Principles of Energy Consumption...

Like me, you were probably a bit of a superhero before the onset of CFS. I held down five jobs Ė the main one consisting of twenty-five hours work a week along with four cleaning jobs. On top of that, there was looking after my house and garden, nurturing the kids, the school run etc etc. No problem, I coped without difficulty, even managing to get out on a Saturday night from time to time! I was a financially secure, totally dependent single mother. Yes, I was doing well for myself.

But then Ė

POP! My bubble burst. The lifestyle that I took for granted had gone up in smoke!

In its place were frustration, helplessness and thoughts of the past along with dreams of regaining that past Ė I was suddenly trapped in an unreal world. But reality rears its ugly head from time to time, and itís hard to cope with that. The daily tasks mentioned above, tasks that Iíd previously carried out happily and without question were no longer possible. I now struggle hard to work sixteen hours a week, and household chores must be done when I can cope, which isnít often, a little bit at a time - if settled dust is left unattended, then so be it.

Work. Those sixteen hours are now my priority Ė I have a seven year old son who I must somehow support. I go to work, try to do whatís expected of me then come home totally exhausted. I try to rest as best I can, then itís back to work, un-refreshed Ė a vicious cycle that relentlessly drains what little energy I have.

Pacing is highly recommended to combat the symptoms of CFS, but the reality of my circumstances, and those of many others who have bills to pay and children to look after, means that proper pacing isnít an option. Because of our responsibilities, what little energy we have, that small amount of energy that takes so long to regain once itís gone, must be used up on essentials because thereís no choice. So weíre left with nothing in reserve for our personal needs. Over time, as a coping mechanism, everything that isnít absolutely necessary is eliminated, and weíre left with a mere existence rather than a life.

Yes, I admit that CFS now controls my life. For now, Iíve lost the battle. But the war isnít yet over Ė one day I WILL regain that control. So I began to think about things that might make my life easier, and came up with -

Whatever youíre doing, however seemingly important, STOP before youíre exhausted!

These Ďrulesí certainly make sense, but theyíre not easy to stick to, are they? However, to maintain the best health we can, it IS important to do so as far as possible.

Here are a few OFFICIAL guidelines to consider -

WORK AREA -

ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY EFFORT -

UTENSILS.

The above are no doubt reasonable guidelines, but the reality is that theyíre sometimes not practicable. So I have a couple of my own rules that have stood me in good stead Ė

If it requires much thought, dismiss it!

Wherever possible, cope by avoiding the things that you struggle with

Over time, we all have to adapt and create coping mechanisms to survive. Some prove to be effective and some donít, but practice and experimentation in the areas that are relevant to you do eventually pay dividends.

In summary, the trick is to stop seeking perfection and to do only those things that are absolutely necessary, and even then, do them in a way thatís both physically and mentally as economical as possible.