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Mental energy

Discussion in 'Post-Exertional Malaise, Fatigue, and Crashes' started by beaverfury, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. beaverfury

    beaverfury beaverfury

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    Pre-cfs i was an ambitious, if underachieving artist.

    The functional mental energy i needed for creating before was prodigious and i simply dont have it anymore. My abstract thought seems to be intact, but this is not much good for painting.

    Accepting my new physical limitations has been hard, but i am gradually coming to terms with that.
    I cannot accept that i will never use my brain to the capacity i did before! Even the thought of being ambitious and exerting myself like before leaves me feeling faint.

    Has anyone returned to their pre me/cfs capacity brain wise? Have you been able to use the same mental energy in your profession or pursuits like you did before?

    Do any of the long termers find this gets better over time? Is there a management strategy of trading off physical v mental energy? Any nootropics appreciably help?
  2. nanonug

    nanonug Senior Member

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  3. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

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    Hi Beaverfury;

    I'm a painter too...or was.
    In the past, I was more motivated by conflict and anxiety. I'd rather not use that now.
    My CFS appears more to be from B12/folate deficiency, and I believe it's genetic. I believe it's shaped my personality, and point of view.

    In most ways, it has held me back, but it did allow me to make some discoveries from some happy accidents.

    Although with rigorous practice, I became technically skilled, and came up with fresh ideas, I had extreme difficulty resolving each piece. Much of my work would attract buyers and gallery owners, but I couldn't let it go, didn't feel it was complete.

    Now I'm getting better, and hope to return to painting this year, but my thinking is different. My cognition has improved in other ways, so I'm curious to see what I'll come up with, art wise. In the past, I would copy from " Old Masters", to hone my skills and check cognition. I'll begin with that again.
  4. beaverfury

    beaverfury beaverfury

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    Ooh, some of that sounds curiously like me. I found motivation in conflict and anxiety too. But theres a certain amount
    of conflict and anxiety in any problem solving task isnt there? In any case, i just cant go there in that way anymore, it burns me out in no time.

    Ive always had problems resolving works, so cant blame cfs for that.

    Maybe lately i have learned to use more limited means and take short cuts. One things for sure, i have to find different ways to approach painting. I miss the energy i took for granted before. I think painting is a measure of vitality
    above all else, and thats something i have very little of now.
    Just have to grab the odd day of energy now and then.
  5. Hanna

    Hanna Senior Member

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    Hi painters fellows,
    During 12 years I founded enough energy for working, even if it went from a daily "routine" to once a month... because of the progressive character of the illness. Now I have reached a point, when I doubt if I will ever be able to hold a brush (last time was in Februar) and it is very frightening. I don't know how you cope with this. The anxiety about not beeing able to create empties me totally. And there is nothing left to begin with. I am even afraid to contact my gallerists...(I was unable to stand-up for my last opening in 2011, lying on the sofa in the gallerist's office). How can I reverse the whole thing and began to work again? Even I can't find the energy for a small sketch...
    Every suggestion is wellcome...
  6. L'engle

    L'engle moderate ME

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    I too have trouble coming to terms with this lack of mental energy for both scientific and artistic pursuits (both are important to me) I am gradually excepting my physical limitations (which are moderate but not severe. I'm mostly housebound but I can still hold a paintbrush/writing implement). But this low ceiling on my brain... it only gets windows of thinking and creating that it did. The left brain process of memorizing/calculating and right brain process of visualizing/imagining are both compromised. It does work occasionally and I value these times as those when I can be myself again. The active b12 protocol has given me these small windows of functioning again. Still a fraction of what it was though.
  7. beaverfury

    beaverfury beaverfury

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    God, Hanna! That is so bad. I'm sorry.

    I havent fully accepted the reality of not being able to practise art like i did before. I just tell myself that i'll get better one day.

    You know what though??.. For me, painting has ALSO been a pain in the ass. I approached it with such ambition that it shut out any enjoyment it used to give me as a child.

    Maybe if i could finally let go of it i would start to enjoy meagre LIFE as it is, instead of trying to make the surrogate of art EVERYTHING. I'm not saying this is the case for you, but when i consider it, art has been as much an enemy as a friend. Ive spent twenty years on it, ignoring relationships that could have been nurtured, dodging other
    responsibilities.
    Maybe i will be ready to kiss it goodbye one day.

    If i did have the mental energy to face it i would still have a hell of a job ahead of me! As you know, it takes a lot of time and dedication, neglecting other matters. I guess i am lucky i can still paint a little, but its nowhere near the level i would like.
    Hanna likes this.
  8. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

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    I remember saying to another artist, " Sometimes I hate art." It was true in part because it was so difficult, and required all my concentration and energy. I would neglect other duties, people, and myself.

    In recent years, I would tell myself that it's only a bloody picture, leave it be.

    I understand the fear of losing one's steady hand. My hand became shaky, crumpled, and numb. I was having vision disturbances along with cognitive dysfunction.

    Along with B12/folate, I have had some improvement with taking small amounts of iodine. (kelp) It did seem to help visual thinking. For some months, I used a transdermal testosterone cream. It also helped visual thinking.

    I remember looking into nootropics... I may have briefly tried an herb or so. So, I don't know enough to respond. Some folks here have discussed some supplements to improve cognition, but I don't think they used the term, nootropic.

