Category Archives: Blog

The Pain of Watching a Friend Who has M.E.

Gwynneth

 

 

 

 

 

By Lady Gwynneth Bain

13/5/2016

Mickel Therapy practitioner training

 

 

 

 

When I first met my friend some twelve years ago he was full of energy, with great intellectual curiosity, and a finger in every pie. He had a wicked sense of fun, enlivened every party with his singing and guitar playing, and could never do enough to help a friend. He was the social glue which held together a disparate group of local people who came together mainly because of him. Some twelve years later, after suffering throughout most of that time from what is now recognised as ME, he is changed. He still has flashes of his old self on good days, but he no longer chivvies us all down to the pub on Friday nights, nor organises us to get out on the boat or go for a walk with the dogs. He cannot take alcohol any more, does not like crowds and is often totally enervated by the evening.

We all miss the person that he was. He became very self-absorbed and conversations with him increasingly revolved almost totally around his problems. As we watched his condition starting to overwhelm him, we felt confusion and sometimes even scepticism. It was very difficult for him to get a firm diagnosis of what was amiss, let alone appropriate treatment. Consequently, this lack of an official label led us sometimes to wonder – quite unfairly – whether it was all in his mind. There were a range of different identifiable physical problems, but the exhaustion which he experienced sometimes seemed to some of us amateur psychiatrists to proceed from psychological rather than physical causes. There was a temptation to want to tell him to pull himself together!

In the early days, before he found the therapy which now keeps his condition under control – a therapy he discovered through his own efforts rather than those of the medical establishment whose orthodoxies did not allow for ME – his decline was disconcerting to his friends. We did not understand what was happening and we did not really know how to help and support him. His physical pain was at times almost unbearable and his withdrawal into himself hard to comprehend.  It came to a point where, after adverse reactions to inappropriately prescribed medication, he could no longer be left on his own. Luckily for him, one very good and caring friend decided to take charge and looked after him until he was able to function by himself again. The wear and tear on that good friend was tremendous and her contribution to his current partial recovery cannot be underestimated.

The reluctance of the medical establishment to engage with ME sufferers and get to the bottom of what causes the condition is most concerning. Until the condition is fully recognised and appropriate therapies are developed, the scepticism which is exhibited by the professionals will continue to influence the attitudes of society, making it all the harder for friends who want to help to understand what it is they are dealing with. That is the lesson I have learned from watching the travails of my much changed friend.

ME awareness

 

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It is Hard to Escape Truth

 

roddy cowie

 

 

 

By Professor Roddy Cowie

Chartered Psychologist

Belfast

12/5/2016

Mickel Therapy practitioner training

 

 

 

“There are no true, simple stories” 

Suffering from an obscure disorder brings four kinds of torture. First there is the torture of having it. Then in many, many cases there is the torture of discovering that it is not curable – partly because medicine tends to be better at the obvious than at the obscure. Beyond that, there is the torture of not being believed. People tend to think it is ‘all in the mind’, and may even see your distress as something you are inflicting on them. Last, and not least, is the exhausting, endless effort to understand what on earth is going on.

All of those apply to the disorders that have been called ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, post viral fatigue, Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease, and other things. Making them less obscure matters, and that is what this blog is about.

One of the ways that people try to fight the obscurity actually makes the problem worse. Every so often, there is a surge of enthusiasm about a new theory or treatment: brain training, biofilm bacteria, the Marshall protocol, and so on. That is almost guaranteed to end in disillusionment: the chances of a dramatic breakthrough are very remote. Worse still, onlookers have an immediate reaction to that kind of enthusiasm: they label it as crank behaviour. That often has a poisonous result – onlookers suspect that the symptoms are no more believable than the explanations.

The alternative is hard work, dull, and full of disappointment, but it is what we have. It is trying to work out where we stand by digging through scientific journals, and particularly scientific journals with high impact (that means other scientific articles quote them). What I say here is where I think we stand on that basis. I encourage other people to take it as a starting point, and dig for themselves.

