Tag Archives: Exercise

Finally Starting My Weight Loss Journey

On the Sunday before yesterday, I finally stepped onto the scale for the first time since leaving the institution. I had resolved for months that I’d be losing weight once home. Though I had done an okay job of not overeating, I made up for this by regular evening snacking.

I was rather scared as I went onto the scale. In the institution, I had felt nervous, but I didn’t feel like I had to compare myself to the nurses who were weighing me. My husband is at a healthy weight yet still wants to lose a little, while I am obese. I was very scared that my husband would judge me. I hoped I had lost weight, but I had not been on this particular scale in months. As it turned out, I had unfortunately gained quite a bit of weight. I was at my highest weight ever. Being shocked that I weighed nearly 80kg (176lbs), while I am only 1.53m (5ft) tall, I decided to finally lose weight. I use a journaling workbook by Mari L. McCarthy to guide me through the first month. Today’s post is an adaptation of the first jornaling exercise. It asks me to freewrite for ten minutes. I need more time to write out my thoughts on the start of my weight loss journey.

I started a food journal last Thursday. It was hard, because I really had no clue how to know whether I was consuming too many calories. Not that I meant to be too judgmental of myself. I had kept a food journal once before when I was around fourteen and all it did was depress me. Now at that time I just went on overeating like I’d done before and judged myself without actually using my findings as a starting point for change.

On Saturday, my husband showed me a site where you can see how many calories are in each product. I still don’t plan on keeping full track of my calorie intake, but it does help me become aware of which foods are healthy and which are not. For example, people believe that dried fruit is healthy, but for weight loss it definitely is not. I happened to know this one, but a few other calorie facts are surprising to me. For example, I sincierely believed gingerbread is healthy until I found out that a large slice of gingerbread contains about 150 calories. Now I know why at day activities, we can only have it once a week.

When I went onto the scale again on Saturday, I had lost 2kg. It’s probably more because I had been a bit bloated the week before, but it still gives me hope. I originally resolved to lose 10kg in a year, which would put me in the overweight rather than obese range. I hope that over the next month, I can keep these 2kg off at least and maybe even lose some more. I need to lose about a kilogram a month to reach my goal.

Besides making sure I eat less and healthier, I decided to go get my butt off the chair. On the day I started my journey, I resolved to walk for 36 minutes, which would burn the amount of calories I’d have to consume less each day to reach my goal. After 20 minutes, my right foot hurt so badly that I had to slowly walk back home. I do better on the elliptical. Last Saturday, I managed 25 minutes on it. We also went swimming a few times last week, which I love.

I really hope that this journey is going to be a mostly positive experience. There will be hard times, as I’ll no doubt be tempted to overeat again. I hope I will overcome these without giving in or giving up.

Mummy Times Two

Happy List – May 30 to June 5, 2016

I’ve been feeling extremely unmotivated to blog lately. It’s not that I don’t want to, or that there aren’t enough prompts or other ideas to get me started. I just can’t get my fingers moving and actually type that post. I don’t know whether it’s for that reason or in spite of it, but I’ve wanted to restart my Dutch website, blog or both. Of course, I’m uninpsired on that side of the language fence too. Just to get myself back into the swing of things, I’ll just write a list of things I’m happy about this week.



  • I’ve been doing okay in the exercise department. The physical therapist came to my unit on Monday to do exercise with me and I worked out some with the resistance band. On Tuesday, I went to the institution gym and did well there. I’ve also been lifting weights and working out more with the resistance band in my room. Yesterday, I went on the elliptical at home.

  • On a somewhat related note, the physical therapist measured the strength in my hands, believing my left hand would be weaker. Turned out they’re both equally strong (or weak). I didn’t ask whether my strength is much worse than normal people’s. It probably is, but for now, let’s forget that and focus on the fact that my left hand isn’t weaker than the right one.


