I was forty-four and was feeling down. There was no rhyme or reason, I was just totally exhausted, at a low like I had never known before – The tank was empty.
“All I wanted to do was sleep and everything was just too much”
One thing I learnt throughout suffering with Chronic Fatigue is that when your body is telling you to rest, do it! Do it to heel yourself again. I am also extremely aware that there is a significant difference between tiredness or exhaustion and actual fatigue.
I found that for me that it really effected my emotional well-being and my mind state psychological. And God above did I find it hard to like other humans, give me my fur babies any day. No pressure, no white noise, no drama!
I also felt like I could not remember anything clearly, I’d forget the most mundane things. And my body and muscles always hurt, they burned. I also felt incredibly frightened all the time, with my anxiety at its peak and the tears would come without warning.
The worst I think was when my son went travelling in 2018 to Australia – He was the other side of the world and on his own. From the moment he was in the air I felt my whole world had ended. I did not want to go to work, I could not even get up and I felt like a whole part of me was missing, like someone had removed a limb. He was the first to leave home. He was always a home child prior to his travels, never leaving my peripheral vision or apron strings for too long, and I am to this day very protective of him.
This was, looking back now, not me being one of those clingy mothers. It was due to him chocking when he was a toddler. He nearly died in my arms and it was me who gave the poor boy the kiss of life. I was fighting to get him breathing again. Our relationship, or mine towards him, changed from that very second.
And the strangest thing was that although he was completely fine and I had saved him, it felt like a bereavement. My emotions were off the chart. I cannot thank my best friend and my daughter enough; it was they who got me though those times of guilt and distress.
My daughter would make sure that I was up every morning and ready for work. Without her and my best friend, I think to this day I would have still been asleep and would have not been spurred on to get diagnosed.
“What did I do to help myself?”
It is important to look at your routine and look how you work your activities, so you are not going from zero to warp speed in what feels like a matter of seconds.
Make a chart from when you get up right to when you are tucked up in bed for the night; Look at the actives you do during the day and work out when you are at your best.
· Get up, shower and dress (or you will end up in your PJ’s all day)
· Remember to eat regularly and go for healthier choices
· Exercise and get out in the fresh air!
· Carve out time to just relax or meditate – There is no shame in this
· Be honest – Tell people what is going on
· Never be ashamed to say NO!
For me I would say that to support dealing with my fatigue, getting up at the same time every morning was important and going to bed the same time every night too.
I will still take a nap in the afternoon for an hour if I can, or do mindfulness breathing exercises which help to clear the mind and focus for the rest of the day and what it will bring.
When at my worst though I can sleep for hours on end, so trying to keep it to a minim has really helped – Even setting a gentle alarm to wake myself.
Another important thing I have learnt from this is to give family and friends ownership of their own worries and problems. Don’t be afraid to say ‘sorry, not my circus, not my monkeys’ or ‘no I cannot assist you with that’.
“This is YOUR life - You need to control it!”
If you don’t this can cause you stress, poor sleep or pushing yourself too hard to be able help anyway. This in turn causes anxiety, depression which lead to either doing nothing or totally over doing it and of course a poor diet. It’s a slippery slope!
Things you can do to Improve your fatigue and your well-being
· Improve your diet and eat healthier, make healthier choices
· Set a routine like getting up and going to bed the same time each day
· Delegate to others and if not leave it and relax
· Planning is always best
· Relaxation through Mindfulness or Yoga
· Treat yourself to a Relaxation Massage
(mine is an Indian head treatment)
· Set limits for home/work life balance
· Make sure you have time limits with your mobile phone
· Ensure you are off any social media an hour before bedtime
I have discovered that I am at my best first thing in the morning. I get out with my dog’s, ensure that the house tidy and that work has started (as I work for myself).
I highly recommend regular exercise, even if it is just a ten-minute work out a day or a good walk or even sit-down yoga. There really is no such thing as “my mobility will not let me”.
