Self-help, or self-blame, books?

I have read a lot of books about chronic fatigue syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis, fibromyalgia and generally on holistic health. Some of them were inspiring, some of them made little sense and some just blamed the ill health on the behaviour or the personality which I was offended by. I don’t buy the ‘Type A’ theory and I don’t think I brought this on myself. I don’t think it is karmic pay-back, it is just something that happened and I have to work with what I’ve got.

I recognise that everyone is different and in my case, I have myalgic encephalomyelitis so that helps me narrow down what I should be focussing on to recover. (Read more here about the difference between ME and CFS –

In my rush to read everything I could, I borrowed every book on CFS, ME and fibromyalgia in my city’s libraries. This was not a good decision. First of all, reading about ME and CFS all the time was depressing and I don’t mean that lightly. I focussed on all my symptoms, worried that I would never get any better and perhaps might get worse and after a while my partner banned me from reading any more.  Which was fair enough, as some books were making me really upset and not helping at all. A few had spurious and unsupported medical advice and I found quite a few really patronising. Yes, I have difficulty concentrating but some really took ‘simple’ too far. “Avoid alcohol”, as if I’d be lying in bed, too tired to move but still swilling wine!

Reading self-help books weren’t supposed to make me angry, depressed or make me think that I might have contributed to my illness, but they did.

Fortunately, there were some gems in there. Only one I found on my own, the rest were recommended by the CFS and ME support group (Bruce Campbell’s book), a psychologist (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work) and I forget which website or blog recommended Toni Bernhard’s book but I requested that my library buy it and it did, then I borrowed it.

There are books I recommend:

Bruce Campbell’s Recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (best read as early as possible).

Alison Adam’s The Natural Recovery Plan.

Jon Kabat Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living and Wherever You Go, There You Are.

Toni Bernhard‘s How To Be Sick.

These books gave me practical advice on recovering my health, maintaining my mental health, coping with the situation I am in and offered me comfort and hope.

How has your research gone? As badly as mine first did? Are there any books you’d recommend?


About someonesideaofluxury

writing from home with my feet up
This entry was posted in Advice, Books, Life with myalgic encephalomyelitis, Reading and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Self-help, or self-blame, books?

  1. I actually didn’t do much research at first because I was still in a pseduo denial. But a doctor recommended Jon Kabat Zinn’s full catastrophe living and I found it very helpful! I’m interested in giving the rest of these a read!

  2. Megan S says:

    I’ve mainly read stuff online so far. Thank you for the rrecommendations I’ll definitely try and find then in my local library.

  3. Pingback: Finding answers and asking questions | someone's idea of luxury

  4. Moongazer says:

    I have Full Catastrophy Living on my want list. Its good to see it recommended. Thank you x

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