Acceptance of a greatly changed reality is very difficult, but I also believe it is very necessary. We can accept what is true today (and that it may be true in the future), without abandoning hope for change or trying new treatments. I feel strongly that this is one of the single most important things that has affected my quality of life. I have found comfort and utility in a number of resources that are Buddhist or Buddhist-inspired.

Books

There are a few books that I have found helpful, the first is Toni Bernhard’s book “How to be Sick.” I’m a little embarrassed at how long this book sat on my shelf before I read it (and actually, I read the first edition), but I often find that I read books just when I need them. Toni has had ME/CFS for a long time, and gave up a career she loved as law school faculty as her illness progressed. Toni is a regular contributor to Psychology Today, and the author of several additional books on living with chronic illness.

Tara Brach’s book “Radical Acceptance” took a long time to hook me. I think I tried twice before I really immersed myself in it. And I am so very glad I did. My biggest takeaway was the ability to sit with what is true, and even sometimes offer to befriend the things that seem unpleasant, or even horrible. SHe offers a tremendous number of resources on her website, included guided meditations and her RAIN tool. Her weekly Washington DC meditation and dharma talks are on Facebook live each Wednesday at 7:30 pm eastern time, and I try to tune in when I have the bandwidth.

 

Meditation

I meditate daily, and one tool that helps me do that is the Calm app. With the help of the app, I haven’t missed a day since January 2018. There are all sorts of paid features, including guided meditations and sleep stories. But I just use the free version and it helps me stay accountable to myself.