  • On Wednesday, two student nurses from the locked ward went to the market and there was still room in their car. Since one guy ended up not wanting to go and another woman had just lost her privileges, I was the only one going. We bought fruit for my unit and the locked unit and I got some fish.

  • On Friday, my husband and I went out to buy fries and snacks. Yesterday, my husband made us tortillas. Both times, the food was great.

  • Yesterday, my husband and I went clothes shopping for me. We didn’t find what we’d hoped for, but we did find some great dresses.

  • The weather is good. We were supposed t get thunderstorms all week, but in the institution town we only got one on Tuesday. My husband did get worse thuderstorms. Over the week-end, however, we had beautiful weather at home.

  • Our cat Barry celebrated his third birthday today. My in-laws came and brought an apple pie. Barry himself got some of his favorite food.


What are you happy about this week?

A Letter to My Body

Dear body,

I am sorry. I have not been taking good care of you lately. I have not been exercising regularly, have been binge eating a lot and have slept at all the wrong moments and been awake at night.

Of course, I could blame my eating disorder and see it as something entirely separate from myself. I could blame the holiday season. I could blame the winter blues (or general blues, since I’m not sure if it’s seasonal at all) for my laziness regarding exercise, my increase in binge eating and my poor sleeping habits. Then again, that’d be avoiding my responsibility.

Sometimes, I feel as though you don’t deserve to be taken care of. I feel you’re ugly, fat and unheathy anyway. You’re fat, but at least my husband doesn’t consider you ugly and you could be a lot less healthy than you are.

Besides, right now I don’t have as poor an image of you as I had before. I like my skin feeling softer when I apply shower cream, then scrub it, then apply body butter. I particularly even like my belly, which is the part you seem to be storing most of your fat.

I want you to know there’s nothing you did to deserve me stuffing you with binge food and depriving you of the exercise and sleep you need. I’m stressed, but you didn’t cause me to be stressed. I’m slightly depressed, but you didn’t cause me to be depressed.

So I want to thank you for being relatively healthy while I don’t take as good care of you as I should. All your major functions (except for vision of course) are intact. You keep your vitamin and mineral levels okay. You haven’t developed diseases like diabetes or heart disease in spite of your obesity, caused by my lack of proper care. You are okay.

As I said, I could look at your negative attributes: your not being as fit as I’d like you to be, your causing me acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and random pains and aches. Then again, whether it’s you causing me these problems or me causing you these problems, could be debated. The thing is, I can’t change your functions without taking better care of you first.

As dialectical behavior therapy also teaches, I can’t change you witout accepting you as you are first. You are okay as you are. Now I can work on improving you.

Yours,
Astrid

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Mom's Small Victories

Mondays #BEDN

Phew, it’s November. Did I just say that? Wow! I normally hate november, but today I am just so glad that the #Write31Days challenge is over. The challenge of having to write on one topic for an entire month is huge. That being said, I loved the commitment of writing everyday. Just today, a day late, I discovered Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN). Like Blog Every Day in May (#BEDIM), this is a prompt-based challenge, but you can write on a different topic too. Today’s topic is “love Mondays”. I was unable to read the full prompt because somehow Google calendar wouldn’t let me, so I am just going to write what comes to mind.

Most people love the week-end and feel a little down on Monday, especially Monday morning. Indeed, I sometimes have a hard time transitioning from a Sunday lie-in to a Monday, at which I need to get up at whooping 8:30 AM. I know, my husband might need to get up at 5:00 AM and many more working people get up at seven, but well, for me 8:30 is early. Today, I lay in bed till I truly had to get up at 9:30 because I literally had to start physical therapy that minute. Physical therapy fr me means exercise, because my goal for it is to get into a better physical condition. Consequently, today I was up and lifting weights literally minutes after I’d been lying in bed. This is supposed to exemplify my laziness, not my stamina, FYI.

In general though, I’m not one of those people who looks forward to the week-end. Not having a day job means I don’t need to unwind from a 40-or-so-hour work week over the week-end. I find that, during the week, at least there’s some reason to get out of bed, such as day activities. In this sense, I actually like starting my week with some exercise.

