I’ve been living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for a little over three years now. It’s a very frustrating illness mainly because many people don’t understand what it means. I know many people are tired, but CFS is much more than just being tired. No, I'm not just lazy or depressed, my body hurts and is constantly fatigued.
The best way I can describe how I feel is to think about the flu. On my worst flare up days, it feels like I have a bad case of the flu. I have absolutely no energy. It is exhausting to fix breakfast. My whole body hurts and is weak. I will have a bad sore throat and a migraine like headache. My legs and arms will feel like they each weigh hundreds of pounds and even doing simple things like drying my hair is exhausting. On these days, I need to rest as much as I can. Bad days can last for a day or two or up to a few weeks or months.
On my best days, I feel like I’m just getting over the flu. I still wake up with a headache and feel unrested. However, after breakfast and showering, I may not feel as achy. So then I will be productive: food store, maybe some restorative or gentle yoga, and some cleaning or laundry. Then it will hit me like a ton of bricks. My body will be back to feeling weak and achy, my throat will starting hurting again, joint pain will flare up, fatigue will worsen.. etc. Then I’ll suddenly have to lay down.
I can't remember the last time I woke up without a headache. I can't remember the last time I had energy all day. I can't remember the last time I felt like myself. I used to be such a high energy person- a bubbly, hardworking teacher, very sociable-always going out to happy hours or shopping after work, and tough workouts at the gym including weight training and kickboxing. I feel like I'm trapped in the body of an elderly woman, not a 31 year old!
This illness affects me in some form each day.The thing is I can rest and sleep as much as I want, but it doesn’t make it go away. But stress and doing too much makes it worse. So it’s a fine line of deciding what to do, and what not to do. Listening to my body and trying to balance my life does help me control this frustrating illness as much as I can.