It was last May when I first wrote about my returning depression and last August when I first mentioned Chronic Fatigue. I attended my first appointment at the ME clinic last November and since then have written many posts about my ups and downs with the illness.
So how are things now, a year after my first thoughts and nine months after beginning treatment? If you’d have asked me half an hour ago I would have said not much different, but reading back on my old posts I realised things have changed and improved, even if that is hard to see on a daily basis. I have been through various stages of dealing with the diagnosis and whilst I don’t accept that this is it forever, I do accept that it is life for the time being. With that acceptance has come a determination to move forward and start to get better.
As I also have depression and anxiety, this makes the process a little more challenging. On days when I’m feeling low I struggle to motivate myself to do the things I need to do for the ME, and vice versa. So it is a slow process.
I am not great at pacing – which is where I am supposed to limit my activities depending on how much energy they consume. If I do half an hour’s high energy (such as vacuuming, doing the dishwasher, taking the children to nursery) I am then supposed to rest for half an hour. Trying to get through the day constantly aware of myself, to the point of counting how many times I go up and down the stairs, I find quite a challenge, especially when I’m running around after the children.
I am also not very good at the relaxation – five minutes of breathing in and out or trying to imagine myself on a beach or in a meadow and I’m done, twiddling my fingers counting down the seconds. I am hoping to take up yoga or pilates to compensate for this and help me try and quiet my mind.
I have also made a huge effort to change my diet. I am trying to have breakfast, usually natural yoghurt, juiced fruit and granola. I am making smoothies in order to get more fruit into my diet and researching healthy and often Paleo recipes to reduce the amount of additives I consume and increase things that are better for me, such as spinach and seeds. This is a massive change for me and as yet I haven’t seen a big difference from it, but I am persevering.
I am still sleeping through the day – usually two hours or this can increase if I’m having a bad day. I am very fortunate that the children are either in nursery or my mum is here to watch them in order for me to do this, and it means when Mr H gets home I am still somewhat awake that I don’t have to leave him to it as soon as he steps in the door. I am hoping to gradually reduce this amount of sleep, however it is more a matter of doing what it takes at the moment so this isn’t my main priority.
I find it really helpful to look back and see the change, whether it be good or bad. It gives me perspective and makes me realise that I have progressed and gives me hope that I can continue to do so. There was a point a few months ago that I wasn’t sure how on earth I would ever get better, now it finally feels like maybe I will. I still have to watch what I’m doing and on bad days I wonder why I even bother getting out of bed, but those days seem to be getting slightly less. I only hope that in another six months I can report back with even more improvements.