A sensible starting point is a 2006 report commissioned by the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), summarised at https://www.york.ac.uk/media/crd/crdreport35_summ.pdf. It makes several useful points. First, it is clear medical recognition that there is a problem, and it affects substantial numbers – it estimates 3-4 people per 1,000. Second, it is not true that research has ignored the subject: even a decade ago, the report could list 70 substantial studies, taking a wide variety of approaches. Third, in most categories (immunological, pharmacological, dietary, alternative), hardly any of the treatments meets the standard medical test of effectiveness – other things being equal, people who receive it fare better than people who do not.

That leads to the areas where the test is met. They involve ‘walking and talking’ therapies – Graded Exercise (GET) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). The table in the 2006 report makes it very clear that those do something. To see what they do, we need to go back to the journals. The biggest CBT study, from the Netherlands, gives clear data. 14 months after the beginning of the study, 1/3 of people who received no treatment reported having recovered significantly. With those who had CBT, that rose to 1/2. That means CBT led to self-reported recovery in 1/6 of the patients. That is a real effect, but very far from helping everybody. Similar points about GET come later.

There was outcry when NICE recommended GET and CBT as therapies for ME/CFS. It was challenged in a judicial review, which was highly publicised. The review decided firmly in favour of NICE. However, what lies behind the outcry certainly matters. It involves two huge sources of obscurity: diversity and the mind-body problem.

Take the mind-body problem first. It needs to be put out of the way. When people object to ‘walking and talking’ therapies, one of the key reasons is because they suggest the problem is ‘in the mind’, not ‘real’. The simple answer is that healing involves mind and body working together. That is why walking and talking therapies are recommended for recovery from heart surgery, and nobody thinks the heart is ‘in the mind’ or ‘not real’. If mental levers are the only ones we have, then we should use them. The subtler answer is that a simple separation between mind and body is long out of date. I have said more about that on a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqCs-JaO7Wc. In particular, we know that there are loops where thoughts affect feelings; feelings affect body processes like circulation, digestion, hormones, and immune function; those feed back into feelings; which in turn feed back into thoughts … and so on. Several things suggest that ME could easily involve that kind of loop going awry. There is no sense in trying to label problems of that kind either ‘body’ or mind’. There is even less sense in thinking that they are not real. Crude theories about mind and body need to be put out of the way.

The problem of diversity is the opposite: it needs to be brought into clear view. A decade ago, the trend was to take a broad brush approach to defining the problem. Lists of symptoms were drawn up, and people who ticked enough boxes were considered to have ME/CFS. There has always been suspicion that that was part of the problem – there were really many partially overlapping problems, and what helped one might not help another. The figures for CBT fit that picture. Others argued that GET might help some groups, but was dangerous for those whose symptoms included ‘post exertional malaise’ – long-lasting, almost flu-like reaction to exercise (it is still not understood – see, for instance, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20433584/ ).

It is dangerous to generalise, but recent research seems to emphasise separation more and more. If we want to find specific disorders, we need to look at specific subtypes. A review from 2015 catches what seems to be a growing consensus. It is at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4761639/. It proposes core criteria for ME (not ME/CFS), and lists biological correlates that may occur in core and specific groups. They are diverse – problems with ion channels, neural kindling, molecules and brain cells related to immune response, reactive (‘oxidising’) molecules, reduced cerebral blood flow, the way muscles signal to the brain that they are tired, and others in subgroups.

That is not at all the only research. For instance, it was suggested that CFS arose from changes to the HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal). New work shows nothing specific to CFS there; but there are changes, probably due to multiple factors http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15036250/. However, there is striking informal evidence that therapies arising from the idea do good (see http://www.meassociation.org.uk/2012/02/me-the-toxic-tiredness-programme-link-to-watch-it-again-facility/). That is absolutely typical of the way things look. There are true stories, and simple stories; but there are no true, simple stories.

As an old University professor, I know painfully well how deeply people long to be given a simple story. I have also learned to respect people’s ability to understand, if it is explained properly, that sometimes there is no simple story. I have tried to give a little of that kind of explanation. I hope at least it helps with the last two tortures; and on balance, I think research that faces up to the complexity probably will piece together genuinely useful responses to the basic torture of having it.

