I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for three years. It was diagnosed by the doctor through the usual processes. The symptoms were fairly typical: inability to walk for more than 200 yards, pain throughout the body following any exertion, usually with a delayed reaction, brain fog, disorientation. I was only able to work for about three days a week and invariably would have to spend two days a week in bed. Trips to anywhere else in the country were out of the question, trips abroad an impossibility. I basically lived within a 200 yard radius of my bed. As a result, I saw less of my family and my career was becoming impossible to sustain. This hit me particularly hard as I had been highly motivated and productive person right up until my mid 40s.
After diagnosis I became friends with other CFS/ME sufferers and I tried many different cures & remedies. One by one, I attempted massive amounts of supplements, I went on the Keto diet regime, I rebuilt my digestive system with super-pro-biotics, I tried meditation and Jungian psychotherapy, I did phased exercise with high doses of ibuprofen, I tried ingesting Cordyceps and taking hormone and adrenal boosters. After achieving very little through all these separate attempts, I sensed one option looming ahead of me: surrender to the condition.
This very real possibility scared me. I know two other people who surrendered. I knew that if I did then my hope and my body would waste away and my life would be behind me. So, I did something I was advised against. I looked into a therapy that one of my friends with CFS/ME was opposed to and that certain CFS/ME groups are sceptical of. This is Reverse Therapy.
I too was sceptical. Scepticism and cynicism are my general attitudes in life, nonetheless, I felt I had very little left to lose.
I studied the book by John Eaton and underwent a course of therapy with Kathleen Kettles. After my first week I abandoned my dependence on supplements, special diets and painkillers and I walked a mile. By the second week I was out seeing friends I hadn't seen in years and discovering that I wasn't experiencing fatigue after going beyond what I thought was my exhaustion level. Kathleen taught me to listen to my body in ways I hadn’t since I was a child. By week four I was feeling a kind of electric temptation in my muscles. I went swimming and tested myself by playing badminton - an expenditure of activity that I would have thought foolish and dangerous only a month before. I survived. Even though my son thrashed me at the game, he was hugely inspired to see me ‘back on my feet.’
It is now month four, heading into month five, and I've just returned from a two-week holiday in the southern-most part of Europe, which involved walking for miles in scorching heat, climbing hundreds of steps carved into cliff and swimming in the sea. The trip also involved many changes of transport and environment, and variations in diet and daily schedule that I would have found impossible to deal with four months before.
I won’t go into the details of how Reverse Therapy works - I'll leave that to Kathleen and John. Suffice to say that there was a chain of eureka moments and genuine revelations, which occurred alongside specific behaviour modifications and challenges. I can now say that I had chronic fatigue syndrome, in the past tense. And I've been trained to look for the signs of symptoms beginning again and I know now how to act, if and when, such signs appear.
This is one of these very annoying testimonials in which someone tells you that with Factor X, they got their life back. Let me just personalise that a bit and try that again.
I can honestly say that Reverse Therapy gave me my life back.
There, I never thought I'd write something like that - but then again when I was trapped in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome everything was heading towards becoming a ‘never’.