Excited about getting better

I’m feeling quite excited about the prospect of getting better. Woke up quite early this morning, excited about all the things I want to do when I recover. I could feel my heart racing and the adrenaline pumping as I thought about it all… which really isn’t what I want right now!

I do feel reasonably OK today though. I watched Session 9 on Dealing With Dips. A lot of the material is very relevant to me; I have always been very driven and success-oriented. Exactly the personality type that Ashok describes as being susceptible to the stress-response that causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It’s only a wonder it didn’t hit me earlier.

Even though I’m aware that I do it, I still tend to look to other people for approval, and to external achievements to make me feel good about myself. I’m working on changing that, and it’s fascinating to see the same message coming at me from lots of different directions, including now the retraining programme.

Naturally enough when I think about all the things I want to do when I get better, I want to do them all now, now, NOW! Even if I were 100% immediately, I’d still be feeling that I wanted to get everything accomplished and completed right now today, so I can have all the successful results tomorrow; which isn’t how life works. Hence the need to pace myself and accept that I’m where I’m at today, and there will be plenty of time to do what I want tomorrow. It doesn’t have to all happen in an instant. Even if it did, that instant would immediately be gone; and then I’d just find something else I wanted to do!

I’ve been busily breaking thoughts about my fear over a future career path. If I can get to being more accepting of going -with-the-flow, I think I’ll be a lot less stressed. It all seemed clearer when I was doing Computer Engineering, but I know I don’t want to go back to that. The purpose of a career is to learn about something; in fact, the purpose of life is to learn about stuff I think. I already know enough about computers, and I want to learn more about people, how they tick, and how to be a master at interacting with them. Although I didn’t see it at the time, having a mainstream career was really quite grounding… up until the point when I stopped enjoying it, and it became a burden. Then I moved on, but I do miss the certainty that comes with a mainstream job and career.

I’ve been learning to play Good Riddance by Green Day on my guitar. It pretty much sums up my feelings about CFS. I’ll get myself a video camera and upload a shoot of me playing it onto YouTube for you once I’m feeling a bit more confident about it. I’ll try not to stress out or wait until I can play it perfectly though. Near enough is good enough, especially if it prevents an adrenaline cycle!

Feeling a bit better today

I got a decent sleep last night, and am feeling quite a bit better today. I still have a stuffy head, runny nose and mild cough, but no headache or sore throat. Don’t feel quite so exhausted; I feel more functional that I have in the past week.

Watched Session 8 today on Non-Symptom Thoughts. I could definitely relate to the examples: I’m not good enough, fear of criticism and rejection, and the need for achievement. I’ve collected lots of evidence to back them up too! I can see how these merely add to the stress I feel; and hence to the symptoms. I’ve known about them for a long time, and have done lots of work in therapy to lessen their impact, but there wasn’t a direct connection between them and my health until I came down with CFS. Although they probably were the cause of the migraines I used to get all the time. Anyway, now that I’m ill on a daily basis I guess I’ll be more motivated to break them!

I’ve posted my What Do I Choose? worksheet, along with Achievements I’m Proud Of and Characteristics I Value. Enjoy!

Watched Soften & Flow and Meditations Session

I’ve just watched the Soften & Flow and meditations session. So far so good.

I’ve had some pretty late nights lately. Some I’ve been staying up just for the heck of it, others I couldn’t sleep. I felt really restless the other night after deciding to rewrite the sales page for my e-book, and since I couldn’t get to sleep, I got up at 2am and rewrote it, working through till 6am. I think I’m struggling with the idea of just giving up all “work”; I want to be successful and don’t really want to wait 6 months to recover before doing useful work again. Plus I’m trying all sorts of new ways of earning money because I’m bored of my old Engineering career. The stress of searching for something fulfilling and financially rewarding to do probably isn’t helping; but I wonder if that stress will go away until I start being successful at something new.

I’m finding the prospect of the Hour of Power a bit daunting. I’ve attempted to do morning meditations every day before, and have had difficulty sustaining it. I’ll give it a go with Gupta’s meditation CD each morning and see how that pans out.

I still feel like my head is a bit stuffed, my nose is blocked, and my throat a tiny bit sore. I feel a bit tense, but nowhere near as tense as I did middle of last year. I don’t feel as exhausted as I have in the past few weeks. Whether that’s because I’ve been avoiding all physical activity or due to starting the program, or some combination… I don’t know yet.

