First of I'd like to say that we can all at some point feel the prickly spikes of our annoyance or even full blown rage when M.E and emotional distress are mentioned in the same sentence, as we all know it feels so physical, and that is because it is, it is very physical. But equally as with most other diseases or conditions it has the emotional and spiritual family that need nurturing too.
I believe my M.E started with the epstein barr virus which is one of the most common viruses in humans. I contracted this when I was twelve. It is best known as the cause of of infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever). The most believable explanation I have found which explains how this virus may work with every person that has an autoimmune condition is found in a book by The Medical Medium Anthony Williams called "Secrets behind Chronic and mystery illness and how to finally heal them." His explanation of how the virus works, why it attacks the body, the reasons behind the failure of it showing up in normal diagnostic tests and also how you can protect yourself and heal is an explanation that resonates with my truth, observations and experiences. By the time I got to this book I was actually doing most of the things he was suggesting naturally anyway, as I'd hooked back up with my instincts. But I can tell you when I read this book I felt such a sense of relief. Every single thing he talked about made sense and all of that confusion and self doubt that I'd been carrying for what seemed like an eternity floated away. I'd had a virus which had been hiding in one of my organs, and I'd even said this in the past to myself and others, there is something attacking me but it is very clever and keeps hiding, so that I can't figure out how to fix it! Anyway when I really thought about everything, all the relapses, remissions and experiences, I believe he is RIGHT! Every time I had an injury, an infection, an emotional disturbance, too much environmental toxicity, too much social toxicity, this virus was coming out of it's hiding place and attacking me. It wasn't my body attacking me at all, it was the virus. I see the signs in others too as what they are saying coincides with this. It may have been that emotional stress had opened the gateway for me initially contracting the virus at age 12, as I believe is the case with many illnesses, as it lowers our defences.
I'm writing this here on this post as I feel our understanding of our own illness is sooo important to emotional wellbeing, especially for us with M.E, as as some of the medical profession, bless their souls have given us a right old hard time of it. Anyhow I have no doubt many of them are going to struggle immensely with where Anthony got his info from, but in the meantime I urge you to read his book. It will lift you up like a breath of fresh unadulterated air...
We have all been wounded on some level as a child, healing those wounds can be extremely evolutionary to both your emotional and spiritual wellbeing, which eventually has a positive knock on effect with your physical wellbeing. The unearthing of these weeds creates an optimal environment inviting raw authenticity to bloom, and is a fundamental cog in the wheel of self discovery. You become the gardener. There is always a grieving process to sit through when you are shedding layers like this and it's important to just acknowledge it and let it happen at its own pace. You don't want to be planting new seeds in earth that is full of weeds, rocks and any toxic substances that would inhibit germination. The key to cultivating a rich harvest is preparing the land, tending to weeds and fertilising the soil.
The growth of your beautiful new blossoms are the fruits of the positive affirmations you chose to plant into your mind which are in place of all those weeds which are the emotional wounds, and you continue to fertilise your emotional landscape whilst continually removing any and every single weed that decides to poke it's tricky little head through the soil, I say tricky because just as in your outside garden, some weeds are very similar to flowers, don't be fooled! That's why you need to treat your emotional wellbeing with the same love, respect, dedication and commitment as you would with a beautiful outside garden, and if your outside garden is a total mess, get yourself well and get out there and get it flourishing again, it's very therapeutic...but no pressure!!! Truly nurturing your inner child and shedding the light on to your pain highlights what inner child work needs to be done to aid your development and nourish your psyche. For people who have gone through sexual abuse there is a great book by Penny Parks called "Rescuing the inner child."
There are various ways to heal the inner child, and there are plenty of resources around on the web and in books to aid that development. I always suggest that you learn what you need to learn from any mentor on your life path and then give it your own personal creative spark, that way it becomes more unique and empowering for you. But the aim is to give that child the nurturing she/he needs to recover. Ask the child what would help? Let your adult self communicate with the inner child? Visualise that loving, supportive relationship, respect her/him, nurture, hug, listen, love...and she will learn to trust that you have her/his best interests at heart.
Heres how I did mine, you may do less or even more work, whatever is right for you to get that inner child back to her/his wild, unique, miraculous, happy, joyful, silly, playful, fearless, wonderful loving self again..
