ME/CFS and Adapting to Different Ways of Experiencing Pleasure

Before I got ill and in my 7 years remission the majority of my pleasure came from physical pursuits. Whether it was a long mountain hike, bombing down the mountain on ski’s or a snowboard, or dancing all night at a festival, these were the times when I experienced the most pleasure. Second to that was food, in fact I’m not sure whether I loved exercise so much purely because it allowed me to eat as much of whatever I wanted to! Now that I can no longer be so physical and my diet is severely restricted by food intolerances I have to look elsewhere for pleasure. Having a chronic illness doesn’t mean giving up pleasure it just means finding it in different ways!
This week I had a lovely morning out at some country gardens. Ambling around a country garden looking at pretty flowers always struck me a something old people do, but now I understand why- it’s a non-taxing way of experiencing great pleasure. I had a laugh about prematurely becoming an old person, but actually I feel no shame in finding a new way of experiencing pleasure. I am adapting to my circumstances, I am not going to let this illness rob me of one of the best aspect of being human! Perhaps the elderly can teach us energetically-challenged a thing or two about enjoying ourselves. Come to think of it, I know quite a few spoonies who knit and crochet too!
I’ve realised that my senses can provide me with a great deal of pleasure and by paying close attention to my sensory experience I can increase my experience of pleasure without having to use much energy. The appreciation of colour and form, shading and lighting can bring enjoyment in itself, even without the spiritual wonderment of the incredible creativity of the natural world. I enjoyed paying close attention to the beauty around me and took many photos. Photography is a great means of focusing attention on appreciation. The garden I went to also had a herb border with about 8 different types of mint, and I got great pleasure from experiencing the subtle differences in their aroma. Mindful eating has also taught me how close attention can help me gain pleasure from food even now my diet is so restricted. The skin is another organ of pleasure, whether it be the experience of a light breeze on a warm day, of soothing warm water in the shower or the comforting touch of  massage. I didn’t often notice these pleasures whilst I enjoyed my physicality. But my world is now full of them as long as I remember to pay them attention.

What new ways of experiencing pleasure have you found in you life?

3 thoughts on “ME/CFS and Adapting to Different Ways of Experiencing Pleasure”

  1. I have to laugh reading your blog it mirrors a lot of my experiences and new found adjustments since acquiring CFS and Fibro (I’m new to the joy of growing flowers and a recent convert to crochet!)I’ve also begun growing food to eat although in not very large quantities as we have a ‘not very large’ balcony (I find chard, kale and the green leafys do well in pots). The addition of homemade bird feeders provides endless amusement on my couch bound days too. Good to know am not alone. Siobhán (another shameless new oldie)

  2. I often joke that I will at least be the most experienced of my contemporaries when their persuits catch up with mine. Though I think, looking at those in their 70s around me I will at least have to reach my 80’s.


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