I haven’t written in a while and was going to write a post about the lovely things I have been getting up to, but decided it’s time to write something very honest.
The last few months have been tough for me. People close to me know that my health has been an issue for a long time – 16 years to be exact.
Disappointingly since arriving in South Africa, I have had a bad spell.
M.E or chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and Adrenal fatigue are all a complete bitch to describe, the list the doctors give is endless.
This is a general searches result – https://www.verywell.com/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-symptoms-716110
- Sleep & Energy-Related Symptoms
- Incapacitating fatigue*
- Post-exertional malaise* (extreme fatigue after exercise, lasting 24 hours or more)
- Poor stamina
- Unrefreshing sleep*
- Flu-Like Symptoms
- Pain in joints without swelling or redness* (can be constant or move between joints)
- Muscle aches* and/or weakness
- Sore throat*
- Headache of a new type, pattern or severity*
- Tender lymph nodes
- Low-grade fever or low body temperature
- Chronic cough
- Recurrent flu-like illness
- Other Pain/Sensation-Related Symptoms
- Morning stiffness
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as an overlapping condition (abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, bloating)
- tingling and/or burning sensations in the face or extremities (paresthesia)
- Chest pains (Always treat chest pain as a serious condition warranting immediate medical care.)
- Jaw pain (possibly TMJ, as an overlapping condition)
- Cognitive Symptoms (Brain Fog)
- Short-term memory or concentration problems*
- Word-finding difficulties/impaired speech (dysphasia)
- Inability to comprehend or retain what is read
- Inability to calculate numbers
- Impaired reasoning
- Spacial disorientation
- Mental fogginess
- Psychological Symptoms
- Depression, as an overlapping condition
- Panic attacks
- Personality changes
- Mood swings
- Sensitivities & Intolerances
- New or worsening allergies
- Sensitivities to noise, light, odors, foods, chemicals or medications
- Sensitivity to heat and/or cold, causing symptoms to be worse
- Alcohol intolerance
- Sensory overload
- Cardio & Respiratory Symptoms
- Irregular heartbeat
- Neurally mediated hypotension (dizziness & balance problems upon standing)
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent, hard to treat respiratory infections
- General Symptoms
- Visual disturbances (blurring, light sensitivity, eye pain, worsening vision, dry eyes)
- Chills & night sweats
- Excessive sweating
- Dry mouth & eyes (called sicca syndrome)
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), as an overlapping condition
- Unexplained weight changes
- Muscle twitching
- Recurrent infections
- Frequent canker sores
- History of herpes simplex or shingles
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), as an overlapping condition
- Endometriosis, as an overlapping condition
As you can see from what I expect was merely a skim-read, there is a multitude of symptoms one can experience. If you experience approximately 10 of the above – the medical system will tell you: “You have Chronic fatigue”.
The biggest issue I have struggled with for half my life and on meeting new people is the fact that this can’t be physically seen so it’s hard to explain unless some has experienced it or lived with it.
Experiencing a ‘bad spell’ whilst traveling away from my usual circle was even harder as one doesn’t necessarily believe what I say – I can look so normal to the outsider! (Ok maybe not that normal) I have found myself having to constantly explain how I feel which can make me feel rather pathetic and weak.
Some days I feel full of life and want to go go go, only to find two days later I am wiped out, my joints hurt, my skin is sore to have clothes on and my brain is a fog struggling to get sentences together. I’m tired, so tired, but also wired, my brain won’t switch off but my body feels like it is giving up on me! I might eat some rich food or indulge in some booze and I’m outta the game again! My thoughts after a tough day can be along the lines of: ‘Why am I not able to do what everyone else can? Why do I feel like this? I want to feel normal!’
Recently I hit my physical and mental rock-bottom. This was something I hid from everyone and I went through a real personal battle with it. Eventually, I visited a GP. I didn’t want to have this going on any longer.
This was the best wake up call I could have given myself. I was going to see the GP at my weakest, I’d had a bad stomach virus and had been staying in an active, unsettled environment. Anyone would be feeling low, right? But the remedy was not at all what I expected.
“You my dear are depressed.”
I’ve realised a lot since the visit to the GP who decided after knowing me 5 minutes that my symptoms were depression and being packed off with bundles of pills. Yes, depression is very real, and sadly I feel it’s STILL so misunderstood in our modern world. However after 16 years of similar symptoms and these “flare ups” thrown in along the way, I now suddenly realise it was just an easy option to umbrella me under so they could be done with the appointment and throw me some pills.
For me the coaching I have been having for the last few years finally kicked in after this visit and has given me more clarity and freedom than any pill could of. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to be introduced to the three principles. These were first spoken about by Sydney Banks, where he found the “formless” mind, consciousness and thought explained our whole behaviour and feelings which in turn create our behaviour.
What I heard was: there’s no such thing as insecurity, it’s only Thought. All my insecurity was only my own thoughts! It was like a bomb going off in my head … It was so enlightening! It was unbelievable … [And after that,] there was such beauty coming into my life. Sydney Banks
I have spent a lot of time over the last few years implementing the principles into my life and understanding I am in constant change, no thought is ever permanent and within a moment a new one comes along. It is Only me who has the power to affect me and nothing outside of me can impact me. I have learnt that if I give fuel to thoughts of anxiety then fatigue of my mind and soul, then my body kick in, I’m essentially giving rise to my struggles and allowing them to control me! So I simply now am allowing the anxious and stressful or “negative” thoughts to be acknowledged. This now means they move on and pass quicker.
It has finally clicked with me that ‘normal’ does not exist for me (or anyone for that matter). But the more I relieve my mind from trying to control the state my body is in and just live in the moment, day or week – I am taking the pressure off my physical body, my health and my mind. I am releasing myself of the control. We can’t control ourselves so holding on to the hope that we can only continues the spiral of self-abuse! In short I feel by understanding my thoughts I have been able to start embracing who I am and loving what simply goes on within my mind and body. I now empower myself with detachment from it being “MY M.E” it’s more just “the m.e”
I felt I could write this down now because I have had an awakening whilst being away I am no longer embarrassed of how I am and I’m now learning how to manage these “episodes” with acceptance and dignity. The more I beat myself up about things, the worse my symptoms become. The more anxiety I create around it and the more energy I waste leads to the exhaustion lasting longer and ultimately I feel worse than I probably would have. I’ve been creating stories and negative connotations around real-life symptoms which I now will be nurturing, accepting and simply riding the wave with.
Have I dealt with my knocks the best I could? Well yes, I like to think we are all doing the best we can in any given the moment.
Am I finally on the path I would like to have been on a long while back? Yes!
Do I now realise how fucking powerful one’s mind is? Hell yes, we have the power inside us to not be bound by labels and society’s umbrellas for health. We control how we look at ourselves and the world, we can be kind, we can be loving.
I can now openly say without feeling shame that it’s been pretty tough, I have tried western medicine as well as holistic. I’ve been misunderstood and I’ve misunderstood myself for 16 years. I have been called ” a witch doctors dream” as I would of tried any treatment, supplement or medication to sort out how shit I felt!
Primarily I strongly believe our mind is the most incredible tool we have in our life to heal, be happy and lead a wholesome rewarding life.
I’m excited to continue my journey of understand my thoughts and nurturing myself from the inside out!
Outside in is so passé!
P.s the next stage of my journey is pretty bloody exciting!!!!