Personal & Emotional Management
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Is there a Personality Type That is More Prone to Develop CFS?
You are a Unique, Gifted Person!
Illness as a Message to you from your Body
Communication with our bodies - Self-Dialogue
Be conscious of your limitations, but dont' be ruled by them
Avoid creating arbitrary negative meanings
Positive Visualisation of Internal Energy
Addictive patterns of negative thinking and bodily awareness
Others working with you, not against you
Evalute Your Existing Relationships and Situation
Support Groups and Keeping in Contact with Fellow Patients
Don't be in denial, stop pretending, but be positive
Stop pretending to be 'normal', keeping up appearances and to please others!
This is WAR!
Many CFS sufferers have impaired endocrine function and mitochondrial function, meaning that they deplete their energy reserves quickly and have a poor stress hormone response to external stimuli. This often means that they are more prone to stress than most others. If one also considers that people who have suffered from extreme psychological stress over a period of years are perhaps more likely to develop CFS in the first place, then often we have a chronic stress situation. The condition of CFS is likely to cause additional stress in terms of adapting to one's environment and managing the condition, as well as the physiological effects of the said condition. Stress is said to very quickly deplete our Jing or vital essence according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). According to TCM, most CFS patients are extremely low in energy, and are often Yin deficient, and suffering from Qi deficiency and Qi stagnation. Background stress (almost unnoticeable to many) makes it almost impossible to build up one's Qi, almost like pouring water into a bucket with a large hole in the bottom. The inputs are good (food etc.), but the expenditure (e.g. stress, over-exertion) are all wrong.
Dr Martin Pall has hypothesised (quite convincingly) that excessive stress can result in elevated Nitric Oxide levels, which can instigate a vicious cycle of free radical production that damages the body's hemoglobin and mitochondria, resulting in lower energy and oxygen levels in the body. This extent of oxidative nitrative stress on the body can build up over time. This is examined on the Nitric Oxide and Peroxynitrite page. This can be exacerbated by food allergies, neurotransmitter, excitotoxicity, and heavy metal toxicity; and conversely, stress or elevated and prolonged levels of brain stimulation (not necessarily stress) can result in elevated food sensitivites and electromagnetic field sensitivies etc, through neuronal overexcitation and other pathways.
There is a temptation amongst those who are more biochemistry biased to think that simply undergoing detoxification protocols, dietary changes and a supplementation regime will be enough to 'cure' their condition. And in many cases it is. However, for some who are extremely stressed or just not relaxed for a significant or any part of each day, then clearly targetting relaxation is of paramount importance. It may not be possible to recover until one makes some progress in one's stress levels and general state of mind. In many cases, the worse one feels, the more negative one's attitude becomes, adding to the overall burden and physiological effects, i.e. getting out of that fight or flight response state that we have perhaps been locked into for many years, which has resulted in adrenal fatigue and other complications. If we don't remove that illness accelerator, then progress may yield 'fragile or unstable' results, or may just be slow or not forthcoming at all, despite various positive and beneficial biochemical treatments.
It is all very well knowing that one should be relaxing more or trying to stay calm, but knowing is useless unless one does something about it. The mind (or specifically the ego) may often say to itself 'I know I should be more relaxed', feel smug about knowing this, then ignore it. This is an ego trick. The ego may tell you that you don't need to make the effort as you are already pulling out all stops in other areas of your treatment programme. But it is certainly likely to proceed more quickly and efficiently if you are relaxed and with a healthy state of mind. In any case, stress in some instances is one of many contributary factors to CFS (not usually the sole factor), and to leave one contributary factor in place for the sake of it whilst addressing all others does not make any sense, especially if that factor can continue to work to your detriment during and after your recovery and perhaps harm your immune system. Why go to all this trouble and leave one stone unturned, that doesn't actually cost anything to 'turn'? The key is to address one's core beliefs that are unhelpful or negative, and which CAUSE stress in one's moment to moment experience, one's pattern of focus, to more effectively manage one's day to day experience, responsiblities, to adapt or choose an environment more conducive to recovery and positive thinking, and also to work on relaxation techniques in order to relieve stress and become more relaxed and calm.
Of course, the fight or flight response is just one example of a shift in one's bodily regulation by the autonomic nervous system, and there are other causes and factors in a shift in the autonomic nervous system, which are examined elsewhere. Not all CFS sufferers have a significant fight or flight state problem. However, working on stress management is a good place to start.
Ashok Gupta runs a clinic (Harley Street Solutions Ltd) and an NLP web site CFSRecovery.com. His NLP-based programme works on the basis that most CFS problems are caused by over-stimulation of the Amygdala of the brain, i.e. too much adrenaline being continuously produced and general biochemical hyperreactivity, which is likely to be a major contributary factor in many CFS cases. i.e. it is not just a case of stress, but of incorrect interpretation function of the brain (in the Amagdala) when it comes to any kind of stimuli, resulting in a fixed state of hyper-excitation and hyper-sensitivity to the surroundings (fight or flight response). This state of hyper-excitation 'burns out' the body and usually results in varying levels of adrenal fatigue and low oxygenation levels, poor organ functioning, and other related biochemical bodily disorders. Gupta himself overcame his own CFS using these techniques combined with improved nutrition. I believe that this negative type of brain entrainment, which could be a result of over-stimulation or over-stress, without adequate rest/relaxation time or mind state time, is one of the factors operating in CFS patients. As to whether it was the cause, well that is semantics. But it is no doubt a significant contributary factor in many patients and one cannot afford to neglect this area. I am currently trialling the Gypta Amygdala Retraining DVD programme himself and will provide a full review in due course. Ashok first contacted me in around 2007 and it was in 2009 that he provided me with a free copy of his DVD programme for review. Links to Ashok Gupta's medical theories on CFS are shown below also. NLP is endorsed on MedicalInsider.com for assisting recovery in CFS patients, but in addition to a number of medical tests and treatments. Links to information about his programme and the amagdala hypothesis can be found below.
One sign of an over-active Amygdala is an addiction or compulsion to feel like you have to respond to every little thing around you, or get involved in everything around you, without being able to stand back, let go, switch off, and/or stay neutral, calm and centred. All details of the outside world are being over-interpreted by the brain. This is not a sign of being 'sharper' than everyone else, but is a sign of adrenal burn out or impending burn out.
Some people may consider 'stress' as simply worrying or being anxious. However, these are merely some of the possible psychological manifestations of stress. There are others. And indeed there are physical stressors. If we look at the brain specifically, then long periods of over-stimulation or intense concentration without adequate days off, holidays, rest periods or mental quiet time, may potentially result in a hyper excited state of the Amagdala. This hyper-excited state which can result in adrenal burnout or indeed neurotransmitter or endocrine system imbalance and improper immune system functioning need not necessarily be associated with an inability to relax or worrying. Indeed, this hyper-excited state may not have been the initial trigger for CFS but may have arisen during the course of the illness as an adaptation response to lower mitochondrial function and neurotransmitter production. i.e. an increased reliance on adrenaline. In any case, even those patients with CFS or ME who claim to be relaxed are unlikely to be in the league of 'Zen masters'. Meditation masters spend decades meditating to quieten the mind, and being all macho about it, denying one is stressed or that one has an unruly and undisciplined mind is rather ridiculous. Procrastinating is equally ridiculous. Everyone can do with improvement in their attitudes, psychological management, and indeed in better controlling their focus, and aligning the beliefs to the desired outcome; and in rooting out negative or limiting beliefs. Just ask any performance athelete, sports person or sales person. The mind is not a binary organ that is either in perfect health or 'ill'. There are many shades or mediocrity in between. People don't like to admit this as the ego likes to think the mind is spotless and healthy and likes to put up a front or keep up appearances with peers and even with itself (the ultimate act of deception). So what we are suggesting is that pretty much everyone, especially those with CFS, needs to start some mind quieting exercises, body relaxing exercises, negative thought/habit interrupting exercises and positive visualisation exercises immediately. If you have an unhealthy body, you need all the help you can get to get well, and this includes a focussed and positive mind, free of clutter. A mind that is not too engaged in the symptoms of one's condition, but which is able to separate itself and restore real tranquility to the body, to allow the business of healing to take place. It is hard to heal with a chaotic mind that has lost all its objectivity and that is unable to see outside of the box (as it is meant to do in ideal circumstances). If some people manage to completely cure themselves of chronic diseases such as cancer, then it is surely worth giving it a shot yourself for CFS? In conjunction with all the other positive health aspects to your treatment regime that you are already undertaking/looking to undertake. Hit it on all sides. Give your body the maximum window for opportunity to heal itself. If nothing else, you will feel better about yourself and gain some self-knowledge.
