Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 2nd Edition Kindle Edition
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So, I struggled with the brain fog and read this book to try to help myself. All of my "imaginary" symptoms? Every one of them is described in this book. Here were my decades of misery and depression laid bare. I was now able to put together a clear picture of my illness and present it to my doctor. She heard me out and actually agreed with my diagnosis. And, although there's nothing more we can do than treat the symptoms as we have been, I feel better. No, wait, I don't feel better. But, I do feel free.
I no longer doubt myself. I don't question if my symptoms are real. I don't blame myself or fitness level when I'm out of breath and can't do things. I'm not constantly pushing myself, trying to do everything like "normal" people can (and like I thought I should). I no longer work myself to the point that it takes 4 days to recover from 1 afternoon. I've accepted my limits and am making sure that those closest to me accept them, too. For decades, I was ruthlessly mean to myself for being lazy or overweight or out of shape. Everything was a failure on my part.
I've been miserable; I was beyond depressed. This book literally--and I do mean literally--saved my life. I couldn't have forced myself to go on much longer. Yes, I am saying that I would definitely have been a suicide statistic. But, I gained power from reading: power to name my tormentor, power to stop blaming myself and power to find some inner peace.
Now, I follow the stellar advice, found here, of planning what I intend to accomplish each day and then do 75% of it. This remarkably simple tip has helped me reshape my life. I make it through my day unfrazzled, and still have something left for tomorrow. My experience with this book has been wonderful. I wholeheartedly recommend this work to anyone wondering if they might have CFS or to those just wanting to gain a better understanding of the syndrome. It's an extremely thorough and well-written treatment of the subject.
Now, I thank you for reading my story, but I really am worn out and my shoulders are killing, but my attitude is soaring like it hasn't in . . . forever. Time for a rest, friends.
In which case, some pointers can be helpful. This encyclopedic guide covers the history of the illness(es)--is it a new name for something that has been plaguing humanity for centuries, or is it something new in and of itself?--the hypotheses regarding the mechanisms behind it, and various treatment options and regimens that have been tried.
The information provided is exhaustive, with links and citations of further sources of information, including specialist clinics, research articles, and patient websites and online forums. If you're trying to get started on finding out more about CFS/ME, then this is an excellent place to start. The information is presented in as accessible a manner as possible, and the writing is clear and engaging. That being said, the material presented is inherently dense, and reading the book straight through as I did could be rather challenging, particularly if you're experiencing brain fog or eye problems (word to the wise here!). Severely ill sufferers may wish to dip in and out of the book in small chunks, or have someone else read it through for them. However, as a reference guide to return to, the book is extremely useful.
And while it's depressing to see just how little is known about this illness, and how severely it can affect people's life, it's also encouraging to see that there are a number of things that can be tried. The book covers everything from prescription drug options and even experimental drug trials you can enroll in (for a cool $24,000, paid entirely by the patient--gotta love the US medical system!) to alternative therapies such as acupressure and massage.
This is particularly beneficial given the lack of good information available via regular medical channels: some of the more frustrating and upsetting sections of the book are on the vague and poorly constructed trials that have promoted the use of harmful therapies based on the recovery rates of people who most likely didn't have CFS to begin with (as the author dryly notes, recovery rates from CFS tend to be much higher in groups of people who never had CFS to begin with), as well as the shocking stories of children and adolescents forcibly taken from their families and forced to undergo harmful and in some cases fatal reconditioning therapies. While modern medicine has improved in many ways from the mystification of the dark ages and the forced institutionalization of a hundred years ago, confrontation with a chronic illness such as CFS rips the mask right off, and you realize just how much snake oil, witch doctoring, and plain old coercion are still out there. Sadly, the current emphasis on mental health seems to make things worse rather than better in this case...but that is a topic for another day. In the meantime, since you can't heal yourself with your magic mind powers, you can at least use your intelligence and critical reasoning skills to try to make things a little better, and reading this book could be a very helpful start.