Monday also means the ward is normally-staffed again, so I can usually go for walks in the afternoon. On week-ends, if I’m lucky, I can squeeze in a walk right before handover. Now yesterday and on Saturday I was able to get some nice walks with the staff, but that is very unusual.

Mondays also mean a fresh start to a new week. Of course you can make a fresh start at any moment, but a Monday (like the beginning of the month or year) feels particularly good for it. It is a good time to set weekly goals. Therefore, to finish off this post, I am going to share some goals for this week.


  • Go to the gym tomorrow. Exercise on the elliptical trainer or stationary bike at least two more times this week.

  • Write down my concerns re moving to the tiny village and discharge from the institution for my psychologist. Be well-prepared for my appointment on Wednesday.

  • Finish off my polymer clay necklace at art therapy on Thursday.

  • Decide for myself whether I want to continue my Open University course.

  • Continue to write a blog post each day.


I will also be baking apple pie tomorrow at day activities to “celebrate” the eight-year anniversary of my institutionalization. Maybe I’ll share about that tomorrow.

Blog Every Day in November badge 

Those First Five Pounds

As regular readers of this blog will know, I am quite overweight. In fact, I need to lose about 30lbs to be at a healthy BMI. Thankfully, I haven’t gained any weight in the past eighteen months, but I haven’t lost any either.

One of this week’s prompts over at Mama’s Losin’ It asks me what is sabotaging my plans of losing five pounds. Though five pounds isn’t even enough to get my BMI under 30, every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. So what’s keeping me from losing those first few pounds?

Let me for once not go into the details of my disordered eating habits. I have written many times abut my tendency towards emotional eating and bingeing, but this does not seem to be the only factor keeping me from dropping those first five pounds. Of course, weihgt loss requires self-control, and this is exactly what I lack during a bingeing episode. However, doesn’t everyone have times when they lose control over themselves? Also, I’ve not binged in a few weeks and yet haven’t lost any weight. Could it not be the simple habit of eating too much over an extended period of time and not getting my butt off the chair that is truly keeping me from losing any weight?

I don’t check food labels when I get something to eat. I don’t count calories. Now I’m not advocating obsessing over calories, but some awareness is essential for weight loss. I habitually think that foods are less calorie-rich than they actually are. This doesn’t just go for binge foods like candy, where I can easily exceed 2000 calories in one binge. I was shocked one day when my husband and I went to McDonald’s for lunch and I had downed 1000 calories with what I considered a small meal. Like, a burger, small serving of fries and a small milkshake. Yes, I do know milkshakes are not healthy, but I seriously didn’t know they were that high on calories. My husband warned me that I shouldn’t eat 1000 extra calories everyday or I’d gain over 100lbs in a year. The truth is, I probably exceed the number of calories I burn by at least 500 almost everyday.

I also don’t exercise nearly enough. I get fitness-focused physical therapy once a week and go to the gym once a week for 45 minutes. That’s not enough. In addition, I should be going on the elliptical or stationary bike at least twice during the week. I did this faithfully for a while, but have been too lazy to do this lately. I do go for walks, but not as often as most people do.

Now that I review this post, it’s a miracle I am not over 200lbs already. I went to the gym this morning, so I’m not sure it’s healthy to go on the elliptical now. Then again, I didn’t disclose how much I ate today and am not going to go into detail on it either (hint: 720 calories for lunch). It’s too bad writing about weight loss won’t get me to drop those extra pounds.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Goal-Setting: July 2015

It’s July 1, so let me look back on the month of June and the goals I had for it. I will also create new goals for this month.

My first goal was to start my health psychology course and study for at least a few hours each week. Didn’t reach that goal as I am a terrible procrastinator and didn’t get to go to the educational department until mid-June. Then on my first time going there, my digital talking book player wouldn’t work, so I had to go back to the ward. I’ve been studying some last week but am not progressing nearly as fast as I’d like to.

