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25 Reasons Why I've Improved

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By Bobbie Brown

Many people believe that improvement is difficult when a case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) or fibromyalgia (FM) is severe. The experience of Bobbie Brown, a ME/CFS and FM patient from Arizona, offers evidence that patients can get better.

Bobbie, who has taken our course and participated in our support groups, reports that she has improved from 10%-20% of normal to 35%-40%.

Bobbie's List: Reasons Why I've Improved

When asked to explain what she has done to improve, she listed the following:

  1. I started taking a supplement called Dr. Shulze's Super Food*
  2. Pre-emptive rest (I rest a lot)
  3. Fruit & yogurt smoothie everyday (plain yogurt, frozen fruit-smoothie blend fruit and frozen blueberries with fresh strawberries and bananas) then I put the Super Food in it
  4. A great chiropractor
  5. Do my stretching and exercises in the pool/have a Jacuzzi tub for pain
  6. Don't drive myself more than 10 miles from home/don't drive at all on bad days
  7. Use pain killers only as needed
  8. I take Celexa for depression/nerves
  9. I bought the [progam's] self-help book and joined the classes and support groups
  10. I found a great church and volunteer 1 1/2 hours a week and teach Sunday School!
  11. Our children and families moved near us after we moved here for my health (grandkids make me very happy)
  12. Cut down on computer time
  13. Cut down on phone time
  14. NO STRESS: I trained friends and relatives to bring no stress through our front door
  15. Stay away from situations that have too much input
  16. Don't try to be the head of the family and plan events
  17. Don't have dinner parties for more than a couple of people at a time/then order out
  18. Don't stay too long at others parties
  19. We only take trips that are within 6 hours of where we live and can drive
  20. Stay home a lot and watch good movies on bad days
  21. Stay positive and joke about my special problems
  22. I got an electric scooter so I don't have to restrict my outings so much (baseball games, mall)
  23. My husband does all the shopping, most of the laundry, most of the cooking, vacuuming, etc
  24. I do not work anymore
  25. I have not had sleep interruptions for several months! Makes a big difference!   


A long list of coping strategies is consistent with the experience of other people in our program. Most people with us find they are helped by using a variety of approaches, often including both medications and self-management techniques.

Two items in Bobbie's list refer to medications. She also reports using non-drug treatments for pain. Most of her strategies, however, involve changes in her daily habits and routines. She uses pacing techniques such as taking scheduled rests and living within limits.

In fact, almost half her items are techniques for setting limits on herself, including limits on:

  • Driving
  • Computer and phone time
  • Stress and sensory input
  • Socializing
  • Travel and time outside the house
  • Household and family responsibilities

Other factors she mentions include good nutrition, exercise, support, helping others and good sleep. In addition to these regular practices, Bobbie and her husband have also made two larger lifestyle changes. Bobbie is no longer working and they moved from Nevada to Arizona to improve her health.

Bobbie's experience is a good example of a patient taking responsibility for her health by combining the use of resources from the medical system with lifestyle changes.

*Note on item 1: Bobbie's use of this supplement does not imply an endorsement from the Self-Help program. While people in our program use a variety of medications, supplements and other treatments, the program does not endorse any specific products.