How to handle daily frustration and boredom

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I have been dealing with severe (and sometimes moderate) CFS for 15 years and my reoccurring problem is handling the absolute boredom and frustration of being indoors all day, hardly able to do anything but ruminate and stare out the window. I am trying to find some meaningful way of spending my time, maybe get a small dog that can do it's business in the garden, so then I don't need to walk it. On good days I can go out of the house for a bit, but there are plenty of long boring days and I am burning up so much energy with being frustrated. Meditation doesn't work for me anymore. Not sure why, but my brain doesn't handle it very well. I used to be a crafty person, fixing almost everything that's broken, but having half finished projects lying around the house is getting on my nerves too. As for reading books, or rather listening to the audio version of them; for some reason I can't be bothered anymore..... I've read quite a few and find that I lose interest in them quite quickly. Also my memory isn't as good as it used to be and books frequently confront me with that.
The usual relaxation techniques etc, I've tried nearly all. It just makes me more frustrated that they don't really help me relax...
Any suggestions, anyone....?
 

Hope4

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Hi, Runner. :)

I, too, think something new helps us. Any interest in becoming a ham radio operator? Lots of interesting things to learn and it means new friends, without having to go anywhere. Classes online, learn at your own speed, and the volunteer test supervisor might even come to your house, for the test for the license.

Or: New stretches or restorative yoga, or whatever kind of physical movement appeals to you.

Acupressure, jin shin, or other meridian clearing work, can be learned in small steps, and helps.

Just a couple of ideas.

Best wishes to you for joy and fresh spring in your days. :)
 

pamojja

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The usual relaxation techniques etc, I've tried nearly all. It just makes me more frustrated that they don't really help me relax...
Really difficult situation. The reason meditation usually works is because it demolishes the conceptual myths build around and solidifying such experiences, like boredom and frustration. But by opening oneself to the experience of itself, it usually intensifies, incredibly so, before it goes. With one frustration or boredom, that can take minutes, hours, weeks or months. Such meditative experience could prime one for understanding that no emotion, joys or pains, can ever last forever. Unless one reinforces them by identification: taking into possession or resisting. Also makes transparent the mental processes that make it more likely do bring them up, where one learns to disentangle.

All that wont prevent future joys of frustrations, it's just that the frustration about the 'frustration', being bored about 'boredom', the fear of 'fears', the exhilaration about 'joys' diminishes gradually. These emotions will still come and go. Eventually even much faster. But the tensing up around emotions gradually diminises. Relaxation despite emotional storms, and ebbs.

The only other way I could think are some therapeutic approaches, like for example 'focusing' I'm a bid familiar with. But here in my experience the obstacles for bringing some relieve are even much higher: First the costs, second finding someone really understanding it.

I assume from your description you're already far beyond the point where any distraction could help. That is a really difficult situation. And hope others have more ideas what could help.

The best.
 

Shoshana

Northern USA
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Very difficult, @runner. I too struggle with this. When I was able to, I would seek and do, some substitute activity (passive, modified semi-non-activity version of an activity)
but after some years, those become more difficult as well, and I run out of ideas, also, that are within my present level.
I understand how challenging this is, and discouraging. And frustrating, because if I could DO some of my interests, I would still be interested in SOMe of them.
It is difficult trying to find a new substitute, repeatedly.

I sometimes push myself through even a very tiny and short (extreme modification of an) action, which even a very small one, does break things up for me, and I focus on that accomplishment, repeating it in my mind.

I also list things in my mind, and I look around me, to spot something to focus mindfulness on.

Understanding it is a difficult place to be.
 

Hip

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Any suggestions, anyone....?
I know it probably will no work for everyone, but for me personally I find investigating and trying out possible treatments for ME/CFS and its various symptoms fills up a lot of my time, and also puts me in a more optimistic mood (because I always think that the next treatment I am about to try will be the one). I've been doing this since I first came down with ME/CFS in around 2006.

But I do find that my mind has dulled over the years, such that it does not seem to find many things enjoyable anymore. I no longer seem to enjoy sitting in the garden or going for a walk in the park, as my mind does not tune into these environments, and thus does not extract much pleasure or interest from them. This may also be due to the anhedonia that I have as a comorbid symptom of ME/CFS.
 

Wishful

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You could try computer games. Some can be good as 'mindless activity' that can be restful. Some are too much work. You'd have to try out different types to see if any work for you.

I have other 'mindless' activities that provide more satisfaction, such as pruning trees (clearing walking trails) or gathering firewood. Of course, that requires suitable land, and physical ability. Maybe you could find something that is restful but productive among your friends or neighbours. Deadhead flowers, mend clothes; something along those lines. Then you could ask for their help when you need some household maintenance tasks that are beyond you.
 
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You could try computer games. Some can be good as 'mindless activity' that can be restful. Some are too much work. You'd have to try out different types to see if any work for you.
@runner This has worked for me. I can read newspapers online and have a couple of subscriptions, but I check a lot of papers mostly in US and UK. Like you books are no longer an option, streaming TV is good, but limited. I wish I enjoyed sports, but nope.

I was frankly shocked by what a great and engrossing diversion computer games can be. Some are quite simple and undemanding but still a lot of fun. I only get games on sale or older ones that were very popular but are now under $20. Casual "Point and Click" are a good place to start. If you are interested in testing it out, let me know. I can point you to some possibilities.
 

Judee

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I like Pinterest because I get lots of ideas of what I could be doing if I had the energy. They have every hobby/topic under the sun practically so you can mostly gear the home feed to your interests.

Also I like Craigslist for the same reason. It gives me ideas that I can at least dream with.

