My vacation

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.

15 thoughts on “My vacation

  1. My struggle with chronic fatigue was DEFINITELY related to longterm SSRI withdrawal and tends to get worse if I use caffeine or even Chinese herbs – any thing that acts on the nervous system. I think this is a hugely underrated contributor. Eating a clean diet and staying away from stimulants and relaxants (even herbal) has vastly improved my symptoms.

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  2. thanks Stephanie…yes I absolutely think it’s the trauma of withdrawal that has triggered this severe flare. I here again and again from people in withdrawals that fatigue is a major part of it and for some it takes years to clear up. I hope I’m not one of them.

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  3. I understand about the long term fatigue. When I was first dx w CFS, it was after 6 months of feeling that way, and docs ruled out Lupus when they did blood work, then it took at least 6 months for the everyday severe fatigue to let up, and I feel I was lucky that mine eventually seemed to go into a remission for years. It reared it’s head with the Seroquel withdrawal, and that’s what I am thinking has happened with you, with such a long road of withdrawing for so long on so many meds. I hope it relents for you soon.

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  4. Wow. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip. A good friend of mine has not been able to get help for his chronic IBS for 20 years now either. I will have to order some. you are soo right about the diet. Gary Null has an excellent report on rheumatoid arthritis being caused from systemic candidiasis. It’s tragic what this illness can bring on. Soo many people suffering with chronic illness in the U.S. the numbers are staggering.

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  5. Primal Defense is awesome. I use it. Have you tried vitacost.com. It’s about 50% cheaper there.

    It CURED my IBS. Chronic diarrhea for 20 years. Not a single damn gastro doctor could do a thing. I did a bit of research on natural medicine and I found my cure. I have perfect bowel movements now! Ha! I’m getting graphic, but shit, (no pun intended) people just don’t get how we’re killing ourselves with the standard american diet and most of the medicines docs hand out for all sorts of ailments–not just psych meds. The gastro doctors gave me crap that made me worse just like the psych meds. Aw…I could go on and on. Big pharma has all of medicine by the balls.

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  6. Good for you! I wish I could make my own. Another product that I just heard about, but I can’t afford is Primal Defense by Garden of Life.

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  7. Sugar is poison!! Ha! Listen to me all dogmatic and shit. But, really, I don’t touch the stuff. Plain yogurt is awesome and full of probiotics. I make my own so that I know it hasn’t been processed too much. Some of the stuff in groceries supposedly don’t have as much live cultures.

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  8. I’m finding that a lot of my fatigue is related to candida and my addiction to sugar. I always seem to feel better when I decrease my sugar intake and I started taking zinc for immune support and eating lots more plain yogurt, which really seems to be helping. I do a lot of natural detox now by drinking fruit smoothies – with strawberries, bananas and yogurt. It’s yummy!

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  9. not to minimize recurrent several days attacks—I don’t wish a single day of this shit on anyone. But many many people live with this for years. And many are virtually homebound as I am now pretty much all the time. I have a day here and there where I am actually able to get out of the house. I’ve had some level of fatigue since I was sixteen years old when I got the mono so I know what it’s like to be intermittently hit with it—it’s always been hell.

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  10. CFS tries to take me out as it has since 1989, and I KNOW that fatigue. I describe my attacks like this: ” a can of soup weighs 50lbs”. It is a transcient virus, that apparently harbors itself in all of us–according to the CDC.

    I want you to know, that when you feel “an attack” coming on, it’s time for sleep, rest, inadequate rest, and vitamin C. In other words, it takes me about 3 days to recover from an “episode”.

    For instance, I’ve been unable to work in my special ed classes the last 2 days, for the stomach and fatigue issues CSF slams down on a person.

    I also have learned, how to gauge things and I know that by tomorrow I can go to work. There are triggers, just like with bipolar [and I feel with women especially this is connected with hormones too, to make it more complex], and for me, I knew this would happen–was when my daughter was missing for 4 hours. I’ve only today been able to leave the house, for my CSF attacked full force with that stressor.

    Be well, you are not alone, and trust me, going fishing sounds so simple and easy to everyone, and for those who live with CFS, we understand it was as if someone asked you to climb Mt. Everest in one hour.

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  11. Hey there Denise,
    It’s “From Fatigued to Fantastic” frankly, as was pointed out to me by a friend the title is a bit irksome. It promises too much. But the info in the book seemed very grounded. I will probably buy it.

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  12. Thanks for sharing your painful journey Gianna. I’m curious to know what the name of the book is called. I would like to read it if possible. I have had a lot of trouble with fatigue related to psych drug withdrawal.

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  13. Hi Sara,
    Nice to see you. I think the answer to all your questions is “yes” at least some of the time. I actually have a lot of thoughts on this, but frankly I’m too tired to give a really good answer right now.

    In any case CFS is not only one thing, just as depression and mental anguish in general are not only one thing. And so it’s very complex and any theorizing on my part is just that. I don’t have all the answers—-I’m basically thinking out loud and my thoughts are based on my experience alone. I’ve not researched chronic fatigue much at all.

    For me, I know I had mono as a child and I have the epstein barr virus. I don’t think all people with CFS have viruses. But I personally believe (again tentatively) that in my healing process, as I attend to body, mind and spirit it will all work out in some positive fashion. Perfection is not what I am working on attaining though, so I have no idea where I am really headed. Just a gut feeling that I just might be going in the right direction while taking detours and sometimes thinking all is shit.

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  14. Good to have you back. I’m just curious whether you can comment on how you think CFS is related to psych drug withdrawal — whether in fact psych drug withdrawal actually leads to CFS in some people — or maybe not just withdrawal, but chronic long term use of psych drugs, or do you think it is a separate syndrome entirely? But is it toxin induced do you think? It’s my understanding that it is a disorder of the immune system, perhaps an autoimmune disorder, and that toxins, including psych drugs might contribute to this, but I could be off base. I guess I don’t understand exactly how your thinking has changed from speaking to your host because you spoke of having chronic fatigue before I believe. I’m interested because I have several acquaintances who are struggling with CFS and do not actually link it to psych drugs at all although most if not all have some history of psych drug use or are currently taking some psych drug (or sleeping pill) to treat the CFS. Anyway hope you have a nice Thanksgiving and feel better soon! Take care.

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