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Psyche

Although patient psychology remains an understandably controversial and emotive topic among the ME/CFS community, having reviewed a great deal of the relevant contemporary scientific literature it seems clear that, as with all chronic illness, wellness hinges to some extent on mental health; furthermore, in ME/CFS there exists the potential for a particularly unhelpful circular interplay between physiological pain signalling and psychological affectation of pain signalling pathways. In light of this, effective management of psychological conditions/state is a real asset

Avoiding Difficulty

• Be expressive | It’s healthy to have a good shout/cry every once in a while if that’s how you feel inside. However, beware of dwelling on negativity e.g. allowing oneself to feel unduly anxious, downbeat or resentful – besides being a waste of energy, forebrain products/associated adrenaline release can worsen symptoms
• Coach yourself | Convince yourself to put all feelings of negativity and defeatism to one side, be as pragmatic/stoical as possible, and adopt constructive mantras (internal or externally expressed). Some find NLP/CBT and related quasi-meditative/self-hypnotic techniques helpful allies within this domain

Deflecting Difficulty

Be philosophical | Know that we can reasonably expect to overcome most challenges in life and that to worry or agonise over those that may appear insurmountable in the present is unlikely to do anything but set us back. Some things we must learn to live with, others can be overcome, in time, with patience
Re-frame | If you have a negative thought brought on by the challenge of living with the illness then stop, settle down, close your eyes, take some slow deep breaths, remind yourself that you are on the path to improved wellness and imagine how it will feel to feel more your old self again

Dealing with Difficulty

• Be Proactive | Take an interest in those things you can do and the relationships you are able to enjoy. Many PWME find creative pursuits bring them pleasure, keep the mind engaged, curb boredom, take their minds off the illness, and help them begin to build goals and structure back into their lives
• Aid Rest & Relaxation | Where possible, engage in mood lightening/relaxation techniques e.g. meditation, music, watching comedy/sharing a joke, taking a positive interest in something, and enjoying forms of physical therapy e.g. gentle, warm sunlight, hydrotherapy, acupuncture/accupressure and massage

Defeating Difficulty

• ‘Freeze Frame' | This technique can be used to mitigate against stress by stopping it in its tracks. CBT/NLP is often helpful for those who struggle with stress, anxiety, depression & motivation and many find EFT and reverse therapy beneficial in re-fortifying this pillar
• Manage social effects | None of us are proud of our illness, and personal health is just that, personal, however it is important to be candid about ME/CFS with those who matter to us, and to encourage them to try to understand what it is that we face (without labouring things). It is a huge bonus, and relief, when close friends/family members are able to empathise, to support us, and stand by us/stick up for us when the going gets tough. That said, one must know when to quit; try as we might, some people will simply never understand and that is their bad - no use ‘banging your head against that brick wall’!

Intro | Location | Detox | Diet | Rest | ActivityPsyche