At my request, John Aitken is guesting today. He is a former counsellor who recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and has now retrained as a Reverse Therapist. I think John’s words speak for themselves so I don’t need to add any more.
My belief that I must succeed drove me to illness; and my insistence that I must be self-sufficient at all costs kept me there. My activities became extremely narrow. I was purely focused on training to be a Mental Health Nurse. The more tired I became the more I concentrated on this – reinforcing the problem. In fact one day I remember an old school friend asking me what I did to have fun. I was speechless. I didn’t have any fun.
I slowly became more and more exhausted.
I made an appointment with my GP, who arranged for blood tests and a depression study. These were clear and he diagnosed me (by exclusion) with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E. I was devastated. I had previously made a joke that I was going to start an M.E. support group, but I couldn’t be arsed – that back-fired. At first I couldn’t get out of bed. It was like having a devastating hangover and the flu at the same time. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I had always been so active. How long was this going to last for? Would I have to consider being incapacitated for the long term? I looked on Google for more information and was completely overwhelmed – and my symptoms increased. Shit!! I had all the common CFS symptoms and couldn’t believe this was happening to me – I had always been a high achiever
All my dialogue was internal: “I have got to make the best of it” “How come other selfish people get away with it without getting ill?”. In fact since doing a person-centred counselling course, I believed that it was my role to do all the listening. I devalued myself and assumed that it was my sole function in life to be supportive of others.
Then I discovered Reverse Therapy and my life turned around.
This process highlighted the importance of paying attention to my emotional needs and my own personal truths rather than all the rules and expectations that I had inherited.
In summary, I was not expressing my emotional needs and was not having enough fun in my life. Reverse Therapy helped with this by showing me how my body reacts and causes symptoms. It taught me how to respect my symptoms as a clear message that something was not right in my life. That I needed to correct something in order to respond to my body’s needs. I now know how to be well.
I now live my life according to my emotional truths and not the learnt psychological rules that I have assimilated from society in general. I am much happier and stimulated by life again. Like everybody else I have bad days but I quickly bounce back and have more fun.
I asserted my need to be listened to sometimes and downgraded my role as a counsellor (taking on other’s issues). Ironically I am now better able to help people with their issues using Reverse Therapy.