In February 1998 I was teaching English in an independent school in Birmingham, bringing up three children, 7, 10 and 13 with my partner, and feeling rather stressed. On a beautiful sunny February day we decided to go for a walk in the Malvern Hills; in many ways it was an idyllic day, we even happened on a harpist playing half–way to the top! But on the way down the muscles in my legs began to stop working properly. By the time we reached the bottom of the hills, I could barely walk. It was scary…I rang in to school saying I wasn’t able to come in, that I had a virus, but the truth was I hadn’t got a clue what was happening to me. I staggered in to school a week later, but it became clear I couldn’t continue, and to my horror my GP signed me off for a month. I had pupils sitting GCSEs in the summer and I felt as if I was abandoning them. By September my condition deteriorated to the point where I was admitted to hospital as an emergency.
After countless tests including a brain scan and lumbar puncture, it was decided that I had ME, otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and after nearly three weeks I was sent home, little more than a vegetable, saying that there was nothing more they could do for me.
A nightmare 9 years followed, as my condition followed the usual pattern of tiny remission followed by relapse. Wheelchair, electric bed, buggy and chair, pressure cushions, lightweight cutlery and all the other accoutrements of disability crept into our home and our lives. The children learned that Mum was ill and they had to be very quiet. We adapted the best we could, and I set about, with the very limited energy I had, to try to get myself better, to have some sort of positive life and be some sort of mother and partner. We all made the best of what seemed in many, many ways like a bad job.
By Christmas 2006 I had, despite all the therapies and interventions I had tried and being committed to a strict pacing regime, deteriorated to the point where I could no longer feed myself and my food had to be pureed. I couldn’t sit up or listen to any noise or conversation. For the first time during my illness my husband took time off work to help me, and, in some desperation, began surfing the Internet for cures for ME. At first it seemed hopeless; then he stumbled upon an NLP–based training programme. It seemed that the people who undertook this training programme were able to recover and lead normal lives; it seemed too good to be true. Gradually Iain became convinced this would work for me but found himself in the position of being unable to communicate his hope with me, because I couldn’t tolerate any noise or input. He had to communicate by telling me one sentence per day about this new process. After a few well–chosen sentences, I knew enough to know that I too would be able to get better.
We booked a place for me on the course a few months ahead, hoping and trusting that I would be well enough to make the 3 hour journey to my nearest practitioner. In the meantime I had begun to spend periods of time letting my mind go completely blank, and this seemed to have a stabilising effect. I had huge periods of frustration knowing that I would be able to get better, but knowing that I would have to wait months to find out how to do it, so I began experimenting myself using this sort of home–made meditation as my process. I had some success, and by the time I learned how to do the process properly, I had already walked up and down stairs for the first time in 9 years! I completed the training and walked out knowing that I could achieve whatever I wanted in my life. What joy!
When my GP next saw me she described me as a ‘walking miracle’.
I learned this process in April 2007; in June I took myself off to the South of France to discover who I was as a well person. In September I went back into teaching two days a week, and began the year–long training to become a practitioner of NLP, hypnotherapy and life–coaching and the particular training programme I undertook to regain my life and health.
Now I do both teaching and training. I have my life back…and my family have their mother and partner back…and the ME years seem like a distant memory