Do you want to be… Proactive? Confident? Better at making decisions? True to yourself? Happy?
These are all words that used to jump off the pages of self-help books at me as I searched for happiness in the years leading up to my getting ill. I’d buy books claiming that they’d make me happier, more popular, more intelligent, funnier and assertive, raise my self esteem and bring about peace of mind. Believe me, there’s a book for everything!
I can imagine a lot of people who know me and read this will find that hard to believe as I have always been described as a very smiley and happy person. I’m not saying that I never had a genuine smile on my face, but there were times when the only reason I was smiling was because I didn’t really know how else to act. I’d learnt over the years that people tend to like a happy person in our society.
I’d always been brought up to fit in with other people, and to put them before myself. Not making a fuss and trying to keep everyone else happy was what I did. Looking back I can see that living like this was exhausting and it’s not surprising that one day I got CFS/ME. I’d been unintentionally putting my body under stress for many years and my body had actually been in dis-ease for a long time before I started to get physical symptoms.
When I started Mickel Therap, obviously the only outcome I wanted was to find relief from the debilitating symptoms of CFS/ME. I didn’t realise then that doing Mickel Therapy would bring with it a number of other bonuses, too. The overriding one is that I feel more at ease in my skin now than I ever have. I feel rushes of happiness that I haven’t experienced since being a child and I haven’t picked up a self-help book in over a year!
That’s not to say I feel happy all the time, though. Life isn’t like that, and we’re often misguided in our culture to believe that it should be. We’re meant to experience a wide range of emotions; it is a normal part of being alive.
Through Mickel Therapy I’ve learnt that emotions have a purpose, are there to guide us and shouldn’t be suppressed. ‘Negative’ emotions need to feel bad so that we can tell the difference between them and ‘positive’ emotions that feel nice. That’s all it is, there’s no need to judge them. We’re not bad for feeling anger, jealousy, boredom, grief or fear – they are just the body communicating to us that we need to change something, no matter how big or small, about the situation we’re in at that moment. Primary emotions play the most important role in this. They arise in the body spontaneously and in the moment, before any thoughts that we might have.
A good friend turned to me the other day and said ‘you’re so much more confident than you used to be Jo’ and he’s right. Mickel Therapy has taught me to trust myself and my inner emotional guide. For the first time in my life I can make a decision without over-analyzing everything or thinking about what I should be doing or what I think other people want me to do. I no longer just fit in with everyone else. I say no now as well as yes when I want to. I feel like I’m in the driving seat and not just bumbling along in the background.
Before I went through Mickel Therapy I would have given anything for a pill to take away my CFS/ME symptoms. But looking back now, as I continue to live with the tools I’ve learnt, I’m so glad this wasn’t an option. I do appreciate that I’m writing this while feeling well having already gone through Mickel Therapy and I really don’t want to sound smug. But it’s true. The answer I was searching through books for was inside me all along, and Mickel Therapy has helped me find that. All I had to do was become aware of, listen to and act on my emotions. If I’d taken a pill I might be feeling physically well but I’d still be dependent on other people’s thoughts and ideas without ever really knowing what was right for me. I’d still be trying to please everyone around me and genuinely believing that it is even possible to do so. I’d still be feeling low and tearful without knowing why. I’d still be searching. But I’m not. I’m feeling well again, with the added bonus of feeling more balanced and happier than I have for years. I’m no longer putting my body under unintentional stress and for that alone I’d pick Mickel Therapy over a pill every time. A pill would have just masked my symptoms instead of getting to the root cause of them like Mickel Therapy has.
I know now that I’ve never needed self-help books to tell me how I should be feeling or what I should be doing. So, if anyone’s looking for anything to burn on their fire, or a door stop, please let me know… I’ve got some books you’d be most welcome to!
Thank you for reading.
Jo Hoffman is a qualified Mickel Therapist. If you would like to read about her experience of CFS/ME, please see her testimonial in the success stories section… ‘I’ve got a life again, a life that seemed so far out of reach during the countless hours I spent just staring at a wall’…