Please see the Stress page for stress management techniques and an analysis of why stress occurs.
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Is there a personality type that is more prone to develop CFS?
In the natural environment, fear is a very useful response. Being afraid of being eaten or injury is what keeps a person or animal alive. Those who have no fear are too brash and bold, and perform reckless acts, and are more likely to die or become injured (meaning a high chance of death) in the natural world. The fight or flight response to perceived threats is a useful survival instinct, resulting in the production of adrenaline to assist the body in responding to the situation. We have temporarily elevated levels of adrenaline, then engage in a form of exercise to escape/fight the danger, our adrenaline levels drop, and we most likely do not experience another danger for a number of weeks or months. Our brains, like animal brains are wired to respond to this too. Unfortunately, the modern man does not appreciate that he is still controlled by this response mechanism. We are intelligent, abstract thinking human beings, better than animals, and have eliminated virtually all natural predators and real dangers to our being (if we have the fortune to live in a safe, secure country), and therefore we have nothing to worry about! With food, water, warmth and shelter, modern man should be happy and content! Right? Wrong! What we instead respond to are abstract dangers and threats, such as fear of crime (grossly exaggerated in the media and overemphasised in television and movies), work related stress, stress from awkward situations and relationships, fear or rejection, fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fears resulting from low self-esteem and lack of confidence, fears of things like public speaking, stress through a sense of detachment and meaningless, and much more. Why is the modern human stressed about all these things?
It is natural to feel stress, but most people cannot control their focus and are not aware of their core beliefs, many of which are very destructive and which cause pain and stress. Of course, everyone will experience stress at some point in their lives. If you don't, you are dead! However, the problem lies when the person experiences this fight or flight response over days, weeks or even years, without dissipating it. This results in elevated adrenaline levels for extended periods which wears out the adrenal glands and disrupts the hormonal balance of the individual. This in turn interferes with the person's biochemistry and energy levels, resulting in a state of chronic fatigue. In addition, stress diverts blood away from the digestive tract, resulting in impaired absorption of nutrients from stomach and intestines. Excesses of negative emotions also have a huge negative effect on the body's qi levels and the openness of the body's meridians, which impact health over time, especially when the body is already run down. Such individuals have a tendency to listen to stressful music or watch TV programmes or films that are non-relaxing in nature (e.g. horror, gothic, action, suspense, high paced) in their free time, engage in exciting and dangerous sports (such as motorsport, skydiving, martial arts, scuba diving, extreme sports etc.), and regular, large amounts of exercise (running, weight training), in order to feel better and dissipate their excess adrenaline. Unfortunately, such activities are often the opposite of what the person needs, and they tend to elevate the person's stress levels, rather than reduce them. A person's tastes in music and television can often reinforce the continual fight or flight response rather than lessen it. Are these really you? Are they reflective of your personal tastes or preferences or are they simply a result of your conditioned stressed mental state? If you removed the stress and were fully relaxed, would you still like these things? If you indulged in something slow paced and relaxing, that works more on the softer emotions and subtlety, do you enjoy it as much or more? Does it reach a part of you other music/film cannot? That might help to answer this question.
Such a person is likely to try to complete all tasks very quickly so that he can relax, but that time never comes and the result is increased levesl of stress. Often such a person may feel stressed or overwhelmed when tasks mount up. Such a person probably has a stressful job too, and eventually is highly likely to 'burn out' or at the very least have slightly impaired health. This is of course a generalisation.
If one examines the area of music for a moment, one should consider music as a form of expression of emotion or a release of emotion. However, listening to one type of music can have the reverse effect that is intended, so example, a type of abrasive music that is good in small doses occasionally to 'clear one's frustration or express vitality' can actually prevent one's mind from being calm or experiencing relaxation or softer emotions - it can become 'hard work' to listen to. The subconscious mind is usually the best judge of what we want, and often certain more rounded types of music feel instantly 'right' to our subconscious, incorporating a wide variety of emotions, often positive emotions and yet also appealing to our intellect. Of course, sometimes we want something 'rocking' or 'hardcore' to feel a realise of pent up emotion. But if we consider that any extremes of one particular emotion are unhealthy if overindulged in for long periods, then we might consider listening to certain types of music that cause us stress is a result of the conscious mind overruling the subconscious and inflicting stress on it when the conscious can recognise if it is prepared to that it is not doing it any good. It is like inflicting pain on ourselves. The 'should' or 'ought to' overrides the actual wants and needs. This is one sign of addictive stressful behaviour and emotional imbalance. It been noted that emotionally balanced forms of classical music, such as Mozart, are seen to stimulate brain activity and creativity, whereas rock and pop styles of music tend to dull down brain activity and make one more lethargic (mentally). This is known as the Mozart Effect.
Regardless, certain personality types have a tendency to overdo things, be perfectionistic, take things personally and become stressed. These are the negative traits and tendencies in those people with the 'blue' personality type, that we shall explore in more detail in the psychology section on personality types. Of course, a blue personality may not necessarily have these negative traits, but there is a personality type disposition towards these if left unchecked. Blue personality types tend to be more sensitive, yet this is a unique attribute that is a huge positive once the negative personality tendencies are overcome. In many respects, developing chronic fatigue is a blessing, as it allows us to stop what we are doing, step back, suffer a little, grow up and really re-evaluate our lifestyle, our beliefs and become more appreciative of what we have, rather than forever chasing one's tail and never feeling content or satisfied.
It would however be an incorrect assumption that all sufferers of CFS have a huge stress problem. Some sufferers are fairly relaxed. And it would be an incorrect assumption that all people with a blue personality type have a huge stress problem. People can become chronically fatigued through poor diet and insufficient rest periods and sleep. However, the general pattern is that the proportion of blue personality types within the CFS suffering population is much higher than it is in the population as a whole. We are not suggesting that all CFS sufferers should quit their careers and all become artists or live on a farm. Not that that would be such a bad idea! However, what we are suggesting is that the person once the person has recovered, that he should re-evaluate his lifestyle, perhaps rationalise/reduce his activites somewhat and introduce new, more relaxing and emotionally rewarding past times. And perhaps re-evaluate his lifestyle right now!
Some of the anxiety disorders discussed on the Stress page are a result of a single traumatic event, creating a severe fight or flight response which a person may end up stuck in or may find themselves dragged back into depending on certain triggers. In other cases it may be a gradual build up of anxiety over time, one anxiety fuelling another and taking over the conscious mind so that the compartments of anxiety grow bigger and gradually take over one's whole conscious experience without the mind noticing. Some stressed individuals who have been stressed since early childhood may not necessarily be so because they are 'stressed personalities'. Some people assume that stress for some people is set in stone and is an inextricable part of their personality. This is not correct. There are certain negative potential characteristics with every personality type. However, those who are 'more sensitive' or more highly strung may just be that way because of a lack of encouragement/support/reassurance/explanation and/or bullying influences which over time results in an individual always feeling slightly insecure or nervous, i.e. being entrained and stuck in a minor fight or flight mode continuously. Some never fully get over this and remain like this their entire lives. Such individuals usually have worse health than their more relaxed peers.
