How CFS has Changed Me

It’s day 13 of NHBPM and NaBloPoMo! Thanks to everyone who has been following me so far! Wego health has provided a wonderful daily prompt for today:

Write about how being a patient or caregiver has changed you. How have your goals changed? Have your values changed?

I never really thought of myself as a patient. All puns aside about patients and patience, I’ve never identified strongly as ill. Sure, I get colds fairly often, but being cripplingly tired somehow felt like a pretty lousy excuse for an illness. Besides, most doctors didn’t provide very much help. I was going to reserve ‘patient’ for when I had a more “exciting” illness, and for when the doctors knew how to cure me.

As I blundered on, making my way through life, I realized that wasn’t going to cut it. I couldn’t have patience for becoming a patient (sorry, I won’t be able to stop). Yet even as I began going to the environmental health clinic for treatments by a team of healthcare practitioners, I still never really thought of myself as a patient. In retrospect, I think I didn’t want to see myself as ill, because ill=weak, and people had already seen me as weak, because I had no real explanation for my lack of energy or related illnesses. Also, I wanted to “beat” this thing myself, I was smarter and faster and better than all those other patients. Yet, through various appointments and workshops, I realized maybe I wasn’t all that special. There were some simple lifestyle changes I could make, and some thought patterns that were probably damaging both my emotional and physical health. Through mindfulness practice I learned to treat myself the way I would treat a person I loved, and I realized it was okay to need help. It would not make me weak, it would make me strong, assertive, and self-actualized.

However, I still don’t really identify with the word ‘patient’. Maybe it is because I have not been a patient for several years, or maybe it is because I have learnt to see my illness in a whole new light. I don’t even really think of Chronic Fatigue as an ‘illness’ anymore, but rather something that is a part of me, that I am getting along with quite well now.

My goals have changed a lot, I am still ambitious, but in a different way. I have always wanted to help others, but now I know better how to, because I have helped myself. I no longer want to have the most prestigious job in the most prestigious company, but spend my time appreciating and living my life, and hopefully helping a few other people along as I go.


5 thoughts on “How CFS has Changed Me

  1. I don’t really know how to view this, I’m obviously I’ll and unable to work and I’ve accepted inside that this may be permanent. But I’m struggling to accept that my long term goals have to change. I think I might write a post on this today. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. Pingback: Chronic Pan and Fatigue: Managing your own Expectations | my chronic life journey

  3. So complex – CFS has made me re-evaluate what is important to me; I have a new set of priorities and am much more reflective. But I still want to achieve certain things in my life. I guess that’s the tricky thing. To know that you still want things, while not letting the having/not having define you.

  4. Reblogged this on Humble Heart Scribbles and commented:
    I can identify so well with not wanting to be ‘ the patient’ and moving on to a place of accepting CFS as part of who I am now. Not that it defines me. But in learning to accept it, I am less bitter and able to be of help to others

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