ME awareness

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From ME to the World

francis

 

 

 

 

By Dr Francis Teeney

Chartered Psychologist

Member of Division of Clinical Psychology (BPS)

Mickel Therapy practitioner training

 

 

 

 

11/5/2017

It is with deep and profound regret that I have to declare that thus far the annual M.E. Awareness Week has been somewhat of a failure given that we have failed to get it on to the mainstream medical agenda.  I hasten to add that this is not to pour scorn or ridicule upon all those brave individuals and groups who strive very hard to make it an annual success.  Let’s face it, people who suffer from M.E. have precious little energy to invest in a week long campaign, given that many of them struggle even to get out of bed. They therefore depend on friends and family to try to raise awareness of their suffering for them and this is like trying to kiss someone through a messenger. So I applaud the people who try valiantly each year to raise awareness of M.E.

If we compare other Annual Awareness Weeks concerning Cancer, Autism and Parkinson’s etc we do encounter a level of success, witnessed by people collecting in the streets and shopping centres, running coffee mornings and wearing the appropriate badge or ribbon of one of the aforementioned groups.

Perhaps it is easier for them because cancer can be seen, its effects can be witnessed and most of us have walked behind coffins of friends and loved ones who have been taken by this awful disease. consequently, I do not begrudge them their success in raising awareness for their particular cause.

When it comes to dealing with M.E. we are engaging in battle with an unknown entity.  Every few months witnesses another report of a possible cause that delivers false hope only for that research to be undermined because the trial has been so small and the results cannot be replicated.  Conservative estimates of 250,000 sufferers in the UK and 1 million sufferers in the USA make M.E.  an inflamed boil on the buttocks of the world.  Global figures are hard to estimate as different criteria of diagnosis are employed in different countries.  But we are looking at many millions across the world, and precious little if any global funding is being made available and yet the numbers rise every year.  We witnessed appropriate government responses to the Ebola outbreak and the Zika virus outbreak.  Thankfully global governments swung into action to combat these two plagues on mankind.  It is with complete bewilderment that the numbers of people that are suffering globally from M.E. have provoked virtually no global government intervention at all.  I recently heard that with regards to M.E., the UK Health Minister Jeremy Hunt, was doing the work of two men – Laurel and Hardy.

I wonder what would happen if I got a gun and went to London Zoo and shot Chi Chi and Cha Cha, the giant pandas. No doubt the tabloids would demand we recall Parliament and bring back hanging but yet the annual increase in people with M.E. does not seem to stir any meaningful political intervention from mainstream media or high ranking politicians.  If you are unfortunate enough to be afflicted with M.E. in the UK or USA, sadly Billy Graham couldn’t save you.

I live in Northern Ireland where the only M.E. specialist retired 8 years ago and has never been replaced – one specialist to cover the whole country for two hours per week. All of the aforementioned issues only create a scenario where we are trying to solve a Rubic’s cube that is fighting back.

Over the years different government responses have made the job of those trying to raise awareness of those with M.E. much more difficult.  One of the more famous ones was that ‘it was all in our heads’.  But just to be on the safe side they introduced a ban on sufferers donating blood in case we might just pass it on. How do you pass on something that is all in your head? – we should never underestimate the power of stupid. To quote Socrates: “The problem is that they do not know that they do not know”.

Then we had the strategy of giving it a different name and it was referred to as ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’, as if by calling it something else it means less, and infers stigma upon its previous name, M.E.  Roses by a different name smell the same!

So what are we then to do about raising the profile of M.E. Awareness Week?  I firmly believe that we need to stop the infighting. We have too many vested interest groups and not enough coming together in common cause. If we found a cure for M.E. tomorrow morning some notable individuals would be out of a job tomorrow night.  Secondly, we can follow Einstein’s advice and stop doing what we have always done and each time expecting a different result.  You can hack a path through the jungle but what good is it if you are heading in the wrong direction.  Rather we should make plenty of noise in an effort to get attention to shine a spotlight on our plight. In this we do need the help of friends, family and our elected politicians throughout the world. I am grateful to Jeffrey Donaldson MP and to Mike Nesbitt MLA who both tried to raise the plight of people with M.E. – we need more politicians to ask questions at the highest level.