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You are a Unique, Gifted Person!
Think of CFS as a positive thing, it means you are a uniquely sensitive person, with real spirit and soul, but because you haven't taken care of yourself and eaten healthily enough (in relative terms or subjected to other imperfect environmental factors), made a few bad decisions and have worn yourself, but now you are educated about your health, you know what you need to do, you know how to live your life more positively when you have recovered, and you have the potential to reach heights unimaginable by most people. So it's worth feeling really ill for a while to achieve this new you! In a sense you have to start from the sewer to motivate yourself to reach for the stars. Most people require the partial or complete loss of something to truly appreciate it. Most people will never take an active interest in these subjects until they become unwell themselves, so in a sense sometimes one requires to become unwell to change one's attitude towards life and change one's priorities. To truly value one's life. When that person gets back what they realised was very important to them, they are truly alive. They treasure it and value it according to what it really deserves. This is surely better than a long mediocre life where one never really appreciated what one had, never really stepping out to look at and reflect on one's life, treating one's body in a negative and rather nonchalant manner (as it will 'always be there and work this way, right?!'), fighting the body rather than working with it, comfort eating garbage, and being busy filling up each day to the maximum with ego pleasing distractions to avoid noticing that one is alive and what a gift it is. This is what modern consumer societies churns out. Such individuals who are never really alive or appreciative. That is no way to live one's life.
I hope that you can see this horrible episode as something positive, a challenge, a wake up call (be it from God or cause-and-effect, or both, you choose), an excuse you need to push you in the right direction. In life, our jobs or other circumstances rather tax all of our gifts or attributes, but focus rather narrowly. Now for a change you have a challenge that is truly worthy of your faculties and worthy of you as a 'contender'. It is an opportunity to show what you are made of, to really use all of your senses, self-discipline, to test your character, and make you very wise, strong and healthy in the process. You may have been waiting for your challenge for all your life. Well here it is! Use it as an opportunity to better yourself, explore unexplored psychological territory, break out of your old routines and habits, create new disciplines and positive habits and create a positive regime for your current and future health.
In a sense, it is good that we have felt unwell. It reaffirms the laws of physics and biochemistry (and absolute science - not necessarily the medical establishment's crude understanding of it), and indeed the general principles of health. It is these same principles and laws that will allow us to enjoy optimal health and a real resilience of health and stamina in the future. It is just that these principles and facts of biochemistry are not working in our favour at the moment - we were not aware of them and abused them or were abused ourselves by our environment (knowingly or unknowingly). However, if we try to understand these principles and apply them to ourselves and our bodies, and cease patterns that are detrimental to our health, and institute a correct treatment regimen (with assistance), then by utilising the body's natural ability and will to heal itself, providing it with a little assistance, we can heal ourselves and achieve this return/journey to optimal health and wellbeing. So whilst the present may seem hard, and it may be a harsh view to regard this as a good thing, it is in fact a reassuring confirmation of the very principles we will come to rely on in our journey to the 'summit' and also the time we will enjoy at the 'summit'.
However your condition was caused, the cure is not necessarily the 'reverse' of this. In other words, if stress was the main factor for causing your condition, by simply relaxing you may not necessarily be fully cured. This is because the condition may create downstream effects and reinforce itself that render it so complex that the body requires additional assistance besides getting to the root of the stress (the nature of the stress may well have shifted since one first became ill). Of course, it depends on the severity of your condition. Relaxation clearly helps (anyone!) Positive beliefs clearly help you (if only a little!) So why not try it? Negative beliefs and stress may make you worse and use up so much unnecessary energy, but if not you are certainly not enjoying it! Energy is something you may not have very much of, so don't waste it going on an emotional rollercoaster. Be proactive. The psychology section of this web site may prove useful, not only for CFS sufferers and sufferers of related conditions, but anyone who is not at their emotional peak.
In many respects, physically removing a negative person or situation from your life may not resolve the stress issues that surround them. It is best to tackle the negative beliefs that are associated with that person, that place, that situation, your health or abilities and limitations.
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Illness as a Message to you from your Body:
Try to see CFS as any other illness or negative physical sensation that you have experienced in your life. It is not who you are. It is a message from your body to you, the conscious mind, to indicate that it doesn't like something you are doing to it or allowing to happen to it. It is giving you feedback. Now the best thing to do with feedback is to treat it in a positive manner. To accept the message, and send the messenger away. You have received the message loud and clear. You now have no more use of the message. The message has fulfilled its purpose and has no more use or reason to be there. Do not try to 'fight the message'. Accept it and surrender yourself to the message. Then let your 'message' go. Say goodbye to your 'message'. If you try to resist the message too much you may end up replaying it over and over again and being locked into it. You may become locked into it/imprisoned by the message, if you become stressed by the message. This is akin to the concept of using your 'body intelligence'.
If you are at peace with your condition and unconditionally accept and love yourself right now, then you are unlikely to feel imprisoned, frustrated or attached other negative emotions (or limiting beliefs) to your condition. This may well help you to feel 'unlocked' and immediately slightly better. There is no point beating yourself up with stress over your physical condition. Or fighting your condition in the usual sense. The irony is that CFS sufferers are often more prone to stress because of low energy levels and dysfunctional endocrine systems, and the experience of being ill often causes previously relaxed people to become extremely stressed, which further complicates the condition and puts 'brakes' on energetic/endocrine treatment progress. Fighting stress with stress is not an effective strategy. We have to identify what is causing us stress here and now, even if it is anxiety about our illness or anxiety about becoming anxious. And learn to let go of that anxiety. Every thought we have creates a resonance within the body. If you can align our thoughts to the kind of resonance we want to create with our internal organs, then our healing process will progress much more quickly and healing 'brick walls' can be avoided or climbed over in the course of our treatment and rehabilitation. You can even talk to your body/message/illness and thank it and tell it that it's no longer required etc.
One may tend to want to 'fight' one's fatigue. This may seem like the best strategy to regain control of one's brain and body and to get through the day. However, 'fighting' one's fatigue is not always the best strategy. This involves the adrenal pathway, which is often why the body got into this mess in the first place (i.e. adrenal fatigue). So by relying on the adrenal pathway for extra 'beans' and to mentally fight one's state is not helpful. One may well find that one has more energy if one let's go, gives in to the feeling and relaxes with it; then things become easier and not harder. If you need to calm your brain and relax, do so, then you like likely feel more energised that if you muscled your way through, keeping the brain overstimulated and exhausted the whole time.
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Communication with our bodies - Self-Dialogue:
Communication with our own bodies is very important. This may sound strange. However, if we are aware that certain organs in the body are not functioning 100% efficiently, it is tempting to think of them that way, and to say to oneself that one's liver is really in bad shape, or that one's stomach is very weak etc. This is similar to the negative criticism that we give ourselves when we perceive that we have made a mistake or 'goofed up'. It is not really helpful to beat ourselves up, nor is it helpful to verbally beat up our bodies! Words create visualisation which in turn can affect the organs themselves on some level. What is more helpful is to communicate to our own organs both literally in terms of positive words, but also in terms of what we do to them and put them through. Quite often, one may force the body to jump through many consecutive hoops, when all it is really trying to do is help you! Prior to proper diagnosis, you may have had a destructive and abusive lifestyle. After diagnosis, you may go over the top to try to treat yourself, making your body jump through the hoops again, without really working with it. You may have a negative opinion of your organs. But equally your organs may have a negative opinion of what the brain is doing (in a metaphoric sense perhaps)! Maybe your liver isn't particularly happy or impressed with what you are doing to it! Maybe your stomach isn't impressed with too much heartburn on account of over supplementation with Betaine HCl or being overburdened with too large meals. Your consciousness in a sense is separate from your body and your brain. Although interlinked, your thoughts can direct the body rather than be directed by it. And you can also have a sense of being a passenger to your thoughts, emotions and mind. An outside observer just watching the action take place. If one was one's mind, one could choose what to think and how to feel with no effort at all! So it is helpful to work with one's body and mind and to get the best out of them, rather than fighting them and abusing them, and feeling terrible. The mind and body are there to help you!
