Severe ME Day of Understanding and Remembrance: Aug. 8, 2017
Determined to paper the Internet with articles about ME, Jody Smith brings some additional focus to Severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Day of Understanding and Remembrance on Aug. 8, 2017 ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Abusive Environments and ME

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by lgibson2017, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. lgibson2017

    lgibson2017

    Messages:
    48
    Likes:
    119
    Welp, I tried changing my environment, and it did not work.

    Background: my mother has been verbally, emotionally, mentally, and at times physically abusive for as long as I can remember. She has severe type 1 Bipolar Disorder, and all my childhood I thought that this was why she was so goddamn mean. After being diagnosed with type 2 BD myself, I've since realized that mental illness doesn't make you abusive, being abusive makes you abusive. But I digress.

    The only time my mother was ever nice/maternal towards me, aside from when she was in a good manic phase, was when I was sick. I remember feeling that my mom only "loved" me when I was sick. That's why, when I got sick with my ME two years ago, I've had a lingering, nagging feeling that maybe it was all in my head, that my subconscious was making me sick so my mom would act like a mom and "love" me. I also thought that maybe the stress from being in such an environment was what was causing my symptoms.

    In short, I thought maybe I didn't actually have "real" ME, just being in an abusive household was making me sick.

    About 2 weeks ago I moved out and moved in with my grandparents. My grandmother is my mother's mother, and since Bipolar runs in the family, it is, uh...strongly believed that she is Bipolar as well, though she adamantly denies any sort of mental illness and insists that she's perfectly sane, thank you. (I must add, nobody's calling her insane, and nobody is acting as though Bipolar Disorder is something to be ashamed of. Really we just want her to be happy, but we can only do so much). That said, I was a little concerned that I'd be moving from one Bipolar-dominated environment to another, but my grandmother is a much better person at her core and her BD, what there is of it, doesn't make her an asshole like it does to my mother. So I moved.

    It's been, like I said, about 2 weeks and I'm happier than I've ever been. I'm in an environment where people love and care about me, something I've never experienced before and am still learning how to handle lol. My grandparents don't understand ME in the slightest but are more understanding than my parents and are willing to learn and try. They are also dedicated and completely dead-set on "getting me better" and "getting through this." Unfortunately, they think this is something that will go away with time after getting out of the stressful situation. For a while, I was really hoping it would, too.

    My IBS is MUCH better, my anxiety is gone, my depression is better, my mood is stable, I don't need and graduated from therapy, I've started physical therapy, and my energy levels have improved slightly. However, every other aspect of ME is still very much present. My positive attitude, supportive environment, and overall genuine happiness has done nothing to improve my health besides make it more bearable to be sick.

    Overall, of course I'd rather be sick and happy than sick and miserable, but it still stands that being happy has not made me less sick (on the whole). (It's almost as if ME is a disease that isn't in our heads and therefore isn't affecting by mood...wow....who'da thunk?)

    But anyway, that's my update. Maybe I haven't given it long enough, but so far getting out of an abusive household has helped me tremendously mentally but health-wise has been about as effective as a lead balloon. Go figure.

    I was on crutches for a while and they did spread out the pressure/effort to walk, but they also spread out the pain...But they did help with the energy expenditure with walking. However, thanks to Neurontin/Gabapentin, I'm not using them at the moment and am usually able to walk on my own. I've only missed one day of school this week, which is REALLY good considering the unbearably shitty week I've had.

    This is my first week back at school after a week-long school break, but my break wasn't very relaxing due to moving my entire life and belongings (and 2 very confused cats) from one house to another. But things are settling down, I'm getting adjusted, and maybe, just maybe, my health will follow suit.

    Thanks,

    Lauren
     
  2. Sandman00747

    Sandman00747 Senior Member

    Messages:
    101
    Likes:
    472
    United States, Kansas
    Take it from a 20+ year veteran of this illness @lgibson2017 that although I firmly believe stress alone does not cause this illness, but it greatly exacerbates each and every symptom of this disease. You did the right thing. I bet over time you will be much improved. Best of luck to you!
     
  3. Basilico

    Basilico Florida

    Messages:
    827
    Likes:
    1,974
    I just have to say, "Wow!"

