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Meditation and Chronic Fatigue

TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran

Hi again everyone I'm back, for those who remember me.

I am trying to start meditating and studying Buddhism again after quite a long time. I used to meditate daily a few years ago, but I gradually fell out of Buddhist practice. Subsequently I came down with a nasty bug of unknown origin in December and still haven't recovered so it now seems I have post-viral/chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as ME) . I have constant brain fog so it makes anything that requires much concentration difficult.

Does anyone have any advice for tackling this? And can anyone suggest any "easy" or basic forms of meditation that I can start out with whilst I refresh my knowledge on meditation?

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Frankly? Just sit. Be comfortable, breathe normally, and let every single part of your body, relax.
    Not to the point of slumping, and sliding off the chair; that's not what I mean! I mean, "observe" your body, and release any tension you hold. We all do, particularly around the shoulders...
    Splay your hands, really hard, then just release.... Then breathe, calmly.... focus, if you want, on an inanimate object, about 3 feet infornt of you, below eye level.... Then, watch your mind's chatter. Still it. Slow your thoughts until they're monosyllabic...one word.... see that word arise, let it be, let it pass, and relax.
    Watch your tongue too. Try to not let it rise and press against your palate, leve it gently, naturally lying in your mouth... that usually mens away from your palate, but touching the back of your upper front teeth.
    Let it be, it's ok....

    ME is a much-maligned, very much derided affliction that many still do not take seriously, but it's debilitating, draining and thoroughly demoralising.

    Have a look at this report, and take it easy. Seriously. Pushing yourself and over-doing it will in most likely, make you feel worse.
    Look to your diet, and cut the carbs. Honestly? It's the best thing I have ever done, bar none. See also our thread on this....

    I hate to say it, but this period is one of necessary selfishness. Look to yourself; put yourself first, and tend to your needs as you see and feel fit.

    Learn to say no, and stand up for yourself. Utterly reject the 'pull yourself together' brigade.

    BunksHozanyagrTigger
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Welcome back. What happened to the chickens?
    I have had chronic fatigue from candida infection. Horrible.

    Probably walking meditation or mantra would be the most feasible? <3
    Can we offer saddhana/prayer/puja for you?

    Bunksyagr
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Welcome back OP. Long time no hear.

    May you be well.

  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran

    Thanks for the advice Fede, fortunately the majority of the people around me are understanding and taking this condition seriously.

    @lobster we've still got one left. The three others have passed on to their next rebirth :), sad as I was to see them go.

    lobster
  • yagryagr Veteran

    @TheEccentric said:
    I have constant brain fog so it makes anything that requires much concentration difficult.

    That is a fantastic beginning, you may even have a leg up on the rest of us. :)  You've gotten excellent advise thus far but I would add this: It might be better to think of meditation as anti-concentration.  Meditation relaxes the mind and when the mind is relaxed, we can concentrate better.  

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    With apologies, I guess I will give another plug for energy healing practices. I had pretty severe fatigue problems some time ago, could hardly walk 1/4 mile without having to lie down on the ground. I don't know that it had any organic cause however, might have been more a consequence of long-running depression.

    This toe tapping exercise seemed to improve my energy levels noticeably after a couple of weeks, and is fairly undemanding to do because it's done lying down. I found it possible to meditate after a fashion while doing it.

    Toe tapping involves lying on your back and tapping the toes together fairly rapidly, using rotation of the hip joints to do it, not the ankles, and using momentum to do some of the work - takes a while to coordinate the movement. I used to do this for 20 minutes a session, once or twice a day. There are other body-tapping exercises also, this one just seemed to be the easiest for me. Reference: Energy Healing - Essentials of Self-Care by Ann Marie Chiasson, MD

    federica
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    No apologies necessary, @Fosdick; if a thing bears repeating, it's worth doing so. ;)

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    Hi, Eccentric! Sorry to hear you're not well. Could you explain your illness a bit more? I'm not familiar with the term, "M.E." I had adrenal fatigue for many years. I found that meditation helped. I suppose that makes sense, as we know that physiologically, meditation calms the stress hormones, and therefore, the stress hormone glands. I don't think I had the type of brain fog you do, though.

    Thanks for any clarification you could offer.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Dakini said:
    Hi, Eccentric! Sorry to hear you're not well. Could you explain your illness a bit more? I'm not familiar with the term, "M.E."....Thanks for any clarification you could offer.