Then I had some health goals. I did an okay job on these. I didn’t do yoga as often as I’d planned but did work out on the elliptical trainer. My husband didn’t give me weights for my birthday as he thought I wasn’t going to use them anyway. Need to buy some this month, because I did get some exercises which I can do with weights. I started physical therapy for getting fitter and have been practising quite a bit inbetween sessions.

As for my weight, I did lose almost 2kg, but it wasn’t in a healthy way. I’ve started to slip back into disordered eating behaviors, mostly purging. I did write a pro/con list on my eating disorder, but found way more pros than cons. Like, I know purging isn’t good for your health in the long run, but well, who cares? Well, yeah, I do, kind of. I don’t know for sure that the purging caused my weight loss, as I’ve paradoxically been bingeing less too. That’s kind of a blessing in disguise.

Lastly, my goals were to read more inspiring writing and to nurture my creativity. I’ve accomplished both of these goals. I didn’t nurture my writing spirit, but I did craft a lot, mostly jewelry-making. I got a lot of beads for my birthday and am loving creating with them.

Now, let me set some July goals.


  1. Lose 1kg in a healthy way.

  2. Stop purging.

  3. Work out three times each week.

  4. Buy weights and learn to use them.

  5. Study for at least three hours each week.

  6. Nurture my writing spirit.

  7. Read a lot.


Overall, I hope July will be a better month in the goal-reaching department than June was. Have a great month!

Gratitude List (Birthday Edition)

It’s been over a week since I posted. This past week has been pretty rough, but there have also been good moments. Time for a gratitude list once again! I am going to cheat a little and include some items from the previous week.


  1. I spent the week-end at my parents’ for an early birthday celebration for me. It’s a tradition that my parents give me redcurrants and strawberries for my birthday. However, the redcurrants had not ripened yet and the strawberries had been eaten by my parents’ chickens. My mother bought some on the market though, which were much better than the ones I had bought at the supermarket a week or so before.

  2. My husband helped me figure out how to copy music from CDs onto my computer. I copied some of my parents’ music. Also, one of my parents’ acquaintances, who is a singer/songwriter, invited me to her album presentation this coming September. I’ve not yet made up my mind whether I’m going, but it was cool to get an invite.

  3. I got some lovely beads from my parents. They were plastic beads, whic I don’t normally use. I usually use glass beads. However, I was able to create a nice bracelet with some of these beads.

  4. Getting these beads from my parents inspired me to look for acrylic beads in funny shapes and colors to make a memory wire bracelet of. Memory wire bracelets get quite heavy if you use glass beads, so I was happy to find acrylic beads in heart, square, disc, round and even butterfly shapes. I just finished the memory wire bracelet a few hours ago, but don’t have a picture yet.

  5. I have been able to get into a nice exercise routine with the help of my husband’s MP3 player (which he gave to me). It helps me get an idea of how long I spend on the elleptical trainer or stationary bike.

  6. I have discovered a new kind of candy at the institution town’s store. I know, not exactly healthy, but so yummy! I managed to keep from bingeing this week even though I did buy the candy.

  7. Institution meals are notorious for lacking taste. Furthermore, because of a new meal-providing company, we no longer get to choose our meals from a menu each for ourselves. Instead, the nurses choose and we just have to go with whatever is being served. This makes me extra grateful that tomorrow is my birthday and I got to select a birthday meal. It’s still provided by the same company, but the meal I selected (noodles with beef and some kind of peas) is quite good. I got to eat it today as I’m at my husband’s tomorrow.

  8. The weather has been quite good yesterday and today. Today, I wore one of the skirts I bought a few weeks ago again.

  9. My husband took me out to lunch at the restaurant near the institution town railroad station today. I ate a delicious tuna salad roll.

  10. My sister and her boyfriend will be coming over tomorrow and my in-laws will be visiting on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it!


What are you grateful for this week?