The UK government has had a political drive in getting disabled people back to work – many would say harassing people back to work. M.E. has unfairly been labelled by those ignorant of its devastating impact as a slacker’s charter and therefore we suffer disproportionally for this with regards the government work initiative for the disabled. Probably the scariest words an M.E. sufferer hears is “I am from the government and I am here to help you!”

I deplore the lack of government funding into the research and treatment of M.E. Money wasted on inappropriate back to work schemes would be better utilised in finding a cure. Indeed if they spent the same amount of time, money and effort on research / treatment as they do in trying to reduce M.E. sufferers benefits we might just find a cure.

My thoughts recently have turned to ‘Plato’s Ideal Plane’.  Whereas we might be in a state of imperfection at present while we endure this bizarre affliction, on another level Plato would say that we are living a perfect life free from our imperfections and afflictions.  It is indeed possible to reach the perfect plane if we were willing to kick up such a rumpus during M.E. Awareness Week that governments across the world would be forced to react as they did in other very recent global outbreaks.

So while M.E. Awareness Week has been a failure thus far, there will certainly be a tipping point when the numbers affected will be so great that the World Health Organisation will force international co-operation and standardisation: the vested interest groups will be forced to row in the same direction and demand funding and research in order to find a cure and in doing so make M.E. Awareness Week totally unnecessary.

I want to personally thank all those who thus far have contributed to the Annual M.E. Awareness Week and I pray that you take my comments not as criticism but as inspiration, to dare to do the different thing.

ME awareness

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A couple of years later! – A fantastic voyage

 

By Angela Irving-Brown

Mickel Therapy Practitioner

angela Irving Brown

19/9/2015

Mickel Therapy practitioner training

When I go out and promote Mickel Therapy, as a Mickel Therapist, it is often difficult for people to see where I have come from. Nowadays I look so fit and healthy. I take the dogs out for miles at a time. I get up by 7.30 most days, even at the weekend, and stay up all day long. I have zero nana naps. I am able to meet up with friends and go and visit family. One huge difference is the ability to drive long distances. I am the only member of my immediate family to drive so we were very restricted in where we were able to go when I was ill.

illness

Imagine the scenario – We look at something that we want to go to. It is three weeks away, at a weekend and there are a few quiet days either side of it. This shouldn’t be a problem. It is a few hours out, with people I love, not far from home.

After a military like level of organisation of my time, to ensure I am rested and able to drive for 20 minutes, sit for a couple of hours and drive home again, we think we are ready to go. Oh how daft we were!!

On the morning of the event, say a meal out for lunch, I wake up after very broken sleep. I am sore from head to toe. I have a migraine and my joints are seized. Food makes me feel nauseas. Thinking is difficult so it takes a while to figure that I have to be up and dressed by 11.00am. Then it becomes an impossible task. Frustrations rise, both internally and externally, for all of us. The fun wanes to hating the whole idea. The pain increases and my abilities decline even further.

brain fog

The day ends up a write off and I feel extreme guilt for ruining yet another day for us all.

This was in no way a single time event. It was the same process in a different light every day.

Then I found Mickel Therapy! It was a bit like finding God, but I found me instead. I began to see the value of me and the fact that I could take control of how I respond. I found myself!

Nowadays life is completely different. I get up and do stuff. EVERYDAY! I have no time in bed in the day. I feel rested after I sleep. Am I cured? NO. Am I in control of my body? Most definitely. My body still tells me that I am not paying attention to things by giving me symptoms, but the difference is I can deal with them. I can look at what I need to change and change it straight away to alleviate the symptoms. If someone upsets me I tell them. If someone crosses a boundary I reinforce it. If I get body bored at the computer I move away. This allows me to be in control of how my body feels.

listen to your emotions

Just last weekend I drove for 2.5 hours to get to Wales and go on three zip wires. Then drove home, via Preston to drop off my son’s friend, stopping on the way for a lovely meal. Got home some 12 hours after leaving and still felt human. How is this possible? The following day I was fine.