    ME is short for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis which is also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is a dreadful, difficult-to-diagnose, affliction without a definite cure.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    Thank you for that, Federica. "Encephalomyelitis" would indicate that the tissues of the brain are involved--inflamed, or something. How would they know this? How did the medical community arrive at the conclusion that brain tissue is involved?

    I know that "chronic fatigue syndrome" has been studied or puzzled over in North America and Europe for quite awhile--since at least the 90's, but I'm wondering how they arrived at choosing this term or diagnosis for it. I ask, because as someone who had long-term chronic fatigue that got diagnosed (I had to go to a doctor who didn't accept insurance in order to get tested and treated) as adrenal fatigue, I always wonder about CFS. I wonder if some of those patients might benefit from getting an Adrenal Stress Index test, a saliva test.

    karasti
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Dakini I'm assuming your questions are rhetorical, because I sure as heck have no answers.... Perhaps it's a bit like all the dieting advice we've been 'fed' (pardon the pun) for the past 20 - 30 years, now largely being dismissed as inaccurate and based on supposition, hypothesis and unreliable and badly-established data...People drew conclusions from a very limited source of information, made 2 + 2 = 17, and published their findings as irrefutable fact, usually funded by particular companies which had a specific interest in self-promotion... (look at margarine, for example!)

    There is still so much we cannot, or do not know, Yet we are members of a society which requires, nay, insists on answers to everything. Why, and how, are the two most insistent demands, and if we cannot know why or how, then we dismiss something as utterly unreliable and unsubstantiated - yet take for granted that any answers we DO receive, MUST be right, because well, it's scientific, isn't it....?

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    Yeah, well I know that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been a big puzzle. I always assumed that it was adrenal fatigue, but this new term for it (ME) would indicate that it's something else, unrelated. I just hate to see people suffering needlessly, when the solution could, in fact, be fairly simple. I'll have to do some internet research to see if I can discover what lead them to this ME categorization of it.

    Thanks. And yes, the medical community certainly does have a long way to go, a lot to learn. A bit more humility, combined with more intellectual curiosity and open-mindedness, vs. simply dismissing ideas out of hand, on the part of researchers, would help.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I have wondered if maybe adrenal fatigue/compromise might be related or the same issue as well. I find the ME diagnosis confusing, I didn't realize CFS had another name, and considering diagnosis is a basis of present symptoms unexplainable by other factors that they can test for it is curious to me the name they chose.

    Reading online a bit, ME seems to be characterized by an injury to the brain (usually as a result of virus or similar). But CFS often accompanies no reason found for the symptoms. I'm really curious now if there is a link anywhere to adrenal issues. Hm.

    In any case, @TheEccentric it is nice to see you return! I'm sorry it's under such circumstances. It sounds like a very difficult thing to deal with. Be gentle with yourself, don't push and attach expectations. Just be. Just sit. Let your body and mind experience that alone. Attempting to focus just stresses a brain that is trying to heal. I guess if I were you I would probably just take the time to go be outside. To sit in the sun, feel the breeze hear water (if possible), hear the birds. Nature can be incredibly healing if we let ourselves experience it fully. I hope that you will see improvement as time continues to go on. Dealing with brain stuff just is such a very long term "game" and improvements can come very slowly or all of a sudden. 2 steps forward 1 step back. Sometimes 3 steps back.

    Have you asked your doctor about a possible benefit to high dose, high quality fish oil supplementation? It is something they are experimenting with for brain injury and seeing interesting results. I know that's not the same as what you are dealing with but perhaps it might help. Best wishes to you.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks for the advice Fede, fortunately the majority of the people around me are understanding and taking this condition seriously.

    Excellent.

    @karasti said:
    Have you asked your doctor about a possible benefit to high dose, high quality fish oil supplementation?

    I knew those fish were good for something ... :proud:

    Chronic fatigue is awful :( It needs patience. It needs everything you can find ...

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Dakini said:
    Yeah, well I know that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been a big puzzle. I always assumed that it was adrenal fatigue, but this new term for it (ME) would indicate that it's something else, unrelated. I just hate to see people suffering needlessly, when the solution could, in fact, be fairly simple. I'll have to do some internet research to see if I can discover what lead them to this ME categorization of it.

    I suffered from Chronic Fatigue when I was 19. I had Glandular Fever (Americans call it mono for whatever reason) and to be honest - it sucked arse big time. I really feel for you @TheEccentric , I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 7 months :anguished:

    Perhaps using a mala and a simple chant would help you with focusing your concentration?