We often communicate with ourselves with very negatively and visual ourselves very negatively, but it is counterproductive to our recovery. We need to try to improve the quality of the communication with ourselves to make it positive and empowering, a force for improvement rather than detriment to our health. One particular communication exercise is described below.
It can be helpful to allocate a certain time of the day where you tell yourself that you are excellent, you are the greatest, you are brave, you are intelligent, you are attractive, you are the business, you are healthy, you feel great, your liver feels great, your kidneys feel excellent, my stomach feels great, I am going to digest this meal really well, these supplements are really going to help, etc. Really feel it, and use your body and voice to strengthen the feeling. Clench your fists, do whatever you need to do! Shadow box in the mirror. Do anything you want! Go for it. Make it a regular event, once or many times a day, or you will stop doing it and the mind will conveniently forget it and the ego will want to stop you doing it as it threatens its significance etc. Play with it! Try it first thing in the morning, rather than cursing and telling yourself that xyz is wrong and you feel bad. Start your day on a positive note. Every thought creates an energy in your body and negative thoughts can seriously impede yoru recovery. Explore all these options and tools and thoughts that you can use at any time.
A lecture by Anne Baring on 'The Brain and the Neuro-Psycho-Immune System' examines the link between emotions and thoughts, the peptides associated with different emotional states, and the role of peptides (specifically neurotransmitters) in all the subsystems of the limbic system; linking thought with biochemistry and bodily health. Clearly it is considerably more complex than this, but there is a sound scientific basis for this preposition.
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Be conscious of your limitations, but dont' be ruled by them:
There is a tendency amongst CFS sufferers to try to continue their normal lifestyle as long as possible, cling onto their normal routine as much as possible, with the assumption that this is just a temporary misfortune, and that full health is just around the corner! Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the person is mistaken! Not only does this tend to exaccerbate the condition, by overdoing this and compensating for lost time as soon as the person makes a partial recovery, but also it makes the person feel depressed as they feel sad about all the people and activities they are missing out on. They still really want these things and it hurts to feel that they are wasting their life away. This attitude can be very destructive. Of course, how you deal with your condition is very personal. It helps immensely if you are certain that you will be well, and have good grounds to believe this, so that you can see progress (which may not be completely linear!) So even if you feel terrible now, it does not matter as you will be fit and healthy and able to engage fully in life once you are fully recovered. It is helpful to have this certainty in the back of your mind, but to let go of all your hopes and wishes in a zen-like fashion. Lose your expectations. Live day by day. Accept your limitations. Be at one with them. Forget about any plans, completely let go, know that they will come together when you are well, but you don't have a specific timeline or schedule for getting well. Promise yourself (feel certain) that you will engage in various activities that are important to you whe you are well, and any areas of your life that you feel you have neglected up until now, and any areas or gifts that you feel you want to develop, that you will have plenty of time for this later, but right now, you will forget all this and just focus on your health and nothing else. No expectations on you by you or others.
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Avoid creating arbitrary negative meanings:
Nothing you are experiencing has any meaning other than that which you attach to it. So try to let go of beliefs around your illness like 'it is going to be hard to cure' or 'it will take years to cure' or anything else that constitutes a limiting or negative belief around this transient condition that you happen to be experiencing right here and now. Maybe try to attach no meaning to your experience of illness whatsoever. Such meanings may not have been consciously created by us, but if we think these things often enough, they start be become hard facts as far as our subconscious is concerned, and govern our feelings and thoughts and how we feel about ourselves. Don't attach meaning to anything that has no meaning or relevance at the moment. Maybe only attach positive meanings to it or certain areas of it. Perhaps you can try to feel good inside with the good 'ground work' you do, in terms of overcoming deficiencies or meeting small goals. Try to avoid incorporating your experience of the illness into your sense of identity (or the 'fighting' of the 'message' as your identity in the hope it gives you strength), your sense of who you are here and now. By defining yourself as reacting against something, you are then limited and defined by what you 'don't want'. Often if you try to avoid something, your focus is on it and that's the very thing that you get or hold on to. Try to view your condition as just a temporary 'inconvenience'! But that it's something that you are going to fix quite quickly and easily.
So your ability to manage your adrenal capability and to not overburden your adrenal glands with a stress response is influenced by your filters, your beliefs, your ability to press the 'no' button to an impending stress response and of course your endocrine system health at any given moment. Try to be aware of what is happening in your body and your mind during relaxing and during situations that may have formerly or are currently inducing a stress response or adrenal burnout. And think about what you are thinking or how you are responding. Try to be more aware of what addictive negative thought patterns you routinely have. You are likely to feel at least a whole deal better if you can break any negative thought patterns, background stress or particular stress responses. It is actually easier than not thinking at all and just letting your mind takes you where it is conditioned to do. Part of the feelings of frustration, depression and feeling trapped or imprisoned come from conditioned addictive negative thought processes that control us but which we do not particular enjoy! This is the price of feeling 'significant' in this way. Also, if you do have adrenal dysfunction or are having an adrenal 'crisis', it is not psychologically helped to strongly identify with this and to repeat to yourself that you have poorly functioning adrenal glands. Energy follows thought, so it is more constructive to think that you have excellently functioning thyroid and adrenal glands for example! Why not! It doesn't cost anything! You have the power to make yourself feel better right now. Don't forget to use it or let your ego/stress based beliefs kid into brushing it off to one side as something obvious and which you know (but which you don't allow yourself to do or you put off until 'later' (i.e. never, which your subconscious knows), which may just focus on the biochemical issues as the only answer to your current situation. Negative beliefs put up a big fight and don't give up easily!
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Positive Visualisation of Internal Energy:
Perhaps visualise what it is like to feel good and try to feel that now. Imagine your organs functioning perfectly. Imagine your blood pressure rising if it is low. Imagine qi circulating around the body. Imagine your core body temperature increasing. Imagine each process that isn't functioning well improving right now. One technique examined in the Energetic Therapies page is the Happy Organ Meditation. Usually practiced upon waking, but not necessarily, you simply focus your attention on a major organ or part of the body and imagine a big smiley face on it, imagine it feeling warm, full of energy or white light. Focus on this for a period of time, then move onto the next organ. Organs focussed on could for example include the colon, the small intestine, the liver and gallbladder, the kidneys (and adrenal glands), the brain, the lungs, the heart, the stomach, etc. Consulting a diagram of the human body may help in understanding the exact shape, relative size and location of each organ so you can get a better feel for it when performing this meditation. Another technique is practiced in the bathroom. When you are taking a shower, imagine the water droplets coming from the shower head to be beads of the purest white light, which hit your body and wash away any dirty energy, negative emotions, bad energy and illness and fill you will positive energy and vitality. Just focus on this whilst in the shower and nothing else. It may be more productive than thinking about your tasks for the day! Or worrying about a work problem, for example.
Try to enjoy all the benefits and amazing life you will have when you are well now, visualise it and taste it. All top atheletes visualise vividly their goal and winning before they start any race. You need that certainty. Visualise the effectiveness of your treatment and how it is doing you good. Try whatever visualisations and techniques that work best for you.
