Monday, January 26, 2009

Homeschooling with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Just before New Years I received a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to explain the symptoms I have experienced for the last 3 years. After so much time of doctor visits and lab tests and being told I'm perfectly healthy, FINALLY I get an answer that tells me I'm not crazy. I'm not suddenly lazy, it's not all in my head, and I have lab tests to prove it. Yes, I actually need the evidence to remind myself. There is so much confusion around CFS and similar chronic illnesses, it's important that I have evidence to hold onto to defend myself against the unbelieving. I don't want this to be an illness blog, but it does change the way we manage our lives and our homeschool. So I just want to include it. Maybe it will help someone else who faces the same challenges and wants to know there are others out there who understand. I'm not devastated or disabled, but the way I live my life has changed. Significantly.

How do I homeschool with chronic fatigue?
1) Our homeschool MUST be a top priority, or it won't get done. That means that the whole family must help out with the other responsibilities. I can't do it all, and now I can finally stop trying to do it all.

2) I must take good care of myself. Nutrition, rest, and whatever exercise will benefit me. This is a good lesson for the whole family. We are focused on living healthier lives once again. Balance in life is critical.

3) Good friends and family who support you. It is vital to be surrounded by people who support, not doubt or harass you, about your limitations and choices.

4) Choices. We all have choices, but with CFS my choices make all the difference. I can accomplish a limited number of tasks or activities each day (sometimes each week), so I must choose. Once I have used them up, there are no more. It doesn't matter that there is more to be done or enjoyed, I'm out of options. If I waste my choices on things that don't matter, I can't get them back. And I can't add extras. So I must be focused on what is really important to me and my family, and let the rest go.

I am grateful that CFS has brought me to a place of evaluating what is important and what is not, of focusing on a balanced, healthy life, and of being determined more than ever to choose what is truly important. It's so easy to make excuses. But I have received the gift of clarity (when the brain fog has not taken over, that is). Whatever my future holds, I know I am in my Heavenly Father's hands, and never out of His grace. He knows exactly where I am.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your homeschooling story with us. We've been homeschooling for five years and love it!