    _ /\ _

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    Toe tapping involves lying on your back and tapping the toes together fairly rapidly, using rotation of the hip joints to do it, not the ankles, and using momentum to do some of the work - takes a while to coordinate the movement. I used to do this for 20 minutes a session, once or twice a day. There are other body-tapping exercises also, this one just seemed to be the easiest for me. Reference: Energy Healing - Essentials of Self-Care by Ann Marie Chiasson, MD

    Interestingly this also seems related to shiatsu, and some of the other exercises in the book related to Osho's active meditations. So it seems the same help is available from numerous sources.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Kerome said:

    @Fosdick said:
    Toe tapping involves lying on your back and tapping the toes together fairly rapidly, using rotation of the hip joints to do it, not the ankles, and using momentum to do some of the work - takes a while to coordinate the movement. I used to do this for 20 minutes a session, once or twice a day. There are other body-tapping exercises also, this one just seemed to be the easiest for me. Reference: Energy Healing - Essentials of Self-Care by Ann Marie Chiasson, MD

    Interestingly this also seems related to shiatsu, and some of the other exercises in the book related to Osho's active meditations. So it seems the same help is available from numerous sources.

    Yes; I practised Shiatsu - part of a whole body therapeutic massage, was squatting at the feet of your client (facing their head), and tapping the feet together as described, so you did the work for them. I can't count the number of times that clients actually fell into deep repose at this point....

    dhammachick
  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran
    edited April 12

    I definitely think most cases of CFS are viral, rather than adrenal, as about 75% of CFS sufferers can trace their onset back to an acute viral illness. ME is the same thing as CFS, although I prefer to say CFS as "myalgic encephalomyelitis" does sound rather cryptic. I don't think there's any proof that CFS is caused by inflammation of the brain, it's just one of many theories. I personally strongly believe in Dr John Chia's research showing that many cases of CFS are linked to persistent infections with a group of viruses called enteroviruses, that the immune system cannot irradiate. Although I know glandular fever/mono can also trigger it.

    Dakinidhammachick
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 12

    @dhammachick said:

    I suffered from Chronic Fatigue when I was 19. I had Glandular Fever (Americans call it mono for whatever reason) and to be honest - it sucked arse big time. I really feel for you @TheEccentric , I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 7 months :anguished:

    Perhaps using a mala and a simple chant would help you with focusing your concentration?

    _ /\ _

    Mononucleosis can accompany adrenal fatigue, because when the adrenals crash, they drag the immune system down with them, so "mono" develops in some cases. It's also called "Epstein-Barr", and that's one thing they test for when someone has adrenal fatigue. "They" meaning the few unicorn doctors who have the experience to be able to deal with adrenal fatigue effectively.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 12

    @TheEccentric said:
    I definitely think most cases of CFS are viral, rather than adrenal, as about 75% of CFS sufferers can trace their onset back to an acute viral illness. ME is the same thing as CFS, although I prefer to say CFS as "myalgic encephalomyelitis" does sound rather cryptic. I don't think there's any proof that CFS is caused by inflammation of the brain, it's just one of many theories. I personally strongly believe in Dr John Chia's research showing that many cases of CFS are linked to persistent infections with a group of viruses called enteroviruses, that the immune system cannot irradiate. Although I know glandular fever/mono can also trigger it.

    Very interesting. Thanks for posting this.

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @TheEccentric said:
    I definitely think most cases of CFS are viral, rather than adrenal, as about 75% of CFS sufferers can trace their onset back to an acute viral illness. ME is the same thing as CFS, although I prefer to say CFS as "myalgic encephalomyelitis" does sound rather cryptic. I don't think there's any proof that CFS is caused by inflammation of the brain, it's just one of many theories. I personally strongly believe in Dr John Chia's research showing that many cases of CFS are linked to persistent infections with a group of viruses called enteroviruses, that the immune system cannot irradiate. Although I know glandular fever/mono can also trigger it.

