My name is Lauren, and I want to share my experience of chronic fatigue and my journey to recovery with you. I first started feeling low energy in 2009 at the age of 24. I had recently bought my first house with my husband and was in the beginning of my career as an RN on a Neurology unit. There were many events around that time in my life that were difficult. I was working nights and feeling socially isolated. I found a deceased patient as a new nurse which led to a lot of anxiety about my job. My parents divorced, which led me to become my sick mother's sole caretaker. And then in 2011, my mother passed away. Though I thought I was tough and “dealing” with everything quite well, I now understand how these events, as well as others from my childhood, began a pattern of fear in me. During these years I would categorize my fatigue as mild, but it was only the beginning.
In 2018, I was helping my dad, who had been diagnosed with dementia, through a particularly toxic divorce. As a mom of two young boys and working as a nurse, my fatigue was getting worse. I'd frequently crash at 7 p.m. and not be able to move off the couch to help my husband put the kids to bed. This continued intermittently for a couple years. I’d visited doctors several times over the course of those 9 years but everything always came back normal.
Fast-forward to March of 2020, I was one of the not-so-lucky ones to get Covid 19, right at the beginning of the pandemic. I believe my immune system was vulnerable because of the stress of helping my father through his divorce.
I had a mild case, but after two weeks my fatigue continued. Not only did it continue, but it essentially "exploded" and was worse than ever! I had fatigue every day, sometimes all day long. I went to doctor after doctor looking for answers but they never knew what was wrong. I did hours of research on my own and spent what seemed like every free minute of my day trying to figure out what was happening to my body. I changed my diet, took a boatload of daily supplements, and read everything I could about fatigue.
During this time, I was also working 12-hour shifts as a labor and delivery nurse that would leave me in a crash for days. Everything I was trying to do to heal seemed futile when I continued to crash like that. I decided to cut back on my hours at work and just focus on getting better.
Finally I stumbled upon Curable, an app for chronic pain sufferers. It taught me that the mind plays a large role in creating chronic pain, which I had seen for myself with my own mother. I thought maybe it would work for my fatigue too.
I eventually began working with a coach trained in Pain Reprocessing Therapy. This is when things really began to change for me. I began to understand that the brain "learns fatigue," typically as a result of some kind of chronic stress or adverse events in life. Everything I was hearing just clicked with me; it made so much sense! Learning about the neuroscience behind my fatigue gave me the hope I was so desperate for.
My coach suggested I read the book The Way Out by Alan Gordon, an LCSW who created the Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT). Though I was not experiencing any pain, I learned how the techniques work for many different symptoms. Pain, fatigue, migraines, GI issues/IBS, Long Covid, and many more all fall into the category of neuroplastic symptoms. The good news is, if the brain learns these symptoms, it can unlearn them as well.
Over time, I used these methods to heal myself. I can honestly say my life now is even better than before, because I learned the healing power of self compassion and the negative ripple effects fear and other negative thoughts can have on the body. I learned to change these patterns of fear that had gotten me into this mess in the first place.
Over the past several years, I have learned so much about mind body symptoms and what it takes to get better. My hope and passion is to help others who are suffering. I want you to know, that you too can recover using these scientifically proven techniques!
There is a deep knowing of the soul, a wisdom to our body. We stopped listening a long time ago but it is trying to tell us something. Within each of us is the power to heal. We just need to remember how to listen to what is being said.
Lauren is a Registered Nurse of 15 years. She is certified in Pain Reprocessing Therapy and a member of the Psychophysiologic Disorders Association. She coaches people out chronic symptoms like fatigue, pain, GI upset, headaches, and other neuroplastic symptoms using the techniques she used in her own recovery from fatigue. She is extremely passionate about this work and helping others get back to living their best life, free of symptoms!