Anybody who has ME or CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) will be very familiar with the boom and bust cycle. ME's main characteristic is Post-Exertional Neuroimmune Exhaustion (PENE) also commonly referred to as Post Exertional Malaise (PEM). Feeling really ill, weak and exhausted after any physical, emotional or mental exertion.
This means brushing my teeth, getting excited about a visitor coming, answering the phone or writing this post is exhausting and will cause an increase in a variety of symptoms. The problem is that when I feel better on a particular day, I tend to want to do more because I feel able and would like to participate more in life.
But pushing oneself to do more simply because you feel okay in the moment, is not really an option for people with ME (pwME). Our payback is often delayed for up to 48 hours which means that I might feel capable in the moment, and may even have no increase in symptoms for hours later, but then 2 days later I am completely incapable of doing the most basic things.