Monthly Archives: January 2014


It may seem to you that all has been quiet on this blog, but I have been beavering away and I’m really pleased to announce that my pages about meditation are all now live.

Some of the pages have been available for a few days and I apologise to anyone who read them and tried to follow the links.  I discovered several of them were broken.  I have now checked and repaired them all.

You can find all the pages about meditation under the other helpful stuff tab, but to make things easier, here are direct links to all the pages.


New page – fight or flight

Today I’ve put a new page up all about the fight or flight/maladaptive stress response.  Since I’m not sure you get updated when I post a new page, I’m writing a post about it too.

It ended up quite long, as for me it’s a really important component of my ME/CFS.  If you have brain fog and struggle to read long articles, break it up into sections.

I hope you find it useful.  I always enjoy feedback so feel free to leave comments.

Here’s the page link again fight or flight/maladaptive stress response.


I’ve just finished listening to Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking as an audio book.  I found it thought provoking – it’s even provoked this blog post.

I know I am introvert. I went on a corporate course in 2001 where I took the Myers-Briggs personality test, and came out as an introvert.  Despite learning on the course that as an introvert I liked to recharge by being on my own, in quiet spaces, and recognising from how I chose to live my life that this was true, over the intervening years I haven’t thought about this.

I had my first child in 2000, and as a working mum I did not make an effort to carve out time for myself. Any mum of young children will tell you about the impossibility of time alone (unless they’re sleeping). By the time I had child number 3 (who didn’t sleep much) I don’t remember times in the day when all three of them were asleep or at school/playgroup and I could grab a few minutes of peace of quiet.

When child number 3 was two years old, I went back to work, and time to myself became even harder to find.  I worked in an open plan office and there was a lot of noise and chatter.   I used to cycle to and from work and also go for rides on my own.  I used to love this time and it was quiet mentally, but since I was very physically active I don’t think it would count as recharging.

From the book I learned that introverts operate best in environments with less stimulation (noise, people etc.) than extroverts.  However, our modern world seems designed for extroverts.  The education system focusses on discussion and group work, whilst at work offices are usually open plan and team working is often obligatory. Pre-illness I was operating in a world with a higher level of stimulation than was ideal for me as an introvert and I did not take time to recharge by quiet, alone time, because of my many commitments (especially the children).

The book also talks about the role of the amygdala in our “arousal” state – introverts are “aroused” by lower levels of stimulation than extroverts, and the Amygdala is also mentioned in ME literature:  most notably in Gupta’s Amygdala Retraining. Gupta’s theory is that the Amygadala becomes chronically sensitised and hyper reactive to symptoms in the body.  

This has got me wondering whether my in-built introvertedness contributed to my illness.  Perhaps because introverts amygdalas are naturally more sensitive it is easier for them to flip into the hyper reactive mode experienced in ME.  Certainly, quiet time alone has been a key part of first stabilising my illness and then the improvements I have made.  I have built a meditation habit, which I plan to continue even when I am fully recovered.

I would be interested to know of any research into the prevalence of ME amongst Introverts and Extroverts.  If proportionally more introverts than extroverts develop ME then that would be an indication of a link.  Given the lack of research into so much of our illness I won’t hold my breath on this one.

Gut microbes video

I came across this animation which does a great job of explaining why microbes are important to our health.

Finding Out

Happy New Year.  I was hoping to get back to regular blog posting as soon as the New Year celebrations were over.  However, I’ve realised that until the kids are back at school I’m unlikely to find any time to write.

 In the meantime; I have a treat for you: eat4me’s very first guest post.  This piece was written by fellow ME sufferer Louise Lees as part of a creative writing course.  I think it brilliantly describes the experience of having ME/CFS.  Louise wrote this during a relapse, however her recovery is progressing well and she will soon be starting a phased return to work.

Now, over to Louise.

Finding Out

She’s sorry but she’s just too busy.  Too busy to come.  Again.  She never used to be too busy.  When I was well.

The familiar hallmarks of my return to bed are back.   Laundry spews out of the basket and toys taunt me from the skirting boards; Teddy’s sideways gaze meets mine, as though we both know it’s going to be a while until he gets back to the toy box.   The kids have cabin fever and dark shadows have appeared under John’s eyes again.   Everything feels too hard.

I’m told she talks about helping, head on one side, hands clasped.  Earnest expression fixed. What a terrible shame it all is.  Perhaps it makes her feel she hasn’t turned away.

The Consultant told us we’d find out who our friends are.  Freshly diagnosed, it almost sounded a good thing.  Resolute.  Empowering.  The kind of thing that might turn out to be a blessing.    It turns out, it just hurts.  It hurts like when you’re punched in the stomach, bent over gasping for air.  Physical and visceral.   Another loss slung on top of my income, my freedom and the other people who have melted away.

But finding out who your friends are means that we’ve discovered Gems.  Wonderful, sparkling, dazzling gems hidden by humdrum.  Folk who wordlessly picked up the kids, fed them, held them and let them talk.   Friends who brought meals, pegged out the washing and dragged my husband out for a beer.  People who brought stories of sunshine and warmth.   And left before I was exhausted.  And promised to come back soon.  And did.  Those who just held my hand.

In the sea storm of illness, the Gems crafted my family a raft.  They joined hands and hauled each of us from the snarling sea.  Their calm embrace surrounded us with warmth and light.  Backs bent to take the worst of the weather, they guided us into calmer waters until smiles came back to my children’s faces and the colour returned to my cheeks.

The Gems are the glue that mends my broken body.  Their kindness fills my heart with the strength to press out the hurt of those who’ve gone.  The Gems let me believe that this is not my forever, when I lie in my bed alone.