First of all I started writing poems and that was really good as it helped me get my feelings out. My poems usually start with the emotional disturbance and work their way to a solution as I am an eternal optimist, that's just how I'm woven. Was that enough. Well the simple answer is no, it wasn't. It was a good start I was taking bad things and turning them into good and that's a good thing, well yeah but nothing even close to the amount of work I had to do to 'get over' all the shock, pain, fear, rejection, anger, shame, humiliation, criticism, disappointment. I couldn't just skim over the feelings with some crying that came out with revealing those words. I couldn't just leave all the anger on those pages and hope that my physical body would become peaceful. Anger is an energy and there are physical, spiritual and emotional components to it also. Some people say that anger is bad for you well actually anger has its place, its a primal thing that is inbuilt in us when we feel threatened. I don't believe you can push anger away and it will just disappear. I think holding anger inside is very destructive and if its there long enough to become bitter then it's like a toxic poison leaking into your system. There is a saying that goes 'holding on to anger is like holding a hot coal in your hand and expecting it to burn the other person.'
So I had to take those poetic words and show them to people, I had to face the embarrassment of letting people see inside my soul! And by doing that I then had to fully feel the blush of a million moments that had affected me deeply, which had created scars in my soul that at many points throughout this I wondered if I would recover from...despite my eternal optimism and passionate survival instinct. I had to let people see my vulnerability and that was something that took a lot of courage! I ended up having 12 published in various publications, running a writing group, doing a workshop at national woman's day and 70 of them went in my own book called 'Is it you...Is it me...Or is it Us.
Anyway I didn't stop there with the writing. I continued...I wrote letters to those who had harmed me. Now this is where the digging deep really unearthed those nasty weeds. A lot of these letters I didn't send by the way, some I did though as my instincts told me to, but it isn't really that necessary to actually send the letters as Karma is already heading in the perpetrators direction. The rage, utter devastation, repressed thoughts and memories that came out with those letters were mind bogglingly and heart wrenchingly cathartic. Wow being able to blast all that internal sewage out with no filter was so liberating, and at times very amusing as the lady I am, discovered she actually had the expletive type of mouth that would have a yard full of stocky builders retire into a cave and hang their heads in shame!
In the midst of all this I punched pillows, my sons punch bag, once I punched the stairs but the pain very quickly communicated to me that I was heading far more in the destructive direction than the constructive one!!! I played the drums, I did shamanic tribal dancing. Through time the anger dissipated. The rest of the repressed emotions didn't until I had written my 65,000 word memoir, and it was then that I truly unearthed and acknowledged the magnitude of what had been going on in my life and how it had affected me, possibly even as far back as the womb but definitely from when I was a very young child.
Music wow what can I say...The LOVE of my life! Music... oh music...I can feel my cells dancing even at the though, it has such a powerful effect on us. It can make us cry, laugh, evoke nostalgic memories, soothe our soul, change our brainwaves, stimulate our heart, nurture our psyche. I know it's sometimes impossible to listen to it when you have severe M.E or severe episodes that have your nervous system in overdrive, at these times you can visualise things surrounding music or better still write your own song. Even if it is just a few letters or words at a time you are able to manage, it is a work in progress and each tiny little step no matter how small you may believe it is at the time is one step nearer your quantum leap!
Art helped me so much to as it transports you into a meditative state and helps you to focus on the moment. With "The hummingbirds trumpet" sketch below when I first started it I was lying flat on my bed, my husband had given me a special aid type thing that holds books up. I was very fortunate the second time around when I had the major relapse which had me bed bound for another two and a half years etc..to have an extremely loving and supportive husband in all ways.. whilst I was ill. He did all the necessary day to day things so that I could just concentrate fully on therapeutic things that enhanced my wellbeing. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner for all that time he asked me what I wanted to eat and made it for me, so all I had to do was concentrate on me, something I'd never done in my life before! I started by sketching the picture below, the first few weeks I was only able to to hold the pencil in my hand and concentrate for a few minutes at a time about twice a week, but slowly and surely it started to increase, then I'd make small cards, sometimes it would be only sticking a shell on. I had to learn to be satisfied with part of a job and not always to have to completely finish what I started, it was annoying because I am a perfectionist, this was a hard lesson that had me stumbling time and time again, pacing with these things took a great deal of practice and a complete change of my mindset, from perfectionist to perfect imperfection! I then went on to do many other types of art, like clay making which has a nice feel to it and not too many rules which was very therapeutic, sketching was a good way to help my left and right brain balance, painting and pastels helped me to feel good and worked as a colour therapy for me as I love colours, doing slate and stone beach-combing crafts was also great as one of my biggest loves is the beach, and these small crafts lifted my spirits and gave me a sense of achievement without being too taxing. I went on to have many exhibitions with each one bigger that the last. With my last exhibition I sold 80 items! All the art, mounted and framed photography that was left is now housed at Natural Balance therapy centre and Laughing Unicorn in Dundee.