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Addictive Patterns of Negative Thinking and Bodily Awareness:
As discussed on this page and also on my other Stress page, it is very helpful to visualise our future, well and relaxed selves and to step into those shoes and to vividly imagine how it feels like to be that person and to really feel it in every part of our body, i.e. as if it were really true and we were really that person for a few moments. When the conscious mind loses sight of its reference points, it can be hard to remember what it was like to be well, and thus lose sight of the goal we want to move towards. Whilst we may acknowledge that doing this is a good idea, unless we actually regularly do it, we aren't likely to really relax and feel good about ourselves. We may instead be locked into negative patterns of thinking about our health and have a pessimistic view of our recovery. Deep down we may not really believe we will ever get well even though consciously we try to tell ourselves that it is a logical biochemical series of steps to recovery and wellness.
So whilst it is helpful to feel the body in this sense, as part of a positive visualisation, doing this in a negative sense, i.e. how we do normally, being aware of how bad we feel or how incapable we are of doing xyz, is actually detrimental to our health. Ashok Gupta argues that the inability of the conscious mind to stop meddling in the affairs of our body, and the desire to keep reviewing how our body is doing, is part of the incorrect amagdala conditioning and fight or flight bodily response, so unless we stop ourselves doing this, and reinforcing negative meanings with what we find in our bodies and physiology, we are unlikely to actually recondition our minds and to get our of this fight or flight response. What we want to interrupt and stop is the thought patterns and habits that the mind is perpetually engaged in that 'normal and healthy' people do not have. These are not little luxuries or vices that we can enjoy in private, but are inextricably linked to our condition and our over-stimulated mindset. This also goes for negative thoughts. They keep us in a stressed (and also depressed) mind state, and keep us in this fight or flight type conditioned response to everything around us, reinforcing our adrenal dysfunction and continuing lack of energy. One way of preventing this bodily scanning of the conscious mind, that Ashok Gupta equates to negative thinking (i.e. could be negative self-dialogue or it could be thought patterns like obsessive scanning that lead to negative bodily/mental states), is to interrupt it, to dissociate oneself from the negative thought patterns, visualise the positive outcome and the future self, and to consciously choose the path to good health with conviction, and to distract oneself so one does not go straight back to one's obsessive scanning and negative statement making.
It is well known that stress is a type of fight or flight response and that our method of thinking and habits can contribute or perpetuate this. This is discussed in detail on the stress page in a more general context.
Any form of worrying is clearly a misuse of our imagination and a form of unhealthy and negative thinking. Whether we are worrying or thinking about our bodies (negatively) in an obsessive or addictive manner, or we are worrying or fixated on more materialistic concerns (obsessive/compulsive), such as purchases, decisions we have to make, or anything else, such anxiety or restlessness can have a similar effect as the negative thinking about your body, in terms of keeping you in a fight or flight response.
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Others working with you, not against you:
Tell your work colleagues and friends so that they can work with you. Some people have a tendency to 'talk at' you whenver they see you, and go on and on, which can be very draining. Others can tell you their life story whenever you ask a question, rather than giving a yes or no answer. Some people can be generally difficult and look after their own interests at your expense; or be bitchy and point making in their behaviour, as if they feel they are really defending their corner and trying to influence you in such a way as to make their values stamped onto their immediate environment and even the entire company. Others are simply lazy and expect you to hold their hand or do things for them that they could easily achieve if they had the self-discipline or if you weren't always so helpful towards them. Such people can be very draining to deal with. They can literally suck the life force out of your body - sapping your mitochondrial energy reserves.
People who 'suck your energy out of your body' could be in some sense be likened to vampires!
You may even start to avoid such people as a result (which is not necessarily a bad idea!) It is probably a much more sensible strategy to inform them of your health situation so that they can adapt more to your needs and not be so demanding and respect your limitations. However, this is not necessarily guaranteed, and some may need frequent reminding and some are so wrapped up in themsevles with little self awareness that they can't deal with people in any other manner. If you are paranoid you might even believe that on certain occasions they are doing it on purpose, as a sneaky form of point scoring in the office, to get back at you for some 'wrong' you did to them. However, regardless of the reasons, whether it is lack of empathy, forgetfulness, spite or your lack of communication of how you feel day to day, the net result is the same. The why is irrelevant, the main thing is to ensure the pattern does not keep repeating itself.
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Pacing yourself is of key importance in CFS management and recovery. This is not intended in the sense that the British NHS use it, meaning a graded exercise programme which gradually wears out the patients more and more.'s main treatment solution for CFS patients.
As a CFS sufferer, you no doubt know the benefit of pacing yourself, and not overdoing things physically or mentally, in one sitting, or on consecutive days, without sufficient rest or recovery time. Managing this can be quite a balancing act. It is easy to be engaged in a course of treatment that makes you feel a little better, and then you get carried away and totally ovedo things, compensating for all the time that you have spent restricting your activities or perhaps just catching up on one or two important tasks or activities. You really have to find where your own limits are, not to fear them, but to respect them, and listen to your body. If you do overdo things, sometimes you can feel it straight away, other times it may take a couple of hours or up to 2 days for the effect to be felt. Recovery may take hours, days, weeks or months depending on the severity. Probably the worst cuprits for worsening one's condition, which one should avoid are: too much exercise, lack of sleep (more than normal, on account of inappropriate adrenal supplementation or overdoing things), too much stress, overdoing things mentally (too long working hours without a break etc), putting too much of a strain on the stomach, overdetoxing for prolonged periods, and consuming too many cold energy foods. There is some information on managing these areas on the Stress Management page. Any good course of treatment may be unnecessarily (and hugely e.g. 10 times longer) prolonged or complicated by the mind repeatedly overdoing things and not respecting the body's limitations, and exaccerbating the body's biochemical problems and/or electromagnetic deficiencies. Perhaps one only crosses one's limits by a small amount on a regular basis, and can recover from it fairly quickly, but perhaps every few months or every year one indulges in an all day activity or similar that sends one's energy levels crashing down, and which may take months or more to fully recover from and get back to where one was before that event.
As discussed on the Peroxynitrite page, overexertion physically or mentally can result in increasing the amount of bodily inflammation and/or damage to our energy system (mitochondria). The amount of energy we have for physical or mental exercises may vary during the course of our treatment. Respect your limits. At some points you may not be able to do much more than stand up. Resist the temptation to overdo things. If possible, ask a family member, friend, employee or home-help to help with chores like cleaning etc. If you are moving house or flat, whilst a garden may be pretty and relaxing (assuming you have quiet neighbours!), the exertion of gardening may continually exhaust you, so unless you are prepared to hire a gardener, avoid renting with a garden. Your energy may be ok now, but sometimes energy levels may fluctuate during a treatment programme, especially if errors are made.
Bear in mind that taking supplements is not an excuse to breach your now slightly higher limits, but the whole purpose of it is to assist you in your recovery. If you get too excited and want to go back to being 'normal' and catch up on all your tasks, then you will not be achieving anything, or worse.
Part of the reason why we overdo things when we get better may be on account of our conditioning when we are feeling worse. That is to say, when our energy levels are very low, we may learn to only perform tasks when we have enough energy to do so, as doing so at other times may drain us too much (or just more than at other times). We may put off many tasks and have our task list backed up. However, one may inadvertently be conditioning oneself to always perform tasks when one has slightly more energy than normal, such that, when one recovers a little, instead of nurturing this new found energy and helping it to grow more, we may feel compelled to perform tasks until that energy has been depleted to our previous 'normal' level of energy, where we have more ingrained conditioned mechanisms and motivation to stop and rest. If there is not a compulsion to perform tasks whenever one has energy, one may also be desperate and want to feel 'normal' again, and thus doing tasks which one would normally do when was was well. When our pattern changes for the better we need to develop new patterns of motivation and self-control, and effectively manage our affairs without throwing all the rules out of the window and going back to square one or worse every time we make a little progress. Contemplation may help in this, to develop objective self-conscious awareness, rather than run on 'auto-pilot' or through giving in to compulsions of past conditioning all the time. In some cases, one can be one's worst enemy.
