Today is a set-back day. Not entirely unexpected as over the weekend I did more walking than I have been doing recently (ride & 2x dog walks Sat evening, 2x dog walks Sunday morning then another ride and one more dog walk in the evening). Last night was the first time in a while when I have had a night of truly “un-refreshing sleep”. Yes, I do wake up tired on many mornings but experiencing ‘un-refreshing sleep” is something very different; you feel like you haven’t slept at all (even though you probably have slept for a decent period) and often you feel worse when you wake up than when you went to sleep. It is also different from when you wake up and have no sense of time passing whilst you were asleep.
My symptoms of a set-back follow the lines of muscle weakness, heavy eyelids, sensitivity to light, cognitive symptoms (‘slow’ thoughts, difficulty finding words, slurred speech, “blanking”, etc) as well as the consuming fatigue associated with CFS.
Because I quite often wake up tired and feeling crummy, I didn’t really start to feel the full impact of my set-back symptoms until I was driving to my Pilates class (having already walked the dogs I’m house sitting for). When I was doing Pilates I was feeling weak and could only stay at the most basic levels of exercises, couldn’t lift my legs and was feeling generally pathetic. It then twigged that I was actually experiencing a set-back and then I could tell myself “well done, you’re here, you’re still doing it” and I felt better for only being able to do exercises at a fraction of the intensity that I can usually do them at, because I WAS still doing them and I wasn’t curled up in a ball.
I have come back to my house-sitting-home and have managed to do a good few hours of work without having to crash out. I may well go and have a lie down during my lunch break (late I know at 3pm) so I can then get up and do another couple of hours work.
So, although I am suffering a set-back (albeit a mild one) it isn’t going to set me back because I have learned to listen to my body, to manage my expectations whilst still keeping active and ‘ride the wave’ until I’m back on top again.