I had a spectacularly awful day yesterday. Not only did Australia get kicked out of the world cup, but I felt headachey and awful all day. Spent most of it in bed, either asleep or attempting to sleep. Life just didn’t feel worth living yesterday, and yet I couldn’t work out any strategy for escaping it that wouldn’t cause tremendous pain for my friends and family. The best I could come up with was to exile myself somewhere until everyone had forgotten that I existed, then just kill myself. Even that wouldn’t work though, and god I’d be lonely in the meantime. And there’s a small matter of things that I’d like to achieve before I go.
Fortunately today I feel marginally better. I generally do after spending a day in bed. I feel kind of washed out, like I used to feel the day after a migraine. Don’t get them any more, thankfully. I spent most of today researching toxic mould, to see whether my home environment could be poisoning me. I had a chat with a very helpful lady from Mycologia in Australia, who seemed more interested in helping me than in taking my money. What I described didn’t sound like a mould problem to her, and she suggested I start by getting a HEPA vacuum before an expensive inspection. So I’m gonna give that a go. In the mean time, I’m gonna rest because my head is drifting into the twilight zone.
There’s some more research out confirming the association between XMRV and CFS. It’s sounding more plausible to me, although I’ve no idea how I would have picked up XMRV. I wonder if it’s possible to get tested for it, out here in far-flung Australia. Even if I was positive, there’s no recommended treatment yet… so for the time being, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing; which is basically getting on with my life instead of waiting around till I feel well.
I’m encouraged by the news that a friend from my CFS support group has joined a gym. I’ve been working out lightly with weights for a few days, and now that my arms don’t ache like buggery, I seem to be doing OK with the exercise. My insomnia lately has been pretty bad, and that’s been bugging me.
I recently realised that the way to make your dreams come true is to help others to make theirs come true, so I’m going to put more attention into that from now on. It also leaves me less time to focus on not-feeling-well. I still do the odd Stop-Stop-Stop from Gupta’s programme, and listen to the meditation CD occasionally but it’s been a couple of months since I did it hard-core. I’ve been using the Sedona Method release process more than Stop-Stop-Stop.
Tonight is my last night as President of my Toastmasters Club, which means I can focus on my speaking career instead of club leadership. I’m still battling with anxiety at times, but it seems to go away when I get some form of emotional release which is happening more and more often what with my acting classes, and when I’m totally preoccupied with something else. That means I actually feel less anxious when I’m public-speaking or performing, because I don’t have time to think about not feeling well! Weird.
Woke up this morning feeling depressed and washed out. “Unrefreshing sleep”, as they say. Well, I’ve never been a morning person so this is just more of the same. I think it was mainly about feeling overwhelmed and the zoned-out feeling in my head doesn’t help. I tried some anti-histamines yesterday to see if it did anything to my nasal congestion; but it did not. I also tried some Benadryl PE cough suppressant to try and help me get to sleep last night, and I think that helped a bit.
This afternoon I went to my men’s group, which I really enjoyed. There’s something about having a group of guys who don’t judge you; who accept you for who you are and where you’re at. I few years ago I would never have told anyone that I was depressed; the stigma would have been too great and I would have felt ashamed. But what do you know… everyone in the group has been depressed at one time or another. It’s normal. It’s natural. It’s not what you want, but it’s part of the whole experience of being human.
Meanwhile, I have big plans for the future, and I’m working towards them. For some time I’ve been working towards becoming a professional public speaker or comedian. I’m not exactly sure how it’s going to pan out, but I’ve got a few ideas for going forward. The main thing to deal with is my fear of failure. It’s unlikely that I’m going to hit the nail on the head first go, but I’m tired of feeling listless and like I’m not going anywhere. My fatigue is worst on the days when I have to get up in the mornings, but I cope reasonably well in the evenings. So evening gigs should be do-able. I need to keep reminding myself to be patient because it’s going to take some time to get the skills that I need and to do the networking that I need in order to get bookings. In the meantime, I’ll coach other people and pass on the communication skills that I’ve learned so far – They say that the way to fulfil your dreams is to help others fulfil theirs. Having a direction of some sort leaves me feeling more optimistic and less anxious than when I just have a vague plan and little real direction.