I honestly never thought I would get to do these things again. But I could do this every week. My next adventure is to complete the via ferrata at Honister in Cumbria. This is an outdoor adventure using a series of metal cables, rungs, ladders and bridges to ascend and descend tremendous and precipitous climbing routes and paths up the outside of Honister slate mines. I managed the Infinity Bridge last year and that gave me the bug.

So, how has Mickel Therapy changed things for me?

who am I

The very fact that I am able to be me again, and do the things I want to do on any given day is great. That is the greatest thing I have gained, ME!

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It’s all In Your Mind – Isn’t It?

Kyle-jpegs8a-232x300

By Kyle Davies

all in the miind

Psychologist

Co-Developer  & Director of Mickel Therapy 2003 -2011

Mickel Therapy practitioner training

 

In conversation with a sufferer of M.E. and Fibromyalgia earlier this week, I was asked a series of questions that I think are common in the minds of sufferers looking for a way out…

 questions

“But how is this going to help me, how can you help me, you’re a psychologist; are you saying this is all in my mind? If there was an answer to my CFS and Fibro, don’t you think my doctor would have told me? I’m so debilitated, I’m lost in these symptoms, I just can’t see a way forward”.

 

So what are the answers to these questions, and what do both the questions and answers reveal about the road to recovery? Let’s look at the issues and how they can help you move forward.

 

1) Is It All in the Mind?

 

body and mind The mind and body are intimately connected, so the notion of ‘all in the mind’ is simply an antiquated idea. Science tells us that we that we have neurons and receptors in our heart and our digestive system, so there is a complex flow of intelligent activity that takes place throughout the body and brain. This alone supports the idea that we are one undulating and flowing system, not two separate entities of mind and body.

 

something new The first important step towards recovery is opening up to a new way of seeing symptoms. Rather than believing and embracing a medical mindset of externalizing and ‘pathologizing’ – seeing symptoms as some external enemy that is attacking you, allow yourself to see symptoms as feedback from a mind-body system that is trying desperately to get your attention. They are a process you are going through and one which you can take control of.

 

symptoms Symptoms of ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia are real and your ability to reverse those symptoms is equally real when you take the right steps.

 

2) Why Doesn’t My Doctor Have The Answers If They Are Out There?

 

We are witnessing an epidemic of chronic health conditions in the western world, from cancer and heart disease to autoimmune conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, to depression and anxiety. We can see that conventional medicine is brilliant at treating acute conditions where symptoms need to be managed, but it seems to fall short when it comes to these chronic conditions.

 

the human body We know more about the workings of the human body that ever in history, we spend more money on healthcare than ever in history, yet we are sicker than ever before. We need a significant shift and expansion in theory and understanding – especially within mainstream healthcare. This is taking place on the fringes where there are many fantastic researchers and practitioners looking to pioneer, push back the boundaries, test and investigate new ways of understanding and viewing health and wellness. These ideas and practices are slowly filtering through, but it takes time. It is these ideas and practices that will become mainstream thinking and practice as we move into the future.

 

3) My M.E., My Fibro…

 

who am IOne of the most powerful influencers on our behaviour is our unconscious sense of identity. So we tend to align our words and actions to that sense of identity, even when we know this may not be useful for us. Many sufferers hold their condition as part of their identity, part of who they are, and this can prevent them from taking those first incredibly important steps on the pathway back to health.

 

There’s a tendency to put one’s life on hold when you suffer from ME and Fibro, but this reinforces one’s identity as a sufferer. Those who have been unwell for significant periods of time can lose all sight of their passions and purposes in life, yet these are vital components to embrace on the journey back to health.

move beyond

Your job as a human being is to experience yourself, to be the full expression of you. Please remember that you are not your ME, you are not your Fibro, these are experiences that you can and will move beyond.

