Category: chronic fatigue syndrome

Keith Ross and Brenda by Ken David Stewart


Episode 10:

Brenda asked Keith to take  a seat at the center bar in her kitchen. It was made of marble and had a speckled design of silver and black and had the capacity to seat up to eight people.

As Keith started to lower himself into a stylish, modern chair, Brenda noticed that he was having a difficult time seating himself. She could hear him utter an audible groan.

“Keith, are you in pain?” Brenda asked, her voice registering noticeable concern.

“Yes. Unfortunately, today it is particularly bad. I have my good days and my bad days. Sometimes I have good months and bad months,” Keith answered.

“How long have you suffered like this?”

“For most of my adult life. I think it began in my mid-30s. One day I was performing a weight resistance exercise at the gym, when I felt a horrendous shot of pain in my lower back. From then on, I’ve had nothing but trouble with my lower back. Fortunately, it will sometimes go into remission for two or three months. Just to make the pot a little bit sweeter, I also developed a serious case of fibromyalgia in my forties.”

“Is fibromyalgia what they used to call the ‘yuppie flu’”?

“Actually,chronic fatigue syndrome was usually a condition that earned that unfortunate moniker, but I’m sure that fibromyalgia would also fall under the same umbrella.”

“So how do you cope with the pain?”

“By God’s grace and the compassion of my family doctor, Dr. Rickland who prescribes a daily dose of Tylenol threes and naproxen to treat my chronic pain syndrome.”

“Does it work for the pain?”

“To some extent, but not entirely. It helps to numb the pain enough so that I can continue working on a part-time basis. When my condition really gets bad, I have to take a month to six weeks off work and see my chiropractor on almost a daily basis.”

“Has chiropractic helped?”

“I believe so, but doesn’t stop the pain right away.”

“Have you ever smoked marijuana, Keith?” Brenda asked. Oh, before you answer, I’m going to make some Tim Horton’s coffee and bring out a plate of home baked oatmeal and raisin cookies.”

“Are they big?” Keith asked.

“I haven’t heard any guys complain about the size?”

Keith looked startled for a second and then burst out laughing.

“I was referring to the cookies, but I enjoy them large and firm in both contextual meanings.”

“My God, Keith. You are a funny man. I think we both needed a good laugh.”

“Now back to my original question. Have you ever smoked marijuana?

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Living With Depression by Ken David Stewart


Episode Four

 

In January 2017 a very unusual thing happened. I received a phone call from a teacher who taught a special education class. He asked if I could cover his class for two days. As the teacher’s medical condition was more complicated then he first expected, my assignment turned out to be multi-day assignment lasting seven teaching days. I probably had not taught seven consecutive full days in about fifteen years.

After two days, I was visibly tired. By the fourth day my wife almost begged me to cancel the remainder of my assignment. Although I knew that I was severely exhausted and that there was a real possibility that I could die if I finished the assignment, I told my wife that I was determined to teach the whole seven days, no matter what.

Although, I was able to fulfill my job commitment, I had not made a wise decision from the perspective of my own health.

Two weeks prior to accepting this assignment, I made another very foolish and risky decision which I would not recommend to anyone. I’ve been reading Dr. Peter Breggin’s books that talked about the dangers of taking psychotropic medication. Dr. Breggin had recommended embarking on a very gradual withdrawal of these medications only if one was under the close supervision of medical professional. For some strange reason, probably my propensity to take risks, I did not follow Dr. Breggin’s instructions. I attempted to stop taking all my medications at once. Consequently, I experienced horrible withdrawal symptoms for a couple of days. By the third day of drug withdrawal my wife became very worried about me and called for an ambulance. After spending several hours in the hospital the nurse said that I could go home. I have very few memories of this incident. I recall the paramedics talking to me before they transported me to the hospital and the nurse waking me up, but I don’t remember the medical technicians doing medical tests on me.

Shortly after this experience I made a rational decision to slowly and gradually resume taking my psychotropic medications. After I completed my seven day subbing extravaganza I contracted either a viral or bacterial infection. This illness was serious enough to require two rounds of different antibiotics. Even with this medical intervention, it took my body and mind three more months before I felt well enough to attempt a return to work.

My return to substitute teaching was successful, but painful.

 

I found that I constantly had to push myself to complete an assignment. As I needed the money, I probably accepted more teaching gigs that I should have. I was more than ready to go on holidays in June 2017.

