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Mental Exertion Only CFS?

Discussion in 'Post-Exertional Malaise, Fatigue, and Crashes' started by Hip, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I am finding that as my CFS progresses year by year, my mental endurance has got less and less, to the point that now that just light socializing (say in the evening) for a few hours will often leave me very mentally exhausted and drained the following day - so exhausted that I may have trouble with even basic things like writing an email, or even just watching TV. I will take one or two days to recover from the mental exhaustion from several hours socializing. This activity really seems to overload my brain.

    However, physically, I am much better. I can still jog for a mile without much problem (on a good day), and usually I have little or no post exercise malaise.

    Is anyone else like this, such that their CFS is predominantly mental?

    I have the plenty of the other typical CFS symptoms, including: brain fog, useless memory, difficulty in spelling words, loss of drive and motivation, social withdrawal, anxiety disorder, gut problems, periodontal problems, sore throat, pins and needles, blurred vision, tinnitus, swollen lymph nodes.
  2. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    Yes..mental exertion has always been much worse for me than doing anything physical. I work part time now and will come home and basically crash for the next 24-48 hours. I don't realize it at the time that I am obviously having difficulty processing but it totally wipes me out first mentally and then it turns to a physical draining.
    It has to be my worse and most uncomfortable symptom.
    Most of the time holidays with alot of people around or sometimes just going out with friends can do the same thing. I can't tolerate alot of people around talking etc. So I would say that for me the CFS is predominantly mental.

    In fact when I was first diagnosed I could still exercise although not as intense so I felt that there was no way I could have CFS and still exercise without PEM. I know now that is not the case.. I also have many other symptoms such as blurred vision, palpitations, really bad neuropathy in my calves and feet etc..
  3. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Hip, have you ever had a good check out by someone very experienced by CFS?

    I'm not trying to cast doubt on your diagnosis and I can't answer your question. What I am hoping to get across is that when one has such a specific feature/symptom there may be a better solution or some idea of how to treat you.

    Be good to know why you can exercise your body but not your mind. Does this make sense under current understanding of CFS?
  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I hear what you are saying, ukxmrv. Agreed that it is conceivable that I may have something other than CFS, or that this possibility should be at least be borne in mind. I have not been to a really good specialist to get a diagnosis as yet. The CFS was my own diagnosis, in fact.

    The only thing unusual about my case is the fact that I had some sort of viral meningitis about 5 years ago, immediately after which I lost my sense of smell, lost my ability to recognize faces, and lost some other mental faculties. Most of these mental faculties have now retuned to about say 70% of their normal functioning. However, my mental fatigue / brain fog / dementia are still getting worse, year by year. I am pretty sure the meningitis was caused by the same virus that resulted in my chronic sore throat.

    I have read that meningitis can lead to CFS just on its own.

    So it is all a bit confusing.
  5. L'engle

    L'engle moderate ME

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    If you get PEM, I would still think that is likely to be ME/CFS. I believe there is a subtype characterized mainly by mental fatigue.
  6. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    I am not like this, I'd say my body and mind usually go in tandem, but my mother is definitely like you - mental activities exhaust her, to the point where she hardly socialises because it destroys her, yet she can do gardening and enjoy it, even for quite a long time and doing fairly heavy work. She does get physical symptoms too, but they are always outshadowed by the brain fog type problems.

    Do you take magnesium or choline? Both of those have really helped reduce my brain fog and improve my memory - they seem to have their effect on the mind far more than the body.
  7. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    No worries Hip. It would be a dream for me to have other than "ME" so any little idiosyncrasies I have I try to get investigated. Given that I am in the UK that's easier said than done.

    Maybe blood flow to the brain or something similar? It must be a red flag that you can jog but not socialise. Someone should hopefully be able to explain this.
  8. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Very interesting, Athene, thanks for that. I also can go to the gym (though I rarely do), and use the heaviest weights in an extended session, as I used to use before getting CFS, and I experience more or less no problems later that day, nor the next day. Though I have to say, since acquiring CFS I do not unfortunately get the mood-lifting, anti-depressant effects of exercise like I used to: I don't feel bad after exercise, but I don't feel in the slightest bit good either. I always used to feel great after either aerobic exercise like jogging, or anaerobic exercise like using gym weights. I believe that the "loss of the anti-depressant effect of exercise" a common characteristic of CFS. It is unfortunate, because without the anti-depressant feel-good factor, I tend to do less and less exercise. The post-exercise feel-good factor (and a relaxed mind) was for me one of the main rewards for doing exercise.

    I have tried both magnesium or choline, and magnesium works quite well for me, when I take high dose by applying magnesium transdermally (I use a concentrated solution of magnesium sulfate, and apply over the body it after my bath). Oral magnesium I cannot take in high dose, because I reach bowel tolerance quickly.
  9. soxfan

    soxfan Senior Member

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    I use to get that mood-lifting feeling after running. Even though I was sick I was still able to continue to run for 2 years. It was when I was put on abx for Lyme that I had to quit. I have never been able to run again..now I am only able to walk at a pretty good pace but I haven't had that feel-good feeling since.
  10. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Hi Hip,
    That's very interesting about losing the feel-good feeling after exercise. That has happened to me too, although somehow I hadn't quite put my finger on the point that exercise wasn't giving me that good feeling that it used to. I suppose that means our bodies aren't producing endorphins.