 

For more details about Kyle Davies and his work with ME/ CFS and Fibromyalgia visit http://kyledavies.net

 

Very many thanks to Kyle for writing for the Mickel Therapy Blog in this most important week M.E. Awareness Week. Also for his contribution to Mickel Therapy from 2003 -2011    http://www.mickeltherapy.com/

 

 

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Emotions and Dis-ease: The Mickel Therapy Explanation

clare caldwell

By Clare Caldwell

14/05/2015

Head Practitioner and Head of Training at Mickel Therapy

Mickel Therapy practitioner training

Yesterday’s  ME awareness week blog from Professor Roddy Cowie talked about rational awareness and the separate consciousness of emotions.

 

teamI think of them as two separate but intelligent parts of our brain, which are meant to work together as a team. The emotional brain centres produce primary emotions to guide us through everything that happens to us each day. The emotion is sent to the thinking brain so we can use this information to guide our actions. Rather like when you have a problem and consult a trusted confidant – two heads are better than one.

 

We are all rational and emotional beings. Possibly because emotions are less clear, and not as well understood as our thoughts, we have been taught in many ways to suppress our emotions and give them less value.control your emotions

We especially have been taught to downplay and push aside emotions if they feel uncomfortable. It is seen as a strength to be in control of our emotions.

 

emotions are messagesIt is important that we realise that emotions are there to guide us to be safe and help us to live the best possible life.

 

A positive emotion from the emotional brain centres mean “carry on”, what you are doing is good for you. Negative emotions from the emotional brain centres alert us that there is something we are doing that is not good for us. They are a call for action and to effect change.

 

The trouble is we have been taught to be stoic – “…just get on with it”, which lead us away from taking appropriate action in our daily lives.

 

So if we are doing something that is not good for us and not listening to the emotion that is asking us to make a change, then it makes sense that the body should have another way of grabbing our attention – symptoms of ill health or dis-ease.illness

 

Primary emotions are there to guide us. If we miss the emotions because we are not used to listening to them, or we don’t take the appropriate action, the body will take action to get our attention – by generating the symptoms of illness.

The emotional brain has a limited way of communicating dis- ease in our lives. It speaks with emotions and shouts to get our attention with symptoms of illness.

 

overwhelmedThe illness we experience as a result likely depend upon our genetic predisposition. Generally these fall into the categories of ME/CFS/PVFS, IBS Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Depression, although there are many other symptoms and illnesses that can be generated.

 

listen to your emotionsThe resolution to these debilitating symptoms of illness is to learn to listen to the emotional brain and find appropriate ways to respond to its messages. This way the symptoms of dis-ease are no longer generated and we return to health.

 

In Mickel Therapy we appreciate everyone we work with is different with unique life experiences, but over the last 15 years of working with many thousands of people, we have seen common themes emerge.

We put together our new understanding of why the body creates dis-ease with these common themes. This enabled us to develop tools for people to use in their daily lives to allow the body to return to health.

 

In Mickel therapy we focus on the following coaching each client to:-keys to health

 

–       learn to set boundaries around unfair, ill or thoughtless treatment which can present in many ways in our lives.

 

–       learn to become more aware of our emotions and practice honest handling and appropriate communication of our emotions

 

–       become more aware of what our needs are and find our way to meet them at all levels

 

–       unlearn old unhelpful habits of thought and behaviour regarding emotions and replace them with habits which are more healthy

 

As a therapist who suffered very debilitating symptoms of ME for a decade and a half I look back and see that like many people I thought it was a strength to be in control of my emotions. I was also making many other unintentional mistakes in response to my emotions, despite being emotionally sensitive and smart.

 

Despite having worked with a huge amount of people over the last 10 years it still surprises me how “ill” our body will make us feel in order to get our attention.

it really worksIt is an amazing to see people who have struggled with symptoms from anything from a few weeks to several decades return to health.

 

Screen Shot 2011-12-06 at 14.27.24Thank you to Dr David Mickel for shining a light on something, which once you understand it, makes complete sense, but which until it is explained to you properly is almost impossible to see.