    Completely agree

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    Thanks for posting that, @karasti.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    _ In September, he'll qualify for Medicare due to his disability._

    Something which I'm sure will more than please @yagr... Perhaps this is something he could investigate too....
    You never know, @yagr, if a Doctor diagnoses you with this, the world might be bright with brand new openings and beginnings.
    And no, actually, I'm not entirely kidding.

    karastiyagr
  • yagryagr Veteran

    @federica Actually, already diagnosed with this too. Laughable isn't it?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I take it 'laughable' is a euphemism for something a lot more... basic...?

    yagr
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I just don't get it @yagr. I wish there was a way for you to live in a place that could be more helpful. Of course, I don't know where you live but its amazing the differences between states in what they make available and how helpful they are. Our neighbor gets disability and medicaid while he and his wife run a daycare, and he spends his evening riding ATVs on 2 wheels up and down our street. But because he is obese, has arthritis, and has type 2 diabetes he apparently can't work. I just don't get it why someone cannot help you :cry: Likewise my friend moved from NY to GA and her veteran husband who suffers great disability from a stroke cannot get near the care and resources he got in NY because GA politicians refuse to offer them to their people. Makes me sad that this "care of people" stuff cannot be required nationally and idiot politicians are allowed to play with peoples lives while a few hundred miles away the results are vastly different.

    Keromeyagr
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    Those who apply for SSDI enter a realm where many people are denied the first time out. It can also appear to be rather arbitrary. But if the applicant is eventually granted SSDI the payments will go back to the date of the initial application. The one thing above all that will cause the system to steamroller you is not to play by their rules. Let anything appear to be hinky in even the slightest degree will blow you out of the water. The ALJ or administratve law judge has heard it all before and then some. Hiring a lawyer is no guarantee of success. As noted state medicaid is very different. As is the VA for those who are vets.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @grackle Yagr has already been through all of the court stuff, meetings, appeals, lawyer stuff, all of that. He has applied and been denied multiple times despite plenty of information and obviousness of his condition. The whole thing was chronicled in some of his posts here the past couple years. I am familiar with SSDI, as my son was on it when he was first diagnosed with diabetes. We did not stay on it as what we got (and found we couldn't use it the way we intended when we first found he was eligible) was not worth the hassle of dealing with the SSA. Because he was a young child, he was approved in 30 days with no questions asked, just a single letter signed by his doctor. I find that crazy. My son is vastly less disabled (I wouldn't even call him disabled) than many people who need SSDI and cannot qualify. Makes no sense to me.

  • yagryagr Veteran

    @karasti said:
    I just don't get it @yagr. I wish there was a way for you to live in a place that could be more helpful. Of course, I don't know where you live but its amazing the differences between states in what they make available and how helpful they are.

    I can make a guess why this person (and many others) get it while I don't. The judge in my case cited the fact that I have been able to make all my doctors appointments, which for a couple months at least, averaged 3.8 appointments per week. He also cited the fact that I have spent very little time in the hospital. Obviously, I can't be that bad off. In fact, if I can make all those appointments then I can make it to work. Not a quote but pretty close.

    Ever see a movie in which a sgt. (for instance) is yelling at another soldier, "On your feet soldier!"? Because, thoroughly spent, they collapsed but the sgt. knows that if they don't get up, they will be overrun by the 'enemy' and end up dead. I was always the one yelling - not the one on the ground. I've had heart attacks at work and always finished my shift. Always. In one case I went home, and then went to work the next day to finish up for the week before going to the hospital.

    Once in the hospital, I don't stay. I'm not sure if I've ever been discharged...I just leave against medical advice. Hospitals frighten me and being held hostage in them only adds to it. I think I've mentioned here before having spent about nine months in the former Soviet Union during the Cold War as an 'enemy of the state'. There was torture. It wasn't carried out by military but doctors who had a better idea of the limits of the human body. So yeah, hospitals are a bit triggery for me and waking up to see a doctor or nurse hovering over me at 2am is not good for anyone's health - least of all mine.

    So yeah, checking myself into a mental hospital or even a physical hospital for a spell would do wonders for me getting disability but I can't bring myself to do it. There are other complications too - after 24 years in prison beginning when she was fifteen years old, my wife has never been alone and is not ready to do so, especially under the circumstances where I am locked away in a hospital where she will worry about both of us. Worry leads to a panic attack and a panic attack usually leads to behavior that will cost me more than a trip to the hospital is worth.

    karasti
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    @yagr. You know that leaving a hospital against medical advice may be prejudicial to your case. Even though it may seem the only sensible course of action. To this date I've known six veterans who have applied for SSDI. The one who failed had concealed the nature of his discharge from the military and based on some of his claims the ALJ told him to write a novel. Those who can prove they were subjected to torture while under detention are entitled to special compensation. But how many can prove it?

