One of the things that helped me turn the corner was that, for some unknown reason, I stopped thinking so much about the activities that I used to enjoy. First among those activities was surfing, but there are many, others, like jogging, drinking, yoga classes, snowboarding, and spontaneous road trips.
Well before I became sick, someone whose wisdom I value told me that "nothing in life is guaranteed." I keep coming back to that statement now whenever I'm tempting to dwell on thoughts of what I'm missing. I try to remember that health, and the freedom to pursue superfluous recreational activities isn't guaranteed. In fact, it's a privilege of a relatively small number of spoiled inhabitants of wealthy western countries.
Sometimes I take this thought process a step further and remember the extreme unlikeliness of my existence here, on this planet. There's an excellent quote on this topic from Bill Bryson's book, "A Short History of Nearly Everything."
Not only have you been lucky enough to be attached since time immemorial to a favored evolutionary line, but you have also been extremely- make that miraculously- fortunate in your personal ancestry. Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth's mountains and rivers and oceans, everyone of your forbears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result - eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly- in you.Not only that, but I find myself remembering that, for most of human history, the average life expectancy of most humans was less than thirty years. Even today, in many parts of the world, one can't reasonably expect to live past the age of 40. Of course, I realize that these figures are a bit skewed by high infant mortality rates. But the point is that, in at least one view of the cosmos, I'm living on borrowed time. Every ounce of enjoyment I can squeeze out of life from this point forward is pure gravy. It's bonus time.
Add to that the fact that, for most of human history and in many parts of the world today, life is/was often a full time exercise in survival. It's hard to imagine that quality of life was too good when we (humans) were foraging for each meal, dodging predators, and walking miles for clean water. Before modern medicine, a person was always one infected cut away from an untimely death. Basically, life has always carried with it a heavy amount of suffering just based on the cruelties of nature (not even counting all the suffering that man inflicts on man). This is why, I believe, that Buddhism grew out of the maxim that "life is suffering."
All this is to say that I'm trying to take life with ME/CFS in stride and put it into perspective. Many of my fellow PWME's are much worse off--sometimes homebound or even bedbound. I try to think of them when I'm tempted to sulk. Or I think of those with terminal diseases and remember how lucky I am despite the challenges of ME/CFS. Or I remember that, from a historical perspective, I'm on borrowed time and that everything from here on out is gravy.