CFS, energy and coping

In 1993 I was approaching 30, freshly separated from my then husband, new job 50 miles away from my home, long working hours, pressure, pressure, pressure.  The country hadn’t yet emerged from the yuppie, upwardly mobile ’80s – we were all caught up in it.  I was also witnessing the other side of it – my new boyfriend had just been made redundant from his ‘job for life’ in the coal mines of Staffordshire, the potteries were also closing as manufacturing moved to cheaper countries.

I came down with ‘flu.  Not a bad cold but the real deal.  The doctor gave me antibiotics ………  I went back to work too soon and had a relapse.  More antibiotics, more time off work.  But this time there were other things going on.  No energy whatsoever, an ache in all my muscles and bones, to the point where some days I simply couldn’t move, long after the ‘flu had subsided.  I also developed breathing difficulties and used inhalers.  The depression and sense of worthlessness was crippling.  After 6 months, I was made redundant –  my world was breaking up around me.  Chronic fatigue syndrome was mentioned as was post viral syndrome.

Eventually my energy slowly started to return.  Clean eating, cutting way back on alcohol, rest …. and possibly the knowledge that there was a clean slate, a new start.  I retrained in office systems, although it was hard to say goodbye to my successful but very stressful career in catering.

Since then I have been watchful, keeping a close eye on my stress and energy levels.  Learning to say no; one of the hardest lessons in life.  Learning that I didn’t have to be successful in my job to be successful in life.  Learning to put myself first.  Learning to take a step back.  I won’t say my life was perfect from then on, far from it.  I was still plagued by my low self esteem, itself a massive energy drain, and depression.

I do think that having gone through CFS, coming out the other side, although there is never true recovery, has been a powerful part of my Yoga discovery.  In Yoga we work with Prana, life force itself, which I was already very aware of having lost it for a while.  In Reiki I also work with Prana, channelling this amazing energy.  I now cultivate it, cherish and nurture it.

Around 2003, Transcendental Meditation™ came into my life.  Although I was soon to explore other avenues of meditation, I learnt straight away what a powerful tool this is to have.  Meditation is life saving!  True.  In stilling the mind, recovery, replenishment, opening up happens.  It’s like a daily recharge.  I don’t make time for the required 40 minutes a day that is taught in TM, I do however always make sure there  is space to meditate.  This might not always be a formal, seated affair.  It might be a walk in the countryside, baking, being quiet and contemplative.  It might be a few minutes whilst waiting in a queue.  The opportunities are endless.

My energy story isn’t as serious as many other I have come across.  I was never diagnosed with ME, fibromyalgia and so on.  I was fortunate.