Health and happiness update (and 10 things I've learnt since having glandular fever).

15.2.16

Before I became ill last August with Glandular Fever I had no idea how bad this virus was. I had never come across anyone who had suffered with it and assumed it was a bit like the flu. How wrong I was!

Glandular Fever has literally ruined what should have been some of the best months of my life. Since August I have experienced all of the following; painful glands in my neck, memory problems, difficult concentrating, dizziness, sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises, hot sweats but a freezing cold body, nausea and no appetite, and a whole new level of fatigue which no amount of rest or sleep alleviates. I haven't exercised since last Summer, I have had to pretty much cancel my social life, and at times I couldn't even walk unaided.

I feel like I am finally coming out of the other side by making a lot of changes to my lifestyle, getting plenty of rest, staying positive, and exploring avenues such as acupuncture (more about that another time).

As bad as things have been and however much I wish I hadn't been unwell with this god-awful virus, I have learnt plenty of valuable lessons which will stay with me for the future and hopefully keep my body and mind happy and healthy for the long run.

1) Your health is absolutely THE most important thing and if you don't look after yourself, who will?! Before I was struck down with GF I was going through the most stressful period in my life, but instead of taking it steady I was staying up late, working out at the gym every day, hardly eating, drinking shed loads of caffeine, and generally burning the candle at both ends. How I wish I could go back and be kind to myself during that difficult time.

 
2) You have to treat your body with respect and give it the right fuel to do its job. This is the thing I struggle with the most because my appetite still hasn't returned and eating fruit/veg (which I used to LOVE) is a real struggle. Months of living on pate on toast will do that to ya! 

3) Drinking plenty of water makes a huge difference. Yep, that old chestnut! One of the things I found with GF was a constant feeling of nausea and a lack of appetite for any food and drink, so there were times I definitely wasn't drinking anywhere near enough. Whenever I make a conscious effort to drink at least 2 litres a day I always feel 10 times better for it and it really clears my fuzzy head.


4) Meditation is pretty cool. With the help of YouTube and a couple of apps I have been getting into meditation and I find it really helpful for clearing my mind of negative thoughts and things that are worrying me. I am definitely going to continue with this so if you know of any good videos or apps please send them my way! 

5) Doing nothing is okay. I used to be the kind of person who liked to be busy doing something at all times otherwise I felt like it was a waste of a day. I had no choice but to do nothing for an awfully long time and however frustrating it was, I can now enjoy doing nothing and know it's doing me good. Sometimes I will pop some headphones in and listen to tinkly piano music, or I will do a spot of colouring in, or I'll have a cuddle with the Pugs on the sofa. They are a magic cure within themselves them two! 

6) Fresh air is always a good idea. Having dogs helps with this one as it's a reason to push yourself to go outside every day.

7) Having a positive mental attitude is vital! It sounds so corny but whenever I let myself get bogged down with thoughts of "why me?!" or "I'm never going to get better waaahhhh" I always feel poorly again. 

8) Worrying is not going to do you any good. So let it go. I worry an awful lot. Like, about everything. It is exhausting and all consuming and I am working on ways to stop worrying on shit that really doesn't matter. Generally I find writing things down helps or having a good chat about whatever's on my mind.
 
all images from Pinterest - sources unknown

9) A good nights sleep can fix a lot of things. Gone are the days when I would stay up late gossiping with my housemate or chatting to Paul until silly-o-clock, or be squirrelled away in my room putting off going to sleep as it would mean time to get up for work. Sleep is so precious to me now, especially since a touch of insomnia started to creep in recently after years of being a heavy sleeper. If I have a headache I go to bed. If I feel achy or my neck glands start to flare up or I'm anxious I go to bed. I use my magic pillow sprays and sleep potions to get as much solid sleep as I can and I usually wake feeling so much better. The earlier the bedtime the better! #grandma

10) Taking one day at a time is a good plan. At the minute my health has good days and bad days and I am trying not to dwell on when the bad days will be. If I wake up and feel okay that's a good day! And I make the most of it (without doing too much, obvs). If I have a bad day I tell myself it's only temporary and I do some of the steps above to get myself back on track.

If you made it this far, congratulations! And thank you for reading. If you found this useful do let me know in the comments bit. If you've got GF you can't go far wrong with following some of these steps and resting. Rest, rest, rest!

Crikey, is that the time?! Time for bed! ;)
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13 comments:

  1. Great tips & ones anybody who is new to GF will appreciate xx

    Beautylymin

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    1. Thank you - I really hope so! x

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  2. Totally agree with all of these. I was diagnosed a few years ago with two chronic illnesses and it's totally changed my life.
    I find it hard to do a lot of these things and I know I should be taking better care of myself, but that seems to need a whole other attitude shift on top of accepting that my life isn't the same any more.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear this. It's tough accepting when things change. Some days when my GF was really bad I tried bouncing around like the old days because I refused to accept my body wasn't the same. The doctor has mentioned CFS/ME to me and I am determined to fight because I am hopeful it's just the last of the GF in my body.

