Friday, May 29, 2009

Learning To Let Go

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful support earlier this week when I was feeling so overwhelmed. Two things have helped me to relax a bit.

First, I really appreciated the suggestion to forget my overwhelming to-do list and make a separate list of only what MUST be done before our vacation. I actually use this strategy every year at this time when things get crazy, but I had forgotten (thanks for the reminder, Toni!).

The other thing is that I realized I have been really hard on myself lately, setting very high goals and expectations. I don't know why this came as such an epiphany this week, but it suddenly hit me. The truth is that I've been a perfectionist and an over-achiever for as long as I can remember. I thought that CFS had taught me to ease up on myself, but it's a lesson that I sometimes forget. Old habits die hard.

In my pre-CFS life, I usually achieved whatever I set out to do through hard work and perseverance. I still fall into the trap sometimes of expecting too much from myself. Who am I kidding? I always expect too much!

It's taken me 7 years, but I've finally accepted that I need to go with the flow - energy flow, that is - and rest when I need to...I just temporarily forgot. I think financial worries were part of the problem, adding pressure to ramp up my writing and increase my meager contribution to the family income. And while it's true that money is even tighter than usual this year, it's also true that pressure + CFS = crash. I know from hard experience that the harder I push myself the less I'll be able to do. It's so counter-intuitive, isn't it?

So, I've made a conscious decision not to worry about getting more writing pitches out until after vacation and to just focus on what really needs to be done in the short term. I'm feeling more relaxed and had a pretty good week. We still have two very busy, hectic weeks ahead of us, but I feel better equipped emotionally to deal with that.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


  1. I can so relate to what you wrote today.

    Someone once told me to just focus on doing the next best thing and if you don't know what that is sit down and have tea. It's easier said than done.

    I'm glad you're feeling more relaxed and less pressure. I wish you zero crashes, enough energy to meet the demands of the next couple weeks, and much peace..

  2. I so identify with this post Sue. Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water. . .

    I find, when I'm under pressure I revert to old coping skills which maybe ain't so appropriate any more. Perfectionism is a way (for me) of trying to exert some control in an uncontrollable situation. I know this because I'm doing it right now with my move.

    Don't forget to rest before you get tired, even if you think you don't need it. That's a message for me as much as you!

    I wish you a very happy vacation.

  3. I think this must be a woman thing, or at least a mom thing! I was watching a program the other day, and a psychologist was talking about how we as moms allow ourselves to get overwhelmed -- basically, the same things you've outlined. He said we need to stop focusing on achievements and start focusing on moments, and then we would be able to enjoy motherhood and life a lot more. I thought that was a lesson from CFS, since it robs you so much of the achievements that used to be important to you. But I find I still need that reminder!

  4. BREAKING NEWS - Dr. Kenny De Meirleir Announced he has revealed the True Nature of ME or CFS. In a London Press Conference titled “ME: End of an Era of Medical Negation" May 28, 2009. ME/CFS researcher Dr. Kenny De Meirleir, MD, PhD, unveiled his team's groundbreaking findings regarding ME/CFS.

  5. Letting go and going with the important and so hard to do at times. Like Jo said, going back to old ways seems so easy when we are under stress, etc. I have experienced it recently myself...again....
    Wishing you better days ahead and one super family vacation!!

  6. I always enjoy your posts. I hope your vacation will be a wonderful time of getting away, while you rest in fun ways.