    Hopefully , in the future, a cup of green tea may be just enough to pry this ol' rump of mine off the chair.
    Hanna and beaverfury like this.
  9. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

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    beaverfury likes this.
  10. Tally

    Tally Senior Member

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    I have to agree that physical limitations are far easier to accept. I was an aspiring scientist before I became ill. My brain was my everything. Now I can't even do the primary-school-level computations. I would do anything to get my brain back.
    arx, Hanna and L'engle like this.
  11. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    australia (brisbane)
    http://www.nootropicaustralia.com.au/index.php?route=common/home australian company, good prices.
    beaverfury likes this.
  12. arx

    arx Senior Member

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    I can so understand "Even the thought of being ambitious and exerting myself like before leaves me feeling faint."

    I consider myself as B12 deficient( which involves other co-factor deficiencies as well). Over the years, I've seen the change of mindset and avoiding "strong" topics such as ambition, as they were too heavy for me to process. As Crux has mentioned, it does shape one's personality,choices in life and particularly the way of doing things. I remember avoiding topics like ambition in my university days, when once in school I was very ambitious and would have achieved much, if my mental energies had remained the same. In the university I was rather inclined towards "going with the flow". Although this is a very good approach in life,a relaxing one,but I applied it because the thought of aims and ambitions would stress my system too much. I couldn't understand it then, but now I do. My mental energy and intellectual insight was on the decreasing trend and I would feel very hurt deep inside when I compared the old me with the now me. Maybe avenues for relaxation will help? I found that comparison with what my abilities were and what they are now only brought on more stress and mental agitation. Acceptance helps in trying to love oneself the way they are now and not how we were.That was the only way I could get through most of my university until I suffered a neuropsych crash which made me leave all intellectual and other pursuits. I am in the same boat as you are,maybe even worse(I guess we all consider ourselves worse than others). I would give anything to get my brain back. But to work on the process too, I am trying very hard to accept the way I am now. It is extremely hard, but when I think of it, it does give me some peace.

    I think Freddd has a decent activity level(9-10 is written on his profile). I just know of him as I post in the Methylation and B12 section and am on his protocol. He has recovered from many symptoms.
  13. Arise

    Arise

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    I can certainly relate, I find energy problems are far greater than the physical ones. I find the following things more difficult or not possible:

    • piece information together
    • process what you read
    • calculating things
    • planning things in your mind then carry them out (whether mental or physical)
    These are just some of the mental difficulties that are encountered, but the brain often does find other ways to work around these things such as abstract thinking and stream of consciousness. So I can understand why artists would find it difficult for their art to manifest.
  14. beaverfury

    beaverfury beaverfury

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    I certainly have to try to use my brain along different channels. Putting any sort of weight on expectations of achievement is out.
    Theres about a billion spiritual and self help books that advise ignoring the outcome and going with the process.
    I think this is definitely helpful in reduced post me/cfs brain function.

    Just seeing what is possible and going along in play like a child takes pressure off. Pressure does not enhance my cfs brain processes! Mind you, i have some better days, on the better/worse scale.
    Just would like my previous horsepower
    Hanna likes this.
  15. beaverfury

    beaverfury beaverfury

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    I get sucked into the challenge quite often. I tell myself i can be an exception.
    Invariably mental exertion=exhaustion.

    At the moment i can get about one good day per week painting, then- payback time!

    Relaxation time in between is probably crucial to recharge and i should be doing some sort of meditation every day.
    (But i hate meditation! It bores me.)

    Having a good friend to say, cmon, lets go grab a coffee or take some time out is good. But with our energy levels so many of us seem to have a deficit of wonderful social contacts
    Hanna likes this.
  16. Hanna

    Hanna Senior Member

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    Jerusalem, Israel
    Accepting the situation is so difficult! I have been trying not thinking about painting...Doing some daily Qi-Gong routine (15mn), affirmations, relaxation, auto-hypnosis, has worked to some extent, untill I receive a call from a friend (painter) or something else... and everything comes back in all its strenght : anger, grief, unjustice feeling, bitterness etc...
    I realise how much I am far from accepting myself as I am now. No matter the fact I know and understand that those feelings aggravate the situation, I simply don't succeed to make them fade away.
  17. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Nope

    Maybe others are having more postive experiences in this area then me.. but for me, its not getting any better.

    Every now and then I will find a new thing which helps my brain so at that point do have a slight improvement..but from there it just dont improve more. Ive got to be alert constantly on things which make my brain worst... a gone wrong medication trial can have been brain stuck into a worsened state for months even after I stop it.
  18. merylg

    merylg Senior Member

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    Nope.

    Nootropics? Currently re-trying Cod Liver Oil (Carlson Norwegian). Will add Vit C again when I can buy a powdered form...and Vit B2 (Nature's Own) when I can get some more...as it contains no Magnesium Stearate additive which seems to swell my brain.

    Vit B2 Riboflavin is thought to help prevent migraine by acting on the mitochondria in the epithelial cells that line the brain's blood vessel walls.

    Was trying N-Acetyl-Glucosamine b/c it was recently shown to help in MS but I think I have an amine problem with it. (Note it is not the same as Glucosamine sulphate)
  19. arx

    arx Senior Member

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