CFS tests one's Will for self-preservation much more than healthy living, as the tolerances for physically suffering from one's activities and interractions are much lower. Any issues you may have had in the past regarding self-preservation (which may well have contributed in part in some respects to your current condition) are hugely magnified during your temporary CFS condition. Unless you develop better judgement and a taste for self-preservation, then you may likely self-sabotage all your attempts to get well on some level and overdo things addictively without consideration for their effect on your balanced recovery programme.
Below is a surrealist painting by M.C. Escher entitled 'Treppauf und Treppab' which has many parallels to the idea of overdoing things regularly and dragging out one's illness, almost indefinitely (and unnecessarily)!
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Evaluate Your Existing Relationships and Situation:
Those undergoing a course of treatment would do well to be surrounded by good, positive and encouraging people, feel loved and love, avoid stressful people and situations (at least for a while).
It is very common for people with CFS to be accused of bringing it on themselves and it all being in their head, and that they should just cheer up and snap out of it. It is however the cumulative effect of stress and overdoing this on the body which changes the body's physiology and renders the body very weak, trapping the person in this state. People who are educated but still treat you like this are [insert expletive or plural noun of your choice]! Most people are just ignorant. This is a sad state of society unfortunately, where the average consumer is about as educated about cause and effect as a hedgehog. A bad relationship with a judgemental person is something to be avoided at all costs! It is a huge cause of stress, something which your body can't take. Even if a relationship is mediocre, it is still too much hassle! Without enough benefit. Cut these people (temporarily/permanently). Or resolve the relationship issues by opening channels of communication, and if the person genuinely cares about you, he or she will adapt the way they deal with you. If not, cut them out if possible. You should only be surrounded by people who are good for you. This applies as much to personal as business relationships, one's job or employment, who one lives with and the district or neighbourhood you live in. Sometimes these influences may be very negative, and one must either learn to adapt one's response to them or to leave! Or both.
My view is that I won't settle for anything less than excellence in a relationship, I don't have the energy, I can't be bothered and am not interested. Ironically, people with CFS are of a similar personality type, the sorts of people who tend to be too nice and be stressed, and put themselves out too much, and not look after themselves properly, although this isn't always the case. So ironically, it's good to seek out other CFS sufferers or underdogs for people to date. Assuming you want to date the same personality type and you don't want to date someone who is opposite to you and fills in all your gaps.
Discussion pertaining to dealing with emotional or psychic 'vampires', i.e. manipulative or draining people who are locked into certain negative or draining mind states, can be found on the Stress page. Such people should probably best be avoided whilst you are in recovery mode if at all possible.
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Support Groups and Keeping in Contact with Fellow Patients:
Anyone suffering from a chronic illness should really avoid people are themselves highly stressed or depressed. One should instead try to surround oneself with people who are positive in their attitudes and beliefs, and who are 'good' for you. If you suffer from excessive stress as a CFS sufferer, then one should try to avoid negative people (sometimes referred to as 'Negs') or stressed people even more, as you will likely 'resonate' and increase each other's stress levels. When two stressed out people get together there is usually not an overall increase in the level of relaxation. However, it works both ways of course, and two stressed people may be able to empathise with each other on some level. This is perhaps true regards CFS, ME and Fibromyalgia support groups, as few who have not themselves had these conditions can easily understand what it is like. One may however find it a place where people understand you and support you emotionally to some degree, but equally, depending on the group, it may be a very negative environment, with members having an excessively negative view of life and their condition (victim-like), with excessively high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. There is often a natural tendency for like sufferers to get together and focus on their physical symptoms, and focus negatively on their bodies. Indeed, certain highly strung and stressed individuals should really be avoiding each other like the plague until they are less stressed out and have a more positive view of their condition and lives, or they will just keep others stuck in the same fight or flight response, and often just make it worse. Some will use you to fulfill some psychological need they have, or to satiate certain ego driven needs or addictive negative psychological patterns that they have conditioned themselves into, often at your expense.
Not all support groups and fellow patients are like this, and some have more medical insights than others. Some may actively try to convince you there is no cure or treatment that works as they have tried 'it all' (apparently!), brainwashing other people into the same negative philosophy (well meaning of course). Some support groups do contain many positive members, who despite complaining occasionally about how bad they feel (who doesn't from time to time?), do try to focus on the positive and are very loving towards each other. Support groups however by their very nature often tend to focus on the illness and downside of the whole experience, and those who identify themselves with the illness, or as the illlness being a part of them and who they are and who they will always be. This may not be so useful. So do what works for you and surround yourself with people who support you, but be aware of the upside and downside of associating with 'like' people. Those who are well may find you depressing, as you are 'always ill', and equally you may find others who talk about having flares or pain frequently as being rather depressing. It works both ways. But bear in mind it is useful psychologically to surround yourself with people who do not focus on illness, and show outward signs of illness, to act as 'role models' or to remind you or what you can be if you put your mind and body on the right track.
Rather than a formal support group, you may want to stay in contact with people treading a similar road to yourself, and interact in an occasional and laid back manner...but also you might want to consider making a 'pact' or agreement that you will both try your best to do everything you can to get well, including working on stress management and being good to yourself psychologically, as well as researching and exchanging research ideas or test results. You can both help or inspire each other.
Clearly it is a fine balance, how you approach it, what you intend to get out of it, what type of attitudes you seek out in fellow patients, how much exposure you have to them compared with everyone else, etc., and it is up to the individual as to how he or she relates to others with the same condition. However, I would suggest that one is aware of some of the negative excesses and forces at work, and not to be caught up in them. Everyone is different and has slightly different needs, so decide what is best for you and what kinds of people you want to have in your life on a daily basis, in real life and on line.
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Don't be in denial, stop pretending, but be positive:
Stop the pretence that you are 100% healthy, as if you don't, people will expect things from you that you can't fully deliver on, and not only will you feel guilty or useless, but you will also subconsciously avoid full engagement with your peer group. Shying away like this will make you more guilty, and your peer group will sense it, making you feel even worse about yourself. It may be useful to not focus on your day to day feelings of ill health, to think about your condition or frequently discuss your condition with friends, colleagues or associates as these things may make you feel depressed, and lock your focus onto how bad you feel. A word of caution however about telling your friends, family and work colleagues about your condition. They will expect you to be ill and treat you differently which you may or may not like. Because they expect you to be ill, you may on some level feel that you don't want to disappoint them or appear inconsistent and may act more ill than you would normally do. This may be a disincentive to getting better. This may sound ridiculous, but the human mind makes us hold certain beliefs we are not sure about or do not 100% believe in as we need to feel consistency with other beliefs we are certain about that relate to them. The human mind craves congruency. This is why arguments or debates rarely result in anything positive or intelligent. So if you do this, just be aware of these mechanisms and do not fall prey to them.
You may come across some people that will never fully understand or want to accept that CFS is a genuine condition. Such people will generally lose interest in you as a person if you tell them, and in general this is a good riddance. [Insert expletive] them! They are worthless individuals with little understanding of life outside the 'normal' they are conditioned to expect, and the 'normal' principles of cause and effect as far as modern western diets and consumer society rules go. There is one problem with them. They are [insert expletive] and are slowly killing most of the population and leaving an increasing number incapable of functioning. But people still cling to this ideal and what doctors tell them like it is a religion. Such individuals may be well intentioned most of the time but ultimatley are ignorant fools. You need to focus on the actual facts, the situation and what you can do to make it better, and not worse.
