and how to tackle them
When you are stuck at rock bottom, it seems that there is just one overwhelming feeling of fatigue in your body. This is in my opinion not the case and to recover it might behelpful to differentiate the 10 different types of fatigue, know their cause and how to deal with them individually.
For your environment it is also helpful to understand what type of fatigue you are dealing with. When you say that you feel tired, they might just project a feeling of normal tiredness on you. As a result very few people understand what you are going through. These are my 10 different types of fatigue, it is a personal conclusion, not rocket science ( yet ;) )
A normal person is tired after a busy day, goes to bed and feels better the next morning. I’d like you to refer to this type of fatigue in this way.
When the body enters the ‘rest and digest mode’ of the nervous system, you probably feel sleepy at first as your body wants you to rest and recover from being in the ‘fight or flight mode’ of the nervous system too long.
After a busy day of using muscles you usually hardly use, you feel knackered. In the past I felt knackered after a few days of skiing with my friends. To recover from it, I needed to rest and take it easy for a few days. In ME/CFS you can feel knackered after a longer walk than usual. When you are not used to movement anymore, it is better to start slowly and consistently to avoid extreme muscle aches and triggers that make your body stressed and re-enters the ‘fight or flight mode’. That is why I recommend pacing in the treatment page of this website. By going slowly, you can learn the limbic brain, that activity is safe. This type of fatigue might cause the body to enter the ‘fight or flight mechanism’, especially if you experience muscle aches the days after a work-out. It is better to do low-intensity exercise like walking and pace your body into doing it.
4 Emotional fatigue
Emotions are exhausting, after an emotional outburst, everyone feels more fatigued. Most people also have the inability to consciously experience difficult emotions like anger, sadness, unworthiness, etc. Instead of experiencing the emotions, they feel emotional fatigue. In this case, journaling about your boundaries can be very helpful. In the long run, you also learn to protect your boundaries with these methods.
Most people also experience this fatigue while they are involved in coping mechanisms. To learn more about coping mechanisms, I recommend you to look into Schema Therapy. The book called “reinventing your life” is a nice introduction on this topic. This type of fatigue might cause the body to enter the ‘fight or flight mechanism’. It is also possible to be hard-wired to feel this type of fatigue, using neuroplasticity can help you in that case.
5 Wired / stressed
When the body enters the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism, you feel restless, your heart-beat will feel unpleasant and whatever you try, you don’t seem to be able to rest anymore. You feel agitated, in need of stimulation and are probably searching the internet for solutions in an attempt to distract yourself from the current sensations. People also tend to overthink and make beautiful, yet complex theories and strategies in their minds. In this mode your survival mechanism is activated and stress is stored in your body. Your analytical mind works over-hours and you disconnect with the body. Your heart-rate is elevated.
As you still feel reasonably able to do certain things, you might probably push yourself into complying with the strategies you figured out. In the long run, this state of being will completely drain you. People also start experiencing digestion issues, brain fog, sleep issues and other bodymind symptoms in this state. Using neuroplasticity or hypnosis might be the best way to get out of this state and re-enter the ‘rest and digest state’. Lowering your heart-rate is your objective in this state. Whilst your heart-rate is high, you are not resting properly.
6 Drained / exhausted / crashed / depleted
Being too long in the ‘fight or flight mode’ will cause an extreme depletion of your energy. Body functions will fall out. Cognitive ability decreases. You have lost the clear thinking and strength from being wired and pushing yourself, this has caused you to feel empty. You can hardly get out of bed and the feeling is very debilitating. In this state, you need to remove any pressures in your life. Skip your plans, rest properly. Less is more. Lower your heart-rate as soon as possible.
7 Psychosomatic symptoms
This is a tricky type of fatigue, take unrefreshed sleep for example. I have had many nights that made me extremely tired after just a few hours of rest. Instead of getting more energetic, I became crushed down by severe fatigue. After examining this type of fatigue, I noticed how similar it was to a migraine attack. I have had many migraine attacks in the middle of the night and the headaches in the morning or afternoon were similar to the unrefreshed sleep experience. In the book: ‘the great pain deception’, Steve Ozanich describes migraines and tension headaches as a typical symptom of a full ‘stress bucket’.
In this case these bodymind symptoms serve as a distraction when you relax and can empty the well of emotions. This means that underlying tensions are almost resolving. I mentioned tension headaches as well, as sometimes it might be difficult to feel the difference between a headache and fatigue. Either way, it is important to stay relaxed, don’t see it as a big deal, and try to get on with your day as best as possible. Understand that nothing is seriously wrong and the emptier your stress bucket becomes, the less often you experience these heavy symptoms.
8 Sleep deprived
When you are restless, sleep will be harder and harder. Your day and night rhythm will become totally out of balance and you will find it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. This state of fatigue can be experienced on top of any other feeling of fatigue, although sometimes emotional fatigue will disappear when you are sleep deprived. You will need to work on creating a rhythm and being in the ‘rest and digest mode’. Sleep medication might help you temporarily.
This type of fatigue feels more like a hangover. This state can be hard-wired in your neuro-pathways, but can also be the result of a poor day-night rhythm. If you experience this state without being wired, drained or sleep deprived, then neuroplasticity might be helpful. My preferred method is also to jump in cold water and push myself to start doing something, like going for a walk.
10 Feverish / Malaise
When this type of fatigue disappeared for me, it was a surprising event since I couldn’t notice it anymore. I immediately felt so much sharper in my mind and I lost the dreadful feverishness type of feeling. I have had it for years and only when I felt stronger and fitter due to my efforts, was my immune system able to sort of catch on. I think it was due to my meditations, visualisations and affirmations as well as all the things I talk about on my website that you could qualify as acts of alignment or self-love. I was in the right vibration.
I developed a fever out of the blue and when that stopped, things just weren’t the same anymore. Since my fatigue started after a viral infection many years earlier, it might have been possible that my immune system was overwhelmed and stuck in a loop all that time. After this type of fatigue finally went away, I was immediately able to play hours of chess and think just as deeply as I did before ME/CFS. I do however have to balance my deep thinking with deep relaxation to remain balanced so I don’t make the same mistake again.
It didn’t at all mean that I was strong and fit immediately. Instead I felt like someone who had been ill for a long time and who was in need of a recovery period. I kept my energy vibration at a great level. I think Joe Dispenza would have been proud of me. Thank you Joe and Louise Hay.
I hope I made your recovery a little easier with understanding and reversing the 10 different types of fatigue.