20 Signs Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Isn’t Going Away

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating illness that takes many
forms, has numerous symptoms and no known cure available from the
standard medical community.

You might have some skeptical friends who doubt you are actually ill,
perhaps they think you are simply malingering. However, chronic fatigue
syndrome is a very real disorder affecting millions of people
worldwide. Yet often patients can be told ‘it’s all in your head’, or
suffer comments from family and friends like ‘oh yes I get really tired
too’, both of which show a complete lack of understanding that the
illness is in fact very real.

Unfortunately, its common name, ‘chronic fatigue syndrome
doesn’t help people’s perception that it’s not a real illness and it’s
simply tiredness. The illness has two other names, Myalgic Encephalitis
(ME) and Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID). Perhaps SEID
helps describe the illness best as it does state a key feature of the
illness i.e., the inability to tolerate exertion either mental or
physical.

 

Whatever you decide to call the illness, it is DEFINITELY real.

Fatigue is not the only symptom, although it is the one that most
often typifies the disorder. And, this fatigue isn’t simply a feeling of
being a bit tired or sluggish. A good night’s sleep
doesn’t help the fatigue which gets worse after mental exhaustion or
physical activity and can take several days of bed rest to recover from.

Several other symptoms accompany the overwhelming and unrelenting fatigue including:

  • Brain fog and cognitive impairment.
  • Muscle aches and pains.
  • Post exertional malaise.
  • Unrefreshing sleep.
  • Insomnia.
  • Recurring sore throat and swollen glands.

 

Is There A Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Test?

There is no available test or bio marker for the illness. And, what
makes this disorder baffling is the severity, type and number of
symptoms individuals suffer from.

No single cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is known, and in fact it
can be caused by multiple things, but it is likely that a trauma or
several traumas of some description triggered it.

For example, trauma can come from one or more of the following:

  • Hormone imbalance, such as adrenal fatigue.
  • Bacterial infections, such as pneumonia.
  • Immune system problems.
  • Mental health issues, such as stress and emotional trauma.
  • Gene mutations.
  • Viral infections, such as glandular fever.
  • Trauma from physical accidents.

 

How Long Does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Last?

Because there is no test available, a diagnosis from your doctor is
generally only arrived at by ruling out other illnesses such as
hypothyroid, sleep disorders, kidney problems etc. Additionally a
diagnosis can only be given after you have had the symptoms for at least
6 months.

Unfortunately from a naturopathic point of view, this is 6 months
during which time you could have already started testing to find out
what lies at the root cause(s) of your chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s
also 6 months during which time your symptoms and illness may be getting
worse.

Some people mistakenly believe that they cannot recover from chronic
fatigue syndrome because standard allopathic medicine has no ‘cure’,
there’s no ‘pill’ they can be given to make chronic fatigue syndrome go
away.

At the other end of the spectrum, others think if they just wait it
out, chronic fatigue syndrome will disappear of it’s own accord. While
this might happen, if you are lucky, it’s
pretty unlikely. Without getting proper treatment, which gets to the
root cause(s) of your particular form of chronic fatigue syndrome it can
not only last for many years, but during that time, gradually get
worse.

Time can pass without your symptoms worsening, or new
symptoms making an appearance. There can even be periods of time when
you start to feel a little better. But there will be times too when you
relapse and get worse. This is the point when your health declines even
further.

You may be the type of person who is willing to wait it out to see if
you can recover by yourself. However, I know from my experience that
had I found the right naturopathic help and treatment sooner, my health
would not have declined to the extent it did.

Chronic fatigue syndrome rarely develops overnight, but there is
usually an event or series of events that lead up to it. The tricky
thing is that it’s often not until you start getting treatment do you
realize what those triggering events were.

During your journey with the illness you’ll get many signs chronic fatigue syndrome isn’t going away.
Most of the signs sneak up on you slowly. You adapt your life around
your illness which can mask the reality of your worsening health
condition.

The signs show themselves in various forms, some are
physical, some mental, some behavioral and some environmental. Many you
may think do not relate to your illness at all. However, even the signs
that show up in your home and work environment are rooted in your
illness.

Additionally, there are a multitude of signs you should take careful
note of to gauge if your chronic fatigue syndrome is not only hanging
around, but actually becoming worse.

It is foolish to ignore any of these signs as they are signals your
illness is progressing and you need to seek out the right form of
treatment if you want to have any chance of recovery.

