CFS Self Help follows on from: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Spirituality.
Please also see advice for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Self Help on the page on Recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
NB. The advice on this page is useful for living with any chronic illness.
When I got ill, long before I was diagnosed with M.E.( aka CFS ), I decided to explore spiritual and psychological approaches for CFS self help.
I figured the more comfortable I could feel in myself, the more energy my body would have available to heal.
Here are some of the approaches I used:
No matter how ill you are now, you are OK.
Whether you recover or not, you are OK.
Your worth is not defined by your health.
Your worth is not defined by what you can do or by how nice you can be.
You are inherently worthy.
To have a spiritual belief is a huge advantage here.
Many of us base our worth on what we can do.
But, if you believe in a benevolent, all-powerful God, and you believe this creative force has something to do with you being here, then you are part of something greater than yourself and you have value - even if you can't see it right now.
As someone said: "God doesn't do waste." If you are here you are meant to be here.
Here are some words on the subject of your inherent value from John Henry Newman:
It would have been very easy not to engage in the extreme discipline necessary to stay alive with severe CFS.
I did not have a day off being a carer (for myself) in 14 years.
I did not have a day off being ill - in physical pain and distress - for 17 years.
Death was tempting.
An important part of my CFS self help was to make a decision to stay alive to the best of my ability.
I made a decision to keep physically fighting (whilst I also worked towards spiritual surrender.)
When I realised I wasn't fully choosing life, I worked with an affirmation from the Bible:
I choose life.
This was important both to my survival and my recovery.
It may be easier said than done, but as part of CFS self help it is important to find a pastime that is not related to the CFS or to seeking health, and which can be done within the limits of the illness.
I started receiving guidance in the form of poems and thought-bites.
Dictating, editing and reading these poems sustained me.
It was something that did not have to be done and did not have to be done well, so it was easier to pace myself than with many other activities.
I did not know if my spiritual poems would be seen by anyone else, but now my small book Be Loved Beloved is published on kindle.
My second book,
It's OK to Believe - A Journey With Faith and Reason, will be published in 2014 or 2015.
Click to read Katherine T Owen's poems on the website.
One of the gifts of living with Severe CFS was that the spiritual journey became my priority. It continues to be my priority now I have recovered.
Click here to read about Pastimes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME.
Whilst living with CFS, my speech was limited and I didn't have anyone I could speak to honestly about how bad things were. However, I used a dictaphone to get my thoughts out. And I used my Disability Living Allowance to pay a typist.
For more about feeling your feelings as part of the process of CFS self help or learning to live with any illness, see “Am I Allowed To Feel Angry? What Are The Benefits Of Feeling My Anger?”
The page on feeling your anger is part of a series of pages on the the 7 Stages of grief we go through in learning to cope with a loss of health.
When Living with CFS at such a severe level, I could read for only a few minutes at a time out of an hour. But this was still enough to work my way, over the years, through many wonderful books on psychology and spirituality.
My own self therapy practices developed, and I referred more and more to my work of improving my self talk and releasing judgement on any upset.
A commitment to looking at your shadow self
As human beings we suppress a lot of feelings, memories and hidden beliefs about ourselves. This takes energy and when, with CFS (or any other chronic illness), your energy drops, you may find some of this junk, this shadow self, coming to the surface.
Of course, it also takes energy to look at your feelings, memories and beliefs. And it is not ideal that you do so when living with CFS /M.E.. But, as you know, life is sometimes not ideal.
If stuff comes up, it comes up.
Long term, as part of my CFS self help, it took less energy for me to look at this stuff than to live with it.
Now I am in better health, I still have a commitment to looking at the shadow self when it makes itself known.
Each time I "embrace" the shadow, it brings healing in another area of my life and I walk on with yet more joy.
Most of my therapy has been self therapy. This is very possible once you accept the belief (included in A Course In Miracles) that the world is a projection of our thoughts.
If you don't like what you see, you may choose for that to be the next "thought" you explore and work to change.
The idea that the world is a projection of our thoughts is discussed a little in the section on Do Our Beliefs Create Our Reality?
And if the idea that our beliefs create our reality is already familiar to you, some of the quotes on Are We All Atheists? may be of interest.
Go here for the definition of non duality.
Non duality is the belief that God's Love is the reality and the world is an illusion.
Please share your experiences and your wisdom.
Let us know about any experiences you have had that let you know that you are so much more than the illness.
Let us know if illness has motivated you to pursue the spiritual journey and the rewards that have come from that.
Let us know if you have experienced healing - mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, through your spiritual practice.
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