You may find it useful to be aware of the techniques you need to apply and notice any improvements, but to not focus on your condition in other respects. Where you focus is where your mind goes. If you someone asks you to look around to see who is wearing black shoes or a blue sweater, you may suddenly focus on those things and not notice what other things people are wearing all around you. And if someone tells you to not look at something, what is the first thing everyone does? Another aspect of approach is to ensure we have a good internal communication with ourselves. This means not saying negative and cursing things to ourselves regularly about how bad we feel, but to keep up a positive and empowering communication with ourselves. Tell yourself you will be healed quickly. Or that you will have a great day. Focus on your pain and you will vividly experience it for sure! The brain usually obeys orders we give it, and if we give it negative orders, it provides us with a negative result! And we wouldn't expect anything different. It is also important to not live too austere a life, and not deny yourself any pleasure or enjoyment, but treat yourself well and give your body and mind what it needs, from rest and relaxation, to nourishing foods, to overcome any biochemical or electromagnetic/energetic deficiencies. This is not to say that you should do anything that is bad for you, like getting drunk, taking drugs, eating junk food, eating sugar or staying up all night or wearing yourself out. More information on the above psychology techniques can be found in the Psychology section of this web site.
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Stop pretending to be 'normal', keeping up appearances and to please others!
So just let go of all your earthly concerns except your mission to health. This takes a huge amount of pressure off you, stress being one of the factors that perhaps could have contributed to make you ill in the first place. All you need is that sense of certainty that you are doing everything you can possibly do to get well, and that everything else is low priority and has no meaning at this point in time. It will later, but not right now. Give yourself the space you need to recover. You won't be depressed if you know you are doing your utmost to recuperate and that there is a logical, methodical approach to guaranteed full recovery. Forget about keeping up appearances and maintaining a full social life if you do not have enough energy to do so. Do so if you can do it without impacting your energy levels in any way. The best will in the world won't cure your condition, so sitting around waiting or feeling sorry for yourself will not cure you. You need science and technique! This is what this web site is for. To give you that certainty and inspire you into action. Your problems require intervention on a bio-chemical/energetic/electro-magnetic level as well as on a psychological level. Positive thinking is unlikely to save you alone, except perhaps the mildest and simplest of cases! But it helps to keep you relaxed! More than you can know. Not being relaxed can conversely prevent your full recovery. Positive thinking and positive focus/beliefs will not worsen or prevent/slow recovery that the addiction of negative thought patterns and beliefs can. Negative beliefs, thought patterns and stress are addictive in nature, and we aren't always aware of them and their power until we've removed them. You must learn your limitations and work with them. If you do not, you will cause your energy levels to regularly crash. Crash and recover. Crash and recover. Regularly, like a human yo-yo or rollercoaster. You are the only person who can manage your condition. Don't expect other people to understand it fully or to do this for you, or to tell you when you should rest and when you shouldn't. You have to take control!
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This is WAR!
As you may recall from biology class, the body is in a constant battle against outside invasion and from the spread of pathogens that have gotten inside the body. The immune system has a variety of defences against such incursions, and is constantly fighting unwanted foreign invaders. In the large intestine, there are many kilos of bacteria, both good and bad bacteria, which exist in a delicate balance, in a competition for resources. Various factors can push this balance in the wrong direction, allowing pathogenic bacteria, fungus, moulds and parasites to multiply. What is tantamount to a mass invasion! The good bacteria in the colon are part of one's immune system defences. With a weakened immune system in general, your immune defences are being overwhelmed and the number of invaders inside the body is disproportionately high, causing a large number of downstream biochemical problems.
When we think of boosting the immune system, assisting it in killing off pathogenic invaders, and ridding the body of factors that are impeding it in doing its job properly, we are in fact talking about strengthening our body's own 'troops', giving them more ammunition and bigger guns, giving them 'air cover' so they can deal with the invading threat. When we think of healing, we are in fact talking about a war. The body is at war, and it needs help to fight the battle. Part of this help is strengthing and assisting the body's natural processes, and part may be involving an 'outside agent/force/bomber' to help it along and overcome the odds. Whilst we need to approach it in a serious manner, in an intelligent manner, in a thorough manner and a consistent manner, with the seriousness and focus of a tactical team on a Search and Destroy (SAD) Mission, we also need to bear in mind that this should be approached in a calm and relaxed manner. Troops in battle who are totally freaked out are often little use to anyone.
Perhaps think more of the metaphor of an tactical unit, or a SWAT team, that has practised the scenario hundreds of times, so it is like clockwork, and the enemy is not always so well trained or smart strategically. So when it comes to targetting the enemy, the right amount of force is used, so no 'civilians' are killed or no 'collateral damage' is caused, but simply that the enemy is targeted and taken out, preferably with minimal casualties, but if not, then whatever force is required to do the job. Elite teams like the SAS go about their business without fuss and without stress, they just get on with the job. And they nearly always succeed - unless the odds are insurmountable. We are the patient however have a tactical advantage as we are able to summon as many troops as we like, and to gain valuable 'intel' on the enemy as to minimise the possibility of failure.
To take this one step further, we should consider that one of the possible factors in our condition may be that our mind is stuck in a fight or flight response, in some capacity, not necessarily in perpetual stress, although this may be the case, but that the Amagdala is incorrectly conditioned to interpret all stimuli in an overenthusiastic manner, so that we are more sensitive to external stimuli than most 'normal' people. There may be many biochemical and neurological reasons for this too, which complicate the overall picture, but this incorrect neuro-associative conditioning factor should not be underestimated. Thus, it is not helpful to visualise the treatment of one's illness in a stressed or fight-or-flight like manner. It is to be focussed about it, know that you will succeed and that you have to tools to succeed, visualise or assume a positive outcome (i.e. target 'neutralised'), and to tackle the various aspects of one's illness with appropriate 'force'. This is to say that one cannot detox too fast or too aggressively, or take too many antimicrobial herbs at once, as it is too aggressive on the body as a whole. The idea is to work with the body, and to support the body, not to punish the body. The body has probably taken quite enough punishment already up until now, so the treatment should be supportive not abusive, which would strain the body further.
Being too forceful with regards to supplemental is not particularly clever either, and too high dosages may confuse the body, throwing things at it that it does not need or at least not in that quantity or format. The mindset should be one of callm and relaxation. A busy and overstimulated mind, that believes itself to be under attack (the mind, not the body) will not be conducive to the best management and outcome. Being in a hyper-stimulated state where you put a further strain on your endocrine and immune system will not help anyone, but just make things worse. Psychologically trying to resist one's condition or to resist stress with stress will not be helpful. Just remember that this particular 'search and destroy mission' is to be conducted calmly and with no fear or stress, with a 100% righteous cause. Remember that for many CFS sufferers, they arrived at their current condition by a combination of being too harsh with their body and mind, and the environment/diet being too harsh on their body. So try to avoid being too harsh on your body during your treatment! But still maintaining that efficient and optimal approach. Your condition is trying to tell you something about cause and effect. It may not be immediately clear but it is there. Try not to override the body's communication with you with overly 'macho' thinking or attitude and actions.
Attacking the problems in your body requires technique, wisdom, 'intel' and careful planning. The best generals are those that use their head and do not just act rashly and irresponsibly. Your body is doing its best to repair itself and fight off foreign invaders and harmful chemicals. It is trying to repair itself. It is struggling and losing the battle. This is where your brain comes in. You are the general. It is your job to win battles and win the war! You can do it. You have the tools. This is a search and destroy mission. You have to kick as much 'ass' as you can and nail this condition (in terms of correct and appropriate technique). Use all tools available to you and make it happen! Perhaps a sniper or tactical team attack is the most appropriate metaphor for this, or a martial artist who has cultivated a taoist or zen mindset who is not afraid to kick a little 'ass', rather than indiscriminate bombing, gung ho approach or freaked out 'GI'.
