energy package to work with and this must be considered at every turn by the people in their lives.
If you know someone with CFS and want to be there for them, you must be aware of some things if you want to help and not harm.
Visits are a double-edged sword for many with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. We are often a lonely bunch, and long for some company. But social experiments must be carefully designed.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to visit a person who has CFS.
1. Be prepared to keep it short.
Really short, like maybe twenty minutes. And even with that in mind, be on the lookout for earlier indications of exhaustion.
If their head begins to droop, your time is running out. If they seem dazed, and not comprehending your words, it is time to smile and embrace and say 'bye for now.
2. Avoid numbers.
For some reason, number cogitation creates a mental vacuum in short order for someone with CFS.
Even people who used to be great in math may become stumped by things like how much something cost, or how many miles there are from Point A to Point B. You can derail a visit abruptly with no hope for repair if you venture into the world of numbers.
3. Make it count.
Most people can wander into assorted small talk that doesn't really interest the listener, and still be able to have a successful visit. But these CFS folks have a fragile energy stream.
Don't talk about people they don't know or places they aren't familiar with. When you've only got a few minutes of real comprehension time, don't waste it.
4. Make it personal.
People in the CFS ghetto are lonely. Big time. They feel invisible to the rest of the world. Your visit should counter, not contribute to, more of the same.
If you are going to use up their energy, make it about them. All about them.