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Ten Ways I Prevent Chronic Fatigue Syndrome From Stealing My Mental Health

By HERWriter
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome related image Photo: Pixabay

When your body betrays you with a long-term disabling illness like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, it's important to guard your mental health. Some days it's all you have.

Here are ten strategies that have helped me shore up my mental health with hope, over the course of my marathon with CFS.

1) When walking from my bedroom to the kitchen leaves me exhausted and panting for breath ...

I take time to rest as soon as I can. I sit down or lie down, and wait for a little homeostasis to come.

And while I am resting, I picture myself striding with confidence, strength and balance out of CFS and into a healthy future.

2) When trying to connect Thought A to Thought B leaves me floundering in a CFS fog ...

I take the hint that my brain isn't equal to the task at hand and yield to it. If it's time to eat something and refuel the mental faculties that way, I grab some protein. I get away from too much stimuli, sights, sounds, too much activity around me.

I tell myself it's alright to fall back and regroup later. And I await the day when the elevator once again goes all the way to the top floor.

3) When neurological symptoms make me feel like I am vibrating and sparking ...

I listen to my body's message that it's weak and worn out, and rest as much as I can. And while I am doing this, I picture the healthy, full life that is still my expectation for the future.

4) When vertigo keeps me plastered to the back of my chair ...

I close my eyes and surrender to the need to rest and be still. But I will also try to picture myself whole and free. And I focus on my expectation that this wholeness will be my future, and replace my present reality.

5) When I am sitting looking out my bedroom window, hemmed in by the isolation that is the silent partner of CFS ...

I think of my family, my friends and CFS support network online. I remind myself that I'm not really alone. Friends are just a click away. If I'm too tired to click, I take comfort in the knowledge that they will still be there for me when I am up to it.

6) When I am tempted to give in to the despair that nips at the heels of a chronic illness ...

I rise up inside with hope and declare that I am a force to be reckoned with.

7) When I look at the impossible logistics of my life ...

when I grapple with the day to day responsibilities, the question mark of how to get back into my community again, and am stymied by it all ...

I put aside the question of How, and simply, stubbornly demand that It Will.

8) When I look at the past ten years with CFS and feel afraid that the next ten will be the same or worse ...

I remind myself that the chemicals released in my body from despair will tear me down, while the chemicals released when I dare to hope and think of good things help build me up. And I do my best to take the high road in my thoughts, at least for awhile.

9) When I am overcome with grief ...

... I weep.

10) When I have been whipped for the day — or week, or month — and been unable to see myself the victor after all ...

I forgive myself for losing heart, and know that I will find it again. CFS is a tough unrelenting adversary and there is no shame in having lost many battles. The goal is to regather my courage and persevere.

And ... sooner or later ... I do. So up I get once more for another round, with the determined expectation that ultimately, I will win.

I spent 15 years losing the battle against CFS. Three years ago, I found treatment that worked for me, and now I am making a comeback.



Add a Comment8 Comments


What a startlingly honest and poignant post. As always, you make me grateful for what I have, and determined to either beat or wait out the things that want to bring me down. Thank you, so much.

January 28, 2010 - 9:28am
HERWriter (reply to Diane Porter)


I'm glad to hear your response. Gratitude and determination to win, are a great combination. Thanks. :-)

January 28, 2010 - 8:11pm

Thank you all for writing your comments. I'm always glad to read every one of them.

We might be weak but we are still strong, and there is always hope for something better, if we can grab hold of the hope and not let go. Or at least not let go for too long at a time, and then get back on. :-)

Cheryl, I am a Libra too, and while we should be balanced I think sometimes we get so caught up in trying to be fair and balanced we spend a fair amount of time tipping too far one way, then another. At least, that is me. :-)

You must forgive yourself. It's the only reality-based thing you can do. :-) Nobody knows how best to handle this beast, why should you berate yourself for not knowing either? We can only make our best guesses, follow our gut, listen to our intuition, our inspiration, ... and take a chance, one direction or another.

You have a huge burden you are carrying, lighten the load in this one way. Be gentle with yourself. :-)

January 27, 2010 - 11:52am

made it :), I am almost in a constant state of being crashed, it seems now just how severe it is & I keep telling myself I am going to pull out again and have some improvement, often I don't believe it anymore, but then my body forcing me to lay flat and turn off all stimuli, light , sound, touch, does the job, errr, some of it. enough to finally get me for periods of time to the living-room couch again, and not so painfully to the kitchen & bathroom although there are times I have been unable to do that.

One word really struck me, and it affected my body and CNS, etc, profoundly overwhelming "VIBRATING" from the inside out, like my cells were rubbing against each other with no fluid in-between to cushion them, creating this phenomena. My CNS went throu the roof and the slightest effort to do something made my whole body and CNS vibrate more unnoticeable to any one else of course, meditating was impossible for years. I could feel the energy come out my finger tips unseen, the more I pushed myself the worse it got so did the ME/CFS. I felt I may not be able to live in my body any more with the rest of the symptoms, and that I was going crazy, my eye site was exaggerated, sound, noise, light. I don't see ME/CFS SURVIVORS mention it often, many are not affected this way, for me it lessened after menopause, so did my FM but still remains.

I work with meditation cd's now when I can tolerate them, and positive affirmation journaling , I go in spurts of on/off, and get on that horse again.

Family and friend support 'real life", many ME/CFS survivors do not have that and it makes it a much harder go, with that said when you are really bad off you don't want someone around.

Thank you for sharing and writing, the more than can about this illnesses the more awareness it will bring, and hopefully, as in this article here, some comfort and help to those that read it, that may be able to glean from it, something that will help them.

I find forgiving myself a trap I get into, that after all these years of having ME/CFS, 1991, that I didn't push myself hard enough, or I pushed myself too much. I am a libra, you would think I had balance written across my heart and forehead, unfortunately it has always been a struggle for me and I almost always push boundaries testing.

January 27, 2010 - 4:34am
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks Jody!

I really like #'s 6 and 8. Good advice, thanks!

January 26, 2010 - 8:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks Jody! Please keep writing!

January 26, 2010 - 8:39pm
EmpowHER Guest

Great post. Thanks so much for such an accurate description of the experience of CFS and for the positive thoughts that you bring.

January 26, 2010 - 7:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

Jody...you and I, and many others, may lose the odd battle, but we are determined, cuz, to ultimately win this WAR!! Another fantastic article that once again hits the nail smack on the head!

January 26, 2010 - 5:15pm
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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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