On resting and getting past the initial fear of resting

Blog entry posted by lior, Aug 30, 2018.

Getting past my fear of resting
Earlier on in my illness, I felt a fear of resting, and of falling asleep. I was afraid that if I rested, or fell asleep during the day, I wouldn't be able to wake up or get going again.

I was afraid based on experience. Whenever I rested, it made me more sluggish. Because I was so rest-deprived, falling asleep during the day was really hard to wake up from. The deeper I rested, the worse I felt afterwards.

Two things have changed.

Firstly, I am not afraid any more of being sluggish. It's an inconvenience and sometimes I do resist and resent it. However, I've experienced it so much now that it's become normal. I was afraid of it because it was a symbol of how ill I was - how I really do have this serious illness. I now accept that I am ill. This is just my life. The familiarity of the feeling helps me not be afraid of it. The acceptance also helps me not be afraid of it.

Secondly, I am in the habit of resting regularly, and I don't over-exert as extremely or as frequently as I used to. So I'm a lot more stable in my symptoms. I only fall asleep during the day if I've over-exerted recently - normally I don't need extra sleep in the day. Instead, I meditate, or just keep still and quiet if I can't resist thinking enough to give my attention to meditation. Because of this stability, I don't become as extremely sluggish as I used to after a rest.

I still do have a tiny bit of fear that makes me resist fully resting. I feel my legs getting heavy like logs of wood and I fear not having control of them sometimes. It often takes a while to get them going again, and I don't enjoy it. It would be nice if I could enjoy it.

Benefits of resting
Resting 3 times a day has made me stable. It's stopped me from getting worse. It's helped me out of a boom and bust cycle. Time will tell if it will help me get better.

My theory about why I feel sluggish after a rest is that it breaks the adrenaline high somehow. The deeper the rest, the more into resting mode I become overall. Resting during the day helps me get to sleep much better at night.

I resist resting when I'm on an adrenaline high because I don't want the feeling to end... because it does make it end quite reliably. I love feeling able to get things done. But I also know that staying in that mode for too long is what leads to crashes. I especially resist meditating because that's a much better rest than just staying still and thinking.

I might feel ok-ish (for me) at 1pm, and hope that I might be able to leave the house today. Then I'd have a half hour rest at 2pm after lunch, and afterwards I'll know for sure that I can't manage the walk to the bus stop - my legs just won't do it. If I want to ignore my needs, it's better to skip the rest so I can over exert and enjoy it while the energy lasts (and then put up with the inevitable crash). The rest keeps me from over exerting - it puts me in touch with what my actual limits are. These days I rarely choose to not rest.

I believe that all this meditating is doing me a lot of good. Apart from being much more stable in my ME symptoms, I'm more relaxed in general. I was never this calm before this illness.

Maybe a day will come when I won't need to rest three times a day anymore, but for now, this is working for me.
Rach_Doug, Mary, Raven Mom and 6 others like this.
lior

About the Author

ME/CFS since Sept 16. Eccentric. Designer. Writes and draws in cafes when possible.
  1. Wolfcub
    Yes do rest when you know you need it. I think this business is a question of adapting to things.
    I don't "nap" well either but that's not new. I was always like that. When I slept I always went into deep sleep cycles like my system was primed for the full night time sleep, and a nap confused my system horribly. It still does, so I don't do it.
    But rest...that's different. I have adapted now to allowing myself to rest, and I lie down and fully relax while listening to some music. It's becoming fun in a way. Though it's a far cry from the life I'm used to and sometimes I feel a pull back to the way I used to live and want to jump up again and get on with some work.
    But we have to be sensible.
    I wish you well. Take care.
    lior likes this.
  2. confetti11
    Wow, this is really good Lior. I need to reread this when I can take it in because I hate resting during the day.
    lior likes this.