The name "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" gives the erroneous idea that someone with CFS has had a long, wet weekend. Aren't we all tired? Surely they just need to suck it up like the rest of us. Don't the same rules apply to CFS as for the rest of the weary world?
Nope and nope.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not a simple disease with a simple solution. In reality, this syndrome is a multi-system breakdown of epic proportions.
Nobody knows where the cycle originates. Allergies? Environmental toxins? A genetic predisposition? We may be dealing with allergies and toxins and frail genetics, but lots of people do so, without getting CFS.
For many of us, Day One of this nightmare came after the onset of a bad cold or flu. For others there is no virus to point to, no Day One. Their symptoms have increased gradually over time. This is a designer illness. Whatever the root cause, it dresses in different garb for every CFS sufferer.
Though we don't know the Why, we do know the What. And that What cascades into a bewildering pool of systems breaking down.
What systems are not affected by CFS? I can't think of one. Central nervous system, immune system, endocrine system, gastrointestinal system, cardiovascular system, lymphatic system, all take a profound hit.
In the central nervous system, breakdown is so extensive, and still so unexplored, that I can only paint a partial picture here. Messaging from brain to body in all respects goes haywire. Thoughts are disjointed and cannot land or form themselves fully.
The cilia (tiny cellular hairs) in our ears are not all picking up the same information and we get vertigo, which disorients us, as conflicting messages distort our sense of positioning in the world.
Orthostatic Intolerance is an umbrella term for the inability to stay upright. A faulty nervous system causes a drop in blood pressure when standing and a need to sit or lie down.
Our vision gets fractured. We can see, but what we see seems ... out of time somehow, broken up, blurry.
Parasthesia, the spooky swirling sensations, numbness and tingling, and sharp sparks of pain that come and go, are nervous system misfires.