Archive for CFS / ME

Quick Tips to Pick Yourself UP from Despair

Happy Coach

Happiness Coach Nancy Lamb

Breaking the Downward Spiral

Many of you know how tough it is to break a downward spiral. But did you know there is a way to reprogram your brain? Did you know that some simple mind games can trick your happy factor to wake up?

Goodbye Darkness, my false friend

I’m happy as I write this, but I’ve not always been. In fact, there were times that despair was actually comfortable. Yeah, we all have down days, but the darkness for a time was my friend. Just like the song, I’d fall into a funk that could easily be sung …”hello, darkness my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you gain…” Yep, we all have those times. No one is fully immune. But I learned .. I learned after dealing with the darkness that it truly is all about me. How I think. How I perceive. Whatever is going on, I can focus my thoughts. I can train my brain — and so can YOU. Yes. YOU. Happyhammer_dreamstimefree_237722

Certain Useless Emotions…

First of all, guilt and shame are about the most useless emotions on the planet. If you feel guilty, do something about it. If you feel shame, you’ve got some inner work to do. You need to first own it, but then you need to delete it. Shame is what other people put on you. Shame is what you were told you should feel when you didn’t meet some one’s expectations — even if they were constantly changing.  Shame wreaks havoc in you inner world. And you need to eradicate it. Shame is absolutely useless. It gives your power to those who wish to dominate you.  Most often, you have nothing to feel ashamed about.  Guilt, maybe. Shame is purely a way of validating those who chose to make you feel inferior – even if it is yourself.  But when you let yourself feel shameful about things that happen, you are adding to your despair.

Every time you think about shameful beliefs, you add fuel to the pile of despair. It’s like taking a bite out the pity pie.  It makes you feel worse. Every time! 

Enough of that. A friend said it best: Shame is just a false sense of guilt turned towards oneself . 

How do you get rid of it?   You’ve got to answer the hard questions. What did you do? Anything? Could you do something differently? Can you really control what other people think? Probably NOT. 

Part of my Reality: How I know this stuff works

For a time, after an estrangement from my loved ones, I was feeling hopeless and depressed. I’d learned that my family no longer wished to do family holidays. I delivered 2 large bags of gifts  – gifts that stretched my budget – and it was then I was informed that this family had decided we would no longer exchange gifts either. OUCH! Thanks for telling me!  I suddenly got it! It wasn’t just that year they were going out of town. They were flat out done with family holidays.  In some ways, they were done with extended family gatherings.  Hold on – there is a gift in this, else why would I bring it up? I was faced with a choice. I could stay miserable — or I could fight my way out of the despair.  

What I did with the pain actually created miracle after miracle. Eventually.  No one is immune to this kind of pain.  Once I learned the gifts I received from this, everything changed. 

That’s why I write today.  These tips will take you from despair to happiness, maybe even bliss. It’s not about food or exercise. It’s about mind games that flip your switch. 
We are going to hammer your happy track into a habit. And just like any new habit, you need to commit to 5 weeks to make it real.

The message to me set off on a spiral downwards that was extremely hard. Wouldn’t it do the same to you? I have a small family. I have one brother. His family decided they no longer wanted to do family holidays. 

Oh my God!Guess what? It was such a gift! It was hard to get my heart and my head around it, but it was a true gift. Freedom to create that which makes me happy! Freedom to have a life without judgement. Freedom to be me, accept those who cherish me, and stay away from those who sneer at me.  Yes — a gift. 

NO Pollyanna Here

Before I go off on what you might think is a Pollyanna Puff of superficial happiness, let me explain. Seriously, I am the last person to pull the Pollyanna crap on people. But I do believe there is always a gift inside pain. Something that causes us to go forward to become a better person. And I am not talking about getting sober, quitting drinking or other destructive habits that change one’s true persona. I am talking about finding an inner source of reality.

Lessons learned

What I learned from that painful episode stays with me now, some 14 years later. It had already been an acrimonious situation where several times, I felt excluded and hurt, but the mixed messages made me question my sanity.  Yes, they are family, but their actions are entirely different than their words. The questions I used to ask myself are telling, but more important was what I finally did! That’s where we really start!  

The questions: 

What do you want?

Why do you keep going back, expecting different results?

