I was diagnosed several years ago after an inner ear infection and life pretty much came to a standstill for a year and a half. I lost my job, money problems resulted, and I felt like I’d never have a normal life again. Very very slowly I got better through a programme of graded exercise and eventually I went back to work, with life rumbling along at a fairly low level. Not feeling great became the norm and I very much got used to it. Never being sure if I’d have the energy to do something I’d planned, cancelling things last minute because I was just feeling too bleugh. In many ways I was ‘lucky’ because the worst bit of my symptoms seemed to be confined to a couple of weeks a year, and the rest of the time I just felt rubbish. It was never quite enough for me to spend money I didn’t have on the Lightning Process, which I’d been toying with for years. A lot of things went through my mind – would it work for me, would I be the one who didn’t get better, maybe this time I’d get completely better on my own, I can cope, it’s not that bad really… Each time I got ill I decided I couldn’t afford it, and each time I got better I decided I didn’t need it.
Last summer that all changed in quite spectacular fashion. I had a really minor cold, which lead to a repeat of the virus that had been the final trigger the first time I developed fatigue, and before I knew it I had full-blown symptoms and was down to just about being able to look after myself and nothing else. I was still in my probationary period for my new job, and there was every chance they would sack me. For 3 months I went back on to graded exercise, and for a long time that meant cooking a meal and having a shower was all I could manage in a day. The good news was my employers confirmed my job despite me being off sick, which was a huge relief. But my contract only allows for 6 months of paid sick leave, and I was already up to 3 and still spending most of my day resting – I was months off being anywhere near well enough to work. Then came the crunch, a very black moment. My brother and his wife live in France, and my 83 year-old mum and I had a flight booked to spend Christmas with them and their 3 month old baby (who we hadn’t met yet) and her big sister. About a month beforehand I realised there was no way on earth I could do it. I told Mum. My normally strong, stoic, incredible mum was heartbroken. It was horrible.
Once again I’d been thinking about doing the Lightning Process. A friend’s dad had done it several years ago, and had gone from being hospitalised at his worst to decorating 3 houses in the weeks after he did the course! All of a sudden it seemed like it might just work – actually knowing someone who had brilliant results made it all seem possible. So the decision was made, and I had a month to find a course, do it, get better, and get on a plane. Not too much to do then!
Helen had a course running from the 7th-9th December. We had flights booked for the 20th December. It was definitely time for ‘all or nothing’. I still had concerns – how on earth was I going to cope with a train trip to London from Devon? Was I really doing the right thing borrowing money to pay for it when I still wasn’t completely sure it would work? Mixed with a massive amount of apprehensive excitement, that maybe (just maybe) in a few weeks I would feel better. I might even feel great. It was so much to hope for, and so much to be afraid of if it didn’t work.
I made it to London and fell into bed utterly finished. The next morning the 30 minute journey to the course venue on top of the train trip the day before left me sitting in reception thinking ‘I just can’t do this, I can’t concentrate and my brain is full of cotton wool and I need to sleep or I’m going to get really ill again and it’s not going to work and…’
2 hours later the fatigue I was feeling went. And I mean completely gone, for good. I’d prepared myself for the day by telling myself all I had to do was get back to the hotel and I could rest, I’d be careful and not do anything else and I might just be ok. To hell with that – I walked 2 ½ miles, went Christmas shopping, and ran the full length of Victoria station so I could catch my train! I’d barely been out of my flat for the 3 months beforehand. It was incredible.
(In hindsight I perhaps shouldn’t have done the running bit – it was the equivalent of running a marathon with no training and bits of me didn’t like it very much! But Helen showed me how to deal with it all the next day and it all slotted into place).
The next 2 days just made things better and better. On the morning of day 3 I took myself off to the Science Museum before the course and wandered round for a couple of hours. I must have looked a bit strange walking round an exhibition on space flight with a frankly crazy grin on my face! I couldn’t believe I was there. It seemed impossible, miraculous, bonkers, exciting, incredible, wonderful and scary all at once. Had I really got my life back after so many years?
I realised I’d been checking how I felt/might feel every few minutes, every day of my life. Stopping doing that took some self-discipline, but with the right techniques it was actually incredibly easy. That was the first step. The next bit was to get physically fit for life again. Sitting on the sofa for 3 months doesn’t give you much stamina for everyday life, and it took a few weeks for my body to catch up with my new-found energy and desire to do EVERYTHING! Falling into bed at the end of a packed day doing a hundred different things was utter bliss – I was genuinely, properly tired and it felt wonderful. I did lots, I felt tired, I had a great night’s sleep, I got up and did lots all over again. And I haven’t stopped for the last 5 months. I’ve brought Mum’ garden back to where my Dad had it when he was still with us, and that’s put a smile on both our faces. I’m back at work full time – they wanted me to start slowly so I wasn’t allowed to go back to a normal week straight away, which was frustrating as I had more than enough energy! So I spent the time doing lovely things I’d missed out on instead – dog walking, boat trips, gardening, seeing friends and family. I sleep for a normal 8 hours a night and naps are a thing of the past, no matter how much I like the idea of having one occasionally! I haven’t been bungie jumping or sky diving or anything apparently ground-breaking – I’ve ‘just’ got my life back, and it’s utterly wonderful.
I have forgotten what it was like being a person who was always ill. I’m well. It’s become normal and most of the time I forget about it, which is just incredible. And then every so often I remember how much of a miracle it is and I smile all over again. People regularly tell me how well I look. I’ve lost a stone and I’m looking forward to getting back to the weight I want to be – halfway there. I use the Lightning Process on all sorts of things, and it’s helping me make all sorts of changes.
And that trip to France? Suffice to say my niece is utterly gorgeous, and Mum had a wonderful time. On Christmas Day I did a load of the cooking, ran round the garden with my 7 year-old niece, held my own speaking French to my sister-in-law’s family, played with the dog. I did a whole load of physical and mental ‘stuff’. And then everyone else went to bed shattered and I sat there smiling thinking ‘what am I going to do with all this energy I’ve got left?’ The best Christmas present ever.