Victory Over Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Through Reverse Therapy


Published:

In retrospect, I think that the first signs of my chronic fatigue syndrome began in my first pregnancy, when I was 34, but they were so episodic and mysterious I didn’t think of them as part of a larger picture.

I only began to realize that something was seriously going wrong with me when I caught a virus on my 45th birthday in the fall of 2009, a virus with an inexplicably tenacious cough and deep fatigue that I could not shake, not with rest, supplements, antibiotics, Traditional Chinese Medicine, or acupuncture treatments. Gradually and with a change of the seasons, I finally began to feel more or less recovered by the following summer.

Over the next five years, I played out a cycle of recovery and relapse, crashing when I would push myself to do as much as I used to be able to do, then recovering eventually but to a slightly lower level of functioning, all the while adding more and more symptoms and dysfunction to my story of what was going wrong with me.

My symptoms started out as a recurrent cough and unholy fatigue and later expanded to include bouts of digestive upset, GERD-type reflux, recurrent vertigo, hyperventilating in my sleep, tachycardia, palpitations, skipped beats, exercise induced angina, a diagnosed candida overgrowth, severe rosacea, blepharitis, clinically low vitamin D, and massive brain fog and other cognitive impairments.

Finally, unrelenting fatigue, brainfog, and autonomic dysfunction hit me at the end of 2014, leaving me bedbound, unable to even sit up without my heart racing. A shuffle to the bathroom became an anaerobic workout laced with the fear of low-blood-pressure-caused white-outs.

I needed to lie down twice on my way up a single flight of stairs, and watching a TV show or having a conversation for more than 15 or 20 minutes left me physically exhausted and unable to think clearly for hours.

I had gone from being a constantly busy, active, do-everything-myself-and-do-it-the-hard-way person, to a completely helpless, bedbound, terrified shell of my former self, where suicide seemed the only way out and the emotional needs of my family the only thing preventing me from doing it. That and the complete inability to line up the means of self-annihilation.

I don’t know what was more stunning — that I could fall to such a low level of functioning, or that I could recover so quickly, once I finally found the right template for understanding what was happening to me and why.

Over the course of the five years of my decline, I tried many therapies and regimens.

After exploring what little my HMO doctors had to offer me (this ranged from a dismissive shrug to a battery of tests which ruled out all the major diseases and conditions that feature extreme fatigue and/or facial rashes) I explored acupuncture, naturopathy, holistic medicine and integrative medicine. None of them provided more than a short-lived and minor improvement, followed by an eventual crash to a lower level of functioning.

Increasingly severe dietary restrictions, vast quantities and varieties of supplements, B-12 shots, prescription-strength vitamin D, genetic testing for hypothetical metabolism-undermining mutations, Buteyko breathwork, strictly enforced rest, restorative yoga postures, meditation — nothing could provide any sustained improvement.

It was my integrative physician’s baffled observation (made via e-mail because I was afraid the effort of leaving the house would trigger another crash to an even lower level of functioning) that I ought to be getting better because I was doing absolutely everything right, that marked the turning point for me.

In a hail-Mary-pass sort of way, he suggested a book called The Last Best Cure about the documented improvements that mind-body approaches had on chronic illnesses and pain.

Something about his suggestion, or perhaps the utterly miserable depths to which I had descended, freed me from what felt like a years-long trance — a fiercely clutched belief that what was wrong with me was entirely physical, couldn’t possibly have its roots in any mind-body connection.

For someone who had early on embraced yoga and meditation as effective practices to help me cope with a stressful journalism career and later, the demands of motherhood, I was bafflingly unwilling to consider any explanation or cure for my chronic fatigue that involved a mind-body cause.

I was so in thrall to the analytical part of my mind, and it was so certain that it could research and analyze its way to a cure (not to mention its vehement refusal to believe that it was the actual cause of the entire health crisis), that I was unable to believe the recovery stories I read that involved cognitive therapies, even though I ran across dozens and dozens of them in my endless search for a medical therapy or a supplement that would help me get better.

I credited instead the fatalistic belief of the CFS/ME [myalgic encephalomyelitis] community that one could never really recovery from CFS, but could at best work towards symptom management, and that all cognitive therapies were fraudulent, insulting and a waste of money and time.

In retrospect, I am truly gobsmacked that one part of my intelligence was able to so completely hijack my thinking and for so long.

The part of my brain that did my thinking, planning, and worrying had for decades run me ragged, setting up hoops and obstacles for me to jump. It insisted I had to do things perfectly, the hard way. To always extend myself, regardless of whether I was even asked directly to do something. To never say no to others. To save the planet with every decision I made. To be the perfect mother, wife, and daughter.