Why did you accept invitations, show up where you felt uncomfortable, do caregiving, buy gifts, do things for others instead of taking care of yourself? 

What’s really behind all your hurt?  What you wanted, what you wanted to give, why you felt so hurt or humiliated when those you loved turned you away.  

Isn’t it always about wanting to be valued? Wanting to feel worthwhile? Wanting to be a part of a unit?  So what can you do today, to build that for yourself in your world? 

Sure this stuff hurts, but it teaches you to value YOU. 

It might be old stuff. It might be going on now. As the holidays approach, it all comes back. It always comes back, right? And even when it’s not just in your head – say you get a phone call or an email – or someone dies and the funeral is packed with family triggers. It always comes back because you are a human being not a robot. 

You can’t reason this one out, folks. You can’t find logic where there is none. In my experience, I can not find anything in my behavior or history that would cause me to deserve such treatment, but I continued to look. For years, I self examined. In other words, I ripped myself apart trying to figure out why. The bottom line: THERE IS NO WHY.

But that leads to the Quick Tips to eradicate the negative thoughts, self flagellation, chronic pain, and emotional self destruction. That’s just what it is. Self destructive thoughts designed to create answers where there is none. Now, I know many folks out there have some amends to make for actual harm they have done to others. But that’s not what I’m talking about.


Tips to Create Your Own Habit of Healthy Real Happiness


  • Focus on what you do well
  • Learn something new
  • Be present in the now
  • Look for ways to add value
  • Look in Your EYES and SMILE at yourself with Love
  • Go Outside and Play
  • Make some art or craft
  • Do something you enjoy (and don’t I CAN’T yourself out of it. – JUST DO IT AS BEST YOU CAN TODAY ) 
  • Do something for yourself
  • Do something for a friend or a neighbor
  • Be mindful: If you get a stinking thought creeping in, notice, say ERASE and REPLACE it with something good.
  • Daily Gratitude List to start each morning
  • Daily Happy List each night



If you are feeling stuck, like you can’t crawl your way out of a wet paper bag, you’ve got some inner work to do. Really, if you are totally depressed, you might see a counselor. And on top of that, you might start your own personal rewiring program to retrain your brain.  Some is unconscious. Some are conscious. All day, every day, watch your thoughts.  Keep looking for what is good, and keep reminding yourself of the value you have added to the day, you create a stronger foundation for long term survival of the darkness.  

Sure living healthy is a huge part of this. Daily exercise, daily nourishment for the body, mind and spirit is essential. 

No amount of stinking thinking can be overcome by good food, enough sleep and exercise alone.   You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to make the decision to change your mind in order to kick it into happy factor. It’s up to you.

 The Long and Short of it is it’s up to you. You have to fight your way out of the cavern, claw by claw to a place where you come to love yourself no matter what anyone else says or does. Love YOU no matter what happens in your life. Stop berating yourself for anything. Start loving yourself. Stand up for yourself when the stinking thinking kick’s into gear. 

In my coaching practice, the one thing I can’t fix is what you say to yourself. I can give you all kinds of ideas. I can share what I have done to retrain my brain. I can be honest that I am far from perfect. We can talk weekly or more often about how to change your life. If you are a caregiver, you know the ups and downs that are the emotional rollercoaster of your daily life.  The downs are devastating and the moments of bliss are fleeting. But you know you will ride the wave. We all do. It’s how well we master it that makes the difference. 

These tips make it work. For me, a daily glimpse of things I do well and enjoy, a daily review of gratitude notes, and a daily dose of getting outside all serve to fuel the flame of happiness. 

But it’s always, even on the days when I can’t get out of it, it’s always a look at what gifts are in the day .

An Idea whose time is NOW

Caregivers know already.

Patients – maybe they get it, but they are pretty sick so their caregivers do all the research, pull info together, and do all the background work.

What if it happens to you? What if your spouse suddenly needs so much help that you can’t work?

Worse, what if it drags on forever?

I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be so damned hard. I’m going to make sure of that. I am building templates, creating articles, and crafting presentations that address the needs of a caregiver, a patient, and others who are involved in the care of someone in this situation.

