What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Burnout ME?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is also known as Burnout ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).
You feel so rotten generally that even if there was cheque for $1,000,000 on the path outside with your name on it you would not have the energy to physically go outside and pick it up, let alone bank it! Dawn Symons. Author “It’s All About ME”
Who gets Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic Fatigue syndrome can affect anyone who finds themselves, long term, in physically/ emotionally demanding situations. It is a mixture of personal (or professional) exhaustion; it is a result of disillusionment with other people, the organisation which you work for or your career, over the long term. Sadly, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Burnout, ME) can also spill over into your personal life, negatively impacting your well-being as well as your relationships with friends and family. CSF/ ME occur (frequently) following a nasty (or repeated) bout of a flu-like virus.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Burnout, ME)?
No-one (at the time of writing this) truly knows exactly what causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, (ME, Burnout). I believe there are several ‘combinations’ of ‘basic’ physical AND emotional (life) factors which trigger Burnout.
Physical factors include:
- A virus or other infection
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Central nervous system and hormone abnormalities
- Genetic Factors
- Immune system abnormalities
- Exposure to toxins
People experience Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for a variety of reasons:
- A lack of recognition for your work.
- A lack of time and control over your personal (or work) life.
- An excessive work load.
- Backlog of uncompleted tasks (at home or work).
- Financial worries: love the job but there’s not enough money.
- Having little or no support from your partner, family, manager or organisation.
- Having unclear goals or job expectations.
- High prolonged ‘extreme Stress’ levels often a blend of personal stress, physical illness/ pain, emotional turbulence, physical pressure.
- Relationship difficulties.
- Tedious or boring work.
- The need to earn more money
- Working alone, freelance, self-employed.
- Working in a dysfunctional team or organisation.
Please consider for a moment, how does stress/burnout affect you:
- At home?
- In your job?
- In your body?
Other symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME):
- Blaming others for your mistakes.
- Blaming others for causing you to feel as you do.
- Considering resignation or changing roles (relationships to jobs) which you normally enjoy.
- Distancing yourself emotionally from your colleagues, family members or clients.
- Dreading going to work and wanting to leave once you’ve arrived.
- Excessive amounts of coffee, sugar and salt.
- Experiencing physical symptoms such as insomnia, headaches, frequent flu-like viruses, achy muscles.
- Feeling empty with little or no energy.
- Feeling overwhelm.
- Feeling that your life/work is meaningless, and that your contribution goes unrecognised.
- Having a negative, judgmental attitude at work.
- Irregular sleeping patterns, insomnia.
- Feeling irritable with loved ones, friends, colleagues, peers or clients.
- Regular or increasing absenteeism from work or regular leisure activities.
Whether we work to provide for our family or for ourselves, the drive, the motivation/passion is the same. Burnout affects highly driven, passionate people. Once family, peace and security are compromised, then ‘fix it, make it work’ types of thoughts and actions go into overdrive.
How does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Burnout affect you – longer term?
Clearly, the consequences of career burnout can be severe. The likelihood is that it will have a ‘dramatic’ impact on the quality of every relationship you have, especially with personal/ family/ loved-ones. At work your productivity can drop dramatically, not only impacting your career, but affecting your organisation negatively, as well.
Recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The most positive way that you can manage and overcome Burnout ME is by using it as a wakeup call. It may be a personal re-evaluation of what you want from your lives and how to achieve those aims is required. For several years I was able to master the ‘physical’ aspect of burnout; I could regain my energy, but it became difficult to stay on track because life continued, and I was always trying to ‘catch up’. I believe that it’s the constant thinking e.g. I can’t keep doing this, I can’t keep doing these hours, the boss/ CEO is asking too much of me, I should be grateful to have a job in this economy, etc., coupled with the drive to ‘fix’ a problem, which puts you into a low thinking/feeling/behaviour, (a low energy state) state… once there you often feel like a fly on a spider web, struggling to break free.
How to recover from Burnout?
The problem as I see it, is that the fast-paced lives we live today often create heightened amounts of stress hormones, giving us the same physical feelings that we experience during the “fight or flight” reaction, because stress is a fear/danger-based reaction. If stress (thinking) feelings continue, we can end up living in a “personal field of stress”, and create the perceived need for ‘stress management.’
Stress management – options and strategies
Commonly, ‘solutions’ to enable you to manage your stress include making changes to the stress-inducing parts of your life, such as talking to your manager about workload or changing your job, or adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as getting more hours of quality sleep, relaxing more by getting a massage, taking time off and learning to meditate, etc.
Do they work?
Some do! But old habits can slowly recur and such solutions can fail to deliver a long term fix, because if you do not fully understand how stress and stressful thoughts led you to burn out originally, history could repeat itself. But it’s not all bad news! This is one way that a burnout can actually have an upside – use the experience to know what to look for, and know how to avoid it!
Can YOU recover from Burnout?
Yes! You can get your energy back, live life to the full and be happy again. I did, and if I did so can you! Find out ‘How to recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ below…
When you become embroiled in extreme stress and burnout, one of the biggest difficulties is that is that on the surface you appear to be ‘normal’, healthy and well. Loaded popular beliefs that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) does not exist, along with labels such as hypochondriac, attention seeker or lazy, do little to resolve the emotional conflict of this crippling disease. What I know for sure is that there are things that you can do… I know this to be true because I had to find and do them myself. I wrote this book because I burned out 3 times. Frantically chasing a solution for my problems made things even worse. But after many long years I found a solution which is the exact opposite of frantic…