Mindfulness yoga and meditation all enhance emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing too and they have always featured as my wellness buddies. Meditation was alway difficult for me as I have a very active mind. I went through a massive amount of guided meditation mentors before I found what suited. Visualisation techniques are the best for when you cannot stand any electrical equipment around you, and for when the dark grip of depression can try to pull you down. Mindfulness is really just the psychological process of bringing ones attention to any every day experiences occurring in the present moment, we do this by focusing on our breath to begin with and then using our other senses to really just be in the here and now, the more you practice it with everyday activities, the more aware you become of how important it is to be present in this moment rather than flitting back and forth from the past to the future. Meditation is where you focus your mind on various parts of your body, a particular scene, thought or activity which will help you to achieve mental clarity and uplift you into an emotionally calm state, which returns the parasympathetic nervous system to homeostasis and creates a stable equilibrium within your internal environment.
EFT (emotional freedom technique) or tapping as it sometimes gets called - A fusion of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. This helped me immensely and as I had lots to deal with I used it the most out of any therapy I've ever used. The psychological aspect alongside the physical and energetic elements are just superb for so many M.E symptoms! I've written more about this on the therapies part of my website.
Healing emotional wounds isn't just about replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, it is about reaching deep down into the pit of your soul and really getting down and dirty with it all, then and only then can you experience authentic transformation!
Visualisation - If you are finding that no matter what you do negative emotions are getting stuck and keep resurfacing only to be regurgitated as you experience various things, and it's too difficult to accept and forgive others and even yourself at times as the case may be, then you might find this useful... Think about a part of your body that is painful, stiff, uncomfortable, irritated... Then think of whatever it is you feel say for instance anger, shame, rage, fear, guilt, low self esteem, sadness, embarrassment or whatever comes up for you, then see that word in a bubble and imagine that your hand is reaching inside that body part and pulling this feeling out, then actually physically hand it over to the universe or the angels to take it away transmute it into pure Devine light. Make this a daily practice if need be. Now the next step is to imagine a beautiful white healing light beaming into the body part to heal it.
Real authentic friends, mentors and companions - People that inspire you, whether in person or in books, music, movies, people who want to see you do well and are genuinely happy when you do, people who love you for who you are warts and all, people who don't try to bring you down, people who are not in competition with you, people who compliment you when you need it and kick your ass when they know you need it too. People who really love and appreciate you no matter what.
Blocks to emotional wellbeing... when you are healing emotional wounds you can come up against the loud and destructive sabotaging ploys of the ego who just loves to see you failing and struggling with things. Our ego has been partly shaped by what others think of us in the first three years of life when it starts to develop, this can work out good or bad for us depending on what we have been told, some have over inflated egos and some develop low self esteem, and both can be as a result of controlling, abusive, dishonest, and destructive behaviour towards us, but in the end it is always up to us to decide as others don't decide who we are. The ego is the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and unconscious. I believe the more conscious you are the better balance you have. Freud says there are three distinct interacting agents in the psychic apparatus which are the id, which is the primal, first part to develop, then the ego in the early years, and finally the super ego which is apparently last to develop which includes rules and standards for good behaviour. These are all working together to shape our identity as we develop, but there is more to it than that, I believe. I value what Freud has taught us but it seems he wasn't fully in balance with things himself ego wise, and that Jung had much more of a handle on things as he was a lot more open, conscious and willing to delve into the spiritual and mystical side of things. I believe that this fusion is the icing on the cake of our emotional intelligence and sense of who we are, which harvests much richer fruits of harmonious wellbeing.
When we embrace our own truth, individuality, our collective consciousness and connect fully with the universe and our Divinity we return home to our true self identity.
Much love sweethearts 💕