Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms ebb and flow like the tide except with far less predictability or consistency. How do you cope with a constant changing symptom list that varies in severity by the hour, day, week, month or year? Today, I am concentrating on my reliable coping mechanisms. These coping techniques to handle the invisible disease that CFS is, also help me handle the stresses I face in my life, working and living a life in 2015, never mind with CFS.
Hobbies, Interests and More
My techniques vary in only way, whether it’s a physical activity or if it is about observing or listening. Everyone’s list will be different, plus the way the individual technique is utilized could alter. Music is one of my coping mechanisms; this is all about listening to music with a little side brain activity of learning about the artist or the songwriting. Another person may play guitar, write music or sing (none of which has not happened in my world so far!). These are the most common ways I’ve found to cope with CFS and life in general:
- Music (listening to music, learning about the artists, how songs were written, etc.).
- Movies (re-watching favorite movies ranging from romantic comedies, classic movies (Hitchcock especially), to a random horror – ultimate favorites are an inspirational true story like Moneyball [official trailer], Rudy [official trailer] or a great mystery story like Along Came a Spider [official trailer]).
- Reading (when I cannot read either due to my eyes bothering me, falling asleep too fast or too busy doing other things, I listen to audio books).
- Crafts: knitting, crocheting, counted cross-stitch with a little of adult coloring books, drawing, card-making.
- Visiting with friends/family: regular FaceTime chats with my Mom plus on-going conversations with those closest to me,
Coping with Confidence
These techniques are simple, easy and inexpensive. When I was very sick, I listened to music and learned inspiring stories of singers who overcame the odds to follow their dreams and reach success. This helped me immensely to know others struggles, while different, they persisted until they met their goals. Today, I still use music to de-stress. I almost always have music on in the car, cranking the volume for those fun, dance-able songs, singing along (out of tune and not caring!) to get my groove on and forget for three minutes about anything else but this moment.
Simple techniques that can be used whether you’re in bed 18 hours a day, working part-time or even cooking supper for your family and running out of time and energy can make all the difference in the world. This can alter whether you cry yourself to sleep, yell at your spouse or give your kids a hug good night and laugh at their silly jokes.
What makes coping with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome the most difficult for you?
How do you handle the various symptoms and the different degrees the symptoms appear/fade?
If you are a friend or family member of a person living with CFS, how do you cope?