It insisted that I fear failure and imperfection so much that I could never risk being truly creative. It told me I should be endlessly frugal and self-denying.

This hectoring, perfectionistic, fear-driven part of my brain had so completely taken over my life that I was blinded to its very existence and to the shattering effect it was having on my happiness, creativity, and peace.

It became so dominant, it drowned out my deeper inner voice so thoroughly, that I had no idea that there was any other part of my intelligence that I could access.

I had no idea what I wanted to do any more or what might make me happy. I simply waited for other people to ask me to do things for them or with them.

This overdeveloped frontal cortex — the part of the brain that made me so smart, so competent, such a good multi-tasker and planner — had eventually created so many rules and so much worry and outright fear, that I could no longer feel joy, creativity, spontaneity or happiness.

It spun around in a dizzying teacup ride of over-thinking, catastrophizing, and other cognitive errors that were intended to protect me from harm or loss of esteem but instead set me up for a chronic triggering of my fight-or-flight response that went on for so long that I exhausted and disregulated my endocrine systems to the point that I was completely incapacitated.

Once I was willing to consider that a mind-body approach might help, I suddenly remembered the dozens of CFS recovery stories I’d uncovered over the years, stories that had sounded crackpot to me at the time, or too mysterious to be truly helpful.

There were indeed stories of CFS or ME sufferers who had changed their lives dramatically — leaving a terrible job or a deeply-wrong-feeling marriage — and had crawled out of the abyss of fatigue and sickness to become totally different people, energetic and fully functional again. People who had literally dragged themselves to yoga classes until they regained enough strength to become yoga teachers themselves.

There were also a number of testimonials from people who had pursued Mickel Therapy and Reverse Therapy, and something secretive called Lightning Process that was considered to be complete hocus pocus in the online CFS community.

But these were, in fact, the only stories I’d ever heard that featured a full recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome.

In my desperation and nascent hopefulness about the power of the mind-body connection, I decided to try one of the programs that had the clearest and most-rational sounding testimonials — Reverse Therapy.

I contacted a practitioner in England, a former nurse named Lyn White who had herself succumbed to severe ME and then recovered via Reverse Therapy and retrained as a recovery coach. We had a half-dozen coaching sessions lasting an hour and a half each, via Skype, over the course of five months.

As soon as I made my first appointment with her, she sent me an e-book on Reverse Therapy written by the psychologist who created the program, John Eaton. I devoured it in the week before that first session. Within a couple of days of reading it, I was able to get out of bed and sit upright for several hours during the day. By the end of a week, I had left the house for a sightseeing drive (courtesy of my patient and very supportive husband), a short walk at a county park, and a delicious plate of French fries at a diner.

My recovery seemed stunningly rapid to me, though it did take me almost a year to feel that the disregulation caused by the chronic over-firing of my fight or flight response had subsided completely.

I have written out a handful of long and detailed blog posts with the specifics of my decline and recovery via Reverse Therapy on a blog for others to find (mychronicfatiguerecovery.wordpress.com.)

But in a nutshell, I needed to understand that my symptoms were in fact ignored communications from a deeper part of myself about how I wanted to be in the world.

They were the result of a chronic over-firing of the sympathetic nervous system, caused by my refusal to even hear my inner voice, a voice that had been drowned out for years and years by the part of my mind that created and enforced the rules and roles I made myself live by.

The basic process of recovering via Reverse Therapy was to reconnect with what might make me happy and start doing it, and to listen when a symptom flared, to get quiet and ask myself through a body-centered meditation, what deeper message I was ignoring in that moment.

It was a simple process, but not easy. Over the months of my recovery, I got better and better at understanding myself — how I would push myself or deny myself without ever seeing clearly what I was doing, that I didn’t have to live this way, under all these onerous rules. I reconnected with what made me happy by doing as many things as I could think of that were fun, creative, satisfying, joy-sparking.

I have returned to full functioning. I walk 2-3 miles a day most days. I sleep well and I rarely need to rest or nap. In March, it will be two years since I first started my Reverse Therapy recovery. I have gone through several major life crises since then, including the unexpected death of my father, a significant loss of income and major dental trauma. I got through them all, not only without a relapse, but growing in my own self-realization and becoming even more happy, open, curious, connected, energetic, and in touch with my heart’s desires.

