It's been a long journey, folks, and I am at the end of my rope.
I have struggled with chronic fatigue for at least three years now and have tried over and over again to get it under control. I went one month on low fat raw vegan and although I felt a little bit better, I was still so incredibly tired. The lack of any significant changes was so discouraging, I ended up binging on Oreos because I just stopped caring.
After that, I went a year and a half on low fat vegan. I basically just went through the motions. Feeling okay but certainly not at my best.
Last summer, I made a life-changing decision: I was going to cycle across Europe in the summer of 2015. I realized that my diet would be hard to keep up so, concluding that a vegan diet wasn't fixing my problem anyway, I decided to experiment by going back to SAD.
Yeah, that was dumb. I felt absolutely terrible. Through that experience, I found out I was hypoglycemic. So, I decided to go back to LFRV and start it off with 14 days on banana island. Again, I felt a little better but still awful. I had expected to finally have loads of energy and motivation, but that didn't happen.
This morning was the last straw. I tested my blood sugar just to discover that my hypoglycemia was even worse than before. I'm frustrated and feeling very hopeless. I know that, at this point, I need to just go all out and not spare any expense to get myself a complete check-up in order to see if I'm deficient in anything. Well, I don't have any source of income and don't have the energy to do so (I am exhausted, absolutely exhausted). I'm also still trying to save up for this cycling trip across Europe.
I know that I'm probably doing a lot of things wrong on this diet, but quite frankly, I thought I'd feel more energy than I did when I started the banana island. I really just want to go cry and then sleep and then hope that I wake up and this nightmare is all over.
I want to start with saying go vegan and not just plant-based eater.. (in response to this: "concluding that a vegan diet wasn't fixing my problem anyway, I decided to experiment by going back to SAD.")
When i hear tired and exhausted and everything all i can think about is B12..
I've tried the B12 route... :/
in which way? injections or tablets or whatever.. and which kind?
Diet is a big part of your overall health...BUT DIET ISN'T EVERYTHING.
In other words...if you start eating a garbage diet, it will definitely have a negative impact on your health long term, but eating a perfect diet, won't necessarily heal you 100% of any disease in your body. So I suggest stick with the low fat vegan and try to change other things in your life.
How many calories do you eat per day? Do you have a history of restricting how much food you eat? Do you have issues with your body image? Are you always concerned with "staying skinny"?
How much do you sleep each night? Do you cover your eyes when you sleep so its totally dark? Do you sleep at regular times? Do you get RESTFUL sleep? Do you feel well rested when you wake up?
How is your stress level? Is your job stressful?
Are you emotionally stable throughout the day?
Do you ever notice days or weeks of increased energy? What are you doing during those times?
Do you have a routine in life? A routine each morning? A routine that carries you through tough times? Is your life organized and focused or aimless and "doing everything on your terms"?
What is your support group like?
Also what exactly do you mean by "low energy"? Are you having a hard time getting out of bed? Feeling not your best? Generally fatigued? Falling asleep at work or in class? Hard time focusing? What specifically can you, or can't you do?
Also do you have a history of depression?
CFS can take a long time to heal, especially with the mistakes. I've had fatigue for 26 years, but I know the right diet when I hear it. So I went LF high-raw 6 years ago and stuck with it. Then - knowing food is 1 of 30 factors - I started getting other things in place. I'm still trying to sleep early(I think this is my main problem).
hypoglycemia? I don't know much about it (and I suspect Dr's don't either, though they'd say they do), but SAD or Paleo isn't going to fix that. Just let your body heal, with a good diet, early nights, and stress reduction(the stress will block healing. don't worry, and trust nature).
Alright, so I'd say supplement B12 for sure. Maybe message Taka if you want more info. Also, you need to sleep. We need to know how much you are eating/what you are eating in order to really help, but it sounds as if you need to eat more and in a different way. I used to be very exhausted, but I was staying up too late, then getting up early for school and not eating enough and trying to exercise later. Boom. Crash. Exhaustion and fatigue and horrible problems.