    I'd like to wish you the best of luck but I'm not sure that luck will be the key that opens the door for you.

    yagr
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited May 2

    @yagr You should get treatment for your unresolved PTSD relating to your prison time in Russia. Or the hospital time, whatever it was. The cheapest way is to find an acupuncturist who's trained in a specific modality called "ghost point" acupuncture, and ask for the 7 Dragons treatment. It's a trauma treatment. One session should do it. The next cheapest, and equally as effective way, is to get a few sessions of EMDR, which is for PTSD. With a good practitioner, it should only take about 3 or 4 treatments. Allowing your fear to govern your decisions could kill you.

    yagr
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited May 2

    @yagr I just wish in your case, and so many others, that people weren't reduced to a bunch of facts and numbers. We are so complex, and issues that are challenges for us shouldn't count against us when we need help, yet that is so often the case for so many people in different circumstances. Our society likes to pride itself on helping but only if the people in need of help fit in a nice, neat little box of preconceived notions. As soon as mental illness or addiction or other struggles enter the picture, the whole "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality kicks in and we expect people to take care of themselves even though they are the very ones who need it most.

    My sister's gf is going through something a little bit similar, and the system in question is taking her for a ride despite doctors notes from multiple states about her PTSD and Fibro all because when she shows up in court she doesn't look like a "nice middle class white person who deserves help." She looks like a street punk who hasn't earned the help and that is how she is treated. But middle class nice looking mom with the same issue gets a pass every time because they appear in every way what our society expects to give sympathy to. The other person obviously deserves what they are getting. Our systems suck for the very people who need them most and it's just horrendous.

    yagr
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @karasti , astonishingly in the UK, the opposite is true. The more 'disarrayed' you look, the more they believe you're helpless and incapable of looking after yourself, and that you need all the support, assistance and benefits you can lay your hands on.

    During our 'bleak' time, my H and I refused to conform to this image, and were always dressed smartly, spoke well and presented ourselves in what would normally be deemed a positive light.

    Fat lot of good it did us.
    I don't wish to stereotype anyone, or give anyone the impression I'm disdainful of such a situation, but sometimes, those who received the most actually needed it less than we did....

    yagr
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @federica that's interesting to compare. Here the more downtrodden you are the less anyone will talk to you, and it's much harder to find help filling out forms or anything else. You are just assumed to be a criminal who is probably bilking the system. Many people who are homeless cannot get jobs because they don't have permanent addresses which is required by residence and tax law, but they can't get jobs to pay for that residence. Here the expectation is you are only listened to or taken seriously if you appear and talk as if you are intelligent and educated. You have to know what you are entitled to for your rights and what it means or you get walked all over. No one looks out for anyone but themselves and finding advocates who are not burned out social workers is next to impossible.

  • yagryagr Veteran

    @grackle - Absolutely (re: leaving the hospital AMA). Not being able to close my eyes for days at a time until I'm gone has it's own consequences though.

    @Dakini - I am working with a trauma therapist. She is not my first, but she is the first I trust. We have been making good progress. We are not focusing too much on my military time at this time, as there is more fundamental, early childhood stuff we are working on currently. She is trained in EMDR, and we plan on beginning it soon, but I have a dissociative disorder and EMDR with patients who have dissociative issues requires much more groundwork prior to starting.

    @karasti - My therapist and I have discussed the 'neat little box' issue many times, including the fact that it excludes those who need help the most. I really do think that at least part of the way to success here is to drain as much of the system's resources as possible so that a disability payment looks like sound fiscal policy. As long as I don't start accruing month long stays in mental institutions at taxpayers expense, they really don't need to take care of me.

    Dakini
  • yagryagr Veteran

    @Dakini said:
    @yagr You should get treatment for your unresolved PTSD relating to your prison time in Russia. Or the hospital time, whatever it was.

    I wanted to respond to something in this but wanted to check it against right speech and all first, and that took longer than I would have thought. :) Anyway, I really do think that I've resolved the issues related to that time, but can certainly see how someone may think otherwise, especially after my description of my experience in the hospital. I've always compared it, well I suppose not always...but for quite some time,,,better start over. I've always compared it to a rape victim who has both survived and recovered. That person probably would not be interested in living out a rape fantasy that their partner has...they may even be repulsed. In my opinion, that doesn't mean its unresolved.

    Waking up to a doctor is, to me, the equivalent of coming to in the middle of acting out someone else's rape fantasy.

    I would have preferred a different example, but for me, it's the only thing that comes close.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    Thanks, @yagr. I'm happy to hear that you have a good therapist that you feel comfortable with. Very interesting about how patients who dissociate can't do EMDR until the dissociative tendencies are resolved. You seem very patient. Keep up the good work. :)

    yagr
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