Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
7 Proven Steps to Less Pain and More Energy
Chapter 3: Why Mind-Body Dualism Doesn't Help
Page 17: The Downside of "Biology is Everything"
If you view treatment of these illnesses as a search for purely biological causes, then you're ignoring what may be most helpful to your right now: the control you can exert over your own beliefs, personal stress levels, and activities.
When I was in that biology-is-everything camp, I sustained myself with the belief that I would find a practitioner who could cure me -- but after 18 years of slavish adherence to the biological model, I had little to show for it other than a depleted bank account. ...
Why I left the Mind-Body Debate: ... First, finding a cure could occur well after my lifetime, and I'm not willing to just wait. Second, I can substantially improve my illness through my own efforts -- by using lifestyle adjustments and stress reduction techniques.
Chapter 18: Medical and Alternative Treatment
Because fatigue, pain, and depression are often linked, physicians sometimes prescribe antidepressants for CFS/ME patients. However, two controlled studies of Prozac in CFS/ME patients have reported no beneficial effect on CFS or depression symptoms (Wearden et al. 1998; Vercoulen, Swanink, Zitman, et al 1996). This doesn't mean that anti-depressants aren't helpful for some people with CFS/ME. In fact, a survey I did of 285 CFS/ME patients (Friedberg 1995) revealed that roughly one in four respondents did indeed report significant benefits from antidepressant medications. On the other hand, 31 percent of respondents said that antidepressants made them feel worse.
Chapter 11: Finding Relief from Worry, Discouragement, and Guilt
Acknowledging the losses you experience when you're ill is a healthy and important process-- a process that sets the stage for future healing. Writing down these losses and how you feel about them is one way to begin the process. ...
... Yes, you do have the illness and its limitations, but dwelling on these things requires thinking. This type of thinking can be changed. .... refocus on what you can do. Appreciate the rewards and good feelings from accomplishments, however small compared to you pre-illness activities. ...
... Worrying isn't equivalent to caring about yourself of anyone else-- it's merely a repetitive thought process without a constructive end. ...
... To help lessen these harmful feelings of guilt, I suggest practicing some personalized variation on the following statements:
• I will do what I can reasonably do, and I will value this achievement
rather than condemning myself for what cannot be done.
• Guilt neither makes me do more, nor changes my behavior -- it only
sustains bad feelings.
Chapter 6: Can Good Coping and Stress Reduction Improve Illness?
You may be unaware of the persistent low-level stress that you experience. This is quite common in people with these illnesses. Many have learned to ignore stress signals from their bodies, simply pushing on with their daily activities. Also, much of the stress resides just below consciousness, so you may fail to recognize it or dismiss it because it's not obvious. However, even persistent, low-level stress can keep symptom levels higher than they would otherwise be.
Stress reduction techniques, another important tool in this improvement program, can reduce both stress flare-ups and the general stress that is always with you.
Chapter 9: How to Pace ALL of Your Activity: Its More Than You Think
... Fits and starts of activity when symptoms ease may cause you to run out the clock on your energy while ignoring pain and fatigue. The result: relapses, collapses, crashes, and setbacks. ... There are always certain things you must do regardless of their effect on your illness, but you probably have more flexibility than your realize to rearrange your schedule or do your activities in a more energy-conserving manner. ... Daily pacing frees you from this frenetic pursuit of accomplishments, large and small.
Chapter 16: How to Make Yourself Miserable
Nine Rules to CFS/FM Misery
- Ask yourself "Why Me?" as often as possible. Whenever your feel any degree of peace, know that this is a false peace -- you are still ill; you must endlessly question why this curse has been visited upon you.
- Focus on how sick you are, magnify every ache, pain, flu-like feeling, or discomfort that you have to he greatest degree possible. Only in this way will you realize the true impact you your illness.
- As an alternative, ignore and deny all of your symptoms. Consume as much caffeine as necessary to power through your day. After all, ignoring your illness is the only way to feel normal and healthy.
Chapter 20. The Difference Between Healing and Cure
In the process of healing, you develop and value yourself, not only as an engine of work and sacrifice, but also as a human being with important personal needs. Curing symptoms without healing means that you are much more vulnerable to relapses. A cure without healing will probably be short-lived; your desperation to recapture your pre-illness lifestyle will just deplete your precious energies all over again.