The last time a felt really well was back in March 2008, over two years ago. Ever since then, I’ve had these damn cold/flu-like symptoms. But about a year before that, I had similar symptoms for about 4 months. At the time, my psychologist suggested I join a local gym and start doing some muscle-building exercise to strengthen my immune system. It worked a treat: within about two weeks of starting regular exercise, I was back to 100% health. I kept it up for about a year, and only stopped going when I nearly passed out during a personal training session due to this fatigue illness.
For the last couple of years, every time I’ve exercised, I’ve had the dreaded post-exertional malaise; which is a fancy way of saying I’ve felt really dreadful the next day. I tried going dancing one night a week, but found I’d spend the whole next day (and sometimes more) in bed recovering; so although I loved dancing, eventually I gave it up. I decided that any exercise was bad news really; it seemed to do more harm than good.
But I can’t help remembering that last time I was frantically trying to get my health back, exercise did work. So I’ve decided to try an experiment. I’ve bought some dumbells, and started doing some bicep and tricep curls. I’m not going to do anything aerobic; just muscle-building work. I’ve gone back on the protein powder I used to use while I was at the gym too. If nothing else, having stronger arm muscles should give me a psychological boost since I’ll feel less weak. And who knows, maybe it’ll work some immune system magic.
I’m also trying a range of supplements, including ProBoost recommended on the Chronic Sore Throat blog comment thread. Aside from that, I’m focusing my efforts on developing my dream story-telling/speaking/comedy career, which I find sufficiently engaging that I don’t worry about my symptoms… I worry about my being successful at my career instead! I live in interesting times.
I’m adding a group of pages to my blog on how to deal with difficult emotions that arise as part and parcel of Chronic Fatigue. Check the Emotions drop-down menu for more details. Todays featured emotion is Shame. I’ll add more in the future, as inspiration arises.
Couldn’t get to sleep last night, so I stayed up late finishing off Richard Branson’s autobiography Losing My Virginity. I love the guy’s mindset; whatever he wants, he just goes after, seemingly without fear. Very inspiring.
Woke up this morning feeling quite tense and agitated. My cold/flu is gone, so I’m back to just feeling moderately lousy all the time. I had the dating workshop on the weekend, and found it quite stressful. Approaching women I’ve never met before and starting conversations with them is something I really want to master, but isn’t easy. I seem to do OK pushing myself at the time, but then feel the nervous energy hanging around a long time even days later. I felt a headache coming on as the last evening approached, and decided to bail, only to be talked around by my wing man… for which I ended up being grateful.
Everything I want to do with my life from here-on in seems to require overcoming some kind of fear or anxiety, and sometimes I’m in the mood, but today I’m not. I got up this morning and started pounding into my punching bag to try and release the nervous tension. That helped a bit.
Then things went further downhill when I put on my tape of the Australia vs Germany world cup match which was on at 4:30am local time… we got slaughtered 4:0. Damn!
Fortunately yesterday my old guitar friends got together for a jam, and I was able to go along. God it was good to see them again, and tell them my stories of what I’ve been up to at acting class, meditation retreats, etc. I love story-telling and making them all laugh. It reinforced that this is what I want to do career-wise, and helped motivate me towards the long road to get there.
One of the songs we played yesterday was Everybody Hurts by REM. It’s a beautiful song with poignant lyrics, and a really sweet arpeggio picking pattern. So I picked up my faithful guitar and started learning it… and the tears flowed freely. I seem to release emotions a lot better when I’m playing music. I feel a lot better now. I’m going back to play some more, but meanwhile you can listen to it here:
Happy long weekend Aussies!
I’ve been coughing up chunks of yellow phlegm from my lungs for the last couple of days, and I feel even more dreadful than normal. I think I have the ‘flu; for real, not just flu-like symptoms. I’ve basically been in bed since Tuesday evening. Skipped class Wednesday. Supposed to go out tonight, but that’s not going to be happening. Urgh. I feel dreadful… crawling off to the couch now…