Everyday life can be mighty hard to cope with for anyone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Affecting around 240,000 Australians it has a big impact on wellbeing. It is so debilitating that an estimated 25% of sufferers are bedridden or house-bound for very lengthy periods of time leading to a lowered expectancy of ever getting back into full-time work. CFS/ME is a neurological disease that affects the brain, muscles, endocrine system and digestive system. It is unpredictable. You can be an active, healthy person yet suddenly and inexplicably be struck down by the symptoms of CFS/ME. There is no simple quick-fix cure. And, it is usually a major challenge to even get an early diagnosis.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
CFS/ME symptoms may be experienced from just mild, to intense. Ongoing tiredness may be the only obvious symptom in one person while others may contend with an entire spectrum of symptoms. Here is a list of the more common signs…
- Unrelenting tiredness unrefreshed by sleep.
- Concentration difficulties.
- Memory problems.
- Re-occurring sore throat.
- Enlargement of lymph nodes.
- Joint and muscle pain.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Noise and light sensitivity.
- Digestive problems like bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
- Extreme exhaustion after physical exercise.
There’s history of CFS/ME being misdiagnosed as depression, anxiety, chronic stress and a myriad of other illnesses. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms in the above list, first seek out the advice of your GP. Our health and wellbeing is the one thing we cannot let slide. Act early and get the most appropriate support and treatment that is right for you.
What causes CFS/ME
People diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome most often have been leading normal healthy and active lifestyles. It’s possible that both genetic and environmental factors are involved. Among the known common infectious triggers are Ross River Fever, Glandular Fever, Q Fever and enteroviruses.
What help is available
Your good doctor will look to ensure that your overall wellbeing needs are met; that you receive proper physical, mental and emotional care. This may include prescriptive medicine, visits to a physical therapist, getting advice from a dietician, and referral to a psychologist or counsellor.
Why see a Counsellor
An experienced counsellor can provide therapeutic support as you adjust to long-term management of CFS/ME symptoms. Ways in which you may benefit from counselling services include…
- A safe, accepting and private setting to express your thoughts and feelings.
- Multi-modal delivery means access to phone and video counselling.
- Gain skills and strategies for managing any associated depression, stress or anxiety.
- Evidence-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
- Identification and management of Sleep Hygiene factors.
- Equip yourself to better handle frustration, isolation or loneliness.
- Learn how to pace yourself and avoid exhaustion.
- Gain techniques in mindfulness and relaxation.
- Develop skills in resiliency.
Anyone living with a chronic illness knows how frustrating and challenging the experience is. Reaching out to a professional counsellor offers you a safe place to share your feelings and talk about how the condition impacts your life. You don’t have to go it alone. Support is there. Get the help of a counsellor and ease the complexities you’re facing, lessen symptoms, and improve your wellbeing.