I’m hoping and praying for the day that I would be capable of consistently working a succession of full days and still have the energy to pursue my hobbies after the work day is done.

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Episodes 1 to 4 Inclusive of Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart


Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart

I have had to live with major depressive disorder for most of my adult life. I would estimate that this disease has consumed about forty percent of my productive years.

A few of the symptoms of depression are much more disabling than others. One of the most frustrating symptoms in my life is the severe and chronic fatigue that is commonly found in persons with this disorder. The chronic fatigue may be significantly prevalent for weeks and even months. Sometimes, I find that the fatigue and heaviness appears to go into remission for part of the year.

Why this happens, I am not sure. I am just extremely grateful to get these short seasons of relief. I tend to perk up a bit when the summer season comes along. This could indicate that I also have seasonal affective disorder.

The chronic fatigue that often accompanies depression may cause financial distress. Unless you have good group insurance benefits at work, you may find that your household income can be significantly depleted for parts of the year. When this occurs, worry and fear will usually appear.

I should state at this point that all chronic fatigue may not be attributable to the disease of depression. I have often found that a severe lack of energy may ensue after I have a serious viral or bacterial infection. When my cold and flu symptoms dissipate I have often found that my debilitating fatigue will continue for weeks or even months after. It is quite likely that I suffer from another illness known as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Episode two

Chronic fatigue will almost always negatively impact one’s relationships with other people. Especially if they have a significant other. The depressive’s spouse finds that her husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend chooses not to go out with them or do much of anything, especially if the activity involves other people and socializing. The partner that is unaffected by major depressive disorder may find that they are spending an inordinate amount of their time alone, or are doing many extra curricular or social activities by themselves.

 

It’s not always that a person suffering with depression does not want to attend the occasional social function. Sometimes they wish they could go to an activity with their partner, but simply don’t have the energy to do it. Even if they occasionally feel that they may be able to ‘push themselves’ to go out, they may be worried that they will bring other people down. Who really wants to hang out with a depressed individual anyway?

When I am in my worst phases of depression I feel that I don’t have the energy to carry on a conversation with anyone. When the depressive thinks about going out for social or group or church event, all they can think about is how much of their already depleted energy it might take to shave, shower, brush their teeth, select and put on clean clothes, etc. The contemplated energy consumption may seem overwhelming to the depressed person. If the depressed individual owns a car they may ask their partner to drive as they believe that they may be too fatigued to operate a vehicle safely. Worry and guilt are two emotions that a person with depression will frequently encounter.

Episode three

 

For the past two weeks I have been feeling relatively well. For most people there should be nothing special about this. For a person suffers from major depression disorder one good day is a day to be celebrated.

 

When I experience one or more happy days strung together, I started to get uncomfortable. I struggle the feeling of happiness in my life. It seems to be such a rare phenomenom for me. I’m so used to feeling depressed, without hope and having very little faith that my life will ever get any better. I was on my default setting when I was feeling exhausted and plagued by physical and emotional pain. I’ve have often thought that this was just my lot in life. I believe that this is why I am probably happier than the average person when I ocassionally experience a good day.

 

I went through a very rough winter season that seems to have started in November of 2016. I suffer from what my doctor termed a mild case of COPD. This illness appears in a mild form when I don’t have an upper respiratory infection. When I catch a bad cold or flu, everything changes for me. I’ve become so ill that I barely have the strength to get out of bed.

During my episodes of severe COPD in the past, I’ve been able to continue with my fiction writing, but not my substitute teaching. This time, however, even my writing was a ‘no go’. Not only did my body feel shut down, so did my mind. I couldn’t seem to string together two cohesive thoughts. I have been writing fiction novels and plays, oft and on, for several years now.

Although I am technically retired, I work part-time as a substitute teacher. I enjoy subbing very much and take as many assignments as much as my health and energy and energy levels allow. Presently, I’m on holidays and have been enjoying the last two weeks immensely.

I’ve experienced long periods in my life where I cannot feel joy in anything that I do. This affects every area of my life as why would I want to pursue activities that no longer give me any pleasure? This is what is known in the psychiatric literature as a condition termed adhedonia or the inability to feel pleasure in the ordinary experiences and activities of daily living. This is a very painful place to be.

