Sundog –noun 1. parhelion. 2. a small or incomplete rainbow.


Over the last few months it has become harder to avoid using the term “crash” as an explanation for the trend our health has been taking. Those of you who read this and have CFS, or other similar illnesses, are likely familiar with the life meaning of such a simple word and the hushed tones used to speak of it.

For us, it is the hidden monster lurking in the dark closet waiting for the light to go out after an exhausting day. Creeping up soundlessly, you wake to find only a shadow of yourself remains.

dec 2011 blog 1

In my experience, the main problem with a crash is there’s no shortcut to ending it. You can’t go to the doctor, get a new pill, and voila – you’re back to the same energy levels you had weeks or months before.

No, instead the cure is most often one of rest and pacing yourself, a gradual culling of all the nonessential aspects in life. Often essential comes down to the true basics of life – food, sleep, and keeping some sort of roof over your head whether it be house, tent, or car.

A social life is nonexistent, a tidy apartment falls down on the list of things to do, laundry piles up and you find yourself putting on the same shirt you wore the last three days in a row for lack of something clean to wear. Meals become more simplistic and you’re just happy to have something hot even if you’ve eaten much the same all this week… and last week too.

After months of avoiding the dreaded word, I have found myself quietly testing the sound of it and hearing the the sad ring of truth it brings. I’m usually much quicker to speak of a crash, much more willing to put life back on the shelf for a few months and heal.

But not this time.

No, this time I find myself fighting against the whole idea of a crash. Refusing to even think of it. Unwilling to bow down and let it strip me of all I have been working towards.

Which only makes things worse.

The energy required to fight against it should be going instead to healing from it. As much as I have blocked the possibility of a crash from my thoughts, there is no more getting around the simple facts.

I landed in Maui, had a great couple of months where life almost looked normal again, but all this also came with a monumental amount of change and stress. For the most part we are now settled in; very little needs to be done outside what is becoming a familiar routine.

Life has a chance to slow down again. It is time to rest.

Meanwhile… what a place for a rest!

Baby Beach - December 5, 2011
(photo from December 5, 2011 at Baby Beach)

20 responses

  1. Wow, looks beautiful, I too having issues with crashes. Not sure what is going on with me, I decided to go to Dr. David Buscher too, to find out about my MCS issues. Hope the best for you both. πŸ™‚

    December 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    • I’m sorry to hear you are also having trouble with crashes. I hope Dr. Buscher can help you to stabilize again soon. He’s a very caring doctor and I miss having him in times like this.

      Big hugs, Lisa

      December 12, 2011 at 11:54 pm

  2. victoriaaphotography

    Despite facing the reality of a backward slide in Health, I am so glad that you were able to have the wonderful 2 months after arriving in Mauii – at least that was a glimpse of what ‘normal’ might be.

    Keep that vision in your mind.

    One day it might come again……tomorrow, next week, next month or next year.

    With that vision, you know there is HOPE.

    (at least you have a roof over your head, a real shower and a warmer bed – may the snow never fall on your head again).

    Lots of Love & Hugs

    December 12, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    • “May the snow never fall on your head again” – I can’t say as anyone has ever said something so brilliantly phrased. I’d nab that quote for my own use, except most people would think me rather odd for saying it out of context. lol πŸ™‚

      Thank you, Vicki.

      You are right about it coming again. I would not have thought it possible to feel such improvements in so short a time – it’s still possible, and I like to think likely, to happen again.

      Big hugs, Lisa

      December 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm

  3. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I know alot about the seemingly neverending cycle of crashes, though depression and anxiety is my reasons, I have no chemical sensitivities.
    You are a great inspiration! Starting out tent life this winter, just to get away from it all. But I have alot more equipment than what you started out with, so I feel greatly humbled reading your stories. Big hugs from Norway!

    December 12, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    • In a tent in Norway! That does sound cold. brrr!

      I’m sure many think your odd for doing such a thing just to get some space – but I completely understand. On the day the pictures were taken for this post, there was a VW bus in the parking area. It had one of those poptops with the tenting out the roof. It was parked at most 15 feet from the waters edge and they had obviously stayed the night.

      I took a picture of it because the simplicity of living like that still appeals to me. Barely hitting 6 months indoors a few days from now, and already I find myself thinking it could be nice to camp on the beach like that for an extended period of time.

      I must say though, I’d want my health to be a fair bit better before going down that road again if at all possible. Plus the beach in Hawaii is so much more appealing than dank woods in Washington again. lol

      Best of luck in your first winter and may it be a mild one, Lisa

      December 13, 2011 at 12:05 am

  4. Snez

    Dear Lisa πŸ™‚
    Sorry it has been downhill for a while now for both you and Jeremy. Big hugs
    I can understand the fighting against the knowledge that you are indeed in a crash. Having such a great two months makes it seem worse to go down that road again.
    I go into denial myself quite frequently and have come to realise, in a way, it is a survival mechanism of sorts. My brain is trying to protect me from disappointment so it explains/blocks the downturn in health.
    Wish I could help,
    Here is my heartfelt support and love spanning the divide between us.
    And more hugs,

    December 13, 2011 at 2:09 am

    • Hi Snez! πŸ˜€

      I think some of my trouble has been the fear associated with us being fully on our own this time – nobody really to help if we can’t do for ourselves. This is the first crash like since the original ones which lead to us living in a tent – so there is much past influence to overcome.