    As far as magnesium goes, I cannot tolerate magnesium sulphide as I have sulphite intolerance. My doctor has me on a massive oral dose of magnesium, however, and I am fine with it because he put me on a mix of forms. If you have lots of one type - all magnesium oxide, or all magnesium citrate, etc, you get lower absorption and tummy problems, but by taking a bit of each form (there are 5 different types) I have gone up to a dose of 1,000mg elemental magnesium (this is equivalent to 3000mg of the varius compounds). That's the max safe dose btw.
    Getting up to this dosage has got rid of my random twitching, made the feeling come back to my feet (which were numb for 25 years), and improved my brain function amazingly.
  11. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi, just to confuse the issue, I get three kinds of PEM. Physical overexertion induces physical fatigue only early on, plus growing pain. If I continue to exert then eventually mental fatigue sets in till I turn into a Xombie, but it takes a while. Mental exertion causes me to brain numb, with even worse memory (my episodic memory is already bad). However, immunological insult induces both physical and mental collapse. Bye, Alex
  12. Lala

    Lala Senior Member

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    My mental fatigue is now also much worse than the physical. It used to be the other way round. I am now trying strong B vitamins, I do not know any results yet. How much cholin did you try, Athene?
    I use 100mg daily along with inositol, paba, panthothenic acid, biotin, B1,B2,B3,B6, B12 and folic acid.
    Does anybody have any experience with that?
  13. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    That is very interesting, Athene. I get diarrhea very quickly after about 400 or 500 mg of oral magnesium of any type, but it did not occur to me to take different forms of magnesium orally. I will try that, and see if it allows me to take up to 1,000 mg without exceeding bowel tolerance and getting diarrhea.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  14. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Hi Alex,
    That is exactly the way fatigue works for me too - just the same triggers and results.

    Thanks for the list of magnesiums, Hip - that's really useful to have.

    Lala, I take 1,000mg a day of choline. I was on the dose you take, which was in my B complex, but it made no difference to me. On this higher dose, I noticed results - particularly major memory improvement - after a month. I would say now my memory is almost normal, before taking choline it was so bad I kept failing to recognise friends and whole days and experiences would just fall out of my head. A few close friends even asked me if I thought I might have early onset Alzheimers, that's how bad it was. So definitely, for me choline is a miracle.
  15. Lala

    Lala Senior Member

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    That is a lot, Athene. Do you take it along with other b's as well or just choline? I would be afraid it put me in "excitatory mod".
    I already feel drunk after strong b complex and I do not know from which part of it drunkeness comes. Maybe niacinamid killing some yeast...
  16. gag

    gag

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    Early mental fatigue and loss of smell especially could be very early signs of Parkinsonism. Not trying to scare you, but early signs don't have to include a tremor. Early loss of smell is one of the first areas of the brain affected. I'm not sure but also a history of meningitis may predispose to early parkinsons. Just my 2 cents. BTW, what's your age? Also, without physical fatigue after exercise, cfs wouldn't be high on the list.
  17. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I am pretty sure the loss of smell was due to the meningitis. In any case, it has for the most part returned to normal now.

    Note that by the CDC definition of CFS, CFS symptoms can include: "postexertional malaise (extreme, prolonged exhaustion and sickness following physical or mental activity)". Note how it says physical or mental activity.

    So a mental only CFS is quite possible.
  18. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Hi Lala,

    I take a complete B complex as well as the Choline. I haven't noticed the choline altering my mood at all, unfortunately nothing gets me in an axcitatory mood no matter how hard I try!!!

    I wonder if the feeling you get from B vits is connected with a detox taking place? Perhaps it is the initial reaction that might settle down over time? It might even be worth starting a thread about that, to find out if other people here have the same effect, and if anyoen knows the reason?
  19. svetoslav80

    svetoslav80 Senior Member

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    Hi guys, I also suffer chronic fatigue, brain fog, headaches, inability to concentrate - I feel as I have cought a cold all the time. Although what seems to distinguish me and you from most of the people in this community is we don't have PEM. Even that I'm sick , I make an effort and I'm able to hard cycle for an hour and I don't feel worse after that - I actually feel better. So I guess our condition is much better than that of most people here, and maybe it's not CFS and maybe it's mild CFS - until there isn't definite blood test for that, I think no doctor can tell for sure.
  20. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    I am another one that doesn't have physical PEM. I personally think it's a mistake to define this disease on the basis of PEM. First of all, establishing PEM objectively and easily has not been done yet despite the good efforts of the U. of Pacific. Secondly, I am unfamiliar with any tests objectively defining cognitive PEM. Thirdly, in Cheney's (or was it Peterson?) the group with 100% XMRV infection were the chronic Lyme patients. Lyme patients don't typically have PEM. Clearly one can be pretty messed up and not have physical PEM. However, that being said there probably is a subset of people that have PEM and there should be a research focus on that.

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