I’ve talked with several folks who had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at some point. They somewhat recovered, but all admit to being subject to relapse. One friend says he thinks his was due to a build up of toxins in his environment. Another swears her Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has a direct correlation to child birth – each of 3 births was followed by severe and constant fatigue for 2 years. It wasn’t until she dug deeply into her emotional history that she was able to restore herself. Another gal says her Fibromyalgia had a specific starting point in her ribs but there were life issues she’d been ignoring that seemed to have a direct relationship to where the pain ignited in her body. She says she had emotional signs all along and it wasn’t  until she learned to listen to her body’s cries for attention was she able to recover. And the Integrative Medical team at the Mayo says that EVERYONE is different, there is no known cure or treatment, and if it was so obvious, everyone would advice the same treatment.

The real question: WHY ARE WE STILL EVEN GUESSING? This is as real as it gets. A person literally can’t get out of bed. Another can’t easily leave the house. Another might function in a zombie state while working at first, but if it wears on and on, they eventually collapse. Some experience dizziness, nausea, cramping, and an unquestionable brain fog and mental impairment sometimes akin to how a dementia patient is slow to respond. The processor is on super slow speed like it’s about to crash sometimes.

The truth of the matter is we all have history and emotional healing is sometimes our path. Others I’ve listened to on videos have no idea what caused the disease, nor what put them into remission. Our doctors are the best in the world — the Mayo Clinic specialists ran every test possible. And when the tests were inconclusive, they found that CFS / ME has no medical exam to prove it — it’s all about ruling out everything else, looking at the myriad of symptoms, and realizing that they fit the category.

ME – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis – Inflammation of the Brain and Spinal Chord – is listed as a subset of CFS — but it’s really it’s own living nightmare. It affects EVERY part of the body system. That finally explains to us why my husbands symptom list goes on and on, changes, but always wraps around the same general complaints: nausea, dizziness, brain fog, memory loss, and physical pain. This disease is fairly well documented in the UK, Australia, and other places abroad. In the US – it’s lumped in with CFS and Fibromyalgia. WE now understand to some degree why so many General Practitioners would be so baffled by the disease. We now understand why they all directed him to Gastroenterology even though this is not a Gastro issue. What we don’t understand is how, after 15 Gastroenterologists, invasive physical explorations from the head to the toes, they never figured out what it was. Without a diagnosis, there is no help, no guidance, no medication, and worst of all — no way to get disability insurance to cover the loss of work. One of my questions for the first 5 medical providers is why they didn’t look deep enough to identify this disease. Not one told us they thought it was in his head. Not one told us it wasn’t real. They all said something akin to:

“Geez – you know this is really weird, clearly something is wrong, but I don’t have any more suggestions.”  “Try the pink pill? ” “Stop taking the Pink Pill and try the blue one.” “There is no spoon????”

I’ve created a go fund me page to ignite the funding to flesh out this website and dedicate it to chronic illness and people with lingering illnesses. I’ll find folks to interview who have gone into remission. I’ll find doctors who have expertise in this area. I’ll find caregivers – family members who helped their loved one through this ordeal.  I’ll look for patterns.  I’ll do the best lay research possible looking for root cause, symptom identifiers, and mostly — help for those with this horrible, immobilizing, disorder.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? It’s not just needing extra bed rest. It’s about a total change from type A driven hyperdrive people into those who quite often are nearly housebound if not bedridden. It’s about over-exertion to an extreme. It’s about someone who has about 20 % of what would be normal energy and it’s so easily depleted that recovery is minimal.  It’s about a medical industry that offers no cure, and often, disbelief in the syndrome as a whole. I know all about that. I read medical records going back 8 years. We found this one doc who didn’t really say in appointments but always wrote in notes that he thought my husband was simply fat and eating too many carbs.  Maybe — but in reality if he had the energy to do the active, vibrant lifestyle he preferred, he wouldn’t be eating bread and ice cream.  Something was terribly wrong, but the doctor wasn’t looking beyond his belly.

CFS / ME is a life sucking issue that is so far untreatable and incurable.

So what can we do?

We can join forces to provide support, knowledge, information, and hopefully a treatment.

We can look into what helps. what hurts, what works and what fails.  With your help, we can make this a better solution for all who suffer in isolation. Let’s do it. You don’t need to dump ice on your head. You don’t need to make a big show. Just help.