In 1981 (I was 34 at the time) I remember waking up in intensive care after the birth of my third baby. I knew she was premature but the doctor told me she was doing well. The next day, back in a small ward, I asked to see my baby. I was absolutely devastated when she was handed to me, a wee thing of just over four pounds, and I found the weight of her too heavy to hold. I pretended that it was OK and told nobody. How could I find my baby too heavy! It sounded ridiculous.
I struggled through the next few weeks but felt a tremendous ache in my body, scary chest pains and I had no energy at all. All my muscles seemed to be sore and I felt like I had flu without the cough and cold. I tried to do everything I should for my new baby daughter but my other two children, aged 7 and 4 had to start fending for themselves a lot, particularly my eldest daughter. I should say that my husband had become an alcoholic and also suffered with depression so he was unable to give me and our children the support we needed. He continued to drink excessively and never seemed to be at home. Looking back the suppressed stress of living with him and trying to cope with my teaching job, looking after two children and being pregnant just gave me ‘burn out’ as I understood it then. I now know it was the start of years of ME.
I had visited my local GP on several occasions as I was worried about my health, especially as I had to restart my teaching job soon. I knew something was very wrong. My GP said of course I would feel tired all the time with a new baby, but it wasn’t the sort of tiredness he was talking about. Eventually he referred me to a specialist at the Royal Infirmary. I had cardiac tests and nothing was found to be wrong with my heart although they told me I had a heart murmur and a thickened aorta artery but not serious enough to cause heart problems. The specialist told me I had a chronic stress syndrome and recommended lots of rest. Of course this was impossible.
I eventually started back to work. I felt awful but we needed the money and I knew I had to continue no matter what. At home my children were looking after themselves in lots of ways, doing shopping at the local shop, helping with washing and ironing and preparing their own packed lunches for school. I remember thinking ‘as long as they have clean underwear, were bathed regularly and had food on the table everything would be fine.
At this time I found it impossible to hold my arms up for any length of time (as in writing on the blackboard or putting up pictures at work, and hanging out washing at home was a complete no-no). I found standing still for more than a couple of minutes was really uncomfortable and often sat on the floor if no seat was available. I also found I had very little energy to even have a shower and washing my hair and drying it was a nightmare. I couldn’t hoover and cleaning out a scrambled egg saucepan was very difficult. I was completely unable to do general household jobs.
I started paying my children to do jobs round the house. I continued to work and over the next three years, although I felt like I had flu all the time, I just tried to fight through the pain I felt in my muscles. I often felt at the end of the day that I had run a marathon. I continued to have chest pains and palpitations too and often thought I would be lucky to make it through the night. I felt like I was dying. Luckily for me my head teacher understood and a couple of really good friends helped me out with the more physical aspects of my job. I still loved my pupils and the challenge of the job of teaching and that kept me going in many ways. I lost a lot of weight, so much so that my ribs were sticking out not just in front of my body but on my back as well. I couldn’t sleep at night for the pains in my body. My GP, who was at a loss as to what was wrong with me, had prescribed sleeping tablets but because the effect kept wearing off I was eventually on 4 Mogadon a night.
During these three years I had two really bad episodes of ME where I was off work for three months at a time. I just wanted to sleep and sleep. I could barely get out of bed and found it a trial to even get up and go to the toilet. The kettle felt too heavy when I wanted to make a cup of tea, I couldn’t get dressed, I left my hair dirty and having a bath was troublesome because I didn’t have the strength to dry myself. My children bore the brunt of this. I feel so guilty about this when I look back at what they went through. When I returned to work, I didn’t feel recovered but my head was telling me I must go back or at least try or else I would be bedridden for a long time.
In late autumn of 1984 my husband had a major mental health breakdown and I was signed off work for two months to look after him. I regained some strength but I was very unhappy. I knew my love for him had gone and I also knew he was very ill. I decided then that if I continued going on this way my children would not only not have a father but they wouldn’t have a mother either.
