Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back on Track

I started to feel more like myself again Monday morning and continued to do well today. I don't know if it was that day of rest (why did I wait so long to do that??) or if the mild crash I was having just finally ran its course. In any case, the wonderful support and advice from all of you helped very much! Everything you said was so true. I am trying to take better care of myself and not let stress get to me.

Stress and CFS have such a cyclical effect on each other; it's hard to tell sometimes which one is causing the other. When I'm crashed, I'm more prone to feel stressed and anxious - I've learned from long experience that emotions and physical symptoms are inextricably linked. There are changes in my brain chemistry when my CFS symptoms flare that lead to increased feelings of anxiety and depression.

And, of course, feeling stressed causes CFS symptoms to increase. The research on that point is very clear - those of us with CFS do not respond to stress the way healthy people do. Because of endocrine dysfunction, our bodies don't make the right hormones in the right amounts when faced with any kind of stress. And, of course, there's simply the stress of not feeling well and not being able to do what you need to do. So, CFS causes stress and stress causes CFS - it's a tough cycle to break once you get mired in it.

So, I was very relieved on Monday to feel more like myself again. The boys and I finally cleaned out their closets - productivity feels so good! We have boxes of old toys to donate to charity, Craig can now fit his shirts in his closet (what a concept - clothes in a closet!), and we also had our 1994 Pathfinder towed to the shop to be fixed in preparation for a possible Clunkers trade-in. There's nothing like finally taking care of long-overdue tasks to make you feel good!

The boys had a double sleep-over last night, so I was glad to feel well enough today to make the four boys a big breakfast and drive them to the pool. And, while they were there, I got some work done that had also sat idly last week. Now, I'm finally able to turn my attention to getting ready for our family camping trip this week. And I'm looking forward to it, too!


  1. So glad you are doing better. It amazes me how delicate our brain chemestry is with CFS and Lyme. Takes so little to throw us off. The info you shared here is so helpful, Sue. Good reminders too of how careful we need to be.
    Hope you have a great family trip.

  2. You do know, don't you, that many of us are echoing the same advice you'd be giving us, if the situation were reversed? I agree about the stress and anxiety -- I've never been a worrier before, but I can certainly get myself worked up these days. So glad to hear you're feeling better!

  3. I'm glad to hear you're starting to feel better. And congrats on cleaning out those closets!

  4. A very timely post for me! I'm just climbing out of a hellish crash caused by emotional stress and overdoing it (trying to run away?).

    The online support from fellow travellers is invaluable at times like this.

    You always seem to me to be able to remain very grounded, even in the difficult times.

  5. Hi Sue, How well you expressed how CFS causes stress(physiologically and emotionally) and how stress exacerbates CFS.

    It's amazing what productivity, however small does for the spirits! Congrats to you and your sons on your closet cleaning.

  6. Shelli -

    I had to laugh when I read your comment! You're absolutely right! Somehow, in the midst of a flare-up, we forget all that we've learned about living with CFS - it's like we lose all perspective. I'm so glad to have such a supportive group of friends to remind me of these basic lessons when I need it!


  7. Thanks, Jo. I don't always feel grounded, but I do try to remember the important stuff and keep my priorities straight.

    I know you've had a rough week - I hope you're starting to come out of it by now.


  8. Martine5:51 PM


    I just now read your post about stress, flares, and crashing, and that's EXACTLY what I'm going through at the moment! I have this low-level anxiety (wired but tired), low mood, and complete exhaustion which have all aggravated my Candida I think and is causing me terrible "gut" and brain fog issues. We all know that the gut is the "second brain" and that stress and neurotransmitter issues drag us down into a vicious cycle where nothing helps but NO STRESS and lots of rest. And, of course turning off that never-ending, critical, perfectionistic voice inside our heads that's telling us we're going crazy and that we're "terribly unhealthy". We can ALL completely relate to overdoing, over-planning, and over-promising.

    Glad to hear you're feeling a bit better; it's a daily struggle with an unpredictable, ever-changing collection of symptoms.

  9. Martine -

    The struggle against perfectionism is a constant one for me! CFS has definitely taught me some lessons in that regard, and I'm better than I used to be but sometimes the need to do everything still overtakes me!

    Hope you're feeling better by now -