Previous Story                                 Next Story  

 

Submit Your Own Healing Account Here

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

November 22, 2019

The waning Libra Moon poses questions of balance and good taste. Fairness is instinctively sought. Proper dress and tactful conduct are noted, as are violations of behavioral norms. Diplomacy plays a central role in today’s activities, which are likely…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

November 2019

“Bringing Energy into Matter” Learn basics of Tachyon, Zero Point Energy and Quantum Physics Tachyonized products and healing tools for purchase Participate in a seeing...

Cost: Free (preregistration is required)

Where:
The Sanctuary for Celestial Empowerment
10 Grassmere Avenue
Suite #300
West Hartford, CT  06110
View map »


Sponsor: Psychotherapy Healing Services, LLC
Telephone: 860-798-6176
Contact Name: Celeste E. Mattingly, LCSW
Website »

More information

Beaver Moon: Herbs for Aches and Pains Using Anti-Inflammatory Herbs. Refreshments served. To RSVP contact herbalist Rachel Ross, RN CNM. Visit our Facebook page for the latest...

Where:
Hillside Herbals
Jefferson, MA


Telephone: (508) 847-8615
Website »

More information

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

A beautiful collection of messages from Jeshua Ben Joseph (Jesus) that will transform your life, as it did his. Coming together to study these teachings, to ponder, to savor, to deepen our...

Cost: $25 per class

Where:
Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
130 Massapoag Avenue
Sharon, MA  02067
View map »


Sponsor: Heart and Soul Holistic
Telephone: 781-258-9942
Contact Name: Barbara Ann Strassman
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Atend a public hearing for S665 at the Massachusetts State House to protect holistic practitioners. This is the second bill that urgently needs your attention now. S665 will provide a safe...

Where:
Massachusetts State House
24 Beacon St
Rooms A1 and A2
Boston, MA  02133
View map »

More information

With Peyton Pugmire, spiritual intuitive and Certified Angel Card Reader Tuesdays, 9/24, 10/22, 11/19, 12/17, 6pm–8pm You are intuitive beyond belief. This is your soul’s...

Cost: $40

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Creative Spirit
Website »

More information

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Free Evidence-Based Holistic Health Education Program at Wilbraham Senior Center The H.E.A.R.T. Program® (Health Empowerment and Real Transformation), created and instructed by Michelle...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

The Fertility Awareness Meetup provides women with an opportunity to learn about and discuss natural birth control options and fertility. This is a space to connect with peers, access information,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cambridge Women's Center
46 Pleasant St
Cambridge, MA  02139
View map »


Sponsor: AC Fertility Awareness
Telephone: 617-899-7624
Contact Name: Anna Churchill

More information

The online dating scene can be exciting, overwhelming, and also annoying. However, it can truly be worth the hassle if you end up finding your ideal match! Just like Kerri did! Come to this...

Cost: $25

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
Website »

More information

Broga® is an officially licensed brand of fitness infused yoga geared for men but open to all. With instructors around the world, Chuck was trained by the brands creator and went onto work as...

Cost: $20

Where:
SSFIT STudio
339 Boston Post Rd, Suite 6A
Sudury, MA  01776
View map »


Sponsor: SSFIT STUDIO
Telephone: 508-904-7171
Contact Name: Steven
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come detox, relax and renew yourself for the fall in our sanctuary! We have an intimate gathering of great readers and healers providing services at sampler rates to enjoy their services while...

Cost: $60: 3 Pack Service Special; $25: Single Service

Where:
Healing Power Of Flowers—Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani (My journey from cancer, to near death, to true healing) In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four...

Cost: Free

Where:
Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing
411 West Main Street, Suite 2R (rear of building)
Northborough, MA  01532
View map »


Sponsor: Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing
Telephone: 508-393-1212
Contact Name: Kim Flaherty
Website »

More information

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

At our free Divorce Boot Camp, you will learn how to manage the legal, financial, real estate, mortgage and personal issues related to divorce. About this Event: Are you considering, going...

Cost: Free

Where:
Leading Edge Real Estate
2 Mount Vernon Street
Winchester, MA  01890
View map »


Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Four week series for girls ages 11 and up with Leigh Sloss This series of classes will focus on some of the most effective yoga and mindfulness skills for reducing stress and anxiety.  In a...

Cost: Series: $75; Drop in rate $20

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Give Yourself the gift of Reiki this holiday season! Have you always wanted to learn Reiki but didn’t want to commit to a full day workshop?  This is the class for you! Reiki...

Cost: $175

Where:
Center for Inner Wellness
26B Main street
Chester, MA  01011
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Inner Wellness
Telephone: 413-315-1133
Contact Name: Maureen Suriner
Website »

More information

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags