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What to Do for Someone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, plus Her Caregiver

18 Nov

Dear BR,

Your e-newsletter was recommended highly by a dear friend of mine, who is a hypnotherapist and part of the Verve newsletter and group. Recently my partner came down with CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).

The rapid onset of this has put me in a tailspin of questions and wondering what to do. We have been lucky enough to get acquainted with a good doctor who specifically deals with this, but have found the majority of the medical profession turning the other way, because it is not curable with antibiotics and because they cannot tell what it is or where it comes from at this point.

I have basically become caregiver in a matter of just a few weeks, because my partner is almost bedridden with fatigue. It has become draining trying to research sources and ways to help, along with finding help and trying to maintain some semblance of income generation.

Are there any resources that you can point to? Some sort of relief or therapies for CFS sufferes? And how about resources for their caregivers? Thanks.

Frustrated and Losing It.

Dear F and LI,

I can relate to your feelings of helplessness and frustration. We just don’t know for sure how this condition evolves, although it’s suspected that it may be from some combination of viral infections, and possibly amplified by the pain-generating kinins from the biochemical cascade catalyzed by trauma events. But absent any clear culprit (to date), many providers just won’t deal with it or give the condition the respect it deserves.

In the long view, I can honestly say that a lot is being learned about chronic fatigue, even as we speak, and things are getting better. Of course, I don’t expect that to be much comfort to you, being as how you need resources, information and compassionate care right now. I’m glad you found one doc who can help you.

And there are some things you can do on your own, too. It may take patience, because this syndrome can take time to remediate and there may be ups and downs on the way. First thing, I’d get connected to some of the terrific websites and support groups that are available online, so you can learn from people in your situation what questions to ask, what interventions were tried and what seemed to work, not to mention the considerable emotional support you’ll have from people who get it totally. And it’s blessedly free.

Second, you can use our imagery for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue and for Healthful Sleep because your partner is probably getting poor quality sleep and not enough of it – it’s a symptom that comes with the territory.

2153bYou could use our Caregiver Stress guided imagery and when you get tired of that, maybe alternate it with our Relieve Stress or Relaxation & Wellness imagery, to keep bringing yourself back into balance during these daunting days.

In addition, there are very gentle yoga exercises by Carol Dickman, in a video called Bedtop Yoga, that will be very helpful without inducing undue strain and fatigue. Your partner needs to keep moving, albeit very gently, with this condition. In fact several recent studies recommend gentle exercise plus relaxation for CFS.

She also needs to keep trying to breathe as fully as possible, to keep herself oxygenated and healing, not to mention moving any toxicity and gunk out of her tissues. Andy Weil’s Breathing Meditation CD provides very good guidance for this.

If you have a good massage therapist who can give her gentle weekly or even more frequent treatments (perhaps you can arrange a trade for services, as this can get pretty pricey, or go to the clinic of a good massotherapy school at your local community college), this would also be of great value.

And finally, visit www.DrWeil.com to get some solid suggestions for herbal support and advice on what to eat and what to avoid.

I wish you all the best with this. It is a difficult situation for both of you, and you deserve all the support and assistance you can get .

All best,

Belleruth

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.