I never thought that I would be able to turn my life around so drastically. At the age of 24 I had pretty much given up hope; hope of a career, hope of a family, hope of energy, hope of real happiness. I actually did, on the face of it, have a great life and support network. I was recently married and was fortunate enough to have the most wonderful husband, a fabulous family and understanding friends. We owned a lovely little house in a beautiful village and were happy and comfortable. But there was a black cloud…a big black cloud.
At the age of 15 I had been diagnosed with Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. The simplest things became a struggle and I couldn’t face much outside of my home. I went through flare ups of the fatigue but managed to muddle through GCSEs, A-Levels and University. I began a lovely full time job as a Teaching Assistant in a Reception class in 2015 and became engaged in 2016. Life felt great and I was experiencing a lot more energy than I had done for many years.
But then, later in 2016, the black cloud struck. I was off work with what felt like Flu. As this turned from days to weeks I began to suspect that the Fatigue had returned. My symptoms were worse than ever and I couldn’t function. A couple of months later, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was mostly wheelchair bound and barely left the house. I couldn’t do anything for myself and felt deflated and demoralised. I was forced to leave my job and spent most days in bed or on the sofa, requiring my husband and parents to shop, cook, clean and sometimes even wash and dress me. I began to feel that I would never again be able to be independent; I felt cheated out of my career and unable to really enjoy being in my twenties and newly married. After six months I was able to begin working a couple of hours each day at lunchtime in a primary school, but this short amount of working often meant being unable to do anything in the mornings, evenings and at the weekends.
Nearly two years after my diagnosis, last September, I decided enough was enough. Something had to change. The phrase ‘Lightning Process’ had cropped up a few times over the previous two years but it was something I’d always dismissed as “not for me” and “a make-believe cure”. Being a Christian I was slightly concerned that the process may have conflicting beliefs that would affect my faith and that it would try to change my core beliefs. But my desperation had reached fever pitch and I could not face continuing the way that I was a second longer than I had to. Having received a message from a friend experiencing similar fatigue, who had transformed their life that week by doing the Lightning Process, I took the plunge and sent in an enquiry. I felt nervous, excited and – I have to admit – a little sceptical, all at once. However, having spoken to my practitioner, perusing the official website and booking onto a course, I truly believed that this was going to work. My worries about it not fitting in with my faith were put to rest by my practitioner who assured me that the process does not conflict with religious or non-religious beliefs, it stands alone from this. I believed that I could transform my symptoms and my life and began to count down the days.
I don’t think I can even put into words exactly how much the Lightning Process has changed my life. I don’t feel like a different person, I’m still me, but I am an improved, more energetic, healthy and positive version of myself. In order to get to the course, I took the train with my husband, relying on my walking stick (and his arm occasionally to haul me up the stairs!) and one of those little blue pin badges that asks other tube passengers to offer me a seat. Four hours later, having completed the first day of the process, I emerged onto Victoria Street with no walking stick and was almost marching to the tube station with a rather astounded husband in tow! After the second day we went sightseeing in Westminster and after the third and final day I climbed 311 steps to the top of the Great Fire of London Monument; an incredible turnaround from where I was 72 hours previously!
As I write this, it is 125 days since I completed the Lightning Process and 125 days since I last touched my walking stick – I’m not even sure where it is, tucked away in the back of the cupboard probably! Life now is so drastically different to how it was just 125 days ago. Since doing the LP, I have increased my hours at work and work between 4-7 hours every day. I have also applied, attended an interview and been accepted to complete a teacher training PGCE year at Cambridge University in September – something that a mere few months ago, I genuinely thought was a long-lost pipe dream. I am beyond excited about my new career but there have been so many positive changes in my life outside work too. I am able to have a social life and have become more involved in my church’s life also. My husband and I no longer have to ‘micro-manage’ our lives or worry whether something will leave me laid up on the sofa for a week. I see much less of the sofa now in fact and am able to enjoy birdwatching, countryside walks and have even taken up the challenge of indoor rock climbing!
It truly feels as though the big black cloud has lifted for good; I have a completely new lease of life and am so excited for what the future holds. I will never look back.