As a person who has mostly recovered from CFS, and wishes to help others to manage and recover from Chronic Fatigue or ME, I sometimes visit Facebook groups or forums that are supposedly set up for people with this disease to
support each other.
Sadly, what I see on many of these online groups is a great deal of negativity. Many posts are about how dreadful a person feels, or how their family or friends do not understand them, or how their doctor is doing so little to support them. And while many of the comments on these posts are well-meaning and sympathetic, they do little to actually help this person and much to compound their anger and sense of vicitimisation.
Of course, having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is horrible. And yes, we do come up against a lack of understanding in the people around us, or even amongst the medical profession. There is no denying that. However, it is far too easy to fall into a ‘victim mode’. That is, a feeling that we are in a hopeless situation, there is nothing we can do about it, and the rest of the world does not understand.
This is simply not true. Understandable, perhaps, but absolutely and categorically not true.
People recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. How? Certainly not by feeling sorry for themselves, or blaming the medical profession for not finding a cure. They do it by taking responsibility for their own lives and doing something about it.
Sometimes people interpret ‘taking responsibility’ as somehow being ‘at fault.’ There are some people who even take offence at such a remark, feeling that they are being accused of something – of perhaps consciously creating their illness, or even faking it, or being lazy.
Taking responsibility has nothing to do with being at fault.
Taking responsibility means the following:
· Taking control of your own life
· Having a positive attitude
· Not blaming yourself – or others
· Being honest
· Not using excuses
· Recognising that you have choices
· Taking action to make changes
The first step to taking responsibility is in recognising that your negative thinking has you stuck in a victim state of mind that renders you powerless. This is not blaming you. It’s understandable. As humans, we find it very easy to get into a habit of negativity – but we can change it.
You are not powerless. It is only your thinking that makes you think so – and thoughts are not real. Your next step is to catch these thoughts and let them go before they start running you.
One powerful way of doing this is to start a regular programme of meditation. If you are feeling really stuck in your CFS – bedbound, feeling that you are unable to work or do anything – then just start with meditation.
You can find meditation guides all over the internet that will guide you through various techniques and visualisations. As a first thing for anyone with CFS to do, I would highly recommend this. You don’t have to get up to do it, you don’t have to go anywhere. You can meditate lying down with headphones.
Once you have begun to get out of that negative mind-set, a next step might be to search for people who have recovered from Chronic Fatigue, and find out how they did it. Find courses, books, articles. Find out about how small increments of exercise, eating the right things and strategies for improving sleep can help improve your energy levels.
And one more thing I would suggest. Stop listening to other negative people. If you are on a forum or group that is full of negativity and victimised complaining, leave. From now on, listen to positive and upbeat videos, or read books and articles, about the success stories of those who have overcome Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You will find that none of them are victims, and they all took responsibility for their lives.