I am writing this whilst it is fresh in my mind. A few days ago I came back from a 3 night break in the beautiful New Forest in southern England. I have always loved this place since first seeing it as a child. Whilst walking through the stillness of the woods all I could hear was various birdsong of many species calling and chirping all around. But being in the midst of this beauty you would surely expect that this would contribute to me feeling better but in fact on so many occasions when on holiday this doesn’t happen, I am far worse usually experiencing relentless migraines which zap my energy and sense of well-being. What seems to happen every time is that we often stay in very good hotels but there is a big downside for me to this and it seems to be connected to the sort of food offered plus the time of eating is too late and it seems to set off a series of very negative effects. The earliest one can eat at this sort of country house hotel is 7 pm. We are always the first to eat but by the time you have given your order it is around 7.30 pm before you can start to eat any food. The menus tend to offer very rich, intricate dishes which are a real challenge for me because I just cannot each much before getting filled up. I only drink water and refuse the bread rolls which are offered at the start of the meal because like so many of us I am sensitive to gluten and do better on lower carb. Actually it isn’t strictly true about me not touching any of the bread because sometimes I am just so needing food I take a tiny piece of the bread and add some butter to try to keep me going until the first course actually arrives. At this particular hotel there was a rather narrow range of starters, none of which were plain or simple. The salmon dish I ordered on the first night was hardly cooked and it came with a piece of sliced tomato filled with fresh anchovy but I found that rather strong and really didn’t like almost raw salmon so on the 2nd and 3rd nights I had very thinly sliced venison which was adorned with tiny pieces of a variety of lettuce which looked lovely. There were various sauces and a dribble of French dressing on the venison. All in all it was a very light dish but cannot say I really enjoyed it. Other starters included various goats cheeses with garnish and sauces, and a few others which I cannot remember but didn’t fancy and wouldn’t have liked! It is true I am rather fussy about what I like! The main courses were honey roast duck with sauces and some weird vegetables, but on the first night I had belly of pork with various garnishes and quite a rich sauce plus kale. I ordered extra green vegetables. On the 2nd and 3rd nights I had sea bass served with a cubed tomato garnish plus spinach. There was also a light sauce and again I had extra green vegetables. I choose this dish because I thought it was the lightest one on offer. Deserts were a nightmare being very, very rich so all I had was a light sorbet on the first night which I found far too sweet so on the 2nd and 3rd nights I just had a tiny scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. We finished eating around 8.40 pm whereas I normally eat around 6 pm and am finished by 6.30 pm, this left me feeling sleepy and tired so much so I fell asleep whilst watching TV around 9.30 pm waking after 10 which of course meant I couldn’t get to sleep when I needed to around 11.30 pm but I was also suffering with a lot of gas and feeling very uncomfortable. My sleep was very badly affected and on all 3 nights at some time or other I needed to take some clonazapan whereas at home I rarely need to take any. Sleep always is a problem for me when I am away from home but I am not sure why. I usually sleep great at home sleeping from 11.20 pm to around 5 or 6 when I wake to take my adrenal and thyroid meds and usually go straight back to sleep till around 6.45 am. However when I am away the food thing seems to contribute to me either not being able to get off to sleep at all because my gut is upset or I go to sleep feeling exhausted but wake around 4 am and cannot get back to sleep for at least a couple of hours. In both cases I wake up tired and a migraine will start which will be really stubborn and makes me very miserable plus of course I am in horrible pain. Normally I am a really upbeat, positive person but these episodes at night can leave me feeling very negative, lonely and upset. I have to say I really wonder what is the point in going away when suffering with this foul illness. The other problem of course is that when visiting somewhere like the New Forest it is almost impossible to pace oneself as I do at home. This isn’t helped by me having a partner who isn’t very patient and always wants to be on the go. I use a Fitbit One and this has shown me that I was doing 8950 steps on day one, 8940 steps day two and 8200 steps on day 3. On the 4th day when we have come home I have done 7790 steps so far. Usually I do between 5000-6000 steps and if I am not feeling too good I will do less than 5000 steps so you can see what has been happening by me having this short break! The other really nasty and quite frightening symptom I developed within one day of this holiday was palpitations that went on throughout the night. I was aware of my heart skipping beats all over the place, going slow and very uneven. This certainly stopped me from sleeping and was quite scary. There was no internet connection so I couldn’t even look it up on the Net as I would normally do with any symptoms I am not too sure about. I haven’t ever had palpitations like this. Thankfully now that I am home and resting they have disappeared apart from first thing in the morning when I get up to make a cup of tea and my adrenal meds haven’t quite kicked in. The day after returning from the break I had to book in for Acupuncture to try and get my body back to some sort of balance and hopefully bring these migraines under control. So that is my story about having a short break despite suffering with ME/CFS. I wonder how much of this I contributed to and how much of the misery is just because ME/CFS is such a foul illness. I really struggle with how negative I can feel when away, the very opposite of how I am at home. Can anyone else relate to my sad tale?