Fingers crossed.

Just watched the first retraining session DVD

I felt pretty tired today; just the same as usual. Went to the art gallery with a friend who was visiting me, and then had a lie down in the afternoon. That suited her fine, since she wanted to sleep before going anyway.

Then I watched Session 4 of the recovery programme on DVD, the first of the actual retraining sessions. It makes sense, so far so good. I wonder whether I’ll stay motivated to do it, but that’s the reason for this blog. I’m putting my Negative Thought Diary online instead of in a book; I’ll update it as I go. It might not make sense if you’re not familiar with the programme though!

I’ll practise the technique for the next couple of days, and watch the next session then.

A New Year, A New Start

Well it’s New Year’s Day 2010. I’m down in Canberra staying at my sister’s place. I’ve come down here to get away from my place in Sydney, just in case something in the environment is making me sick. Other neighbours in the building where my unit is have been complaining of damp in the air, and a mould problem. Perhaps the mould spores are making me ill. Three weeks in Canberra while my sister and her family are away on holidays should be long enough to recover from something like that. Mind you I think it’s a long shot; I’ve been away on a lot of long (up to 3 months) road trips since getting ill, and although I feel happier while travelling, I always return home feeling much the same.

A better theory I’m going with is that my illness is essentially stress-related. As I say that, I hear my mother’s voice in my head saying “How could you possibly be suffering from stress! You don’t even haveĀ  a job! Don’t be so ridiculous”. Well growing up with a mother like that is probably enough to induce some pretty deep-seated life-long stress, but that’s a topic for another time.

My number 1 priority for 2010 is to get my energy back. While searching for stories of other people who have recovered from CFS, I came across the forums at chronicfatiguetreatments.com, which led me to the Gupta Amygdala Retraining Program. I resonated a lot with what Ashok said about his experience of CFS, and since I feel like I’ve exhausted what medical science has to offer, along with a bunch of increasingly bizarre alternative health treatments, I decided to give it a go.

I just finished watching the first DVD today. The explanation for CFS makes sense to me, and being from an Engineering background, I like things to make logical sense. I know it hasn’t been put to a double-blind trail yet, but I’m willing to give it a go anyway.

I could relate to a lot of what the other ex-sufferers said in their testimonials with similar symptoms like:

  • Recurrent flu-like illnesses in the years before the really chronic illness
  • Persistent cough
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sore throat
  • Overwhelming tiredness, especially after exercise or physical exertion
  • Feeling like my life has been hit-for-six
  • Unable to focus on things I used to be able to
  • Tension and anxiety, especially anxiety about getting better
  • Depression; not right now, but certainly during the past year

Fortunately I don’t have the brain fog or physical some other people report, so I’m grateful for that. All the people on the DVD obviously attribute their significant recovery to this programme, so I feel like I have some hope back. I’ve had a lot of people over the last two years tell me that they could help me, and I feel like none of them ended up really being able to cure me 100%. Perhaps they were stepping-stones along the way, but I hope this time I’m onto something. We’ll see.

Right now I feel average; a bit tired since I haven’t been sleeping well, and a tiny bit tense; but pretty much at the level I’ve been used to. My sister’s family go on holidays tomorrow, so I’ll be on my own for a couple of weeks. I usually live alone and like not having to share my space with idiot flatmates, but I’ve enjoyed having my sisters’ family around. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel when they’re not here.

Please subscribe to my RSS feed, and leave a comment if you drop by; it’ll help motivate me to keep posting, and to keep with the programme. Thanks, Graham

2010 Is Going To Be Different

Hi there!

I’ve set up this blog to describe my recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome during 2010. I’ve been suffering from CFS since March 2008, and I’m determined to make 2010 different.

My main symptoms are flu-like physical symptoms, and extreme tiredness; “post-exertional malaise” in the CFS jargon. Any time I exert myself physically, I end up exhausted for the next few days.

I believe that CFS is a wholistic illness which needs a wholistic cure, so I’m going to be as frank as possible in this blog. Rather than keeping a private diary, I’m going to have a go at putting it all out there on this blog so that other people can benefit. So I think I’ll be a bit anonymous if that’s OK with you. That way I’ll be able to keep it more real.

If you find this helpful, please leave a comment to say hello. That’ll encourage me to keep going, and to keep on my own path of recovery.

Thanks,

Graham