Also I watch youtube videos especially odd historical facts or cooking even though I can't eat most of it. The russian hack videos are funny. I also like Barry Lewis. He's British and funny and cooks in his kitchen making things like giant peanut butter cups or experiments in what liquids you can carbonate. Metal detecting on the beaches of Florida by Terry Shannon though some of his later videos are done by someone else and they started adding music that annoys. Anyway, it's another website where you can find things to suit your interests or explore new ones.

Since you're handy you could maybe start a blog where you tell not-so-handy people like me how to do things, although having pics helps a lot.
 

Dechi

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If if you have a fenced yard, having a little dog that doesn’t require a lot of care would be awesome. I have two of my own and I don’t know what I would do without them. Since I can’t walk them, I make sure they have plenty of room in the house to chase each other and in the summer, I provide plenty of playtime in the backyard.

They make me laugh, they give me affection and sometimes they force me to get off my butt even if I don’t feel like it. I have to have a fixed routine, they demand it ! Other times they are a bit too much because I would need not to get up to let them outside but the pros far outweigh the cons. We even nap together.

Other than my dogs, my life is pretty boring, other than the occasional visit and very rare social outing. So I don’t have much advice.
 
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Hi all, thanks for your replies. Some very good suggestions you have, I would like to respond to all of them in detail, but due to my limited attention span that will be difficult.
I really need to break this cycle of frustrated ruminating and focus my attention on something joyful. After 15 years of solitude in a not very challenging environment I can really notice my cognitive abilities are reducing as well :-(
 
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due to my limited attention span that will be difficult.
I also can't focus worth a damn. I like computer games because they are made for people like us. The game literally comes to you and you just respond to it.
If you want to try one, go to Steam.com and download the client. Use the client to buy "Torchlight" for $15. Explore and "fight" around in an undemanding environment for hours. Cheap, easy, and if you don't enjoy it, no big deal.

I have considered getting a dog, but even with my wife to help it seems too daunting. Games are there if you need it, and make no demands on you. There was a period when I was suffering a lot before I learned about gaming, but stumbled on a game that was engaging enough to keep me distracted from how wretched I felt. I actually had fun for the first time in years.
 

Shoshana

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I was thinking, @runner that if you are able to take care of a small dog, then that is very good.
But I myself, would be unable to, so it wouldn't be a good decision for me.
As much as I wish it was.
So, I suggest we each make that decision carefully, in case you are not up to what is involved.
 
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More suggestions. Thanks!
Right now, I could take care of the basic need of a small (house trained) dog. I wouldn't be able to walk it every day, but it can have a bit of fun in the small yard behind the house. But... if I relapse, can't scoop the poop etc, then things may get nasty.... that is a risk...
 

Float

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Take anything that helps you relax.
For instance,
Lavender diffusion
Camomile tea
Gaba
Pharmaceuticals such as topamax (increases gaba), other anti anxiolytics
Deep breathing

I listen to a lot of podcasts , try to learn a language, sometimes free online courses from futurelearn and edx.

You could force yourself to finish your craft projects that are lying around. Just force yourself and remember it's only thoughts that are protesting.

I stopped meditating too. Now I prefer chakra visualisation or chanting mantra.

I've been where you are and started watching a lot of TV . Bad mistake. Now I make sure I read biographies, try new crafts (cake decorating and baking) , listen to podcasts like BBC3 Documentaries and spiritual satsangs, listen to classical or otherwise favorite music as it balances the nervous system, get someone to visit a few times a week and go our to a cafe once a week with book or friend, true story movies, yoga stretches , chop veg for future meals, Skype friends, build a website, make a blog are all things to try.

But I'd really encourage you to finish your half finished projects, whether you find ithe joyful and pleasurable or not. Sometimes our sails lose all their wind and you have to row hard by forcing when the mind wants to give up.

Good luck x
 

Float

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Ps your experience will eventually change.
Another thing I do is a course where we meet by video chat once a week. There is daily homework so I have a daily task and it's a topic I've always loved and gives meaning to my life.
Another thing you could do is ask for funding for psychological support. ..depending on your country of course. You can arrange to do Skype or zoom consultations. If you can self fund you could use an online service that is messaging and videos bit beware they are mostly social workers and counsellors and nurses and not necessarily psychologists. X
 
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So I dunno if tv is your thing, but I found that a combination of binge-watching a show I love and doing a small hand craft (I needlepoint or embroider badly, that sorta thing) works for my inability to give my full attention to any one thing as well as let's me escape into the world of whatever I am watching. Netflix has many shows that have 5 or more seasons, you can escape for quite a while into a world not your own... and even if they're sorta useless, the small tiny weeny amount of accomplishment a little needlework project gives me feels nice, and is lightweight enough to do even on days where I'm totally bedridden. Cheesy as they are, the CW superhero shows are my comforting go-to :)
 
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Netflix has many shows that have 5 or more seasons, you can escape for quite a while into a world not your own...
Really enjoy escaping there. also.....into a well told story.....love beautiful scenery. Hence: I love the historic dramas and fictional histories that include : old stones, castles, arches, vistas and forests and fjords and ships.

The ambiance of : now, I'm not particularly attracted to.

Also discovered I seem to really like watching: the same movie, again. With ME, you can enjoy a really good one, many many times! I just went and found Cloud Atlas. Love Cloud Atlas. Probably watched it ten times at least, or parts ten times. I heard a whole riff once on NPR about our odd interest in hearing that same story, AGAIN. (see Princess Bride).

If you ever get the Norovirus, make sure you watch Aliens when your finally coming around. The entire film was made: just for that moment.