Mindfulness practice: The Raisin (NHS Mindfulness course week one part 2)

In my previous post I gave an overview of my first session participating in the mindfulness course offered by the NHS Bristol CFS/ME clinic (link), this post will focus on one particular practice we did in this first session, one that I have aptly named: The Raisin!

Background

This is quite a common practice, it is classified as an informal as you can do it with any food or drink as part of your day, my understanding is that an informal practice is one that you don’t have to set aside to do an activity specially, it is more about doing things that you do everyday mindfully.

The Practice

We were each given a couple of raisins, we were told to really look, smell, listen, feel and taste them, simple right? Continue reading

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Dealing with the unexpected when managing CFS/ME

In my previous post :What activity management means to me in dealing with my CFS/ME I talked about the methods that I use for activity management to ensure I pace myself. Carefully planning out my activity for the week.

But things don’t always go to plan, inevitably things pop up that you didn’t plan for so do you deal with these and try to avoid the push crash cycle?
Continue reading

What activity management means to me in dealing with my CFS/ME

I have had CFS/ME for around 18 months give or take, and I can no means say that I am recovered (still on that journey!) but what I can say is that my symptoms and my functionality has increased ten fold.

I have gone from being house bound and being off work at my worst, only being able to be out of bed for short periods of time and with the help of my partner…. to the current day where I am able to work 3 days a week have something that resembles a social life.

So what has helped this change?

No I haven’t taken a magic pill (I wish!) although I do take a variety of supplements .

The key is managing this condition in the best way you can.

Activity management has been so key to my recovery and that of many of my spoonie friends.

However there is no one size fits all with these conditions at all; everyone has different things going on in their lives, children no children, work no work, and the list goes on!

So how do you work out your ever so illusive BASELINE, one thing that helped at the every beginning was to categories everything I did as either: High, Medium, Low, Rest or Sleep (Something I was taught at the the North Bristol CFS Clinic – Link) Continue reading

Types of Pain (NHS TiP Course Part5)

Pain is an all to familiar symptom for those suffering from CFS/ME.

During the course we learnt about different types of pain, which I found pretty useful as it helped me understand why a lot of pain killers don’t work for me (or the majority of ME sufferers).

Types of pain

Acute pain

I always thought that this implied severe pain, but from a medical point of view this simply refers to new pain, who knew? I certainly didn’t.

You fall down the stairs and sprain say your knee.

This pain is classified as acute, the pain meant to be a warning sign that there is a problem and potentially damage. It is there to
get us to pay attention- maybe for us to seek help or rest- warning us to slow down to heal up.

Acute pain only tends to last for maximum of 3-6 months basically how long it takes for the tissue or bone to heal.

If the pain is there after this period after it has had time to heal, it is no this regular damage.

So after 6 months after the fall, you knee has heeled but you are still in pain.

This pain is no longer useful – it doesn’t relate to a particular broken bone or damaged tissue, it has now become Chronic Pain.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can easily consume your life, and I am guilt of it doing that at times. Especially if you keep trying to figure out why you are in pain.

Seeking help can be helpful, talking to your doctor is useful to discuss different opinions and to rule out any acute issues.

As chronic pain doesn’t relate to a specific injury per say the usual pain killers that have helped previously that target specific swelling or injury will be a lot less effective.

So what is this chronic pain?

An analogy they used which really made sense to me:

In an organisation as a lot of different incoming information, using lots of different people to process this information.

Support staff filter the information and pass only the relevant and important pieces to the CEO/Boss. As the CEO can only process so much information.

If the support staff all called in sick, the CEO would have to process all the information, they would get overloaded and would struggle to sort between relevant and irrelevant in an efficient and timely manner.

Well you are the organisation, when you are suffering from chronic pain your brain is not filtering out the irrelevant information for you and so you feel pain.

But what does this mean?

Well I found the analogy above really helpful, it doesn’t mean that my pain (or anyone one with chronic pain) pain isn’t real!

Pain is a really difficult thing to live with and it can wear you down, make you not sleep or be able to get out of bed in the morning, make you feel like you are walking on glass with every step you take.  So why have I found this distinction useful?

  1. When doing stretches etc I know I am not causing any damage.
  2. Different pain killers will more or less effective, as you need to go from targeting specific injury to ones that block the messages in your brain.
  3. Enabled me to come to terms with the pain, and in some ways that as made it easier to live with, use guided meditation and breathing exercises to help.

If you liked this post you might want to check out some of my previous posts:

Or for a full list of my CFS/ME related posts check out my CFS/Me Index

Stretching for ME/CFS/FM (NHS TiP Course Part 4)

Movement is so crucial to a person, regardless of what illness they may have or not. This is no different from people suffering from CFS/ME/FM, I talk about the benefits in further detail in my previous post: Benefits of Movement (Link).

However exercise or movement as I think is better called, has such negative press in the CFS/ME Communities, and to be honest quite rightfully so in a lot of instances, for example when people are put on non personalised formal GET programs, where the ‘professional’ put more emphasis on sticking to the program than listen to the bodies of their clients/ patients, but instead we should try to add movement into our lives that listens to our own body, a good way is to do stretches. Continue reading

Redefining what exercise/movement with ME/CFS (NHS TiP Course pt3)

In my previous post : Benefits of Movement for CFS/ME (link), I talked about some of the positive effects that can come out of using movement/exercise to help elevate some of the symptoms of CFS/ME as well as increasing daily functionality.

But equally several of the group had done GET (Graded exercise therapy) in the past with very negative results, whilst most had had some sort of negative experience of over doing it on the exercise front, leading to a sever crash.

So if on the one hand we are being told that exercise is good for us but on the other from both personal experience and from things we have researched and read up on we know it can have some pretty dire consequences, it seems like we are stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Continue reading

Benefits of Movement for CFS/ME (NHS TiP Course- Pt2)

Exercise has a very bad reputation in relation to CFS/ME, and I did discuss it in a previous post (link) but it was something that was covered in the first session of the advanced NHS course.

The physio who lead this particular part of the session, spilt out movement into two separate elements:
Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 16.00.46

Where function includes particular tasks, every day things really & exercise is movement with health at the focus. Continue reading