Ian Cleary

Pushing through doesn’t get you anywhere

December 3, 2014IanChronic Fatigue Syndrome & MEComments Off on Pushing through doesn’t get you anywhere

Success stories often mention incredible activities that people enjoy after their training. Many people assume therefore that training encourages ‘pushing through’ fatigue and symptoms.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Conditions like ME & CFS are physical dysfunction of the Autonomic Nervous System. Merely pushing through won’t work. You’ve tried that and you know it. So thinking that the Lightning Process could magically change that is insanity. Remember the old adage about insanity – doing the same thing and thinking you will get different results.

So how can people do so much after the training. The answer is in learning how to take charge of the brain and the body and do it in a very different way. Same activity – different way. 

With several conditions that I work with the brain puts a ‘high threat value’ on certain activities. It could be a 5 mintute walk, it could be waking early or staying up late, it could be eating certain foods or merely moving your body. These things are seen as dangerous as far as the brain is concerned and they trigger the body’s ‘danger / survival mode’. YOU might want to do them, but the brain has different ideas. The neurological wiring, thanks to so many past pushing through and paying for it, is now a well-worn path.  However many people I see refuse to let these conditions rule their lives so they push through, battle on, cope, manage and suffer the consequences. While this may sound like an admirable ‘battler’ quality, the thing to remember is that the brain is ALWAYS learning and adapting. That’s neuroplasticity in action.

If you push through you pay for it. The problem with pushing through and suffering the consequences, is that this in a learning that re-inforces to the brain that the activity is ‘dangerous’. It learns again and again that that activity is dangerous. This only serves to reinforce the threat. So pushing through is not the answer.

The other option people try is to avoid the things that set them off – exercise, driving, foods, chemicals, doing more than 1 active thing a day etc etc etc . So this is managing your condition to avoid the consequences. This also makes sense but remember the brain is always learning. The lesson here is that those things ARE dangerous and to be avoided at all costs. Avoidance behavior reinforces the threat value.  While this undoubtedly brings relief and helps avoid the major crashes it has nothing to do with recovery. If doing less was the answer then I would never see a bed bound client!   So this approach merely gives you a restricted life.

But there is a third way – retraining your brain and body to respond appropriately. After all – it isn’t the trigger that is the problem, it is how your body is responding to it. I show people that the answer to fully beat these conditions is not to avoid the activities, and not to push through.

Success comes with retraining your body to respond appropriately.

Are you pushing through symptoms or avoiding the things that set you off?  You may be stuck in what I call management mode. It’s great for getting some stability but it has nothing to do with full recovery.

 

 

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