One should however aim to 'attack' stress as aggressively as possible! Attack the stressed mindset or lack of calm and detachment as strongly and with as much force as possible, using the correct techniques and ammunition. Be totally ruthless. Be totally relentless. Take no prisoners and give no quarter. Eliminate and neutralise! Whilst we should not beat ourselves up about being stressed, and should accept where we are and who we are here and now, we should try to let go and stop the stress response, to interrupt it, then step back from it, and use positive visualisation and other techniques to retrain our focus and our interpretation of the inside and outside world. Whilst we should not judge ourselves too harshly about stress, as this would be the exact type of stress pattern we are trying to avoid (!), we should give stress 'hell'. This means being relentless in our pursuit for relaxation and its demise.
War is not a time for sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. You don't have time to complain and mope around if bullets are flying past your head. Or rather, if you dither and give the enemy or target too much breathing space, you will become a statistic yourself. Get on with it! You don't worry about your clothes, your hairstyle, your social credibility or if you've called your friends recently if you are being shot at by a tank! The same principle applies here. If you are not consistent, then you may fail. That will be not only a waste of your time but you may end up in a worse position that requires even more research, effort and consistency to recover from. Make sure you understand your priorities and what you need to focus on, what is important, and what is irrelevant for you right now and inconsequential and downright unhelpful. A soldier does not voluntarily allow someone to shoot him in the leg, just because he feels sorry for the other person or himself. It hurts! You want to defend and protect your body and kill the invaders and anything that is threatening or damaging you directly.So quit worrying! Get your priorities straight and do your job soldier! Good job!
Some movies are listed below where famous film stars are killing invading extraterrestrial aliens, perhaps a metaphor for eliminating pathogenic microbes and viruses from the body, if one exercises a little imagination and sense of humour: Aliens, Predator, The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Pitch Black.
Some people dislike the concept of 'attacking' anything, and simply regard treatment as purely 'healing'. This is of course a denial of the fundamentals of biology, which is a fight for survival and for resources and against disease. However, whilst the body is 'at war', then mind does not necessarily have to be of course. The mind should be managing the treatment and to provide the body what it needs to both heal and to fight. A mind fixated on the fight will not provide the necessarily brain chemistry environment necessary for healing to occur; and it will certainly not be able to work effectively on negating the whole fight-or-flight response and over-sensitive interpretation of stimuli that frequently affects CFS patients. Clearly a balance is required. Focus, discipline, purpose, belief, confidence and also calm.
The 'war' analogy has its limitations in application, as discussed above, and must be understood in the correct context. It could be that this whole metaphor just generates more stress than it creates a useful dynamism and sense of purpose, dedication and focus. References to war or battles may have a negative effect on your psyche and simply flare up the fight-or-flight response, and this is not what we want. We want to focus you and inspire you, to be determined, but careful, and to remain calm and relaxed. If this is the case If you find the military analogy creates stress or nervous tension, then do not use it. It will not be helpful for you. There are plenty of other analogies or heroic explorers that can inspire you. Perhaps you don't like any of the suggestions made below. Use whatever works for you, but which does not provide adverse negative consequences that your ego or stressed conscious addictive mindset thrives on. It is a careful balance, but I am sure you can find what works best for you. I myself perhaps relied too heavily on this military analogy, becoming too fixated on relating to what it is like to be in battle, (the ****ed up and bad situation one can find oneself in and the courage of the human spirit and bravery in overcoming the odds, the worse the better, participants in a constant state of fight-or-flight etc.) which was partially counter-productive in hindsight, resulting in obsessive and imbalanced type of attitudes towards treatment, and an adrenaline-fuelled fight-or-flight view of treatment and illness. I have since heavily revised this section and hope you will be pleased with the result.
If you don't like the military analogy, then think of any other critical life or death situation which requires guts, perseverance and survival skills. Use whatever analogy works best for you and which makes you feel determined, focussed but also calm. Perhaps it might be a marathon run. Perhaps you might like the analogy of climbing a Himalayan mountain such as K2 or Everest. Mount Everest is the highest point on the planet (8848m or 29,493 feet), a climb to above the maximum operating height of commercial airliners and helicopters! There is only one way to get to the summit. It is a long and gruelling ascent, taking a very long time. It requires a serious attitude, teamwork and concentration; determination; at times the high altitude and low oxygen levels may cause you to feel extremely fatigued and every step is laboured and takes maybe up to a minute; but your focus is on reaching the summit; the summit is a beautiful place with the best views in the world; when you get there you will feel elated and on top of the world (literally!) Keep this in your mind as you trek up the mountain with you heavy expedition pack on your back. In good spirits. Enjoying the scenery and challenge on the way up, visualising how good that goal will be when you reach it in your mind.
Click here to view a Quicktime panoramic view from the top of Mount Everest.
If you are a B-Boy, then imagine you are in a party and you must focus on your rhymes, keep them flowing and real, to that fresh, dope beat. You gotta focus and 'slay all the sucker MCs'. Use whatever metaphor works best for you. The B-Boy doesn't feel stressed by his performance or the sucker MCs. He feels relaxed, knows he is the best, and that his rhymes are real, and gets on with and has a great time in the process. All the sucker MCs walk out knowing they better not give up their day jobs! (joke)
Negative beliefs create addictive negative thought patterns and stress. They sap our energy. Some of our negative beliefs we may be completely unaware of, until we have removed or 'exorcised them' from our minds. Others we may be aware of to some degree but believe that they give us strength. A negative conditioned response (hyper-tension, stress or hyper-sensitivity) is a form of negative thinking in a sense. Negative beliefs can be metaphorically or literally viewed as 'demons' that are controlling and ruining our lives (or vice versa), and only be removing them can we be free and happy, and enjoy our lives in the here and now, and open ourselves to possibilities. You could view your treatment of your condition, if you have any toxins or harmful foreign micro-organisms such as mycoplasma, candida (fungus), parasites and bad bacteria, and heavy metals and other toxins in your body, as a form of exorcism or 'detoxoricism' of [insert appropriate expletive] from your system! If such imagery or concepts are helpful then use them!
If one has a severe adrenal dysfunction, then one may still physiologically adapt badly to over input. The exact nuances of the different sensations that one experiences in response to verdoing things in different ways varies from person to person. However, we can choose to add to this maladaptation by adding addititional psychological stress or anger, which acts to intensify the temporary adrenal hormonal crisis. In addition, if one is experiencing an adrenal crisis or is extremely tired, one may be more vulnerable or prone to having a stressful response to a given situation. It is up to the individual to manage these situations, but whilst maintaining a relaxed approach and cool head in spite of how one feels and also to continue to positively visualise and positively communicate with oneself. You have to make the best of every situation and not make it worse if it is already not quite ideal or what you want. Often in life we don't get exactly what we want, but getting upset or angry about it will do you no good whatsoever! Imagine that you are a soldier in the middle of a battle. You have just been shot in the foot. Now this hurts and will prevent you from being as mobile and accomplishing your objective and staying alive. Now you could sulk about it and think, well I can't run around now, so I might as well shoot my other foot with my glock, or perhaps shoot myself in the arm! You wouldn't do it would you (I hope not!!) Shooting your other foot or your arm isn't going to undo the wound on your foot that got shot by the enemy. Nor is it going to prevent you getting shot in chest or the head in the next 5 minutes. In the same way, getting angry or stressed does not offer you any protection from other 'bad' events happening, nor does it 'undo' the 'bad event' or stop you seeing the 'bad person'. So why 'shoot yourself in the foot' at other times with a stress response? It's not a good idea!
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