I have a fish tank in my dining room that I like to sit in front of and watch the fish as they swim around. It’s got several bits of driftwood with plants growing on them and several other plants growing in the gravel. It’s been a little hard to see the fish of late though because I’ve put off cleaning the tank for many, many weeks. So on the weekend I set out to clean all the algae of the glass walls, vacuum the gravel, you know, general maintenance that should be done every few weeks but I hadn’t done in months.
After cleaning off the algae I looked at the plants. On first inspection everything looked good, there were lots of big leaves and the plants were fat with them. However, as I looked through the now clean glass I realised that the plants weren’t actually doing as well as I thought. Now that I could see them more clearly I realised that many of the leaves were covered in a fine moss and they were rotting. There were holes in a lot of the leaves too. It turns out that what I thought was a healthy plant/ecosystem was really diseased and unbalanced.
Any good gardener, which is not me, will tell you that the best way to keep a garden healthy and thriving is to prune back the plants. They say you have to remove the older growth so that the young, fresh growth has a chance to thrive.
In my fish tank, the old leaves were taking all the nutrients out of the plant in an attempt to stay healthy, and that was preventing the new growth from establishing itself. It was also unbalancing the health of the tank overall, by disrupting the water quality that everything relies upon to survive, fish and plants both.
So I did what I needed to and I pruned the hell out of those plants. I wish I’d taken a before and after photo, so I could show you the difference, but essentially I removed about two-thirds of the leaves. After I was done the tank looked quite barren, but I know the plants will regrow and the tank will be better for it. 
It occurred to me as I was doing this that the tank could be used as an allegory for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, at least in my case I could see the similarities.
In the last post I talked about how I used to lie on the couch watching a lot of TV, and how ultimately that wasn’t heathy for me. Essentially, I had to prune away what I thought was healthy in order to allow room for a new, healthier, behavioural pattern to establish itself.
I also did it with my sleep, which was terrible for a long time. Many people with CFS complain of not being able to fall asleep and when they wake up they feel exhausted, no matter  how long they’ve been in bed. The way I got my sleep back on track was to prune away my old processes and allow a new one to take hold. I started out by getting up at the same time everyday, no matter how tired I felt. I would force myself to stay awake all day so that when it came time to sleep at night my body would be ready. It took time for this new behaviour to take hold, and I was a wreck for several months as I retrained my brain and body, but, over time I got used to the routine. By hacking away the old, unhealthy habits, I was allowing new healthier habits to form. 
I guess my point is that at some point you might want to prune your beliefs about CFS. There are many long held thoughts about what causes it, and how it should be treated, but just because a thought process has been around for a long time doesn’t make it correct. In fact, it might be that those old/long held beliefs are preventing your recovery. 
I understand that CFS is different for everyone, and the root cause of it will be unique too, but I’m a firm believer that CFS itself is a neurological condition, and that as long as the root cause for its appearance has been resolved, a treatment plan for recovery can be formed for everyone. 
However, in order to be ready for change you might have to prune some of your long held beliefs about what CFS is. This is what I did, and it was hard for me at first. I thought I had a good understanding of what my CFS was and the best way to deal with it. It was only after I had help to prune away those old thoughts, the old growth so to speak, that I was able to make giant leaps forward and get back to living the life I deserved.
My fish tank looks average at the moment, because I hacked away everything that I thought made it look good, but the new growth will come through soon and when it does the tank will flourish and it will look fantastic.