Tag Archive | CFS

Batten down the hatches….

here comes Jude.

The weather forecasters have been warning us all week that a storm is heading our way and should reach the UK (exact destination unknown) late tonight/early Monday morning bringing with it hurricane force gales and rain. I remember the great storm of 1987 very well and had a terrible time trying to get home from Cardiff across the country from West to East back home to Kent due to the travel chaos that it caused.

So when someone tells me that a storm likened to the 1987 is going to hit, I take it seriously and when I got up this morning and spotted the clear blue sky and gorgeous late-autumn sunshine, I thought there is no better time to tidy up the garden and batten down the hatches ready for the onslaught.

Holly tree

Holly tree

Figs

Figs

Blue skies

Blue skies

Firstly however, I wanted to pick as many apples off my tree as possible so that they won’t go to waste when they are blown down. Once bruised, you cannot keep them over winter, and they have to be processed quickly. Whilst I am quite happy to do this, the more I can preserve without cooking and freezing just yet, the longer my apple stock will last.

In the increasingly strong breeze, I managed to pick another two large bags of fruit before running out of ladder, leaving some lovely plump apples frustratingly just out of reach.

Apples...more apples

Apples…more apples

Grrr...out of reach

Grrr…out of reach

I even found some late raspberries hiding under the canes; Only a handful but a real treat in late October!

Autumn raspberries-it's almost November!

Autumn raspberries-it’s almost November!

Some people I know hate leaf-raking in the autumn, a hateful job that never ends but I find it very therapeutic and, as I put the leaves in the compost to make worm-friendly leaf-mould over the winter months, I always feel it is a job worth doing. It’s quite sad that another summer is over, but whilst raking the dead vine leaves into piles I remember the lovely summer we have just had; the flowers, the grapes, berries, barbecues, picnics and hot summer days on holiday and look forward to next year when the bulbs I have just planted will show me that winter is over and spring is on its way.

It also reminds me that just a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have had the energy to rake leaves, pull up faded summer bedding and fill the compost and rubbish bins. My efforts at pacing myself at work and at home appear to be working and I feel much calmer and healthier for it. So I don’t get as much done as I would like but it’s a compromise worth the effort and there’s no better feeling than feeling better.

Leaf raking

Leaf raking

Aide memoire

My memo-board

My memo-board

One of my current bug bears is my confused and dis-organised thinking and this is particularly vexing to a person who is usually extremely organised and able to multi-task without a problem.

It is frustrating and incredibly hard to deal with on a daily basis and when I start to forget things it’s time to take action. Yesterday I forgot my hair appointment but luckily my hairdresser was able to fit me in later in the morning. Paul understands my condition, and I had a lovely 30 minutes of “me” time whilst I had my hair washed and conditioned (a good 2 minutes of head massage……bliss) a cup of coffee and a good chin-wag about football whilst he tidied me up.

Afterwards I made my way to the quilting shop and bought some goodies to make my memo-board as suggested by Colleen, the idea being that I write 1 task on a post-it note with the “to-do”deadline date and attach it to the left side of the board. Each day I take the urgent tasks and move them to the right-hand side of the board to do today. As I complete each task, I can dispose of the note with satisfaction of  a “JD” (job done).

I chose the material I fancied and then scoured the charity shops for a canvas to up-cycle and finally came across a brand new one for the grand sum of £1. It was even still in its original packaging so even if I messed up, it was still a bargain buy!

It didn’t take me long to make the board and I am now the proud owner of an item which is hanging on my kitchen wall, covered in post-it notes reminding me what I need to do over the next few weeks.

JD.

Me and M.E

Long time no hear.

The good news is that my depression and accompanying anxiety appear to be under control and much improved after changing my medication for Fluoxetine to Venlafaxine.

The bad news is that after another frustrating five weeks fluctuating from tired to exhausted and back again, my Psychologist is now treating me for M.E, more commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Although he cannot make a formal diagnosis, only my GP/specialist can do that, he has studied my history of cyclical depressive episodes of depression and fatigue and I am symptomatic of M.E. I have researched this illness and my symptoms certainly fit the bill especially as M.E can only be diagnosed by elimination. In other words, on the basis that my GP has found nothing else wrong with me, my Psychologist is probably right.

I trust Doc Fraser implicitly and after a chat about the illness, how it manifests itself, the probable causes in my case and the treatment plan, I am comfortable that I am on the right track for managing the symptoms better in the short, medium and long-term. Looking back, I have been symptomatic for many, many years but it is one of those illnesses that can sneak up on you time and time again just when you start to feel better. In fact, it is when recovery begins and the fatigue lessens that you are at your most vulnerable to a relapse and therefore simply being aware of this will help me to keep the triggers to a minimum and hopefully avoid a catastrophic  relapse like the one I have just come through.

After my weekly therapy sessions with the Doc, I am sent home with homework and action plan and last week was no different. However, the approach is different and involves a lot more rest than previously and a number of other lifestyle changes in addition to continuing with the CBT to help improve my underlying mood whilst putting the new approach into action.

I will report on my progress as I go along but briefly here’s a list of what’s in and what’s out!

What’s in?

  • Rest
  • Moderation
  • “Pacing”
  • New eating patterns
  • Shorter periods of activity interspersed by regular interludes during the day
  • Conserving energy
  • Drink more water
  • Gentle activity (gardening, walking, golf-3-4 holes to start with and swimming)
  • Asking for help

What’s out?

  • Manic activity
  • Wasting energy
  • Long periods of work with no breaks
  • Demanding physical exercise such as running, aerobics
  • Working long hours/weekends
  • Stress
  • Doing everything myself

Unfortunately, my personality dictates that I naturally follow the “What’s out” list rather than the “What’s in” list and therefore these changes are going to be hard for me to make.

Doc Fraser was, in no uncertain terms, adamant that I should want to get better not just in the short-term but in the long-term so that these cycles do not recur and I must put his recommendations into practice if I am to succeed. I took this as a clear warning that unless I take on this challenge and do my best to change the habits of a lifetime my mental and physical health with deteriorate and one day there may not be a way back.

Time to get serious methinks.

Any hints and tips for managing this illness are gratefully received and I will try to reciprocate as and when I get to grips with it myself.

In the meantime, I will continue with my holiday on the very sunny and hot South Coast.

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