My chronic fatigue story probably starts at the same time as my anxiety story. Unlike many people, I never was a person full of energy running marathons prior to my life with chronic fatigue. I was growing up being what it's called today "a sick kid", and on top of that I was dealing with psychological trauma and neglect that of course played a huge role in my anxiety disorder, and even depression. As a teenager I felt like nobody loved me and I didn't even feel like I deserved love, which made me feel extremely lonely and isolated.
I chose a job at the cancer hospital, where I found my life purpose, but at the same time I was not ready for the psychological distress and more suffering that I got to endure while taking care of sick kids. I always had a big heart and desire to help people in need, so in a way that job really enriched my life. On the other hand, I was still lacking love in my life, including self-love and self-care, that were necessary for me to be able to handle all the hardships we inevitably face when we choose to work at such places. I didn't care though. Serving others and getting my degree was my priority, so after college I ran to the hospital where I worked till 8-9 pm. Needless to say, my diet was lacking nutrition, since I barely had any money to pay for my education.
Starting fresh...not really
That time was full of stress and self-neglect that was learnt by me ever since I was a kid. After graduation I changed the job, but with that I started to experience back pain and my anxiety became a part of my identity, which made feel like I was enduring constant stress, although I wasn't necessary in the stressful situation anymore. Of course, the pain and suffering that I had to deal with working at the cancer hospital still felt like a heavy weight on my shoulders because I never really had anyone to share that burden with. It was also the time when I put myself in the extremely difficult relationship, so I found myself even further from healing than I ever was before. I never addressed my childhood trauma, my work trauma and then my relationship pain, so it all piled up, and that translated into more and more pain.
On top of anxiety, maybe hidden depression, and back pain, I experienced many issues with my gut. I was trying to address these issues by going to doctors and taking medications, but I never addressed the main problem: lack of self-love and self-care. Being in difficult relationship, having a new, yet still stressful (maybe cos I was already weak) job, not taking my nutrition, exercise, or anything of that sort, seriously, I was trying "to cure" myself by putting band-aids on different parts of my body. Even writing about it makes me want to cry, as now I realize that my learnt helplessness, and victimhood mentality were a huge part of my life back then. They kept me from being honest with myself about the issues that I had, therefore I kept getting worse and worse mentally and physically.
After struggling for many years, ending difficult relationship, and putting myself under more stress by starting new, yet toxic, relationship, I found myself lost and extremely exhausted. All those years I was dealing with gut issues, chronic back pain and headaches, brain fog and debilitating anxiety, it was time for my body to say “Enough!”. I was feeling tired before but after taking a pause from my toxic (for me) lifestyle and decision to put myself first I started to experience an extreme fatigue that would not really go away with rest. At least not for long. When I finally decided to take my body and mind seriously, my body declined my offer. I don't like to live in regrets, but honestly if I could change one thing in my life, I would probably change... well, everything. My whole life was a manifestation of self-hatred, confusion, and despair that I had carried ever since I was a child.
For a few years now I have been focusing on my anxiety disorder and I have progressed a lot in my recovery, something I am sharing here on Pillows&Trees, but I was never diagnosed for pain and fatigue, so I thought I had no right to share my story. It seemed to me I would look like a liar, lazy person who's simply trying to get attention. But doing my own research and finding it extremely difficult to find information and people to really talk about my struggles with, I have decided it's a great opportunity for me to speak up for those who deal with "invisible" illness. So many of us haven't been diagnosed (probably more than we realize), so many of us are waiting for a magical cure, and so many of us want to be understood, acknowledged, and accepted. It is hard when nobody believes you. It’s hard, I get it.
Simple living and finding hope
I started to implement “simple life” practices and do more research on chronic pain and fatigue after I found a way to manage my anxiety better. And I want to share everything I learn along the way with you. If anything, if you find this blog, you will feel less alone. I am quite sure, many factors contributed to my condition. But as I've mentioned in this post, most important of them is lack of self-love and self-care. I want to give it back to myself if I can. I will do my best to recover, or at least to feel better. I hope you (my reader) will join me in my journey. It is not a sad one, it's a journey of hope.
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