Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Mindfulness & M.E
Just a bit more than three years ago, my life was brought to a sudden halt whilst being in the final year of my social work degree. It had been 'mud, sweat and tears' to get to that point with two pregnancies and two babies, but I was desperate to go back and finish the last full time year at Uni when my daughter was only 5 months old. Unfortunately fate had other plans for me and my body definitely couldn't cope with the pace I was subjecting it to, so it basically stopped! It took an agonising ten months for the doctors to diagnose me with Fibromyalgia (M.E). I was pretty much house bound for the first two years of this journey and it has been far from pleasant, I have to confess. It has however been a journey of learning. Learning what my body needs and learning the difference between the mind and body, as my life has been governed by my mind, with very little room or respect for my body. My body was my vehicle to blast a mountain bike round a single track in Wales or Scotland or climb up some rocks in the Peak District or Yosemite. Well, basically my body had had enough of not being heard and it said STOP AND LISTEN!!!
I have been so very fortunate that my hubby has been so incredibly supportive and he has been there with me through thick and thin all the way. Thanks to him and his family we have managed to fund my treatment, which has been pretty expensive to date, but worth it! I have been seeing +Dr Raymond Perrin at the Perrin Clinic in Prestwich (http://www.theperrinclinic.com) for two and a half years now and I really believe that it's made a significant difference. Over and above that I did some telephone work with +The Optimum Health Centre in London, which was great as I was housebound at the time. Through this I started working with an amazing Nutritionist called +Niki Gratrix. She has a great website and blog for anyone with similar M.E and Chronic Fatique related problems. Here is the link: http://www.nikigratrixenergy.com/
M.E is Niki's area of expertise and she has spent a great deal of time working with leading doctors in this field in the US and I can't thank her enough for the work we are still doing together. She introduced me to amazing supplements, some which are done by a company called +Gematria (http://www.gematria.co.uk/acatalog/index.html) and since starting these supplements I have seen an dramatic improvement in my overall health, to the point where I can drive again, leave the house (yippee), do things with my kids, and just cope with the normal strains of daily life. Not to forget to mention my that I now have so much more energy for my constant desire to make and create. I still have to spend some time in bed most days, but I am confident that this will get less and less in the coming years. Gematria's innovative laser enhanced supplements are at the forefront of advanced nutritional supplements (I can certainly vouch for that). Then there is also B12 Vie Patch, which has also made a significant difference in my overall levels of energy and a very useful little patch for anyone struggling with energy levels in general.
All of this has enabled me to take my journey onto the next level and I recently joined a gym so I can start swimming (or splashing as in my case) with an aim to build up some stamina so I can start enjoying some of this lovely countryside that I am surrounded with. Walking is the one thing that still affects me the most, but I am confident that this will improve.
So now to start the reason for my blog, Mindfulness. Despite a bad night (a common problem for people with M.E) where I tossed and turned like a hamburger (as a friend would say), I decided to go to the pool. As I approached the pool, all hope evaporated as I was met by a Aqua Zumba instructor and about 20 woman. The music was blaring and my dream of peace and quiet in a relaxing pool was completely quashed. At first I felt a little grumpy that I had driven all the way to get here for this, but then somehow all the spiritual and mental work that I have done over the last three years kicked in. Yes, I gave into the situation and strangely started to enjoy the moment.
Mindfulness is such a simple concept and yet it is so darn difficult to put in practice. Dealing with the here and now and being in the moment sounds so incredibly simple, but boy is it hard! Another wonderful and inspirational person I worked with during my journey is a lady called +Jan Williams who does a 'Journey to wellness' course, which I would highly recommend to anyone suffering from any M.E related issues. Here is her details: http://www.journey-to-wellness.co.uk/aboutme.htm.
One of the first exercises she gave me was to practice mindfulness whilst brushing my teeth. Now if any of you are anything like me, picking up my toothbrush is usually my cue for doing everything else, like putting washing in the washing basket, tidying the kids rooms and doing whatever else I can possible fit into two minutes. So yes this was a challenge for me at first (and to be honest it still is), but I keep trying to stay in the bathroom and be mindful of everything happening with me, my toothbrush and my teeth for that two minutes, and however daft it may sound it has really helped me with being more mindful with every activity I do, whether it is crocheting, sewing, reading to my kids, crafting, resting, whatever.
I find now that I am more in tune with my body and that the mind-body is working as one, rather than just my head driving my body as before. Here is a list of some of the books and CD's that I have enjoyed throughout my journey so far.
1. Deepak Chopra - Quantum Healing. Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Spirit (A great book that every person in the world should read!).
2. Pema Chodron - When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (another inspirational book useful for everyone).
3. Pema Chodron - Getting Unstuck.
4. Eckhart Tolle - The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.
5. Echart Tolle - Practicing the Power of Now.
6. Jon Kabat-Zin - Mindfulness Meditations Audio CD.
7. Deepak Chopra - theSoulofHealingMeditations a Simple Approach To Growing Younger CD (well worth purchasing)
8. Mindfulness of breathing managing pain, illness and stress with mindfulness meditation CD
9. Gretchen Brooks Nassar - CFS Call For Soulwork
10. Kirstin Neff - Self Compassion
11. Sam Obitz - BEEN THERE, DONE THAT? DO THIS! (A great little book)
12. James L. Wilson - Adrenal Fatique. The 21st Century Stress Syndrome (another must read!)