Feeling somewhat better in December 2016, I returned to my work as a substitute teacher. The Christmas holiday season actually went relatively well for me and that is highly unusual. This was probably due to the fact that I had quality time to spend with my wife and my goddaughter. I will never forget the night all three of us watched Christmas videos. Most of them were very funny and I ended up doing something I haven’t done years. I laughed out loud.

 

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Living With Depression by Ken David Stewart Introduction


Living with Depression by Ken David Stewart

I have had to live with major depressive disorder for most of my adult life. I would estimate that this disease has consumed about forty percent of my productive years.

A few of the symptoms of depression are much more disabling than others. One of the most frustrating symptoms in my life is the severe and chronic fatigue that is commonly found in persons with this disorder. The chronic fatigue may be significantly prevalent for weeks and even months. Sometimes, I find that the fatigue and heaviness appears to go into remission for part of the year.

Why this happens, I am not sure. I am just extremely grateful to get these short seasons of relief. I tend to perk up a bit when the summer season comes along. This could indicate that I also have seasonal affective disorder.

The chronic fatigue that often accompanies depression may cause financial distress. Unless you have good group insurance benefits at work, you may find that your household income can be significantly depleted for parts of the year. When this occurs, worry and fear will usually appear.

I should state at this point that all chronic fatigue may not be attributable to the disease of depression. I have often found that a severe lack of energy may ensue after I have a serious viral or bacterial infection. When my cold and flu symptoms dissipate I have often found that my debilitating fatigue will continue for weeks or even months after. It is quite likely that I suffer from another illness known as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome.2017-06-19 09.04.03

Episode Four of Keith Ross, a Novel by Ken David Stewart


Episode Four

Keith started to think about going for a bike ride. He looked at his beautiful, black, Giant mountain bike parked a few feet behind his large flat screen tv.

Keith decided to make himself go for a bike ride. He now had too many days when he had to ‘push himself’ to do anything. Was he getting old or was it just that he’s out of shape and not eating nutritious meals? Probably Keith’s chronic fatigue was due to a variety of factors.

There was beautiful weather outside and Keith enjoyed his morning bike rides. He more or less rated his physical stamina by his ability to still go for bike rides year after year.

When Keith returned from his ride, he climbed onto his old, broken down orange and yellow couch. Whether it was just psychological or not, Keith found that taking short power naps during the day allowed him to get more accomplished.

It was June 30 today and Keith was officially finished his substitute teaching assignments for the year. He was now officially on summer holidays.

One of Keith’s favorite avocations was writing fiction novels. He had self published three of his original works so far, but none of them had made him any money. Nevertheless, Keith enjoyed the writing process and he found it to be very therapeutic. He found it amazing how the act of writing dredged up memories from the past and old traumas that you thought you had forgotten.

Keith was presently working on a novel that he had temporarily given the title, Chaos. Keith had just started his first rough draft of chapter five after re-reading and self editing chapter four.cropped-fantasy-11.jpg

Episode 2 of The Life and Times of Keith Ross


Episode Two

Keith took hold of his Roku remote and found the Creflo Dollar channel on his tv. He had just decided to call a halt to his substitute teaching assignments for the rest of this year. Keith was exhausted and he really hadn’t been feeling well since January of 2017. His doctors could not properly say what ailed him so Keith had to come up with a diagnosis of his own. Left to his own devices, after days and hours of personal research team Keith concluded that he was suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Both of these medical conditions caused Keith to lack any significant and sustained energy to get done what he both needed and wanted to do.

He wanted to continue with his substitute teaching gigs, but lately he had found his assignments to be extremely exhausting to the degree that he was unable to do much but lie on the couch when he got home from work. Keith had managed to struggle through the majority of this year by relying upon sheer willpower, a doctor prescribed stimulant and a concoction of natural supplements. For a while his self designed treatment protocol appeared to be working. For about one month he felt relatively healthy and could occasionally string together two or three days in which he cold actually engage in some of his extracurricular hobbies after working all day.

Unfortunately, he had neither discovered the secret to sustained energy nor the fountain of youth. He woke up one morning to find that this get up and go had got up and gone. He found this realization to be very troubling and depressing.

Keith sure didn’t need any more things to make him feel depressed. He suffered from what is clinically termed double depression for pretty much all of his adult life. Double depression means that one is mildly depressed most of the time, but will occasionally succumb to severe episodes of major depression.2017-06-19 09.04.08