I thought of many different things to write today’s post about. I thought about the creativity involved in Imaginary friends as an early form of writing and creativity, but decided that it could wait as there’s something that I feel I need to write about, something I need to attempt to shed a little light on -Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is different from other types of fatigue and doesn’t get better by simply resting or “sleeping it off”, in fact many sufferers with CFS often have trouble sleeping or reaching that deep and restful level of the sleep cycle. It’s not something that you can “sleep off” and no matter how many hours sleep you get, you still suffer the debilitating effects of fatigue. “Pushing through” will only make the symptoms worse and sleep is not a cure. You see with Chronic Fatigue the body reacts differently to physical activity -any type of physical activity- not matter how small or seemingly insignificant. I am only beginning to understand the condition itself, however one of the biggest difficulties faced by those suffering CFS is getting the correct diagnosis. Many doctors are unable (due to lack of knowledge or experience with CFS) or unwilling to take the time to diagnose CFS and instead take the path of prescribing anti-depressants and referring the patient to a psychiatrist or counsellor, believing that the symptoms are mostly “in the patient’s head”. I’m not making this up either, most doctors either don’t understand CFS or simply can’t be bothered, therefore choose the path of prescribing drugs and palming the patient off to another “professional” so it’s no longer their problem. If enough doctors tell you that you’re basically crazy then you actually start to believe it, because they’re supposed to be the professionals right? This is the most difficult obstacle for someone suffering CFS to overcome -to actually get a diagnosis, of course if you constantly feel like crap all the time I Imagine that you’re going to feel pretty “down”, but the psychological aspects sometimes associated with CFS are merely a symptom and not the cause.
CFS is a silent illness, where the sufferer may not look sick and in fact seems perfectly healthy to those around them, making it difficult for others to understand why their friend or family member doesn’t go out much anymore or spends most of their time laying down or in bed. You see, something as simple as standing and walking to the kitchen can be exhausting for someone with CFS, leaving them on the verge of collapse. Things that we take for granted like walking to the letterbox, going to the shops or hanging out with friends are all things that are difficult for someone with CFS.
During our search for answers, we’ve come across the work of Toby Morrison, founder of CFS Health. As a sufferer of sever CFS himself, Toby understands exactly what it’s like to live with CFS and the day to day struggles of living with a silent illness. Toby is also living proof that CFS can be overcome , it does take time but it can be done.
I guess the reason I am writing this post today, is to not only draw attention to the seriousness of CFS, but to also come to terms with it myself and remind myself that it is a silent illness and that those who suffer from CFS most of all need the support of those around them, a positive influence in their lives and most of all we need to believe them. No matter how hard it is at times, those who suffer from CFS need the positive support of those around them and most of all understanding. The things we take for granted are often incredibly difficult for those with CFS, something as seemingly easy as hanging out with friends, can leave a CFS sufferer bed-bound for the next few days following. Everyone is different and this is the same for people who have CFS, no two people experience CFS the same and this is part of the reason why the illness is considered so difficult to diagnose.
So the reason I wrote this post today is to shed some light and draw attention to CFS, but also to remind myself to be positive and supportive, CFS is a silent illness but recovery is possible.
After coming across the work of Toby Morrison, I am beginning to understand the condition on a more personal level, allowing me to hopefully support, understand and provide a positive presence.
Below is a link for CFS Health and one of Toby’s many Youtube videos, as well as the link to buy the book that Toby has written (which I just ordered this morning).
So here’s my reminder to be a positive influence and to support those who suffer in silence.
Buy Toby’s book Chronic Fatigue Syndrome -A Guide to Recovery—–
* information about CFS adapted from CFS Health website copyright Toby Morrison and CFS Health Centre 2014
© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.