20. 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 get better, what should you do? Here are five suggestions to get you started, along with some links to articles on the self-help program website. (You’ll find more ideas on the Resources page.)

1) Get Medical Help

A doctor can confirm a diagnosis of CFS, prescribe medications to treat major CFS 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 CFS authority Dr. Charles Lapp.

2) Focus on Pacing

If there is one secret to improvement, it is living within the limits imposed by CFS using pacing. Pacing takes time to master, but the rewards can start immediately. A good place to begin is with daily rests, as described in the article Reducing Symptoms with Planned Rest. For a detailed explanation of pacing, see our Pacing Tutorial and the series of articles titled 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 specific strategies, see the Stress Management archive and the article Controlling Stress on the self-help program website.

4) Use Patience and Determination

Improvement is possible but usually gradual, so approach living with CFS using an 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 seven places to start, see the article The 1% Solution.

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.