A Quick Recovery Is Possible - My Story of Beating CFS
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Hi, thanks for visiting my story. I hope it helps you see that you don't have to keep suffering with Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome/CFS/ME.
I'm going to explain the long story of how I got sick and how I got better.
Just this past February, my tonsils swelled up and wouldn't subside. I took lozenges and thought nothing of it, believing they'd go down in time. They didn't. It was the first outward sign that something wasn't quite right.
Some context - I was in a job that wasn't for me and my relationship was going nowhere. I wasn't sleeping well but kept working out despite it. I look calm on the outside, but I've always had difficulty slowing down unless I've reached total exhaustion.
In March, I caught a cold that didn't lift. My system just wouldn't fight it. Some symptoms got better, but most got worse. I had no energy, fevers came and went and I started waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.
I tried to keep working, but by April I'd reached the end of my rope and went to the GP looking for answers.
My blood tests were all normal. I was eventually diagnosed with Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome, which is pretty much CFS/ME, but with fewer system-wide complications. My GP put me on extended bed rest and suggested graded activity, promising slow but gradual improvements.
I stuck to her advice, but my symptoms didn't abate. Simple things like doing chores or going food shopping became increasingly difficult. My muscles were almost constantly sore, as if from running a marathon, and I got blister-like psoriasis for the first time in my life.
I'd spend days recovering from social outings, regardless of how low-key they were. People said I looked fine and didn't really understand when I tried to explain what I had, so these outings soon ended.
I tried keeping calm by reading online forums. Sometimes they helped; other times, I'd spiral into panic, because why some people recovered, some stayed the same and some got worse made no sense whatsoever.
By the end of July I was exhasperated. I was sick of waiting around for my elusive recovery, sick of looking to other people for answers and sick of watching my muscles waste away as life passed me by. I gave up on specialists, new blood tests and the medical system at large. I decided to heal myself.
Getting well as quickly as possible became the sole focus of life.
I began with the medical literature on PVFS/CFS/ME, watching conference presentations by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum. I learned that I felt like hell on the outside because on the inside, my hypothalamus was running a mile a minute, wrecking havoc on my hormones, immune system, adrenals and internal thermostat. All sources of stress and upset were hunted down and removed from my life.
I plastered my walls with Louise Hay-style healing affirmations that I parroted through the day with the enthusiasm of a drama nerd preparing for audition.
I accepted ALL responsibility for my condition and ordered books about the emotional and energetic roots of disease. I was particularly taken by "Why People Don't Heal and How They Can" by Caroline Myss.
I cut ties and set boundaries with anyone who attracted undue negativity or spiritless pooh-poohing, my GP included (found a new one).
I fell asleep listening to satsangs on illness and health. I woke up and meditated, affirmed and forced myself to believe in the body's ability to heal itself when all levels of the mind accept that such a thing is even possible.
I abondoned my Christian-like cries for help and began ordering the God within to show me the answers. I shit you not: people, circumstances and signs started to appear, one after the other, the crumbs of a trail on whose head I now stand. I kept a journal of any advice or sudden insight that sounded like a step in the right direction.
I found a professionally trained counsellor who had CFS/ME for 10 years and now devotes her time to helping others recover. We did phone-based sessions because I live in Ireland and she in the UK. Most of her clients have made quick and full recoveries. (If your medical tests are in good order, I HIGHLY recommend finding someone who has been through this before and is now trained in helping others make significant progress.)
The real turning point was this: whenever I felt a flare-up in aches or fatigue, I'd sit upright on the couch and say to myself, "I feel sick because my hypothamus went into overdrive and is now stuck in a loop of sending faulty signals to my muscles, immune system and hormones. I am NOT sick; all I require is a stress-free, emotionally positive environment to continue my speedy recovery." (Write this down and try it yourself. It will shorten the length of each flare-up.)
In August I began to notice a slight shift. I was sleeping through the night and could move around a bit more. It was as if my cells were responding to all the work I'd put in.
In the last two weeks, I've seen huge gains. My energy is returning, the pains are fading and the bizarre sweats and fevers are less frequent than ever before.
Yesterday, I walked to a park near my flat and sat in the grass doing fuck all, happier than I've been in years, happy just to feel a bit normal among the people and trees. When you lose your health in a big way and begin to regain it, you walk through the world with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, seeing the smallest of things as miracles you never realised were yours before you got sick.
I never fully believed I could heal myself. I knew that miraculous turn-arounds from cancer and other serious illnesses are well documented in the current research, but I was cautious to believe in my own abilities to do so. The only reason I tried was because I had reached a point of utter desperation to do anything to get better.
Friends, no two bodies are alike. My answers are not yours, and the answers of those who suffered before me were not mine. But the clues to your answers are already inside you. The trick that reveals them lies in quieting your mind and priming your subconscious enough to access them, one by one, until you've returned to the place that brought you this sickness, to know it and love it for the first time.
You can do it. All that's stopping you is the belief that you can't.
This recovery story is in categories: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME (myalgic encephalitis), Post viral fatigue syndrome