Everyone's energy reserves – their batteries, if you like – are different. Having M.E. means that yours might vary from day to day, and even hour to hour.
The most important thing is to know your limitations, so that you stop and recharge your batteries before you use up all your energy.
The functional ability scale is an important tool to help you work out where you are with your M.E.
You can use it to help you describe and measure how much you can do. If you are someone whose symptoms vary a lot, you may want to make a note of where you are on a good day, as well as where you are on a bad day.
The scale will help you to see how you are doing, and to better understand yourself. Remember, though, if you push yourself too hard, it can take many days to recover afterwards.
There are times when you will stay at the same level, and times when you may go up and down on the scale – sometimes slowly, and sometimes in a jump. But over time, with the right sort of careful support and management, you will hopefully be able to see what improvements you've been able to make.
It's important not to be too disappointed if you see a drop – or to get too over-excited if you see an improvement! M.E. is a condition that does vary over time, and so you should not judge your improvement and recovery based on daily or even weekly changes. It's the long-term pattern that matters.
Don't forget that this is a tool – not an exact guide.
If you are at 50%, for example, this does not mean you can only walk half the distance of a healthy person.
You may be in a different place physically to where you are mentally on the scale: many people fall between two categories.
Part-time means a few hours – only you will know how much is right for you.
There is no predictable pattern to M.E. - ups and downs will happen, even over short periods of time.
One young person with M.E. told us:
"I tried to push myself and do a lot more than I was really capable of. It was a natural reaction for me, but now I realise that it wasn't brave. If you do that, you end up feeling worse than when you started. Then I learned to manage my activity and tried to avoid the urge to complete a task in one sitting. I alternated small mental tasks with small physical ones because I soon learned that it was as important to rest my brain as it was my body."
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