It was about this time that I decided that I would have to get out of my marriage. I eventually filed for divorce in 1986 and my husband became very ill and was diagnosed with bi-polar disease or manic depression as it was then. He was so ill he was committed for 28 days and this recurred over the next three years.
During the summer of 1986 I became very ill again. This had a lot to do with the divorce proceedings, the stress of my husband’s alcoholism and his illness. He had become threatening and potentially violent and the judge recommended that I go to
Just before school started back I returned home. My mother returned with us all and looked after us for three weeks, but I was so physically weak I did not return to work until December of that year.
The next few months were stressful too. Although my husband had left, he was very aggressive towards me and the children. Many nasty lawyers’ letters arrived and he also insisted on his rights to see the children. He was often aggressive towards them and they came home upset after visits. Thankfully he went to stay with his sister in
A friend of mine at that time had been diagnosed with ME and she told me she thought I had it too. I read what little material was available on the subject and realized that I too had the illness. I went to my doctor and told him I thought I had ME. He said, “Maybe, but do you need the label?” I said, ‘No’, pride taking over, but on returning home I cried because I did need the label. It explained so much of my illness and how limited my life had become. Some friends, I’m sure to this day, thought I was lazy because my house was often in a mess and I was refusing any social engagements. Luckily for me, I had some really good friends who did understand. They knew that if I didn’t answer the phone, it was because I didn’t have the energy to speak, and accepted that I would be back in touch when I felt better.
Although I was still teaching, I spent most of my time at home doing more school work and then going to bed early and sleeping.
In 1988 I began to feel a bit better, but still had my limitations and was carefully managing how much physical work I did. In October of that year I went again to my GP. I stated that I was feeling better but still knew something was wrong with my bodily energies. He suggested I go to yoga classes that would help me to relax and give me non-aerobic exercise that would do me good. I went to one class and two days later my body completely crashed. My muscles were so sore, all my energy had gone and I felt really ill again. All I wanted to do was sleep. My Mother came up from
1989 was a good year. I went back to work and slowly became better to a certain level. I still had to carefully manage any physical work and listen to my body. If I overdid things within two days I would pay the price and needed two to three days bed rest to recover. I began to go out once a week socially and this made me feel part of the human race again.
Through our Primary/Secondary School Liaison meetings, I met my partner Tom. He was and still is so special to me. This new relationship gave me a ‘buzz’. I had more energy than I’d had in years. Over the next few years, with careful management, (I had learned what I could do and not do!), I was relatively well and I was certainly happy.
In 1996 I started having more ME symptoms again. My three children were all having problems, some serious, which were aggravated by the insistence of their father to see them on a regular basis. He was aggressive towards them, mentally ill and still drinking too much. I thought ‘My God! Whenever am I going to get out of this?’ I wanted to be well enough to help and support my children. My partner was very supportive, not just to me but also to my children. He helped us all so much and I did not have to take time off work.
Over the next couple of years I became a bit of a workaholic. I was determined to give the children in my care the best education they could have. By 1998 I was feeling very tired and as if I could not go on. The ME symptoms were still there and I had to be very careful with what physical things I did. I still couldn’t walk far and carrying jotters home to be marked, 300 yards from school, was difficult. My partner gave me a lift to work in the mornings and good friends took it in turns to drive me home. This had been going on for years. One morning Tom asked me if I was OK. I told him I was not OK and just too tired to go on.
I went back to my GP and this time Tom came with me. Between us we explained what I had been suffering since 1981. He referred me to a specialist in the
I found I had read most of the material before and for a long time had been taking recommended vitamins and supplements. Also I already knew how to manage the condition.
Tom came into some money and in the summer of 1998 he paid for me to have ‘alternative treatment’ in a clinic in
I was coping well with my job and the demands of everyday life. Unfortunately, a few years later the ME symptoms returned. I thought I was doomed forever.
