Yesterday was an amazing day. I was in town with my beau; saying goodbye to a barista in our favourite coffee shop who was moving on, and perhaps I overindulged in some delicious sweet treats. It almost felt like the perfect day.
For most people, that’s just going to relate to issues of eating too many of the wrong things and maybe add an extra pound or two and extra inches around the waistline. I experience that too, but for me it can be so much worse. Today it has meant chronic fatigue and total exhaustion. I’m unable to engage in any physical activity but fortunately I can still write. Sugar for most people can cause a spike in energy levels, Followed by a dip or crash that usually lasts, what, a couple of hours. For me, as a person with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) I don’t feel that energy rush from the sugar, but boy do I get the crash, but it’s usually delayed until the next day. I wake up feeling exhausted, I just want to sleep, but even when I get up, have breakfast which should give me energy it makes no difference. I feel like I’m wading through treacle all day. And when I feel that I want to eat – my body is telling me it needs fuel and I eat something, it makes absolutely no difference. That is really frustrating – I know it should make me feel better and it doesn’t; but I also need to be careful that I’m not overeating (even if the food is healthy). To some extent I have to ignore the signs I’m receiving and go by mealtimes and how recently I’ve eaten. It is difficult, but if I get the balance right I know I will feel more like myself again tomorrow and will have some energy back.
Fighting CFS is an ongoing struggle but I know I’m developing a deeper understanding of the condition as it affects me. I have learned that this condition affects so many people but that everyone’s experiences are different; so I can only share what happens with me and how I feel. But I do believe this is a battle I am winning; but as I’ve been reminded of today, its very easy to slip and pay the price.
I know I should avoid sweet treats and certainly not have 2 in the same day. I know it will make me feel awful so why do I still indulge? Maybe that voice in my head needs to be louder to remind me of the consequences of too much cake. I do know that I need to be kinder to myself, show myself love and compassion. Maybe I made a mistake but that second cake was delicious. I’m not going to regret it. I did enjoy it at the time. However, I’m paying for it now. So rather than beating myself up about it, I’ll enjoy the memory (it was a fun day and the cakes were good), I’m taking it easy today and thinking about how I can avoid making the same mistake in the future. After all, none of us are perfect and we should all learn from our mistakes.
So I’m now asking myself what have I learned from this exercise? What am I taking from it. Firstly, be kind to myself and accept the situation as it is – CFS crash and all.
However my other key learning is that its not CFS flaring up or giving me a slap, but simply me consuming too much sugar and my body telling me it can’t cope and that I need to take it easy to recover and moderate my sugar consumption in the future.
For me, CFS can be managed – and hopefully controlled – but it is a constant struggle. However, I am developing the skills and tools I need to be successful. I accepted that CFS was part of my life that limited what I could do for a long time; its going to take time to change that mindset completely and live the life I want, but I am getting there.
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