      Luckily things are much different right now. Originally we ended up in a tent due to zero income, then it moved from there into not being able to tolerate indoors for a long while. At this point we are doing ok inside (ok enough at least) and income is thankfully intact at the moment.

      Big hugs back across the sea! Lisa πŸ™‚

      December 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm

  5. Thank you Lisa! I can relate so well to how you describe a crash, but can’t even imagine having to deal with chemical sensitivities as well. I was just placed for two years in some special housing for people who for different reasons cannot get housing of their own. Me and my boyfriend got increasingly tired from living in that apartment, till the point where we would eventually sleep up to 20 hours a day on the worst days, so something bad must have been at work in that place chemically or otherwise, so perhaps in a tiny way I can relate. I decided to sell my stuff and get a good tent. And gradually learn to live in it. But I am allowed to take it much more gradual so I am not having to be as brave as you were..
    All the best from raining in buckets Norway, stay strong! -Bella.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:42 am

    • That sounds like an awful apartment to live in, Bella! I’m glad to hear you are getting out of it and all the fresh air should do you a lot of good.

      I wonder sometimes if it will be in my lifetime that safe housing will become the normal way of living in more developed countries rather than something left up to chance or your pocketbook.

      Big hugs!

      December 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

  6. I’m sorry you’re crashing, too. It’s the most frustrating part of the illness. I’m in a crash right now , too, but hadn’t had as good of a ‘good’ period that you two had when you first got there. I truly believe if your health improved that much you’ll get that again but next time will pace yourself during the good time as well as the bad. It’s so easy to overdo during the better times and forget this godforsaken illness. And as you say, what better place to rest and improve that Hawaii!

    Much care,


    December 13, 2011 at 9:52 am

    • Hi Pris! πŸ™‚

      I’m sorry to hear about your crash too. Big hugs!!

      I’ll be trying to pace myself more, that’s for sure. It was a real quandary much of the time though – so much to do when we moved here. Thankfully that’s almost fully done. I do think we could have taken things slowly with some of the other activities we did.

      More big hugs! Lisa πŸ™‚

      December 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

  7. Marian Smartt

    Lisa and Jeremy,

    Love and hugs. Always!

    December 13, 2011 at 10:30 am

    • Thanks Marian! I hope you are doing well. πŸ™‚

      Happy holidays and big hugs! πŸ™‚

      December 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

  8. Hoping you have had some easier days! Hugs from sparkly frosty Norway πŸ™‚

    December 20, 2011 at 12:32 am

  9. Thank you, thank you! πŸ™‚ Actually been a bit rougher days. We had to renew the registration on our car which in this state often means you have to also get it inspected at a shop first. The whole thing took a lot of time, stress, and energy – but was rewarding as it’s one more new thing we had to learn towards being more self sufficient.

    It’s all good again for another year, thank goodness!

    Big hugs! I hope things are going well for you there too Ms. Frosty Norway. πŸ˜€ hehe

    December 20, 2011 at 10:03 pm

  10. Oh, I am glad you got that over with with the car! I also tend to land hard after practical things that need alot of following up. Can sleep for very long once it’s done!
    I have had my first night out in a small wooden open hut. My sleeping bag is amazing and I slept like a baby, so no worrying about me πŸ™‚ I can stay indoors as someone I know needs their house looked after at the moment, but I long for the woods right now. Or I long for something that is mine, for independence I guess. I’ve been so full of fear for so long. I need to face some of the fears, see that I can walk a different path and walk alone at times, without it being as scary as I feared..
    Take care, dears, I am so grateful for your sharing your brave days in this blog πŸ™‚
    Hugs from inspired norwegian, wishing you both new energy in the days to come!

    December 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

  11. Tent broke in a storm right after I first told you about starting out tent life, that’s why I’m in a hut now πŸ˜‰ Tent will be repaired in january. Depression hit as a big storm grew stronger and stronger and apathy came in full force. I just stood by as the storm ripped the tent apart.. That’s depression for you.. Took me a week to be able to tell anyone, felt so shameful. Well if at first etc.. πŸ˜‰
    Take care! Big hugs from Norway!

    December 22, 2011 at 12:49 am

    • Super sorry to hear about your tent! I can totally understand how such a thing could happen, no need to be ashamed about it in my opinion. πŸ™‚

      I have your email address listed on your comments (only I can see it, it’s not public). May I write you privately there? No worries if you’d prefer I didn’t, so no stress if you want to say no. πŸ™‚

      Extra big hugs, Lisa πŸ™‚

      December 22, 2011 at 1:22 am

  12. Hi Lisa write whenever you feel like it!
    All the best from Bella, and thank you for your words πŸ™‚

    December 22, 2011 at 8:33 am

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