Linking up with Reasons to Be Cheerful.

ZZZ: Sleep Problems in Autistic People #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to the last day in the A to Z Challenge on autism. In all honesty, I’m glad the challenge is over because it’s been exhausting to try to write each post and comment on other bloggers and all. Today’s post is themed appropriately for this sentiment: titled “ZZZ”, it’s all about sleep and sleep problems in autistic people.

Sleep problems are common in autistic people. Some studies estimate that as many as 80% of children with autism spectrum disorders have sleep problems. The most common problems in autistic children are difficulty falling asleep and awakening often.

There are many possible causes for sleep probls in children and adults with autism. Some early research shows that autistics show abnormalities in brain structures related to sleep. Research is also underway on autistic people’s levels of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and other chemicals released by the brain that are known for their function in regulating sleep.

Behavioral issues which contribute to sleep problems in autistics include poor sleep hygiene and problems with limit-setting. For exampe, a person may have difficulty stopping engagement in day activities. This could be because these acitivites are the person’s special interest, but it could also be that the person has trouble shifting from one type of activity (eg. gaming) to a very different activity (preparing for and going to bed). Of course, just like neurotypical people, autistic people suffer increased sleep difficulties when they’ve been engaging with electronic devices shortly before going to bed.

Some medical issues that are more common in autistic people can also cause sleep problems. These conditions include epilepsy and gastroesophageal reflux. Lastly, medications that are used for treating behavioral problems in autism, such as stimulants, can cause sleep problems too.

There are many ways in which an autistic person can improve their sleep or a parent can help their autistic child do so. For example, establishing a good bedtime routine and a healthy sleep environment can help. To be a good sleep environment, a bedroom needs to be quiet, cool and dark. For children and adults with sensory issues, this may be especially important. On the other hand, some people may actually benefit from listening to calming music while falling asleep.

Daytime behavior can also help establish healthy sleep. Exercise is good, but not too close before bedtime. Obviously, caffeine causes sleep problems. Lastly, naps are good for preschoolers but not older children. Avoid allowing your preschool child to nap late in the afternoon.

50 Things That Make Me Happy #50Things

I love listing positives and things that make me happy. Therefore, I was so excited to see the 50 Things That Make Me Happy meme over at Mummy Tries. I wasn’t tagged for it and I am not going to tag anyone because I’m too lazy, so consider yourself tagged if you so wish. Listing 50 things that make me happy may be quite challenging already, but I’m going to give it a try.



  1. Daydreaming about living with my husband. Now that we’re trying to figure out how we can make this happen, I’m so excited.

  2. Coffee!

  3. herbal tea. Since writing this post, I have discovered a few new herbs that I like, such as St John’s wort.

  4. Going for a walk.

  5. Yoga. Unfortunately, I can’t get my instructional DVD working, but I still like what I still know about yoga.

  6. Journaling.

  7. Reading inspirational, helpful and positive books.

  8. Being moderately successful at my attempt at losing weight without much effort. All I basically do is keep from binge eating and exercise some.

  9. Snuggling with my cats. Barry isn’t too much of a snuggler and Harry is quite hyper, but I like them both.

  10. Facebook. I am a big Facebooker, mostly engaging with groups. I haven’t updated my blog’s FB page in forever, but that’s because pages don’t work that well on the (relatively accessible) mobile FB.

  11. Crafting. I haven’t done much of it lately, but since I got complimented on my work by my husband recently, I think of giving it a try again.

  12. Cooking at day activities. I can’t cook independently to save my life, but I can help.

  13. When the head nurse makes us French fries or pancakes.

  14. The fact that I’m getting somewhat fitter. A month ago, I couldn’t even walk to the grocery store without my breathing going fast. Yesterday, I walked for about an hour. I did get tired at the end, but it was rewarding.

  15. Art therapy. I don’t always look forward to it, particularly because it’s in the morning and I’m not a morning person. I do usually like it though.