 

Many thanks

Clare Caldwell

 

 

 

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For M.E. Sufferers – Every Week is M.E. Awareness Week

roddy cowie

By Professor Roddy Cowie

13/5/2015

 

 

Mickel Therapy practitioner trainingThe conditions called ME and CFS are not rare. Data fromME awareness a respected source suggest that they currently affect 160,000 people in the UK. For them, every week is ME awareness week. For most of them, that will go on for years more. From personal experience, it will be a rare week when they do not have to deal with someone saying, or implying, that it is ‘all in the mind’. Very few of the people who say it will know anything about the condition, or about the relationship between mind and body. mind and body

It takes incredibly sophisticated systems to make human thought and action possible. At least two layers are involved. One is the layer whose workings we experience as thought – call it rational awareness. The other layer comes to the fore in moments that we call emotional, but it is always at work: weighing up the balance of threat and opportunity around us; bringing to mind the things that rational awareness might need to know; managing the groundwork of our relationships to other people; setting our bodies up to work at high pitch, or to relax and enjoy a meal, or to sleep; shaping the way we learn; and if need be, spotting danger and ringing alarm bells.

The second layer sits across the mind-body divide that people often take as read (though it is thoroughly at odds with most genuinely scientific thinking). Its work involves reaching, so to speak, up into conscious awareness, and down into guts and glands, heartrates and hormones.

something is wrongPeople who are diagnosed with ME show multiple signs that something is wrong with that layer. Most obviously, it does not settle back into balance as it should. Where a well-adjusted system would set people in a low-energy state for a while, they may be kept there for months or years; the surge that normally prepares people to wake may go on surging, and drive them to a long-lasting state of shock; muscle fibres tense, and stay tense, until they are viciously painful; the sense of threat, or powerlessness to deal with threat, may build up, and refuse to go; and so on.

emotional awarenessNobody knows the full list, or why these things happen. What does seem clear is that some of the best levers we have involve the relationship between rational awareness and emotion. Whatever causes the imbalances, some ways of thinking about emotional issues can help to reset them.

It may be that when we understand the second layer better, we will find more direct ways to deal with the problems. For now, though, it is crucial that we help people to use the levers that we have, and do not condemn them to long drawn out suffering because what they are going through does not fit a pattern that we can easily make sense of – and even more, that we do not make it worse by convincing ourselves that because we do not understand it, they must be making it up.

 

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What Shape is a Jelly?

more jelly shapes

 

By Dr Francis Teeney 

136

MD Mickel Health Initiatives

 

12/5/2015

ME awareness

We are all familiar with the various awareness weeks that come around every year in an attempt to draw our attention to illnesses such as breast cancer, multiple sclerosis or autism. These are all very debilitating conditions and are worthy of our attention. This week it is the turn of M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). Strange that 25 years ago you had to struggle to know someone who suffered from M.E. – now almost everyone knows someone who has this debilitating condition and even worse most of these people enjoyed terrific health prior to being struck down by this misunderstood pestilence.

feeling tiredI can talk with some authority on the matter as I have had M.E. now for 9 years. (And for the record I was the happiest, fittest and healthiest person that I knew and it struck me overnight). But before I developed M.E. I knew precious little about it. I knew it made people tired –  some people so tired that they could not go out of the house. Then I got to thinking that apart from that I knew nothing more about it. I had to suffer from it in order to learn about it – and did I suffer!

I am loathe to embark upon a catalogue of symptoms, treatments I have tried and quacks who ripped me off. But if I am to raise awareness of the condition then how else am I to do it? People need to know the destructive effects of M.E. – otherwise they will think as I did that it just makes you ‘feel tired’.

go slowFeeling tired is the understatement of the year. Imagine the most exhausted you have ever been and multiply by 100 and you come close to M.E. You lose weight as you are too tired to eat; your jaws will not move and even if you liquidise the food (or more likely someone does it for you, your body is too tired to digest it – it just selectively goes on a go slow).

brain fogConcentration is abysmal, and trying to hold a conversation just leads to fuzzy head and brain fog – you can no longer think coherently and any thoughts you do try to process are filtered through treacle. This leads to considerable relationship issues due to frustration in the rise and fall of symptoms. Your friends never know which manifestation of you they will encounter from day to day.  Your limbs no longer respond and if they do it is akin to lifting a bag of coal. Strange sensations of fear, anger, frustration and boredom become prominent yet you feel helpless to do anything about them. You do not even understand them and trying to explain them to a doctor is almost impossible – what shape is a jelly?

