A month or so after my CFS diagnosis life changed markedly and very quickly. I shut my business, radically altered my diet through the omission of things I loved (namely wine, caffeine, the odd bit of sugar, fruit), stopped seeing people and where I could muster the concentration I started immersing myself in research, learning about what I could do to aid my recovery. It’s a huge and terribly frustrating adjustment for someone so independent to learn dependence. I chose in the early days to stay in my apartment and struggle through (clearly not totally accepting my illness and it’s limitations) and in doing so became terribly lonely. As other CFS sufferers could attest there is very little you can do about that – I didn’t have the energy to chat on the phone, to invite friends in or to attend social gatherings. On the odd occasion I ventured out I would come crashing down 24-48 hours later and there I’d ride out the overbearing fatigue, for days. Essentially I became house bound 24/7, bar the odd 5 or 10 min walk.
As a dog lover, it became a no-brainer that I buy a dog in the end. Not only did I desperately need company but I wanted something to take my mind off my predicament. Being trapped in the four walls of your own home (and the confines of your own miserable head) is a very tough place to be.
And so arrived Wilson, via Virgin Australia all the way from Tassie. This gorgeous little bundle of chocolatey joy came into my home and moved into my life. Bringing joy and happiness into my days he became without question one of the most significant ‘ingredients’ in my path to wellness.
CFS removes all of your choices – rarely are you in the (taken for granted) position to choose what you’d like to do each day – who you would like to see, what you’d like to watch or listen to, whether you’d like to go to work or go for a run. There are no choices because you are capable of none. Not surprisingly life becomes miserable and the black cloud of depression creeps around threateningly. The emotions are tough – anger, frustration, sadness, loss, fear, guilt (oh the guilt!) – you name it they swirl around and intrude in your day. The beauty of course of a 4 legged companion is their ability to share their love and affection irrespective of your mindset. They don’t judge you. They don’t punish you or leave you feeling racked with guilt for being a miserable grump after snapping at a loved one (who is only doing their best). They just love you, unconditionally every day, week after week.
Wilson, this little post is dedicated to you my gorgeous bundle of joy x