The thing about pain is, it does not just happen in our body but our experience of it depends a lot on what our brains make of it. There are centres in our brains which feel the physical sensations of the pain, and there are other centres which ‘appraise’ the pain, that is, make some sense of it. Imagine the pain of childbirth…difficult to endure but with a purpose in sight. Then imagine the same pain but without being pregnant! A much different experience, but the same pain. The judgments our minds make about the pain itself, whether we can cope, what it might mean (?cancer? ?heart attack?) and the behaviours we use to manage it (not going out, taking multiple painkillers) all affect our overall experience of pain.
CBT helps you live with your pain and lessen your personal experience of distress by managing your thoughts. Feelings, physical sensations and behaviour in new ways. Mindfulness can free us from the endless battle with pain, whilst being celar about our values can help us take steps towards a richer life even in the presence of pain.
Like pain, this little-understood condition involves both the body and the brain. Some people develop chronic fatigue following a viral infection, some after living ‘on the edge’, pushing themselves beyond their limits, for a long time. Others just develop it, for no apparent reason.
However we get there, we’ll be faced with many psychological difficulties. It is a feature of chronic fatigue that we experience severe and chronic shortage of energy. And when we do get ‘good’ days, it’s almost irresistible not to ‘overspend’ the little energy we have in the bank, leaving us more fatigued the next few days. No-one likes to be unable to do the things they used to do, in the ways they used to do them, and to have to sit and look around feeling helpless. On the other hand, it’s important to do enough so as not to tumble into a pit of avoidance, feeling demotivated and unable to attempt anything.
Treatment of chronic fatigue involves first understanding the ideal ways of behaving to max your chances of recovery, then teaching yourself to behave in these ways. There will be many thoughts, feelings, beliefs, urges and physical sensations which get in the way of you being effective on your own recovery and your therapist can help with these to keep you on your chosen path.
Our book will show you how to help yourself to Get Your Life Back. It takes you step by step, starting with identifying the problem. Then it helps you understand why you have the problem. You will learn mindfulness skills to begin training your brain. Then get clear about your values: what you really want in your life. Another chapter helps you understand how your problem works for you. Once you’ve done this there is a chapter showing you how to break the links in the chain of your problem behaviour. You can also contact us to work with a therapist skilled in this area by Skype, FaceTime etc., on the phone or face to face.