Well, it was hardly what I had hoped for or expected, but it seems to have played an important role in what appears to be an ongoing transition towards healing.
I was hoping that it would be like most of the vacations I’ve taken with my husband throughout our time together. We go somewhere beautiful, usually in nature and I feel high the whole time we’re gone. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way—not at all in fact.
First, my withdrawal symptoms were still raging. (they seem to be remitting finally now) I was in pain, mental and physical. I was really in agony. I was exhausted. The reality of my chronic fatigue burned a hole into my soul. I cannot, right now, have a normal life no matter how much I want to have one.
I was unable to walk more than ten minutes. I had to sit or lie down repeatedly. I was in tears over and over again because I could not enjoy the surrounding beauty and do my favorite thing in the world—walk for hours in new and unusual landscapes.
The owners of the house we stayed in lived next door and they were warm and gracious hosts. The husband offered to take us fishing. I had never fished before and before I did finally come to terms with being completely incapacitated by my fatigue I did entertain the idea of going fishing with him and my husband.
When it became painfully obvious that I could only cause problems for our host if I went out on the water with him I called their house and spoke with his wife. I told her how I really wanted to go fishing but I couldn’t as I didn’t feel well and I didn’t know if I could hold out for several hours. I had made one other comment about my energy at the beginning of our stay and so she apparently saw right through me. She said, “Do you have chronic fatigue syndrome?”
I was mildly shocked but it also felt nice to be recognized without judgment. She too suffers from chronic fatigue and she happens to be a nurse so she invited me over to her house and we talked for an hour. She introduced me to a book written by an expert on chronic fatigue. I fit nice and neatly in to all diagnosis categories. There is not doubt in my mind that I would get a diagnosis of CFS and fibromyalgia if I sought it out. Yes I suffer from pain too, and I hadn’t even really thought about it before. The two ailments are very often experienced together.
She lent me the book for the rest of the weekend. It was overwhelming and I felt beaten and shitty. One more thing I have to worry about. One more thing I have to get treatment for?
Well, no, I’ve sat on it and I don’t think I need treatment. I started thinking about what the book offered as advice. Much of the nutritional advice is what I’m already following. There was many, many more suggestions and tests to take etc. But as I pondered on what I read once I came home I realized that all the suggestions were familiar to me because they are the same suggestions that people with mental health problems are encouraged to follow if natural medicine is what one wishes to follow. I still intend to follow through with some of the suggestions but none of them were new. This book included pharmaceutical “solutions” as well but considered them palliative rather than curative and it’s main goal was to cure through processes much like I’m following now. So utterly similar that I’ve come to the conclusion, tentatively, that CFS and depression are intricately bound.
Most people who have CFS suffer from depression, many suffer from anxiety. What comes first is debatable. I don’t believe that everyone with depression has chronic fatigue and I don’t believe everyone with chronic fatigue has depression but I can’t help but see that they must be connected somehow when the treatment for them both is so radically similar.
This relieves me. I feel like if I continue to heal myself as planned through diet and nutrition, walking, Qi Gong, adding meditation and pursuing my spirituality that the constellation of issues for me which includes depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue and physical pain will resolve.
Though my vacation was not fun nor relaxing, it did, ultimately offer me solace. I took a five day break from the internet. I came home and realized that my slow withdrawal from social life and activity in the world is a healthy process. I’m withdrawing into myself and away from the world so that I can begin real internal work. I am now not running away anymore from what I’ve realized is my bodies natural way of asking for healing, peace and quiet. I am starting an internal journey and I don’t want the life I’ve had before.
I am beginning my journey of self-knowledge. I’m shedding my past. Consciously and without regret I hope now.