In the world of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, there are crashes and there are crashes. Some lift within an hour. Some linger or deepen for days, weeks, months. Years.
No telling in the beginning whether it will be hard or mild, short or long. So each downturn needs to be treated with care, like the potential plague it is.
I'll try to describe my experience with my own personal coven of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) symptoms when they begin to swarm.
1. Brain fog
Though "brain fog" is the term usually employed for this, really, "fog" is not an accurate description. That sounds ... quiet ... restful ... or at least blank.
What I get isn't foggy. It's neither quiet nor restful. And it certainly isn't blank. It's a kaleidoscope of images and thought fragments jitterbugging and flickering through my head.
Can't finish the thought I started. Can't remember the beginning of the thought I just started ...
Not just dizziness, I've discovered. Vertigo is a hallucination of the inner ear. The body's messaging systems are confused.
I've tasted many flavors of vertigo. When the room starts lurching, that's vertigo. When I feel like my head's going to roll off, that's vertigo too. When I can't tell if I'm going to bump into the wall, and have to plant my feet to keep from swaying, I am havin' some vertigo.
"Paresthesia" is the fancy name for the buzzing, vibrating, numbness, tingling, inner tremor, and other bizarre physical sensations. Mostly it's in my arms, hands, face and head. When it's very bad it spreads to my legs and feet.
4. Breathing problems
I'll find myself panting and gasping for air. More delicate, but no less distressing, is the silent whistle, air blowing out from between "o" -shaped lips. Or then there's the one my husband says sounds like a sigh. But it's not a sigh. It is a frequent, extended expulsion of air from my lungs, trying, I guess, to get more carbon dioxide out and make room for more oxygen to get in.
5. Orthostatic intolerance
That Gotta Fall Down Right NOW feeling.