I am (as you can see) also a great believer of the list, especially for a positive home life and work life balance.
1. High priority
2. Medium priority
3. Low priority
4. Things for next week
And remember… Rome was not built in a day.
Look at taking Vitamin B12 - This really helps but do get advice from your GP first if you are on medication to ensure that any additional herbal products are suitable for you.
For more information go and visit your GP who may refer you on to the Chronic Fatigue department for support and advice.
For more information on health and Nutrition go to deborahlambarbonne.co.uk
The weird menopause world started incredibly early for me. At age just forty-two, there I was pre-menopausal.
I did not know what the hell was going on with my body, or my mind for that matter!
I had some family worries at the time and life felt so awfully hard.
I am a mum of three, a wife, daughter, cleaning, gardener, dog walker, chef, laundry, household bill operator, taxi services, small business owner with employees and general dog’s body to everyone that needed me to deal with their problems, so they did not have to.
“There was no time for ME!”
It felt like everyone wanted a slice of me and I was screaming inside, felt so bad on the inside, but the outside I looked like I had it together, level-headed. A woman that was strong and could deal with everything in life.
In truth, I was a person that did not know what the hell was happening with my hormones or my body.
And by the time I was forty-four the hot flushes started to kick in and the ghastly sweats at night were unbelievable.
Sleeping was hard and I would be awake for most of it, only to be interrupted by the daily alarm which indicated repeating the whole process again.
With such fatigue and feeling drained with the big M, I could sleep all day, having been awake most of the night before.
I felt like everything on my body was heading southwards and hated myself.
I suddenly felt incredibly old and ugly. My skin was losing lustre and was to me, saggy and to top it all, there was hair on my face!
“Where did that appear from!”
I had three clear rolls of fat on my tummy and I felt like someone had pumped me up with a football pump. I was so irritable and yes, my poor husband got it big time.
For some reason he was more annoying than normal, and I could never quite tell him how I felt. I didn’t feel that in a million years would he have understood. As I know what he would have said “just get on with it”.
My anxiety was at the highest level it had ever been. I really did not like leaving the house and work was a real chore despite really enjoying my work and building my business up.
Even walking my dogs was hard, as I really do not like humans at the best of times and conversations are a struggle. So, I would go out at 5.30am just to avoid any interaction.
At work, working with clients, I was focused. My business is helping others, it’s what I choose to do. So, these relationships were easier for me.
Finally, I went to the doctors and they put me on HR tablets. I could not take them for long as they kept giving me a migraine, so I looked at alternatives, the natural approach.
I take Vitamin B12 and C, D, calcium tablets and my family has got on board and supported me on a healthy eating diet plan.
Exercise has become vital! I walk with the dogs almost five miles a day and partake in some home fitness classes too - I say home fitness classes when I can be bothered.
Luckily, my daughter is a great motivator and to date I have lost half stone.
“I feel so much better in myself, eating well and getting the right nutrition”.
I have just started the 30-day plan with Arbonne and so far, its ok, as ok as dieting can go. And I miss cheese and crackers!
Mindfulness and meditation time is totally amazing, and I could not be without it now. There is Yoga for 10 minutes a day which kick-starts my day.
I go to bed at the same time every night and get up early every morning which really helps. I look after me now and I have regular massages to keep me more flexible twice a month.
I also have a facial every other month and I have a facial bio peel every six months to strip the skin and reveal new fresh skin.
My daughter always says, “if you look good you feel good”. And yes, I think she could be right.
I also rely on and talk to my small group friends about the menopause and what it is doing to me, and they all agree, all have a story or an idea. After all, they too are ladies of age.
Bust if I am honest, the best advice I can give anyone on tis mature journey is just take time for you. Breath! We were not designed to remain fresh and young, but we can ensure that we are healthy and happy as we grow older.
Please look at the NHS website for ideas and tips on how to cope with the menopause.
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