Of all the places to start I think acceptance is the most important.
It is simply a matter of letting your guard down and truthfully asking yourself Where am I at in this very moment?. Then acknowledging whatever you observe. With no judgments and no explanations. Just good old fashioned acceptance. There is great power in this.
You may find you have been struggling against a diagnosis without even realising it, ignoring your bodies messages to rest or even denying a reality in the hope it will go away.
Struggling is an unnecessary use of energy and while denial and ignorance may be easier in the short term, in the long term they only result in more suffering by prolonging positive action. Let go. Then the fun of getting better can really begin!
What acceptance looks like
One definition of acceptance is ‘the act of taking something that is offered’. I think this is accurate in the context of healing from CFS/ME. Although at times it may be difficult to see, you are being offered the chance to take stock of your life, to re-assess what is most important to you and implement positive changes that will last a lifetime.
With acceptance comes peace.
However accepting the state your in does not mean giving up hope. Far from it. In fact the act of acceptance frees up the mental resources usually dedicated to suppressing a thought, symptom or emotion. Hope is the turbo fuel in your engine of recovery. The Vodka in your martini of optimal health. The flour in your Gluten free triple chocolate fudge cake. An extra energy boost when it is needed most.
The art is to achieve a balance between Acceptance and Hope. To accept the current state of play without ever forgetting the fact that tomorrow is what you make it.
A good measure for seeing where you are at with acceptance is to gauge how you react when people ask about CFS. Do you change the subject as fast as possible? Feel a deep throbbing sadness? Or can you simply smile and give them a friendly update of where your at.
Dean Anderson who has recovered from CFS said it best – ‘I believe today that a certain kind of acceptance may be important to recovery. It is not a resignation to one’s fate as a sick person. Rather, it is acceptance of the reality of illness and of the need to lead a different kind of life, perhaps for the rest of my life.’
That different kind of life brings challenges but also untold rewards. To start living it your going to have to get educated.