18: What About You?
I hope that reading my story has shown you that improvement
is possible with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. If you would like to improve, what
should you do? Here are five suggestions, along with two websites.
1) Get Medical Help
A doctor can confirm a diagnosis of CFS, prescribe medications to treat
major symptoms, and help you with other medical issues that often accompany CFS.
For more, see the article How
Your Doctor Can Help If You Have CFS/ME by my colleague and the medical advisor to the self-help program Dr. Charles Lapp of the Hunter-Hopkins Center.
2) Focus on Pacing
If there is one secret to improvement, it is living within the limits
imposed by CFS by pacing. Pacing takes time to master, but the rewards can start
immediately. A good place to begin is with daily rests. For more on pacing, see
the series Pacing:
What It Is and How to Do It.
3) Manage Stress
CFS both increases stress and makes people more sensitive to stress. This
combination makes managing stress crucial. You can begin by working to reduce
stress, for example, by setting aside time for yourself to relax every day.
Stress avoidance is also very useful. For more, see Stress
Management and Controlling
4) Use Patience and
Improvement is possible but usually gradual, so approach living with CFS using attitude
that combines patience and determination. I call it acceptance
with a fighting spirit, which means accepting that life has changed for now,
but believing that there are things to do that will bring improvement. For more,
see the article The
5) Get Support from
Other People with CFS
Knowing others with CFS can counteract isolation and depression, and provide
information, understanding, inspiration and support. Surround yourself with positive people who are working actively to improve. For more, see the article Finding
Support Groups and Doctors.
CFIDS & Fibromyalgia Self-Help Program
The site for our self-management program and the place you'll find the
articles mentioned above.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
A site I created together with Dr. Lapp. The site guides you
step by step through the process of creating an individualized treatment plan.