Each individual has their own unique journey with chronic fatigue
syndrome. Some have a particularly debilitating form of the illness
leaving them completely bedridden. Others have a less severe form that
gradually deteriorates as the illness progresses. Whatever form your
chronic fatigue syndrome takes, there will be signs that it’s not going
away…………

 

Do You Recognize Any Of These Signs?

1. You Don’t Feel Like Socializing
You may have been a bit of a social butterfly in the past. Always one
of the first to eagerly accept invitations to enjoy lunches, family
BBQ’s, nights out with the girls, gallery openings, shopping trips,
dinner out with some fine dining, invitations to parties etc. But now
you realize you haven’t had an outing in months, you just declined an
invitation to a close friend’s wedding too.

In fact when was the last time you enjoyed a social occasion. Come to
think of it, the last time you went out you left early and couldn’t
wait to get home, crawl under the covers and sleep. And now, it just all
seems like way too much effort to take part in any socializing at all.

It’s going to take too much energy to work out what to wear for
starters. Then you need to get in the car and drive half an hour to get
there. Don’t even mention how exhausting it is to have to make polite
chitchat to people who, if you’re honest, just drain your energy.
Nope…..all too hard, you just stay home.

 

2. You Can’t Cope With Even The Slightest Stress – Known
for your calm demeanor and your ability to just get on with things now
you find you’re flying off the handle with the least provocation.

You arrive at work feeling pretty exhausted, get settled at your desk
with the first coffee of the day, and proceed to open your email.
Scrolling through your emails, you ask yourself when did you start
getting so many emails, how are you expected to reply to all these
emails in a day?

Your stress level is already rising when your colleague walks up to
you and asks a simple question about a project you are both working on
and you not only don’t have the answer but you want to scream at him/her
to just go away.

It’s only 9am and already you feel completely overwhelmed and
terrified that you’re going to drop the ball. Your workload hasn’t
increased, in fact it’s currently the quietest time of the year in the
business but it’s all too much to deal with, you just don’t have the
mental energy to deal with a normal workday in your normal efficient
way.

 

3. You Can’t Stand Noise And Bright Lights
Summoning all of your energy, you pull an outfit together from the back
of the wardrobe, slap on some makeup and get in the car determined to
enjoy a night out. The friends you are meeting up with are fun, you
enjoy their company and you’re looking forward to a few laughs.

It’ll be great to enjoy a couple of hours of lighthearted chat and
catch up with everyone. Something to take your mind off how lacking in
energy you are is just what you need.

As, you walk into the venue you’re hit with a wall of flashing lights
above the band in the corner who are playing way too loudly. OMG, you
didn’t realize there would be music and definitely didn’t expect the
flashing lights. Your friends are there already, getting stuck in to a
few drinks, yelling to each other to be heard above the music.

They wave to you and you realize this was a BIG mistake, you just
can’t do this. The music is pounding in your head and the bright lights
flashing on and off are make you feel like you’re about to throw up.

Waving to your friends and shaking your head, you start backing
towards the door. All you can see is the startled looks on their faces
as they see you turn on your heel and get out of there as fast as you
possibly can. And now you have another problem, how on earth are you
going to explain your weird behavior to your friends who you just ran
out on?

 

4. You Don’t Sleep Well At Night – You used to be
such a great sleeper. Getting between 8 or 9 hours sleep was easy for
you. Now however, getting a solid 8-hour sleep seems to be a thing of
the past. In fact, you can’t remember when you slept soundly through one
entire night.

Not only that but something seems to have happened to your body clock
because you can’t fall asleep easily either. Sometimes you fall asleep,
only to wake up again an hour later and you’re wide awake with no hope
of dropping off to sleep again.

Lately you’ve also developed a pattern of waking up at around 3.15
each morning and at that time you’re wide awake and there is absolutely
no hope of getting back to sleep before the alarm goes off. And when you
do wake up, you feel just as exhausted as you did before you finally
got to sleep.

 

5. You Develop Feelings Of Isolation – You seem to
have lost touch with family and friends. And, it seems as if nobody
understands what you are going through with this illness.

It doesn’t help that you’ve been on the receiving end of comments
that suggest ‘you’re just being lazy’ or that ‘everyone gets tired from
time to time, after all we all have such busy lives’. Nobody seems to
understand what you’re going through.

Your doctor can’t help you and you don’t know where to turn for help.
It feels as if you are truly alone and nobody understands that you are
actually ill.

