I'm sorry that I haven't been around so much but I've been in a relapse.
In fact many of my friends seem to be in the same place at the moment.
I wonder what's going on?
I had been doing so well but maybe I just pushed myself a bit too far.
So what is a relapse in M.E. ?
A relapse is more serious and long term than post-exertional malaise which is an essential feature of M.E.
For me a relapse is a deterioration in my level of health that lasts more than a few days. So far this has lasted four weeks!
The late Dr Elizabeth G. Dowsett said `It is an unexpected deterioration in the condition of a sick person after partial recovery`
But what causes a relapse?
The late Dr Elizabeth G. Dowsett said ` The commonest causes of such a reverse in ME appear to be mental and physical over-exertion and stress or secondary illness (usually an infection, possibly a minor one)before recovery from the first`
A relapse can be caused by
- poor sleep
- a secondary illness
- stressful relationships
- special events
- sensory overload
Of course the next question for me and anyone else in a relapse is how can we recover from a relapse?
Dr Elizabeth G. Dowsett said
`Recovery from ME depends, as we shall see, upon a very delicate balance between infection and immunity, so it is as well to be informed of other factors which maybe detrimental to progress including:any upset to the immune system(commonly immunisations and immuno-suppressive drugs such as steroids)hormonal disturbance (such as puberty, pregnancy, childbirth,contraceptive and other hormone therapy unless strictly monitored)exposure to toxic chemicals and drugs (including those in recreational use such as alcohol and tobacco)Other deleterious factors to be avoided if possible, comprise surgical injuries (especially to the head and neck), malnutrition and sudden climatic change.We do not know why relapses can be cyclical (at weekly, monthly or longer intervals) despite the patients’ best efforts to avoid all the above.`
How can we manage a relapse?
Dr Elizabeth G. Dowsett said
Immediately seek extra support to remove all stresses (physical,mental, emotional, intellectual)
Be patient and listen carefully to the signals given by your own body so that you can aim to remain in charge
Maintain good nutrition (by means of supplementary feeds, on prescription, if necessary)
Seek to delegate all tasks except those you love to do or which are absolutely essential, till recovery
Do not ascribe all new symptomsto the relapse; seek a medical opinion if possible as you may have another potentially treatable condition
Do not despair; in surviving this relapse, you will gain confidence about self-management and quicker recovery in the future.
REST is very important and that's total rest.
And hope to get better
That`s my advice to you
You know it makes sense as
It`s the best thing to do
And hope to feel better
I know it`s hard to do
But it`s the only thing
That will benefit you
Listen to what I say
Your body needs to heal
And have a proper rest
As exhausted you feel
Let your mind become still
Repose your tired brain
Clear away all your thoughts
As they are only a drain
Stop! It's now time to rest
This is the remedy
When you are in relapse
Of course that means different things to different people depending on the level illness and the severity of the relapse.
So I have been doing a lot of resting and very slowly making a way to a recovery. But it's hard and so easy to overdo things again.
Alongside lots of rest the other strategy is to adopt good pacing
Hopefully I'll learn something from this latest relapse!
Do you have any other tips ad advice on how to deal with a relapse?
Would love to hear from you.
Love from the French Femme
P.S Don't cats just know how to rest and relax!!