The why? of self-sabotaging pacing

Tamsyn

Member
I get so frustrated with myself around pacing! I've had FM and ME for at least 20 years. For most of that time, I've "understood" about pacing. I promise myself I'll pace. I do, for a while. Then I overdo things and crash. I "know" there's a push-crash cycle. Why, oh why, is it so hard to pace? I live in a country with very long winters, but I grew up in a country with mild, green winters. I love to garden. So, all through my long cold winters, I plan and dream about my garden; it's the dream that keeps me going. Then there's a small spring window to dig, plant, move stuff about ... I promise myself, year after year, not to over-do it in this window. Guess what? Yep, I do too much.

I know that finding it hard to pace is a problem for many of us ... but why? It would be interesting, and hopefully helpful, to think about the actual psychology underpinning this problem. Thinking this over last night, the term self-sabotage came to my mind. Really, this is what it boils down to ... but why? Is it lack of serious and sincere commitment to my health? Is it inability to truly actually accept my limitations? Is it sheer stupid-determination that, sometimes, I am going to do what I WANT to do (because I'm feeling sorry for myself about the stuff I cannot do?)

Has anyone else mulled over this topic in terms of psychology and have any thoughts? Or solutions? Obviously, just telling myself to pace is like an overweight person telling themselves they cannot have dessert; it works six nights/week and on night seven, large helpings of chocolate cake are consumed!
 

Not dead yet!

Well-Known Member
I honestly think it's the body trying to get well.

People who are obese often have severe nutrient deficiencies that drive their voracious hunger. Doctors ignore that assuming that such people are overfed. Even pop health pundits will claim that intermittent fasting will solve obesity, IF ONLY everyone listened to their OBVIOUS WISDOM.

Except that, for example, in childhood, Celiac causes a child to waste away, become too thin. In adulthood, it causes the opposite effect. Mainly. No rule is absolute. But with a disease that stops a person from absorbing nutrition, the adult effect is often hunger that's never satisfied. Fighting the hunger is pointless.

People with SIBO would also have a similar hunger effect.

People with H Pylorii, even though, it's something we can test for and treat now, they often get no treatment. When I got treatment for it, my crazy hunger went away for over a year. It came back because... Celiac.

My body was trying to get well. It did it in the wrong way, but it was a physical effect.

I think, with all the blood flow and blood pressure issues we have, it's probably the body wanting to get the blood moving a bit faster. It's not a perfect system though.

I joke that I"m turning into a cat.. mostly I need sleep, but once in a while I have to tear around the house. Actually I dance when I feel that way. Even if I crash, the memory will be a fond one.
 

Abrin

Well-Known Member
I get so frustrated with myself around pacing! I've had FM and ME for at least 20 years. For most of that time, I've "understood" about pacing. I promise myself I'll pace. I do, for a while. Then I overdo things and crash. I "know" there's a push-crash cycle. Why, oh why, is it so hard to pace? I live in a country with very long winters, but I grew up in a country with mild, green winters. I love to garden. So, all through my long cold winters, I plan and dream about my garden; it's the dream that keeps me going. Then there's a small spring window to dig, plant, move stuff about ... I promise myself, year after year, not to over-do it in this window. Guess what? Yep, I do too much.

I know that finding it hard to pace is a problem for many of us ... but why? It would be interesting, and hopefully helpful, to think about the actual psychology underpinning this problem. Thinking this over last night, the term self-sabotage came to my mind. Really, this is what it boils down to ... but why? Is it lack of serious and sincere commitment to my health? Is it inability to truly actually accept my limitations? Is it sheer stupid-determination that, sometimes, I am going to do what I WANT to do (because I'm feeling sorry for myself about the stuff I cannot do?)

Has anyone else mulled over this topic in terms of psychology and have any thoughts? Or solutions? Obviously, just telling myself to pace is like an overweight person telling themselves they cannot have dessert; it works six nights/week and on night seven, large helpings of chocolate cake are consumed!
I struggled with pacing for a very long time and the only way I was ever able to make any progress on it was to learn about HRV tracking here on health rising. (https://www.healthrising.org/blog/2016/06/20/crash-graph-heart-rate-variability-testing-help-improve-health/)

One of the things I noticed once I started tracking my HRV was how hard it was to previously gauge by just scanning my body sensations when I was over-extending. I would get yellow readings on the HRV app I was using that told me that I needed to stop any extra activities because I had over-extended while I was feeling 100% well. That really blew my mind because I thought I could tell when I was over-extending.

I also found out that some activities that I thought were guaranteed to over-extend me actually didn't, and some activities that I thought didn't, actually did. That was a real eye-opener!

So in summary, I can't speak for the way anyone else finds pacing challenging but for me personally I found it really hard to tell when I actually was pushing. It is really hard to change behavior when the guidelines for changing that behaviour are super vague. For me the HRV tracking article was life-changing because it actually gave me real variables I could track.

But of course with all things ME/CFS, everyone seems to be so different so this information could end up being useless to you. But, I figured I would pass it on just in case it was.
 

jaminhealth

Well-Known Member
Perhaps some are just too OCD for their own good. Yes, many types of lives and some a lot more busier than others, but often some things can wait until tomorrow or the next day or or or. Do things in sections more...and again all different lives.

I have learned to follow the Progress and not Perfection route in my life...I was never OCD but had tendencies...often pushed thru life by others.
 
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Kuapao

Active Member
I have learned to follow the Progress and not Perfection route in my life...I was never OCD but had tendencies...often pushed thru life by others.
I like "Progress and not Perfection". This helps frame things better for me, when frustration with pacing sets in. Thank you!
 

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