      You take care of yourself missus! Don't give yourself a hard time. Always here for a chat.xx

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  3. I think it's hard because (and I have no medical evidence for this!) GF probably affects people who naturally like to be busy, and it's partly because of working long hours and going to the gym and wanting to have a social life that I got ill with GF in the first place. Because of that I think we are the worst patients!
    Hopefully you are coming out the other end now : ) I think your approach of taking each day as it comes is completely right. Slowly but surely you won't need a nap when you get home from work, then you'll make it through a weekend day without feeling crap, and before you know it you'll be back to 100%. But if my experience is anything to go by, it definitely changes your approach as now I am much more conscious of getting enough rest and eating the right food etc, which surely is a good thing.
    xx

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    1. Yes I've read that - that it affects people who physically or mentally have a lot going on. So it makes it worse for them because it's not in their nature to do nothing for months on end. So frustrating!! I don't nap as much as I used to and I am managing to do things after work which I never used to do, so it's all progress. Thanks for pointing that out because sometimes it's easy to get bogged down thinking things haven't changed! xx

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  4. Great tips for most ppl but definitely for those who are feeling ill or fatigued. When I wasn't working I found myself not drinking much water and it made such a huge difference to how I felt. Now I'm drinking loads agsin and I feel so much more awake.
    Hope you get 100% better soon. Xx

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    1. Thank you very much <3
      I have never drunk so much! Which means I spend half the day on the loo ha! xx

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  5. This completely struck a chord with me and I may have had a little weep! I was tested for Glandular fever before Christmas as I suddenly felt all the symptoms you describe, but I was diagnosed with a similar virus called Labyrinthitis (which is an inner ear virus that makes you feel dizzy, feeling of drunkenness and exhaustion). It completely turned my life for a month upside down and I was left in bed for a month feeling horrendous and seriously bad tempered. Not only did I have a pants Christmas, it also made me incredibly anxious and really negative about everything in life. I felt so cheated that I missed out on so much, I even ached to go back to the gym! It's so awful having an 'invisible' illness as I felt guilty about having time off work and my family and Matt were utterly confused on how they could help. After finally feeling better, it reared it's ugly head a few weeks ago as my immune system took an absolute battering and I recently I had been been signed off work for another month. This time around it hit me harder and I don't think I've ever felt so low or angry. I had horrendous panic attacks (which was so alien to me!) and I honestly felt so low. Thankfully, I finally got all the clear from my DR with blood test results (i actually feel like I've won the lottery!) on Friday to say that it's completely gone from my system and I'm just waiting for the last of my symptoms to go and I can work on my feelings of anxiety! Health is so important, both physically and mentally - and your post totally made me feel like I'm not alone. If you ever want to have a moan or even a chat, please just drop me a line! xxx

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    1. I could have written this! I totally get what you're saying. Every day I say "I WISH I could do a workout or go for a run" - I never thought I would utter those words, ha! I'm going to email you :) xx

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  6. Wise words x This post has made me very emotional and I wish you all the very best in your journey to recovery x I was hospitalised with GF when I was just 14 and it completely destroyed my body. I've never been the same since (I'm now 30!) After some initial improvement things went from bad to worse. I pushed and pushed myself to carry on the life I'd had previously (school, dancing, swimming) but I seemed to be battling a whole range of debilitating and frustrating symptoms. I was eventually diagnosed with M.E and have been battling the bitch of an illness ever since. You grieve for the person you were and all the things you used to do-and in my case I grieve for the person I thought I'd be. It's a complete roller coaster of symptoms and emotions and something I've found very few people understand unless they've been through it themselves. I spent years believing I could fight it and wonder if I'd taken the time to listen to my body then I may have improved much more than I have. Never doubt that you are doing the right thing. Your health is THE most precious thing x My only advice would be to do what is best for you and your body-there is no right or wrong way to cope. I've built myself up and have a career (of sorts-i work 4 days a week), a supportive hubby-and just like you...pugs! (Well-one pug!) x He's the best medicine a girl could ask for.

    Look after yourself lovely x Keep your chin up and take things a day at a time x

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  7. Wise words x This post has made me very emotional and I wish you all the very best in your journey to recovery x I was hospitalised with GF when I was just 14 and it completely destroyed my body. I've never been the same since (I'm now 30!) After some initial improvement things went from bad to worse. I pushed and pushed myself to carry on the life I'd had previously (school, dancing, swimming) but I seemed to be battling a whole range of debilitating and frustrating symptoms. I was eventually diagnosed with M.E and have been battling the bitch of an illness ever since. You grieve for the person you were and all the things you used to do-and in my case I grieve for the person I thought I'd be. It's a complete roller coaster of symptoms and emotions and something I've found very few people understand unless they've been through it themselves. I spent years believing I could fight it and wonder if I'd taken the time to listen to my body then I may have improved much more than I have. Never doubt that you are doing the right thing. Your health is THE most precious thing x My only advice would be to do what is best for you and your body-there is no right or wrong way to cope. I've built myself up and have a career (of sorts-i work 4 days a week), a supportive hubby-and just like you...pugs! (Well-one pug!) x He's the best medicine a girl could ask for.

    Look after yourself lovely x Keep your chin up and take things a day at a time x

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    1. Hi Rachel, thanks for stopping by! Sending some love your way to you and your puglet!
      I am cross with myself for not resting when my GF was at its worst. I think with another month of full rest I could have shifted it so much quicker, instead I battled on and put my body through too much at work and whatnot. Anyway, too late now. I just need to focus on listening to my body, like you said, and resting when it has had enough.

      My outlook on life has definitely changed. My days of excessive exercise and trying to do it all have gone. And boy am I glad for that!! Time to look after myself and take things slowly.

      It's inspiring that you can work 4 days p/w with M.E. and you seem to have a good attitude about everything. Thanks so much for your comment! xx

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