  16. Music. I recently got a Spotify account and love listening to songs on it. I mostly enjoy country.

  17. Taking a bath or shower.

  18. Nice spring weather. We’ve had some pretty good days lately.

  19. Going to concerts with my family. I wasn’t able to go to Sarah McQuaid’s concert this year because I was ill with the flu. I hope to be able to go next year.

  20. Listening to children’s stories and songs.

  21. Essential oils. I love diffusing them in my AromaStream diffuser.

  22. Hot chocolate. I get a cup each week at art therapy.

  23. Getting some fruits and veggies and nuts out of my parents’ large garden when I visit.

  24. Gardening. I don’t do it often nowadays, but my art therapist offered to get me some herbs in a pot that I could grow.

  25. Shopping online or jus looking at all the lovely stuff I could buy but won’t.

  26. Sleep. My sleep/wake cycle is a bit off though.

  27. When my husband says he loves me.

  28. Planning for possibly going back to distance learning at Open University. It might not work out, but just the idea is nice.

  29. Blogging challenges and writing prompts. I love being able to participate in challenges like the A to Z Challenge, although it’s sometimes frustrating when I have lots of other things to write about.

  30. The singing of birds.

  31. Mindfulness exercises.

  32. Learning about natural health even when I can’t or won’t practise it.

  33. The fact that I have some more energy after starting on vitamin D and iron supplements (and vitamin B12 but that has been discontinued).

  34. Going to church. I don’t go nearly as often as I would like to, but I love it everytime I go.

  35. Reading devotionals and other spiritual writings. I lean towards progressive Christianity in my faith, but also derive meaning from many other traditions.

  36. Reading and writing poetry.

  37. The fact that I overcame most of my classic PTSD symptoms.

  38. Nurturing my inner child(ren).

  39. Having a much better relationship with my parents than I used to have.

  40. The fact that I’m a lot calmer generally and having much fewer meltdowns than I used to.

  41. Black liquorice. I haven’t bought it in a while because it is a binge food for me, but my husband has offered to help me divide it into portions. That way, I will be able to enjoy it in moderation.

  42. Receiving cards and small gifts from people from all over the world whom I’ve met online.

  43. Meeting online friends in real life. I recently traveled to Rotterdam to meet someone I’d known for twelve years but never met in real life.

  44. Hearing my parents tell stories about their life in the countryside. I really hope to live in a rural area someday too. This is weird, because I used to believe I wanted to live in the city.

  45. Going to my favorite restaurant with my husband. When I lived in my old institution, we went there often because it’s in that city. Now we treat ourselves to it on special occasions like our anniversary.

  46. All kinds of animals. I used to care for guinea pigs and rabbits at my old institution and go to a horse staple to care for a pony.

  47. Making my own smoothies.

  48. Long summmer evenings spent outdoors.

  49. My birthday. I used to dread it but now look forward to it.

  50. Putting on make-up – or rather, having someone else put make-up on me. I don’t get it done often, but when I do, I like it.

Wow, this was a little hard sometimes, but I am so much happier having written this list! It truly cheered me up. Have a nice week everyone!

You Baby Me Mummy
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Mami 2 Five

New Definition for ME/CFS: Exclude People with Mental Illness?

I follow a few blogs by people with chronic pain and fatigue conditions. On one of them, I came across the new Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on the diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). In this report, the IOM propose a new name and criteria for CFS/ME. Most people in the CFS/ME community are mildly positive about the new proposed name, which is systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID). They don’t like the emphasis on only exertion intolerance, but they consider it better than the dreaded term “fatigue”.

What remains controversial is the definition of SEID. It is defiined by the following core criteria:


  • A substantial reduction or impairment in the ability to engage in pre-illness levels of activities that persists for more than six months and is accompanied by fatigue—which is often profound—of new or definite onset, not the result of ongoing excessive exertion and not substantially alleviated by rest.

  • The worsening of patients’ symptoms after any type of exertion—such as physical, cognitive, or emotional stress—known as post-exertional malaise

  • Unrefreshing sleep.


