A brief update on the chronic fatigue….
I have been blessed to come in contact with an excellent herbalist who, among other things, worked for ten years mainly with people who had chronic fatigue. It is a reminder of how simple changes can make a big difference, in this case taking a few common herbs and vitamins, and getting more sleep.
For me, it started in my mid-teens as it does for so many others. First with mononucleosis, and then the chronic fatigue some weeks later, happening during a period of stress. It seems that the stress and mono together weakened the system enough to be susceptible to whatever virus underlies the chronic fatigue.
The first few years, the symptoms were quite strong. Then, as I learned to work and live with it, more manageable for a while. And a few years back, as strong as they have ever been.
The chronic fatigue led to food intolerances, which has been manageable by avoiding certain foods (mainly dairy, sugar and wheat) and has also been greatly helped with NAET. And it has also led to chemical sensitivies which are easily manageable by avoiding the usual home chemicals and soaps.
I have found a great help in various forms of inquiry, such as The Work on the illness itself, its consequences in my life, and whatever else I experience dissatisfaction or stress around. And also exploring how experiences appears in the sense fields in a more typical Buddhist fashion.
I have found an amazing combination of deep nurturing and alertness through body-centered practices, especially Breema. Giving or receiving Breema seems to always change how I relate to the symptoms, from experiencing them as a problem to finding genuine support in them.
I have found physical activity to be very helpful, gradually expanding what is possible for me without complete collapse. Especially walking, hiking, biking, swimming and some strength training. (Running is still off-limits for me, the consequences are too harsh.) Gentle exercise and gradual capacity building seems to be a good guideline in many areas of life, whether it is recovering from an illness or injury, healing a phobia or trauma, or developing a new skill in any area of life – including inquiry or meditation practice.
And of course, sleep is essential. Sleep is deeply restorative, also in chronic fatigue. When tired, sleep if at all possible.
The main help I have found is through the herbs I have taken for about a year now. When I first connected with my herbalist, I felt that my energy drained out as soon as it came. It was as if the bottom had fallen out of the energy storage. After a few months, it started filling up again. Now, the deep and medium energy levels are significantly fuller and more stable. The surface energy still comes and goes, but at least the deeper energy storage is there.
The herbs I have taken includes eleuthero for energy, rhodiola for energy and mental clarity, echinacea for immune support, and more recently ban lan gen for virus, and also gokshura. All of these are taken in amounts of about 3 grams a day. In addition, I take a relatively large dose of vitamin D, and some minerals and an amino acid. I also took kava and valerian for a while to support restful and nurturing sleep. It is of course essential to see a qualified and experienced herbalist before starting to take any of these. And better yet, an herbalist who does muscle testing as a check and for fine-tuning. (That goes for any health care practitioner.)
I have also found great support in the Stangeland herbal teas, especially a combination of the basis tea and one or more of the supplementary teas (usually the immune and chakra varieties). I pour hot water over the tea in a jar, let it steep for a while, and drink throughout the day.
Any challenging situation, and especially the lasting ones, can be a great teacher. And chronic fatigue has certainly been a great teacher for me. Which reminds me of another important facet of all of this: finding meaning in illness. Finding genuine meaning in illness makes it much easier. And also finding meaning in life in general, and aligning my life with that meaning.
So it can be quite simple: Get plenty of rest and sleep. Gently exercise to gradually expand what I can do. Eat well. Find nurturing and meaningful activities, and nurture nurturing relationships. Live with more integrity. And in my case, do some nurturing and energizing bodywork, and take herbs prescribed by an experienced herbalist.
I must confess that I haven’t read much about chronic fatigue, so there are probably many connections in my life I am not aware of, and also many ways of working with it I am not aware of.
– sleep, exercise, diet
– herbs, vitamins, minerals
– naet – food intolerance
– body-centered practice (breema), deeply nurturing, healing (especially healing for how I relate to it)
– inquiry – into beliefs, sense fields, what works
– meaning, on track (in life)
– finding meaning in the illness (learning, exploring)
I am blessed to have come in contact with an excellent herbalist, who – among other things – worked for 10 years mainly with people who had chronic fatigue. It is a reminder of how simple changes changes can make a big difference, in this case taking a few common herbs and vitamins, and getting more sleep.
Any illness can be a great teacher, and especially long-lasting ones.
Any difficulty in life can be a great teacher, and especially the long-lasting ones.