 

6. You Are No Longer Able To Work Full Time – It
hurts, you were at the top of your game, climbing the corporate ladder,
doing great and the future was looking very bright indeed. Thinking you
could recover you kept on pushing through, ignoring the signs your body
was giving that it was all too much for you.

Now you’ve arrived at the heartbreaking realization that you no
longer have the capability to continue on your present career path
because you simply cannot work a full day. You are seriously considering
giving up your full time position and looking for a job that is less
taxing. It seems that working a few hours a week is all you can manage
with your current state of fatigue.

 

7. You Dread Being Asked To A Function – Once the
life and soul of the party you now cringe if someone asks you to a
function as you simply don’t have enough energy to work AND socialize.
Your well-meaning friend doesn’t understand you are ill, after all you
look OK on the outside, you definitely don’t look sick and you work full
time in your career. So what could possibly be wrong with you?

Not only that, but you declined the last couple of invitations they
gave you. It’s beginning to look as though you just don’t want to spend
time with them and you know that pretty soon the invitations will stop
arriving if you don’t attend something soon.

 

8. You Develop Intolerance For An Increasing Number Of Food Types
– Lately you’ve noticed everything you eat seems to set off a reaction
and you start sneezing, your eyes water and your nose runs
uncontrollably. Only by taking an antihistamine can you get it to let
up. And what’s with that strange blotchy rash on your chest?

But yesterday the glass of wine, latte, and cheese sandwich you had
were all OK , today….. not so much. Now you need to work out which one
of those items is causing you to react, or is it all of them, yikes?
Eliminating several foods from your diet has already been carried out,
but it seems the list of your food sensitivities just keeps getting
longer. Soon it will be very difficult to choose food that you won’t
react to.

 

9. You Feel Depressed – You feel utterly helpless,
and don’t know where to turn for help with your illness. Everyone around
you seems to be enjoying a happy and healthy fun filled life.

But you are trapped and unable to move. Lately you’ve started feeling
angry that people seem oblivious to your condition. All you want to do
is stay curled up in bed all day while your thoughts just keep dragging
you down further and further. You are considering a visit to the doctor
for some medication. Perhaps he can give you something to lift your
mood, some ‘happy pills’. But your not sure if you want to start
medicating your feelings away, doesn’t seem right somehow.

 

10. You Suffer An Increasing Number Of Crashes
Lately it seems like the amount of activity you are able to carry out is
becoming less and less before you crash. You used to be able to work
part-time, carry out normal domestic chores and shopping each day.

However, lately you can’t do all the cleaning and shopping you used
to do before you have to take to your bed to recover. Experiencing a
crash used to happen maybe once a month when you over did it with the
cleaning and you’d spend the next two days in bed. Lately you seem to
spend more time in bed during the week and less time on chores and
activities.

 

11. You Take Longer To Recover From A Crash – During
the last month you’ve spent more days in bed than out of bed.
Recovering from a crash normally takes a couple of days, then you can
get up and resume your semi normal life.

Lately though it seems each crash takes four or more days in bed
before you recover sufficient energy to just get up and sit on the sofa.
You feel scared that soon you will become completely bedridden if
things keep on going this way. Your life is becoming increasing abnormal
with more of it spent in bed as you have no energy to do anything else.

 

12. Your Home Environment Is A Cluttered Mess – As,
you look around your home you realize it looks like a horrible mess. It
hasn’t been cleaned properly for ages but, more than that there is
clutter everywhere. The kitchen is full of dirty dishes and half empty
food containers and there’s a coating of dust over all the furniture.
Dirty laundry has piled up, you’re running out of clean clothes to wear
and the laundry basket is overflowing.

There are old newspapers, magazines and garbage everywhere, and every
surface is cluttered with ‘stuff’ everywhere. Your home used to be so
orderly, you took pride in your organizational and housekeeping skills.

But now that you take a good look around, your home is in
disorganized chaos reflecting the chores you haven’t managed to do due
to your lack of mental and physical energy. Gazing around, you realize
it’s pretty disgusting. You knew you were letting things slip as your
energy disappeared. But how did it get this bad?

 

13. Your Brain Fog Is Getting Worse – This morning
you can’t find your purse. Rushing to get breakfast ready, your mind is
racing. How can you have lost your purse? Trying to frantically retrace
yesterday’s steps you think about where you could have left it. Maybe
it’s still in the car? You turn to get the milk from the fridge, open
the door and Bingo! There’s your purse, on the top shelf of the fridge.
It’s been there all night so at least you didn’t lose it.