    Many people who are surrounded by dysfunction and mental illness are never able to acknowledge it or take steps to make it better. Not only have you done that, but you've done it while struggling with ME. It sounds like you are a really resilient, determined person who is your own best resource. Even if your symptoms never fully go away, you've made some important changes that can only be good for your long term health. I agree that stress may not be the cause, but it can definitely make symptoms worse.
     
  4. Mohawk1995

    Mohawk1995 Senior Member

    Messages:
    239
    Likes:
    483
    Lauren,

    So glad you are in a much more positive environment and kudos to you for being brave enough to make the change! I agree with @Sandman00747 and @Basilico that the disease is definitely physiologic in nature, but being in a positive environment can only help. Our experience would also suggest that the changes needed to improve likely take more like months to several years (3 years in our case) to see full benefits. And now you will be afforded the opportunity to improve when the best treatment for you comes along. In your past situation, that treatment might not be available or even be allowed to truly work. From my perspective a very positive change indeed!
     
    mirshine and erin like this.
  5. erin

    erin Senior Member

    Messages:
    749
    Likes:
    2,101
    This is one good story, being happy is so important. It helps to everything in life. It's only been two weeks, who knows you might get better and better eventually. Unfortunately I don't believe a total recovery, ME is a very biological disease, I don't think your body ever completely adjusts to what it does to it. I've heard rare recovery stories but never seen anyone by person achieving this. Remission happens though.
     
    mirshine likes this.
  6. Mohawk1995

    Mohawk1995 Senior Member

    Messages:
    239
    Likes:
    483
    Improvement is definitely possible! Complete recovery without a relapse is still up in the air, rare and may be possible. Our son is in the 4th year of a "recovery" and has been symptom free for the last year or so. Is it complete recovery? I don't know. Is it remission? Will he relapse? We do not know. We take each day at a time and when he gets sick or "gets in a funk" emotionally, we worry. Mostly, we learn to enjoy life and being around him as we remember where we were just a few years ago. As I have said elsewhere, the new research coming out the past year or two is more promising than ever. With all of that said, no person (especially someone with ME/CFS) should have to endure an abusive situation. Good on you @lgibson2017 for getting out!
     
    mirshine likes this.
  7. UKmum

    UKmum

    Messages:
    87
    Likes:
    601
    CFS or not you are better off away from an abusive relationship. Stay away from the drains and huddle up to the radiators. Best wishes to you and your grandparents.
     
    CFS_for_19_years likes this.
  8. lgibson2017

    lgibson2017

    Messages:
    48
    Likes:
    119
    Update: it's been a little over 3 weeks now and I'm completely adjusted and settled in. Some very strange things have happened since I moved out:

    • my previously intense (and I mean *intense*) fast food cravings have completely vanished....just gone....
    • IBS is still there but much better without the stress triggers I had before
    • I'm able to handle my illness better, even if my actual illness hasn't improved.
    • I can make it through a full day of school most days now
    • I have more motivation to actually get through my days even when I feel like crap

    Honestly the most surprising thing has been the fast food cravings!! It's so strange!! I don't crave sweets as much, and I had McDonald's once about a week ago and didn't like it!!! I was never overweight but I'm now losing some extra fat anyway with the absence of fast food (honestly my "extra" fat is just me being nitpicky; I'm a very healthy weight despite having EDNOS/body image issues).

    I hate P.T., and I mean I *hate* it. It just seems like an unnecessary waste of energy but I can't deny that my muscles are extremely weak....but I feel like I don't have the strength to make them stronger. It's kind of a catch 22.

    But anyway, that's my update! No more fast food, genuinely content and happy for the first time in my life, grades going up, and my cats are having the time of their lives. Honestly I could make a thread just about my cats because they're the light of my life but I'll hold back...

    Thank you so much for the kind words and support; it means a lot!! I never thought that I would graduate from therapy being Bipolar myself, but I've done it! Despite multiple generations of BD, I am the FIRST PERSON to be deemed mentally stable!!!! First EVER in my family!!!! (well, the first ever Bipolar person)


    Despite my health remaining the same, (and my blood sugar doing some very weird stuff....), things are looking up!


    Thanks,

    Lauren
     

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page