By: Researcher Taymur
My husband and I call “The Dark Years” from 2002 to 2008. I went from a high-energy go-getter virtually overnight to being mostly bedridden, with debilitating aches, increasing tiredness, vertigo, and recurrent bronchitis.
Doctors gave me different diagnoses, but the most reliable seemed to be chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or “an unexplained autoimmune disorder.”
The worst part of having a condition like CFS apart from the horrible symptoms, the loss of health, and the indignity of people who believed that I was really sick was the mad, full-time job that was looking for ways to get better. I developed the following seven habits through some painful on – the-job training, which eventually enabled me to manage my symptoms and get back on the path to full health.
Before I start, it is important to acknowledge that CFS is a specific disease and that it will achieve varying degrees of health for those who have it. I was fortunate enough to regain my health fully, and I saw several others do the same. Everyone has their own path to health and I hope these suggestions can help you find yours whatever your potential is.
1st Coping Strategy is Taking Charge
Make sure that you know that you are responsible for your own recovery and that you are your professional advisors.
I realized that I needed to change my approach after years of hoping to find the doctor with the cure. I came with a friend to advocate for me at every appointment, along with a list of questions, a chart of my symptoms and therapy research. I had third opinions and refused any treatment if the provider could not produce two patients for whom it had worked, and one year later they were still healthy.
2nd Coping Strategy is Persistently Experiment
Be open to major changes and ask your hypotheses.
I had a lot of experiences with my diet during the early years of my disease. I left out rice, sugar, dairy and meat. I tried cleaning anti-Candida, being vegan, cleaning Ayurvedic for six weeks, and more. When none of those worked, I decided that food couldn’t cure me though eating healthy helped a bit. I was mistaken. When I questioned that conclusion, I was only able to recover my health.
I took on a strict, raw vegan diet after five years of illness that I had ruled out four years ago as too extreme. I felt better within 12 months.
3rd Coping Strategy is Heart Nurture
Establish a daily practice that can help you manage hard emotions, such as journaling, peer counseling, or meditation, that could sabotage your healing efforts.
I was part of a peer counseling community and had sessions with other counselors on a daily basis, two-way listening and sharing. They lasted from five to 50 minutes anywhere.
These sessions enabled me to stay on top of the grief, fear, and anger that might otherwise have led me to give up or feel unable to make the big changes I needed to make in diet and lifestyle.
4th Coping Strategy is Believing
Adopt a fiercely self-confident attitude and ability to be healthy.
I decided to become more optimistic when the person leading a mind-body class I was in scolded me that my cynical attitude was “not serving” me. I started looking for therapies that weren’t useful data, not indicators I’d never recover. Exercises such as writing a letter of dismissal in my head to the nervous critic helped me build my muscles of hope.
5th Coping Strategy is Healing Need
To set up your home in a way that supports your healing, use organizing principles.
Practicing qi gong on a daily basis was an important part of my recovery, but I was a chronic qi gong procrastinator before I cleaned out half of our family room to create a beautiful practice space with all the equipment, I wanted a timer, CD, and CD player in a closet.
6th Coping Strategy is Medical Information
It will make you a more effective advocate to have a handle on your medical information.
I am a man who is congenitally disorganized. So, after years of papers flying all over the place, a friend helped me create a physical notebook with tabs for Articles, Notes from Health Appointments, Medical History, Current Medicines and Lab Results.
I had all my laboratory results sent to me, so I alphabetized them with tabs such as Lupus, Lyme, Parvovirus and Parasites.
7th Coping Strategy is Be Open
Talk openly with your friends and family and invite them on your healing journey to help you.
I finally got over my delusion after five years of suffering that I didn’t need help. When people started coming to appointments with me, spending time exploring solutions with me, and visiting me, I had the confidence to take on the strict diet of healing that had previously felt too hard.
Breslov’s Nachman, a Ukrainian Hassidic rabbi of the 18th century, famously said that “a little bit is also good.” Wherever you are in your recovery, taking steps to affirm only one part of your path could make a real difference in bringing you to a healthier future.