Many people with CFIDS and fibromyalgia feel caught in a vicious cycle of push and crash, swinging between overactivity and rest. Their symptoms and their reactions to them interact to keep them caught in a frustrating loop. When their symptoms are low, they push to get as much done as they can. But doing too much intensifies their symptoms and so they crash. The high level of symptoms leads them to rest in order to reduce discomfort. This is usually successful; rest reduces their pain, fatigue, and other symptoms.
But then another cycle begins. Feeling frustrated at all they didn’t do while resting, they plunge into another round of overactivity to catch up. This in turn causes another intensification of symptoms, so they experience another crash. Living in response to symptoms, they are caught on a demoralizing roller coaster in which high symptoms alternate with periods of extended rest, and they feel out of control. This cycle can be especially frustrating for CFIDS patients because they often find that even apparently small amounts of activity trigger a disproportionate increase in symptoms.