CFS = Chronic F$#&ing Shit Syndrome!
My journey with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or what I feel is more appropriately called Chronic F&%#$ing Shit Syndrome, has indeed been a long and surreal one. My first crash was at age 26, just three months after being married. At this time I had no idea that this was the beginning of almost 2 decades of truly unbelievable hell.
By unbelievable hell I am referring to the survival mode one ends up succumbing to while trying to keep up with daily life amidst unfathomable and unrelenting flu-like fatigue, pain, and brain fog; of which conventional medicine has no "medical textbook" explanation for and thus chalks it up to mental illness and/or hypochondriac syndrome. The destruction to one's life caused by the disabling effects of this condition are much like you see in the image above; total destruction!
Between the ages of 26 and 41, I experienced many long periods of disability where I was bed or housebound much of the time combined with periods of seemingly high functioning but nonetheless still very sick and in survival mode. I became a "master" at pushing through incredible pain and fatigue to achieve career and academic success but then would spend all my personal time attempting to recover. My final CFS crash came at age 41 in the form of a severe nervous breakdown that forced me to walk away from my career as a high school teacher. This breakdown served as the necessary catalyst for me to finally take charge of my health and life.
The Gift of Wisdom Within CFS
I am now 46 years old and have healed more in the last 5 years than I did in the previous 15. I am grateful for the fact that I am highly functioning, living a quality life, and running my own functional health consulting practice. That said, I am also still on the healing path in many ways; especially as it relates to gut health. I would not have reached this point, however, had I not taken matters into my own hands and delved into learning all I could about this extremely complex and misunderstood condition and what it takes to unravel it.
It has surely been a painful, scary, and overwhelming journey but at the same time it has blessed me with wisdom that I now can share in an effort to help others heal their bodies, minds, and lives. Most of this wisdom, however, was gained through making many mistakes and going down countless rabbit holes. My hope with this blog series is that somebody, even if just one person, can learn something valuable from the mistakes I have made and use it to move the needle forward in their own healing journey. With that, I present to you this video blog where I present my experiences with the TOP mistake I made: Underestimating the Effects of Psychological Stress, Unresolved Trauma, and Repressed Emotions.
Ongoing psychological stress, unresolved trauma, and repressed emotions all have potential to cause us to be hyper sensitive to the world around us and keep our stress response stuck in the “on” position. This can be compared to walking around hooked up to a slow drip of intravenous stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline.
The stress response, also known as fight or flight, is meant to be a short-term, life-preserving mechanism ONLY. It is meant to activate when we need it most, such as maneuvering our car to avoid a deadly collision, fighting off an attacker, burning the candle at both ends of the stick to meet an important work deadline, or even pushing hard in the last mile to win that marathon.
After such events it should subside so our bodies can return to a state of rest and digest. When this mechanism is chronically activated by non-emergency situations such as a toxic relationship, a soul-sucking job, destructive mental patterns such as catastrophic thinking, or a painful memory that we keep reliving in our mind's eye, the body’s main stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) are continually bathing our organs, cells, and tissues.
Overtime, these hormones will break the body down and cause issues such as lowered immunity, muscle tension, headaches, chronic inflammation, impaired cognitive function, decreased detoxification capacity, anxiety/depression, and much more! In this state, the body does not stand a chance against factors such as environmental mold exposure or vector borne illnesses; both of which were huge factors for me.
Key Take Away!
Implementing bio-chemical interventions without addressing this component is like trying to fill a bathtub up without plugging the drain. Doing so will be nothing more than time, money, and energy down the drain. The body and mind CANNOT and WILL NOT heal from a space of worry, fear, anger, resentment, victim thinking, etc.