One day I read an article in the ‘Evening News’ about two doctors up north who had discovered a cure for ME. They claimed a high success rate. They called it ‘Reverse Therapy’. Soon afterwards I was in touch with the clinic and the news was that in a few months they would be opening up a clinic in
In May 2004 I had my first appointment with Kathleen. I liked her immediately and found her very easy to talk to. We had a productive first session and she gave me a message to say to myself. I went home, not daring to hope, but I did feel better. It was a Friday. I slept well and the next morning I felt a shift of energy. I dressed and went over to our local shop for the usual milk, bread etc. Before I went in I felt an overpowering feeling that I wanted to run round the block. What! I hadn’t run in years but always loved running in my years previous to ME! I ran round the block and felt great. I was so excited!
I did my shopping and returned home, a glow of hope shooting through me. Unfortunately the next day I had some mild chest pain. I phoned Kathleen to ask if we should postpone our next meeting but she said, ‘No. Keep it!’ and I did.
I had five sessions with Kathleen and I don’t think I needed the fifth. Amazing! She told me I looked so much better and I did indeed feel much better. The dark circles under my eyes had disappeared and there was a brightness and ‘feel good factor’ about me that I hadn’t experienced for years.
During our sessions, I gave her more and more information on the way I had lived my life and the difficulties I had had. She was able to give me meaningful messages and great techniques to use through more testing aspects of my everyday life. The most important thing she taught me was about the body/mind connection. The idea that my ‘head’ was pushing me through things that my body did not like and sent me messages in the form of ME symptoms in the hope I’d change my ways. Brilliant! What an easy message, but had I seen it? No! My whole life up to that point had been ruled by what I thought I should be doing and pushing myself through at all costs. I now know better.
Kathleen encouraged me to write a diary. She also had me write lists of what I had to do, i.e., work, look after my children etc. and also to write a list of things I would like to do for myself. Writing poetry, walking, doing my astrology charts, entertaining all came into this. We discussed these lists at our meetings and she taught me to manage a balance between the two.
I remember a technique she taught me which helped me so much during this time and I still use it occasionally when I need it. It was about grounding yourself by imagining your feet being planted firmly on the ground.
After the third session, Tom and I were in Tesco’s about to do a big shop. We were just inside and I had an overwhelming feeling I couldn’t drag myself around the isles. I asked Tom to give me a couple of minutes and I did the exercise. I imagined my feet firmly on the ground and that I was connected to the earth. Within a few minutes I felt my energy return and ‘Hey Presto’ I was ready to tackle the isles! I enjoyed an extensive shop without feeling uncomfortable at all. During the rest of 2004 and onwards, I felt well and was in awe of how much Reverse Therapy had helped me.
My partner and I retired in 2005 and nearly all of my ME symptoms have completely disappeared. I still experience muscle ache occasionally but I know how to fix it thanks to Reverse Therapy. I have inherited some heart problems from my Mother and Grandmother, which stop me from walking up hills and carrying heavy luggage, but I have a very normal life now, almost back to what I was before the dreaded ME struck (of course I am 29 years older!) I entertain a lot, I love having dinner parties, and I manage normal household chores, go to Pilates once a week and try to walk a mile most days. I especially enjoy gardening and cooking, even hanging out the washing and ironing, things that had been ‘no-noes’ for so many years. I not only have the time and the energy to support my children through their ups and downs, but also my friends and other members of my family. Tom and I go on holiday several times a year and regularly have visitors to stay. I have a very happy and full life.
I am fascinated by how well Reverse Therapy works. I have read Doctor Eaton’s book and listened to Kathleen’s CD. They remind about the therapy and I have found it truly wonderful how effective it is. It cured me and all I can say is ‘Thank God I found it!’
I can’t finish this without saying a special thank you to Kathleen Haden. She is a very special person with earthly and spiritual qualities. In my opinion she is also a truly gifted healer.
Before I became ill with ME in 1981, I lead an active life. I was teaching full time and looking after the house and my children. I liked to dance, run and cycle and regularly attended night classes for fun/creative activities. I liked nothing more than meeting with friends and socialising. My life was full and would have been happy too but for my former husband’s illnesses.