Radio Program on Chronic Fatigue

Interesting program on local Sydney ABC radio this evening about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. One of the guests was former sufferer Leigh Hatcher. I didn’t learn a whole lot I didn’t previously know, but I wasn’t aware of Leigh’s CFS website, nor his forum for CFS sufferers.

In a bizarre quirk of fate, I listened to the audio version of Leigh’s book I’m Not Crazy I’m Just a Little Unwell while working out at the gym about 6 months before I succumbed to the illness. I had no particular interest in CFS at the time and felt absolutely fine myself, but there was a limited range of audio books available to borrow at my local library and I thought his story sounded interesting.

I now know way, way more about CFS than I ever wanted, and although I don’t spend much time learning more about the condition nowadays, it was interesting to hear the discussion on the radio. The doctor they interviewed talked quite a bit about immune system problems and food intolerances. I never noticed any change in my condition based on changes in my diet personally, but I guess it works for some people. The only thing that seems to work for me is resting and dealing with the emotional issues the illness (and life in general) throws up.

I seem to have the flu at the moment. It’s like my normal symptoms only a bit worse, but I can tell it’s different because the phlegm from my nose is chunky and browny-yellow, instead of the usual clear goop. And when I blow my nose, I’m blowing out blood. I guess I should have put a gross-out spoiler warning on this paragraph eh.

I figure when my flu goes I’ll be back to 60% or so, which is enough to pursue my writing/speaking career. To that end I’ve been spending a lot of time rebuilding my home website. I find if I’m doing something productive while I’m feeling ill, it’s a nice distraction and I get to move forward in life a bit. This is a bit of a change from my previous strategy of just resting passively while waiting to recover.

I’m also preparing for my Toastmasters club’s humorous speech contest on Wednesday night. Wish me luck!

Back home again

I just got back this evening from my retreat in the Hunter Valley. I stayed at the Youth Hostel for 3 nights while I did a bit of structural editing on the book I’ve been working on for several years.

Then I went to Path Of Love. Wow… what an amazing experience. Lots of catharsis and emotional healing work in such a short space of time. It was very different to the Vipassana Meditation Retreat I did earlier this year; I’ll write a more complete article about it once I’ve had more time for it to really integrate.

After that, I went back to the Youth Hostel for a couple of nights. Glad I did too, because I was way too tired to drive back home straight after Path Of Love… it was exhausting emotionally, physically, and probably spiritually too! The hostel was buzzing with about 20 women from a hen’s weekend, who’d taken over the kitchen and therefore decided it was easier to feed me than to get out of my way. Bring on the love I say!

This afternoon I went to a Toastmasters seminar, and practised the speech I want to use in the upcoming humorous speech competition. It’s good to see it finally coming together, on the third attempt.

I’m back to Acting class tomorrow, and working on rebuilding my blog to start building a list to market my book to. All very exciting, and a bit scary. Great Expectations.

Emotional Healing and The Future

Before I came down with chronic fatigue over 2 years ago, I was busy writing a book on emotional healing. I put it aside when I become ill, since being sick all the time kinda fucked up the ending that I had in mind for the story. The ending was supposed to be about how I achieved self-acceptance, freedom and happiness. I’d even written the final chapter on self-acceptance in advance, predicting where I wanted to be by the time the book was ready to publish. Becoming ill seemed to put the kibosh on that plan, since I had a lot of trouble accepting the limitations that sickness put on me. Urgh; I even hate the word “sick”.

Since finishing (or giving up on, depending on how you look at it) the Gupta program at the end of June, I’ve decided to go back and complete my masterpiece on emotional healing. When I tell people about my story, they’re always drawn in and find it fascinating and inspiring. “Wow, that’s really interesting” they tell me. People can relate; especially the kind of follow-your-dream people I tend to hang around with nowadays.

So I’m heading up to the Hunter Valley tomorrow to spend a few days at the beautiful youth hostel there reading what I’ve written so far, and drafting a plan to finally finish the beast. I will be adding a chapter on my experience of chronic fatigue, and all the emotional stuff it dredged up for me. I think one day I’ll be able to look back and be grateful for the extra material it gave me to help make the book a more compelling best-seller. That’s the big dream, which will make all the hours spent in bed and feeling dreadful worthwhile.

Going back to following my dream of being a successful writer also means fixing my home website and going back to blogging there to build an audience who are interested in what I have to say. So I’ve spent the last few days working on a new WordPress-based website (like this one) to replace the Joomla!-based site I’ve currently got. Joomla! seemed like a good choice when I first started working on my home site, but I now realise that WordPress can do everything I need a lot more easily. And it’s actually fun to use; whereas I find Joomla! frustrating. I’ll write an article about that one day…

After my mini writer’s retreat in the Hunter, I’m heading off to an emotional healing retreat called Path Of Love. I expect it to be intense, cathartic, and liberating. I don’t expect it to be “the answer” I’ve been searching for to physical and emotional health, because I no longer think there is just one answer. I used to be running around like a headless chook searching for the big solution I so desperately wanted; now I realise that this search itself is stressful. The solution is in ourselves; we just need other people’s help to see it sometimes.

I’m really excited about where I’m heading in life again. That means my insomnia is worse, but that’s OK so long as I’m not getting headaches due to sleep deprivation. Being a writer means I can sit up late at night productively instead of tossing and turning in bed, and my uber-flexible schedule still allows for whole days in bed if and when I need them. I haven’t been coughing so much lately, and although I still feel a bit zonked much of the time, I don’t feel so desperate about it. I’m having more good days than bad ones, and I’ve learned a lot. I recently lent my Gupta program materials to a mother and daughter who suffer from CFS, and we had an awesome chat about the impact of emotional stress. That reminds me that I’m on the right path, and that my book has a massive audience awaiting me… which I find really exciting. So life is good! 🙂