exploding headYour doctor is bewildered and feels you might have a virus or you are depressed. Blood tests show up nothing so you must be depressed then! Anti-depressants make you psychotic and give you voices in your head (because you are not depressed and the anti-depressants then make you much worse) so you rightly stop those. Then the intolerances start. You become intolerant to lights, noises, sounds and smells to the point they make you very ill. One leading authority on M.E. in the United States developed what he called the Shopping Mall acid test for M.E. He brought sufferers into a shopping mall and all the chaos of people, confusion, sounds, thuds, odours, flashing lights and the general hustle and bustle made the patient literally want to explode. The body and brain were just incapable of processing all this information at once.

Family and friends just look on in utter bewilderment at the confident person they used to know who now has to have prolonged rest periods. Stupid people say the daftest things – nothing wrong with you; it is all in your head; pull yourself together; get out for a good walk in the fresh air. One person told me that I should start eating plenty of good wholesome homemade vegetable soup. How on earth was I ever able to explain how I was feeling to well-meaning people and as for the daft folk they just made matters worse by making me frustrated – at times they even made me angry. Trying to explain what was to me then the unexplainable was indeed trying to describe the shape of a jelly.

My life with M.E. has been made so much better because of Mickel Therapy – at long last a treatment that gave shape to the jelly. Mickel Therapy is a proven treatment that has helped over 9,000 people suffering from M.E., Chronic Fatigue  Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety etc. The basic tenets of Mickel Therapy are that the emotional part of the brain that deals with feelings such as anger, boredom, fear, frustration etc goes into overdrive simply because we ignore the emotional signals. For instance, if you were doing a job day in day out that bored the pants off you to the point it was making you ill and you still kept on doing it then you have missed the emotional message of boredom. So the illness manifests itself in some other way and this can lead to M.E..

brocilliYou think that is too simple well consider this then. Imagine that all you were allowed to eat was broccoli – breakfast, dinner and tea. You are allowed absolutely nothing else. How long would it be before you were sick of the sight, smell and taste of broccoli? But still you have to eat it. How much longer would it be before you are ill at the sight of the vegetable that is good for you!!!!!? The body sends emotional signals in the same way. We are rightly angry at something and we continually ignore or suppress the anger then it will manifest itself in some other way. Indeed many forms of depression are widely recognised as anger turned in on yourself.

The same applies with fear (another primary emotion). Living on ‘Red Alert’ for too long the emotional brain fills the body with chemicals of exertion until the burnout comes. The same with frustration or any other primary emotion. These are all important messages from the limbic system in our brain and when we ignore them they turn up the volume louder and louder until something has to give. The result is a body that develops ‘Dis-ease’ including M.E.

diseaseMickel Therapy tries to show people how to break this cycle by listening to the emotional messages; by reconnecting the emotional brain and the body – back to our correct human default system that has served us well for thousands of years. It is the preferred ‘safety pin cycle’ where a connected body and brain deliver harmony and a body at ease instead of a subluxated  (disconnected) brain that exhausts the body  – despite the body screaming stop, stop stop! When the safety pin is closed the correct connection between body and brain delivers ease. Sadly when the safety pin is left opened the connection is lost and formless ever changing jelly shape emerges. It is our intention within Mickel Therapy to show you how to close your own individual safety pin.

body brain intelligenceSo in this M.E. Awareness week Mickel Therapy wants to offer hope to M.E. sufferers worldwide. And we do not want to limit our scope to M.E. Thus far we have successfully treated over 8,500 people for M.E., Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia as well as a range of other emotional based conditions that have been given different diagnoses, but that in some cases respond to similar treatment. Mickel Therapy believes these illnesses can on one level be located within a family of illnesses – generated by a disconnection of emotional signals between Body and Brain. Correct reconnection of body and brain resets us to our natural ‘factory settings’  – the correct shape of the jelly!!jelly

 

 

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