In addition, a person must either experience cognitive impairment or orthostatic intolerance (symptoms being worse when in an upright position and lessening when lying down).

Problems with these new proposed definition include it ignoring common additonal symptoms, such as gastorintestinal symptoms, sensitivity to stimuli, pain, etc. I heard that these symptoms are included in an addendum to the IOM report somewhere.

What is further said to be problematic is that the definition is overly broad. Particularly, a psychiatric diagnosis does not preclude a diagnosis of SEID. Why this is a problem, I wondered, and it led to a heated debate.

I have written about this before, and got many defensive comments from ME/CFS sufferers saying that a physical illness requires different treamtent than a mental one. I agree, and I think (and just checked to make sure) I said that there is evidence that ME/CFS/SEID/whatever is physical in nature. The fact remains, however, that no blood test or whatever can diagnose it, so there is no way to distinguish it from somatization (psychological problems leading to physical symptoms).

I understand that there is a huge stigma associated with mental illness and that ME/CFS/SEID sufferers don’t want to face the same stigma. I also understand that bloggers cannot advocate for every single person or group of people in the world. Then again, the solution isn’t to purposefully exclude groups of people from the treatment or rights you advocate for.

So let’s get the facts straight. ME/CFS/SEID leads to profound physical symptoms. There is, however, no test to diagnose it, like a blood or urine test or whatever. No mental illness precludes people from falling ill with physical symptoms, though people with certain mental illnesses are more likely to suffer with physical symptoms. This does not mean these symptoms are due to the person’s mental illness. Furthermore, the current edition of the psychiatric manual, DSM-5, does not require a thorough physical examination and exclusion of all physical illnesses in order to diagnose somatization. Therefore, there is basically no way to differentiate an illness with physical symptoms for which there is no objective diagnostic tool, such as ME/CFS/SEID, from somatization. Whether ME/CFS/SEID is seen as mental or as physical, is largely an issue of politics.

Let me be clear that I side with the people who say that ME/CFS/SEID is physical, simply because it causes profound physical symptoms. Unless a person is faking their symptoms for external gain, there is no way to deny that they are real. But this is still a political opinion, not a medical one.

The reason people want ME/CFS/SEID to be seen as physical, is because of its treatment. Sufferers have often experienced the horrors of graded exercise and cognitive-behavioral therapy, which quite often do not work. At the same time, they seem to want people with mental illness, including those wiht comorbid physical symptoms, to get graded exercise and CBT. Fine with me if it works, but what if it doesn’t? Again, there is nothing in a mental illness that precludes its sufferers from falling ill with a physical illness too. Since there is no way to tell somatization and ME/CFS/SEID apart, you choose whether they’re both physical or mental, or you treat each person based on what works for them individually. I advocate the latter.

I have a diagnosed mental illness and largely unexplained physical symptoms, including exertion intolerance. My diagnosis for the symptoms that have been given a label, is irritable bowel syndrome, which similar to ME/CFS/SEID, is not diagnosable through an objective test. CBT has not worked for me. I tried exercise, though not a graded exercise therapy (GET) program, and it made my symptoms worse. Maybe if I did actual GET, it’d help. That would mean that, in my individual case, my symptoms (at least the ones responding to GET) are treatable with behavioral change. It would not even say whether my symptoms are physical or mental in nature, if there’s even such a distinction. However, for the sake of simplicity let’s assume that, for those for whom GET/CBT works, their symptoms are mental. That doesn’t mean that, for those whose symptoms are judged as mental, CBT/GET should work, and again, this is a political choice. It wouldn’t say anything about the next patient with my diagnosis and my symptoms. It certiinly wouldn’t say anything about a person with much more severe physical symptoms than mine who happens to have a diangosed mental illness. It’s complicated, but until an objective test for ME/CFS/SEID (and all other such illnesses) is found, that’s the fact we need to deal with.