The only harm done seems to be that your lipstick is now a bit frozen
and too solid to put on. But why on earth would you have put your purse
in the fridge?

Oh well, all’s well that ends well, you go upstairs to get some
documents you need for work and at the top of the stairs can’t remember
what you came up for. Down you go again, then you remember…… the
documents!

People at work are starting to notice you seem to be a bit forgetful
and a couple of comments have been made about your lateness getting
reports in on time. Actually, it’s starting to become a bit
embarrassing, you used to be the one everyone could rely on.

 

14. You Are Unable To Exercise – Your weekly routine
for years was always to exercise about 3 or 4 times each week. You
didn’t go mad, just some cardio or weights and the odd class to break up
the monotony, it’s always been a great way to keep your weight under
control.

You’ve kept your exercise routine pretty steady for years and enjoy a
good fitness level. So you know that motivation isn’t a problem for
you.

But last time you did 20 minutes on the treadmill you spent 4 days in
bed recovering. Always a regular exerciser, now it seems that even a
gentle 10-minute walk in the park is too much for you. But you know if
you push it beyond 10 minutes, you’ll end up in bed for days recovering.

 

15. You Seem To Be Suffering From Anxiety – Never
normally an anxious type of person, you’ve noticed strange feelings
surface that you realize could be symptoms of anxiety. That weird
churning feeling in your stomach that you know is not indigestion.

Often you feel dizzy and light-headed, but sort of restless at the
same time. The other day you couldn’t find a space to park the car and
your heart started beating out of control and you felt as if you were
going to pass out or vomit, or all three at the same time.

In situations, you can normally handle you now feel completely out of
control. The slightest upset seems to trigger many of these weird
symptoms and feelings.

 

16. Your Eating Habits Are Out Of Control – Having
always been conscious of maintaining a healthy diet, why on earth are
you craving french fries and sweets every single day? Come mid-afternoon
the lure of all that fat and sugary wrapped goodness luring you from
the vending machine becomes too hard to ignore.

Watching TV in the evening you’ve just eaten an entire container of
ice cream on your own. Healthy salads, fresh lightly steamed vegetables,
salmon and free-range chicken have lost their appeal. All you want now
is fatty oily pastries, deep-fried food and chocolate.

 

17. Your Hair Starts Falling Out – People have
always commented on your crowning glory, your gloriously shiny healthy
looking lustrous hair. During your shower this morning the water stops
draining away and on closer inspection you find the reason. 

No need to call the plumber, it’s just your fallen hair clogging the
drain. As, you start to dry your hair you notice lots of hair in the
brush. Your once thick hair is thinning and the texture is wiry and it’s
kind of frizzy too. Unfortunately it can no longer be described as a
crowing glory so thin and straggly has it become.

 

18. You Develop An Irritated Bladder – It seems you
can no longer get a full night’s sleep as you are constantly awake with
the need to pee. Not only that, but when you pee it burns badly.

After checking with the doctor you find there is no infection,
however, it seems you have developed an irritated bladder. Your stomach
feels a little tender and you have the annoying need to go to the toilet
several times a day. It’s not only annoying but makes many activities
impossible. For example going to see a movie is now completely out of
the question as you’ll miss half the movie while you spend so much time
in the toilet.

 

19. You Experience Balance Issues And Muscle Weakness
– Realizing your normal exercise routine is out of the question you try
some simple yoga. However, it seems that even the relatively simple
tree pose is too much for you.

Normally your balance is pretty good, but doing tree pose you find it
impossible to balance on one leg. When you try cobra pose you find your
arm strength has deserted you too. You simply cannot push yourself up
on your arms, they are too weak. All of the simple poses you normally do
are also out of the question. Looks like you’ll need to start
practising restorative yoga instead.

 

20. You Try To Sit Down As Much As Possible – The
thought of standing in the shower for even five minutes is too much for
you. You’ve started taking a bath each morning instead.

You use a rolling stool to sit on while doing chores as much as
possible. Cooking, ironing and laundry tasks are all carried out whilst
sitting. Shopping expeditions are now a thing of the past, it’s too
difficult to stand in queues and walk around stores. Instead, you’ve
started ordering your groceries online so that you no longer have to
make a trip to the mall.

 

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