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Ohh I so know that feeling.
That feeling of I have tried absolutely everything and nothing has worked. What the hell am I going to do?
I think we have all been there, or if you haven’t yet I’m sure you will at one point. So let’s give you some strategies for when that time comes.
This is also a question I am asked by many people during their initial consults (which are totally complimentary so send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to book a time) They are concerned that they have tried everything and nothing works, so how can I possibly help. This is a hard question to answer, because unfortunately there are no guarantees in life. I can not guarantee that if you do exactly what I did you will get better, I would be lying if I said I could. What I do know is I can share with you what has worked for me, and you can apply what resonates with you to your own life.
The short answer to what do I do now? is; you keep going, you don’t stop trying until you find the things that work for you. You don’t give up no matter how long it takes.
If you feel like you have tried everything I want you to answer the following questions, and do so honestly, if you don’t the only person you are cheating is yourself.
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Have I really been trying?
Now be honest here, deep down have you really been doing everything possible to help your self recover? On the surface it might look like you have, but sometimes the deeper you look you will soon realise that maybe you haven’t been giving it your all.
I will give you an example from when I was really sick a few years ago, I honestly thought I was doing everything in my power to get better. I was seeing all the right people, feeding my body nutritious food, and doing what exercise I was able to do. I was so frustrated and angry that I wasn’t getting better, in fact I was getting worse. It took me a long time to realise, even though numerous people tried to tell me, that continuing to push myself to work full time was not working. For many reasons I was not ready to accept what was going on, and that for me right now working full time was not going to see me get better.
On a surface level I thought I was doing everything right, but when I was ready to look at my situation differently and honestly I realised that I hadn’t been trying as well as I thought I had.
So I ask you again, have you really been trying? Have you really been doing everything in your power to get better?
Am I expecting a quick fix?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no quick fix for Chronic Fatigue, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. If you are expecting a quick fix then you are going to be really disappointed.
No one vitamin, supplement, diet, superfood, or exercise program will be your magic cure. It makes me so angry when I see people advertising supplements and vitamins that claim to be a cure for CFS, especially when they themselves have never experienced CFS. It just doesn’t work like that. Sure all those things can help, but one thing on there own is not going to be the answer.
From my experience and all the people I have worked with, recovering from CFS takes time. It’s not something you can recover from in a few weeks. It takes months and usually years of consistent effort and hard work.
I’m not saying this to discourage you, but I want you to have realistic expectations on what recovery looks like. If you see a quick fix, run the other way!!!
Have I been taking an holistic approach to recovery?
Just like there is no quick fix to recovery, you also can’t just focus on one area of your health and expect to get better. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket and expect results, it just doesn’t work like that.
I want you to look closely at what you have been doing, can you honestly tell me that you have been working on creating a routine, getting quality sleep, eating well, doing some sort of movement, surrounding yourself with a good support network, working on your mindset.
Or have you been putting your attention into eating really well – which don’t get me wrong is awesome – but what about your sleep? How has that been? Or what about your routine?
As frustrating and hard as it can be at times, it’s super important that you take an holistic approach to recovery. It really is – in my opinion – the only way to get better.
Do I really want to get better?
This may seem like a really strange question to ask, and the answer my seem really obvious, of course I want to get better. Who in their right mind would want to stay feeling like this? I totally get that, because no one would want to feel this shit all the time.
This is another question like the first one that requires you to look a little deeper. Sure on the surface everyone wants to get better, but what I so often find and was the case for me is that deep down people are scared to get better. Chronic Fatigue has become their identity, and a life without it can be bloody scary.
I know this, because at one point I too was scared to get better. There was a part of me that wanting nothing other than to get better, but there was also a part of me that was so scared, and I was never going to fully recover until I dealt with those fears.
I was scared that without CFS I would have no excuse if things didn’t work out, if I didn’t achieve my goals, or things didn’t go to plan. You see CFS became my excuse, if something didn’t work out I would justify that it was because I was sick. If I got better what would I blame if something didn’t work out? What would be my reason for not achieving my goals and doing what I said I would?
If you too find that a part of you is scared to get better don’t stress, you can still totally get better, you will just have to deal with the fear first.
And let me tell you there is nothing scary about a life without CFS. It’s actually bloody amazing!!
What small improvements/changes have I already noticed?
People with Chronic Fatigue tend to more often than not be perfectionist and very hard on themselves, it must be the nature of the illness.
Because of that we often don’t notice the small improvements we have been making along the way. You see so many of us are expecting big, huge massive changes, that when that doesn’t happen we think we are not getting better.
This is totally not the case. Just like there being no quick fixes, and recovery taking time, more often than not the changes and improvements you experience will be really small. And this is a good thing, small changes mean that are likely to continue to get better, the problem is they are obviously harder to notice.
So the next time you start to think none of this is working, just go back and have a look over the past few months. Are you able to do more than you were a few months ago? If the answer is yes, no matter how small, then you are in fact improving and what you are doing is working. Sometimes it can be really helpful to ask someone else if they have noticed any change, it can at times be harder to notice this change ourselves.
What I have done in the past that has worked?
This questions follows on really nicely from the previous question. While you are paying more attention to all the small improvements I encourage you to also pay attention to the things you have done in the past that have helped you, again no matter how small these things may seem.
It is so easy to forget all the littles things we do, which actually make a difference. So start to think about all these small things. Think about whether there are certain foods that make you feel slightly better, do you find a certain amount of sleep helps, is there something small that you do every morning, which sets you up for the day ahead. How long ca you be out doing things before you need to have a rest?
It’s all the little things that you consistently do every day that are going to have the biggest impact, the things that we think aren’t doing much are actually super important.
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I don’t say any of this to be horrible or mean. I do know that you HAVE been trying to get better – I mean who in their right mind wouldn’t – but sometimes we need a gentle or not so gentle reminder that maybe there is more we could be doing, or maybe we need to slightly shift our focus and notice all the things we are doing, and all that is working.
I would love to hear, what has been one thing that has really helped you in your recovery from CFS?