Stress Patterns and Symptom Meanings

I watched session 7 this afternoon, on Stress Patterns, including Symptom Thoughts and Meanings. My reaction was partly “my whole life has been like this!”. I’ve known about the idea of breaking negative thoughts before, but never felt really motivated to work hard at it. It always seemed like too much hard work and I was sceptical of whether it would have any result. So it’s not all that new to me, but I haven’t seen it applied specifically to CFS before. Getting better seems like it could be worth the hard work, especially considering how I felt yesterday.

I was feeling a bit tense and headachey this afternoon. I lay down and listened to the whole meditation CD. I feel more calm now.

Truly awful day yesterday

Had a really bad day yesterday. Woke up with a really sore throat and the usual perpetually stuffed head. Felt really anxious too. No particular thoughts behind it initially, but the negative thoughts grew during the day. Did a lot of Stop-Stop-Stop’ing, but it just seemed overwhelming. Felt really anxious and exhausted in the afternoon and went back to bed. Woke up after an hour or so feeling a bit calmer. Then a rotten headache developed in the afternoon. Took nurofen and felt pretty crap. Listened to the meditation CD and felt calmer.

The headache got stronger in the evening and I just felt horrible, like I don’t want to live this life any more. I really wish I could kick this thing. Went to bed early and woke up in the middle of the night feeling like my eyes were going to burst. Took more nurofen and went back to bed. Gawd this sucks.

Woke up this morning feeling jet-lagged, like I used to feel the day after a bad migraine. At least I don’t have the sore throat today. I’m considering the prospect of giving up absolutely everything I find even remotely stressful for six months, like dating, learning public speaking, writing & publishing my work. Even just the thought of putting life on hold seems stressful, and I’m doing those things so I can develop a successful career again. Not having a career at the moment is stressful, so the thought of putting it all off is stressful too. But the thought of working hard developing one and dealing with my fear of failure is stressful too. Bit of a no-win situation.

I feel so tired. I’m going to spend today learning to play a song for my niece on my guitar for when she gets back from holidays. And watch the next Gupta session DVD. Can’t give up yet!

Stayed out late, woke up with a mild headache

I went out to the city last night to see if I could meet some people here in Canberra. My friends are either away or not answering their email! So I want to meet some new people. Went to a couple of pubs and mustered up the courage to approach some people and say “Hi”… something I’ve never done before. Only about 50% seemed receptive, but that was enough to have a few conversations. Didn’t risk dancing or anything too energetic like that, but stayed out until about 1:30am.

Got home and had trouble sleeping. I was felt proud of my courage at meeting some new people. No idea what lasting impact that would have on the amygdala: I certainly felt stressed at the time, but quite courageous afterwards. Let’s hope it helps.

Today I woke up early and with a mild headache. I’ve had worse; I used to get screaming migraines. Took Nurofen, slept a bit more and felt better. I spent some time surfing other Chronic Fatigue Blog sites, and came across a mix of positive and negative comments about it . Did some Stop-Stop-Stop to get over the influence of the negative comments. Listened to the meditation CD this afternoon. Gonna stay in tonight so I feel better tomorrow.

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.

Headaches today

Well it probably didn’t help that I stayed up until 2am chatting online to a girl I recently dated. Felt quite exhausted today, and went to bed in the afternoon with a headache. I’ve decided to prioritise what I want to do tomorrow, and spend the evening chilling out in front of the TV. I’ve been working a bit manically the past few days, and that probably isn’t helping. There’s so much stuff I want to do!

I’ve been doing the Stop-Stop-Stop thing a few times today. Either I’m not conscious of my negative thoughts, or when I have them, I find myself having more even just while I’m doing the routine. I could be Stop-Stop-Stop’ing indefinitely!

My eyes are aching so I’m out of here. I’ll watch the next DVD session tomorrow.

Not feeling too good

Didn’t go too badly yesterday, but things came acropper when I burnt my hand cooking last night. Heaps of pain. Ouch! Spent several hours with my hand in a glass of ice water. Stayed up watching Sex And The City reruns until 2am, when the pain had subsided enough for me to get to sleep.

Woke up feeling really trashed, with a sore throat. It hurts when I swallow. Ouch. Been doing the Stop-Stop-Stop thing, but I’m bored with it already. Oh-oh.

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 have  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, 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.