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What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Do I Know if I have It?

Written by Dr. Diane Mueller

Are you just tired? Are you overwhelmed? Do you sleep well? How do you know if you have chronic fatigue syndrome or if you are just tired? What is the difference?  Well, let’s dive into exactly what is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)  together! Don’t worry, we’ll keep it light and full of analogies that will make your brain do somersaults!

person with chronic fatigue syndrome

The Energy Roller Coaster: Imagine your body is an amusement park, and energy is the main attraction. Usually, your energy levels go up and down like a thrilling roller coaster ride. But for folks with CFS, their roller coaster is stuck on a never-ending loop of fatigue. It’s like being trapped in the slowest, most yawn-inducing ride ever! Part of how CFS is different than just being tired, is that it basically does not end. You might have days that are better than others, but the exhausting ride is not something you get off of (yet). 

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The Invisible Villain: CFS is like having a sneaky, invisible villain in your body. It’s not like catching a cold or breaking a bone where you can see the problem right away. Nope, this tricky troublemaker hides in plain sight, playing hide-and-seek with your energy.

The Sleepy Zombie: Okay, picture this: You know how zombies shuffle around, looking like they desperately need a nap? Well, imagine feeling like a sleepy zombie day after day, no matter how much sleep you get. It’s as if your body is pulling a prank on you, saying, “Hey, let’s see how long we can keep our eyes half-closed!”

The Brain Fog Parade: Have you ever tried to solve a puzzle while someone sprays silly string in your face? Well, that’s what having brain fog feels like. It’s like your brain gets covered in a fluffy cloud, making it super hard to think clearly or remember things. It’s like your thoughts are playing hide-and-seek too!

The Mighty Spoon Theory: Get ready for the most fantastic analogy ever created! Imagine you have a limited number of spoons each day. Each spoon represents your energy for the day. On a good day, you might have ten spoons, and you can use them for things like getting dressed, eating, or even hanging out with friends. But with CFS, you might wake up with only two spoons, and simple tasks like brushing your teeth or getting out of bed can use up one whole spoon! You have to save your spoons for the important stuff.

The Hopeful Horizon: Even though CFS can be frustrating and make you feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending sleepover, there is hope! There are root causes for chronic fatigue syndrome. Read on to learn more!


Testing to Learn More about: What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Most of the time, doctors will run thyroid and vitamin D tests, iron and B12. If you are continually tired and these labs are normal, you may get the diagnosis of CFS. The problem with this is that Thyroid, Vitamin D, Iron, and B12 are only some of the causes of fatigue. CFS gets diagnosed when doctors cannot explain the reason behind your fatigue. 

There is always a reason for fatigue, however. Your body does not just wake up tired for no reason. The way off of the rollercoaster is to understand that your body is talking to you and that there are reasons for what you are noticing. 

Common causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome That are Often Not Tested for: 

  1. Hidden Infections (see our blog Lyme Disease Test to learn more)
  2. Hidden toxins including mold, lyme, pesticides, plastics and more
  3. Adrenal Imbalances
  4. Sleep problems (such as sleep apnea)
  5. Poor diet and nutrient deficiencies
  6. Chronic Dehydration (serious problem!)
  7. Gut Imbalances, hidden parasites and more
  8. Stress, relationship problems
  9. Beliefs around saying NO

The importance of self-care cannot be emphasized enough,
especially when I see such remarkable individuals in the clinic. Many of them are incredibly giving and selfless, always putting others first. However, this selflessness can sometimes lead to exhaustion, burnout, and feeling overwhelmed. But fear not, my friends, for there is hope on the horizon!

In our clinic, we firmly believe that mindset plays a crucial role in the healing process. So, if you resonate with this, I have a challenge for you: choose a week and commit to saying “no” to at least two things, and instead, dedicate that time to yourself. Even if saying “no” only opens up five precious minutes, those minutes can make a world of difference.


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Take that deep breath you’ve been yearning for, step outside and bask in nature’s embrace, or simply allow yourself a moment of blissful nothingness. These moments of downtime will rejuvenate your spirit before you continue with the demands of your day.

Remember, you are deserving of care and nourishment just as much as the people you generously give to. By prioritizing your well-being, you’ll be better equipped to continue spreading your light and positively impact the world around you.

Book a free discovery call with us (found on the top right panel of this page) if you want to see if we can help you with lab testing, recovery, and beyond!

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Lyme Disease is Often Misdiagnosed as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Depression,
or Other Illnesses

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End Chronic Fatigue, Pain, Brain Fog &
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