Admittedly, this post may not be for all sufferers of CFS. Those who have recovered in great part and those who were first afflicted after their formative years may find this post moot.
But for some of us–me included–it’s a valid question.
I contracted pneumonia and mono virus simultaneously when I was fifteen years old. It feels a lot more complicated, but the bare bones is pretty simple: after that, I wasn’t the same. It’s like I never left the recuperation period after a long illness. It just went on and on and turned into chronic fatigue syndrome.
Not exactly what you want to have happen when you’re struggling just to figure out who you are, and where you fit in the world. Unsurprisingly, the struggle for identity and the struggle for wellness became enmeshed. Nineteen years later and counting, I couldn’t tell you what parts of me are strictly Isabella and which are my CFS, filtered through my personality. (Cuz it’s not the thing itself, it’s how you react to it–right? *wry laugh*)
For example, am I shy or does it make me shy?
Am I a forgetful ditz or is that just the CFS talking? (I’d say brain fog is the problem that bothers me the most. I really hate when I’m in a conversation and I can feel my brain losing information like an over-saturated sponge loses water.)
I’m not even sure if it matters. What matters is this: it’s hard when you don’t know who you are. In this culture, a lot of who you are is determined by what you do, but when that changes on a daily basis, how is the decision made?
And another scary question I think that all sufferers of CFS face: does having CFS affect my value as a person?