Tuesday, February 27, 2007

M.E. and Me!!!

Hello, I'm Sasha, and I'd like to welcome you to my blog. I'm writing this information to share with you my incredible journey of my recovery from ME/CFS which is still very much ongoing. I'd like to take this opportunity to share a bit of my story with you in the hope that it will help you to move forward in your own recovery.

I'm 34 years old and have never really been in good health, but it was only recently that I was diagnosed with CFS. My health took it's most severe nose dive after a series of multiple stresses in 2005, and since then I have been disabled with the condition, although I suspect that it is ME/CFS that has blighted my health since childhood.

Far from seeing this condition as a curse, I have learned to see it as a great teacher and I have been very grateful for some of the lessons that it has taught me, although I haven't always felt this way. There are times when I have been incredibly depressed and have slipped into the dark hole of despair. Despite having trained in a whole host of holistic therapies before the onset of severe illness, I had trouble translating what I had learned into what I needed. Like so many therapists that get struck down by severe illness I found it easier to apply the techniques to others than to myself. Although I wholeheartedly practiced what I preached on one hand, I still had quite an unbalanced and hectic life before I got ill, and ME was my price.

As well as being trained in holistics I was also a Performing Arts lecturer before I became ill – no prizes for guessing how I burned myself out!! To say I was struck down with ME/CFS is an understatement. One month I was lecturing in Performing Arts at a prestigious college, and teaching yoga, pilates and body maintenance, attending gigs and festivals, dancing, working out and generally living my life to the full; within a few months there was such a rapid decline that I needed someone else to put my socks on and to move my feet backward and forward in bed so that my blood still circulated, and I couldn't get out of the bath on my own.

Like most people with the condition I have horror stories about doctors, frustrations at being labeled as a depressive, and a host of memories about not being taken seriously and feeling isolated and neglected. However, that is not what I want to use this space for. There are a vast number of other places on the internet for those who want to express their despair at the antiquated treatment of the condition, and although I believe that there will be a time when it will be looked upon as barbaric by the medical profession at the early treatment of those with the condition, I would like to reserve this space for a more positive outlook and a solution focused approach. This space is to help you with your journey to recovery.

I clearly remember the point when I switched from fear, self-pity, anxiety, depression and grief to hope, belief, joy, optimism and light. It was yet another strike-out day and I was in severe pain. All I could do was lay there all day in a darkened room and the thought was unbearable. Yet from inside me I heard myself ask who was making it unbearable and I realised that it was me! I had long since understood and practised presence - not reflecting on the past or wishing for the future – before I was ill (although not always successfully!). However, I hadn't understood how to be present in illness, especially when there was so much pain. In my misery I paused – I stopped longing for a time in the future where I was better or a time in the past and just accepted where I was in the moment. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace come over me and although the pain was there I felt it in a totally different way.

The months that followed marked a significant change in my approach to the illness. I researched, I connected with the right people, I adapted old techniques from yoga, I learned new techniques, I ordered books, I connected with the right people. Because I was on a different wave length I also started to draw the right people to me. I went to an amazing conference (run by www.healthyme.co.uk) and befriended the organisers (2 fantastic sisters Fiona and Jo who also have the condition and who are a joy to know), I remembered how to laugh and make others laugh, and I started to beat down the weeds that had grown around me and see a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to the amazing ME conference I discovered Perrin Technique, learned more about the work of Professor Puri and his invaluable research on essential fatty acids, and learned about a fantastic supplement – Juice Plus – which significantly raises anti-oxidant levels. Through my own research I also discovered Emotional Freedom Technique and Energy Medicine, and so my journey continued. I also discovered Metabolic Typing and changed my diet drastically from a vegan diet of mainly raw foods, to a diet which included meat and was high in protein – a radical shift in my longstanding beliefs about nutrition. I also had sessions in Reverse Therapy and learned the messages that my illness was giving me. I learned to balance the activities that i was doing so that I wasn't doing to much. My only 'fault' may have been my over-zealous attempt to get well but I soon learned that it wasn't a race and that there was no first prize for overcoming illness it in a set time! I had to learn to overcome my perfectionist nature and let go of the outcome, and simply practice health.

I cannot credit myself alone for my positive outlook of the journey I'm on. My partner Rupert has been a tower of strength and has patiently supported me as my self-discovery unfolded, offering patience, wisdom and insight, and helping me financially to fund my journey to health. There are a host of amazing practitioners that have also played a role in my positive outlook, and I will use these pages to reflect on the help and experience that they have offered. There have also been a number of friends and family who have supported in very generous and loving ways. I realize that not everyone is as fortunate and that there are many who go it alone. Whatever your position or path through this mysterious illness I hope that you can find some support or information in these pages that will aid your recovery. I encourage you to find optimism and hope and believe in your body's amazing power to heal. When I am well I hope to dedicate my life to helping others like yourself on their journey to health, but in the meantime I offer my sincere and heartfelt hope that you find something in these pages that helps you to feel that you are not alone.

Sending you hope