Healing from CFS/ME
There are several theories about what causes us to develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), such as:
- Epstein-Barr virus
- an untreated injury to the spine/back
- A-type personality and inadequate diet/rest
- emotional trauma
The theory with Epstein-Barr virus is that it can stay dormant in your body, and reactivate in times of stress. Research has shown that the initial infection of Epstein-Barr virus can in some people put so much stress on the immune system that eventually the immune system becomes exhausted and is no longer able to function efficiently. This is when CFS kicks in. There are simple blood tests to see whether Epstein-Barr virus is active or inactive in your system, but little can be done to deactivate it. One theory is to increase antioxidants to counteract the oxidative stress caused by Epstein-Barr virus, and to give the immune system a fighting chance.
The spine is a very important part of the body, and we can inure it or put something out of place quite easily by lifting something heavy, or experiencing whiplash in a car accident. A lot of CFS’ers mention pain in back, neck, shoulders, arms, and legs – so focusing on eliminating a misalignment is a good idea. You can do this by seeing a chiropractor, osteopath or via your GP. Of course most injuries heal themselves, but the brain gets very good at reading pain signals and becomes sensitized, and with CFS, this heightened awareness is what causes us to feel pain all the time, even when there isn’t an injury any longer.
Depression lowers the feel good neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, and your natural painkillers the endorphins. When your mood decreases, it makes it harder to cope with every day activities, mental cognition slows, motivation is lost, the body starts reproducing this negative state as pain in the physical body. What we feed our mind, feeds our body. Talk to your GP or medical professional about your symptoms and for diagnosis. Please never self-diagnose. There are anti-depressants and natural health supplements such as St. John's Wort that can help alleviate depression. However it is also vital to uncover what has caused the depression. Is it just a chemical imbalance, or is there a related trauma as discussed below?
A-type personality. The original A-type research was based on heart conditions, but this is the lesser known aspect of the A-type personality. Generalyl everyone knows it as the workaholic, or anally-retentive person with a slight tendency towards OCD behaviors. A-types are hard workers, efficient, dedicated, committed, strong, and tend to put work and others first above and beyond their own needs. They are often very empathetic but taking on other people’s emotions without releasing them again is very draining so they start withdrawing from social situations, and can become irritable, nasty and ‘cold’ or emotionally void. They work long hours, and rarely take time for themselves. They’re always busy, not content with just a 9-5 job; they’ll be chairman of the PTA, volunteer organizer on several charities, and coach of the soccer team. Lunch if remembered is eaten at the desk whilst still working, and often breakfast consists of coffee and maybe a slice of toast. All of this hustle and bustle and lack of energy-dense food takes its toll on the body. In extreme cases, if it continues for a year or more, this behavior can lead to burn-out or the development of CFS. The body just gets worn out by constantly trying to work without the fuel (nutritious food) to maintain it. The long hours, and the lack of proper rest affects the immune system’s ability to function and it starts to break down. The best thing an A-type personality can do for themselves is to slow down! If the job isn’t finished that day, don’t take it home and work on it through the night, it can be finished during work hours the next day. Learn to delegate tasks. Learn to ask for help. Learn to switch off for an hour or two in the evening, by having a relaxing bath, or listening to quiet music, and just being in the moment, pushing the thoughts of tomorrow’s workload aside. When an A-type develops CFS, it is the body’s way of forcing the person to slow down and stop; there is no choice because the body simply can’t go on at that pace. It’s a major life transition and very hard for an A-type to deal with. Used to being the superhero, suddenly not being able to do simple tasks without severe fatigue and pain is beyond frustrating - it is hell! But accepting the limitations and learning to pace activities and take rest periods is the key to eventual wellness.
Emotional Trauma manifests physically as stress symptoms. Pain, fatigue, compromised immune system, digestive disorders – all the symptoms of CFS. Trauma can be anything from physical/emotional abuse, grief/loss, disappointments, betrayals, uncontrollable life events that have detrimental effect – anything that causes you to feel bad, sad, hopeless, and unwell. The feelings that stay and weigh you down, burden your shoulders, and cramp your stomach. If emotional trauma is not deal with, processed, and released, it stays in the body, and research demonstrates that new generated cells have memory, which is how chronic illnesses become chronic, the cells generate with that negative emotion, or malfunctioned ability, instead of as healthy cells. The stress of trauma becomes therefore a physical manifestation throughout the body, and as the body regenerates it becomes expert at the illness, and elicits the pain and fatigue at heightened levels. The important point is that you need to release the trauma and there are many ways to do that. Consider seeing a: counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, social worker, life coach, mentor etc (depending on your individual traumas/circumstances) to work through the traumas not to rehash them but to release them. It is important not to keep going over the same story, but to move on from it. You need to find a way to learn from the trauma, and then let it go. Release your past, release the baggage to let the weight lift off from you. There are techniques such as the Sedona Method that can help with this.
Ways to heal from CFS.
You can learn more about these tips on this website.
- Manage the stress – identifying your triggers when it comes to stress, and then using techniques to manage or minimise it actually lessens the pain.
- Work on rebuilding your body at a cellular level. Look into the supplements: Calcium-2AEP, Co-Enzyme Q10, Dr Wilson’s adrenal fatigue supplements, and digestive enzymes.
- Deal with the trauma and baggage – release it.
- Deal with the injuries – take as much stress away as you can from your physical body to give it a fighting chance to become strong again.
- Nutrition – energy as fuel : food is vital to produce the energy and nutrients your body needs to function properly. Often CFS’ers don’t eat enough or nutritiously because they’re too fatigued to cook proper meals. Invest in a blender to make fresh smoothies and soups to make this aspect easier. Consume fresh foods instead of packaged foods. Fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, milk products and lean meats provide all the necessary nutrients and energy your body must have to not only survive, but to function at optimal health - as well as adopting a low sugar, low saturated/trans fat diet.
- Lack of use makes your body stiffer and causes a build-up of lactic acid and toxins. So gentle stretches help. Start with these, and as your body strengthens move onto yoga/Pilates, swimming, walking, and weight resistance training.
- Pacing – do slightly less than you think you can manage.
- Give your mind time to be still. Try prayer, meditation, or silence. Rest your thoughts.
- Monitor your thoughts, see how many times you critique/judge yourself, cuss yourself. Time to stop doing that.
- Belief in yourself
- Relearn/ reframe your limiting beliefs into beneficial beliefs
- Believe in something bigger, the unified field
- Believe that your life has meaning and purpose – find meaning and purpose again. Start a hobby or practice a special talent. Do something you enjoy, every single day. Bring a smile to your face. Take the opportunity to laugh, and lighten your heart.
- Join a support group, not to dwell on symptoms, but to spend time with people who understand what you’re going through, and to encourage each other back to wellness.
You can learn more about these tips on this website.