I think it is cool that you have the goal and dream to cycle across Europe in 2015. That is an amazing dream. But I'd say your immediate health is more important than that trip. If you take some of the money from those savings you could get tests done, buy more quality food, etc. You could possibly take the trip in the future (2016), but it sounds like you would not be able to make that trip in your current health. I suggest focusing on health, because once you start to build a solid foundation, you can do a lot more things in your life. The darkness will fade and the world will be brighter, there is so much hope and love in your future. Please respond with how your lifestyle is. Food, sleep, water, environment, physical activity.
Thanks and peace
How is your sleep.
Wow, thank you so much, everyone. Your support is so uplifting.
You are all very right: I have a long way to go.
I guess I'm discouraged because I thought that when I went on banana island, I would see a drastic change. I've read a lot of testimonials of other people who did it, and it all seemed so fantastic. I went into it with unrealistic expectations.
I've spent so much money on my health over the course of this journey and it seems like I've gotten nowhere: I'm still so tired. So I guess I'm just really worried that that trend will continue.
As for my current habits, I am totally willing to talk about them, but I've done so much research already that I don't know how much more you can help me, it's just, like I said, I expected more from banana island. That being said, however, I am curious as to your opinion on things...
B12: I take a liquid form: http://www.amazon.com/Foods-Ultra-Liquid-16-Fluid-Ounces/dp/B002VD3...
Calories: I aim for between 2000 and 2500 but lately have been slacking a bit since I'm getting really sick of just bananas. I really need to go grocery shopping and get some different tastes as banana island is over now. I've never had a problem with eating or with my figure.
Sleep: I've struggled with insomnia for as long as I can remember, so this one is definitely a big one. I don't sleep enough because I can't sleep :/.
Stress: I don't have a job or classes right now so my life is pretty blah, so the blah is probably more a problem than stress.
Emotions: As you may have already guessed, they're pretty much all over the place :P.
Support: My mom is interested in health and is very supportive, but is not vegan, or even vegetarian. I'd love to get together with some other LFRVs some time. That'd be SO cool!
Depression: This is a tricky subject for me. I realize at the beginning of last semester that I was depressed, and had been for a long time. There were times where all I needed to do was go for a walk in the woods and I immediately felt super energized. But, other times, nothing I did helped me feel happy or energetic. I feel like a HUGE part of my depression/low mood has to do with the winter. I live in northern PA, USA so it's always so, so cold. And I absolutely LOVE being outdoors and feeling the sunshine and just running around. So I dread winter so much every single year. I can't wait to finally move somewhere warm yearround.
Again, thank you all for your support. I've thought a lot about the points you've made, I really need to be patient and just make my health my priority right now. It's just so hard to stop worrying about my trip :(.
B12 - you might need a blood test to check levels. Some people don't get it reliably without injection, or that may be the stage you are at.
I want to also recommend you find a Barbara Brennan practitioner in your area and go get a session or two and see what comes up. I know some people will call it woowoo. But for me it was definitely not. Good for counseling, finding life purpose, stuff like that. I had a problem with depression, then I found out what I want to do with my life and bam energy was ON. Barbara Brennan folks are awesome in my experience.
Once your energy is on you can really feel more satisfied with how you spend your day, assuming you're putting it towards what you really truly deeply desire to do, then you'll have more peace and sleep better.
Another great option is Shiatsu - very very good in my experience. Also try any kind of proper massage therapist. Try exerting yourself - go for a long bike ride, then get a massage after, have a nice recovery meal and some camomile tea and see if that doesn't knock you out for a zzz's... :)
Maria, I might get bashed on this forum for saying this, but for me personally, my health has not healed without green smoothies and lots and lots of them. I find for me it is better to eat some cooked vegan and lots of green smoothies than to eat just plain banana island. I can tell from the inflammation response in my body that it is SOOO important. I don't know if you have a lot of greens, but forgive me for this, from your symptoms, I will make an assumption (correct me) that you are doing green smoothies here and there, irregularly, maybe more before... I don't know. Again, I'm going against the grain here, but that is my experience and your depression should also go away with lots of greens. Just blend up greens as much as you can, even savory (tomato, lemon, greens, celery... with orange or clementine pieces in it) for example. Keep playing with it, good luck. Do let me know if you were eating tons of greens.