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An Analogy

Inside every cell in your body are mitochondria, which are the powerhouses: our bodies provide them with the fuel, and they generate the energy that we need. I am not just talking about the energy to run for a bus. This applies to every cell in your body – in your brain, your heart, your liver, your nerves... For some unknown reason, in ME, we don't seem to be creating the best conditions for the mitochondria to work. So here is a way of thinking of it.

Imagine that you live on a remote Scottish island. All your energy supplies come from batteries that are stored in the shed. There are two wind turbines that keep the batteries charged. It is so windy that you easily have more than enough power to heat the house, charge up your electric car, run everything you want. You don't even have to think about it. You don't ever worry about if the power will run out.

But one day you do run out of power, and from then on you never have enough to heat the house and run your appliances. You test the wind turbines and the batteries, and they are all fine.

Now you have to look very hard at the way you live. You cannot live the way you used to, and have to make major changes. You have to cut back heavily on everything you use: take a shower instead of a bath: only use the washing machine when it is full: fit better insulation around your house. But that is never enough.

It is the same with you and me. Even spending a couple of days in bed will not restore our energy levels. The usual medical tests cannot show us that anything is wrong with us, and yet we know we are struggling with everything. All our systems are struggling with the lack of energy, so we experience all sorts of weird symptoms. We know we eat enough food, that our heart pumps enough blood around and that our blood has plenty of fuel. Deep inside us though, the controls are out of kilter. This world is very complex, and we only understand a little of how it all interacts.

What we need to do is to organise our lives so that we make the best use of every bit of energy we have, and that includes leaving our body's repair mechanisms enough energy to do their work and fix what they can. That way we can give our bodies a long breathing space –time and energy to help sort themselves out.