My advice for anyone out there suffering from Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome, CFS (or indeed any energy disorder!) thinking about trying Mickel Therapy is – do it!! I am so glad I did. In a few short months my life has totally changed.
I’ve gone from experiencing debilitating symptoms daily, being unable to work, to virtually no symptoms whatsoever (I still can hardly believe I’m writing this!) – all because of learning about and using the Mickel Therapy tools. My therapist Leisa Zakeri was really easy to talk to and after 7 sessions over 6 months, I now know how to remain well.
I was first diagnosed with Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS) in 2013, shortly before my 30th birthday, following coming down with a nasty virus the previous December. I had such disabling symptoms right away I was convinced there was something wrong, with my sinuses in particular, that medical treatment would fix. This belief sent me and my GP through a long line of medical investigations: blood tests, an ENT referral, a Neurology referral, an Opthalmology referral, CT scans and an MRI scan – all of which drew the same conclusions – they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. I then learnt for myself how devastating (and terrifying actually) it can be for people when no known cause of symptoms can be determined. I knew there was something seriously wrong in my body. In my job as a Clinical Psychologist working in a hospital, I had empathised with patients in this situation – fully appreciating how difficult this must be. Now I was one of those patients myself.
I had to stop working for the majority of the two and-a-bit years I was unwell. I just wasn’t well enough to be there for other people while I was so acutely unwell myself. My symptoms mainly consisted of constant headache behind my eyes and around the base of my skull, I felt ‘spaced out’ like I wasn’t fully in my body, extreme fatigue and my head felt so heavy I described it as feeling like ‘lead’. I also had very rocky blood sugar levels, becoming very shaky and weak if I hadn’t eaten in an hour or so. I picked up colds and other viruses really frequently. After the first few months of ill health I also began to experience low mood. I immediately discussed this with my family and GP. I knew it was in response to the depressing lack of ability I now had in my body – with no explanation for it or known cure. I felt quite misunderstood whenever I gained the impression that others thought that depression was behind my symptoms. It didn’t take being a Clinical Psychologist to know that the low mood was because of my symptoms, not the cause. This just added to me feeling misunderstood with regards to what was happening in my body. I suppose in hindsight, I should have been pleased that our society and professionals were so aware of depression as a possibility…in a world that often doesn’t recognise or understand it… Nonetheless, it was something that frustrated me at the time.
I spent a lot of time lying on the couch, intermittently trying to do bits of housework or read a book, for example. Some days I was able to go for a short walk. On my worst days I felt like I couldn’t walk from one end of the room to the other. My boyfriend and my parents did so much for me, as I just wasn’t able. I remember feeling extremely guilty and upset that I had to allow my 81 year old dad to hoover my living room for me because I just didn’t have the strength to do it myself. I also remember I used to watch people from the window of my flat, walking their dogs or running or cycling and think, ‘How are they doing that?’ I too had totally been able to do that for 29 years before that! but that is how alien an ability it was to me at the time.
I began to pay privately for a range of treatments in the hope that something could help to get me back to health. I tried acupuncture and Chinese medicine, seeing an Osteopath, pacing and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, lymphatic drainage, and seeing a Herbalist for herbal medication. While I felt extremely grateful for the kindness expressed by these professionals and for their validation of CFS/PVFS, none of these alleviated my symptoms in a lasting way.
During my two years of ill-health I had two periods of slight improvement in symptoms. Each time, I tentatively tried gradually increasing my activity (e.g. meeting friends out and about a little, walking a bit more to try increase my fitness and reading more to improve my concentration) before delightedly getting back to work. I was desperate to get back to some sort of normality and to get back to working in the field I loved. Each time I returned to a bit more of normal life, however, sooner or later I began experiencing extreme fatigue and exhaustion and once again, my symptoms would return. The first time this happened, I assumed I had caught another virus. When it happened again, however, I began to blame myself, assuming I had been ‘doing too much’, getting my pacing wrong and had caused my symptoms to return. I was really hard on myself and extremely upset at these times. Psychologically, I would say these were the hardest times of my ill-health. I am usually a very positive person but I found it so hard to be positive at losing so much of my abilities again returning to feeling absolutely awful all the time. I felt like I was working so hard to try to get well. It was devastating when my symptoms then got worse again.
I continued trying anything I read about that could potentially help, including changing my diet. I read about a couple of therapies, including Mickel Therapy, in the book ‘Recovery from CFS – 50 personal stories’ by Alexandra Barton. I was initially reluctant to go ahead with trying anything else that would cost more money. I had already parted with so much and was becoming increasingly worried about money. Another few months went by and I decided to research Mickel Therapy further and found a youTube clip of Dr Mickel at the Glasgow Health Fair. Listening to Dr Mickel’s explanation, I tentatively and slightly nervously thought…I think this makes sense. I finally felt understood and a surge of hope that I may have found a treatment that could work. I looked up the website and really identified with Leisa Zakeri’s recovery story. I began working with Leisa and she explained the theory behind Mickel and how it helps people get back to health. Hearing how much it had helped Leisa herself and identifying with her experience so much gave me total belief that it would work for me too. And there began my journey to getting my health back for good. I had been so fearful of my symptoms for so long, feeling very panicky any times they worsened. It was so refreshing to gradually feel calmer about them, as Leisa taught me they were useful messages from my body, giving me clues of how to get back to health. It took time to become less anxious about them (let’s face it, they are AWFUL) but as I saw for myself how listening and responding to them was working for me – I knew I had to keep going. It was hard work at times, but very quickly I started noticing slight changes – my energy was increasing and, over time, symptoms were reducing – it was working! I was amazed and indescribably excited!!
Back to present…
It has been quite overwhelming to write this…to recall what a horrendous struggle those two and a bit years were, both for me and everyone around me (it’s probably only now that I can truly admit that to myself). And yet, I am so grateful – my symptoms could have gotten worse and could have lasted for many more years. Thanks to Mickel Therapy, I have my energy back – I have my life back. The constant headache that plagued me for two years is gone! I can sing, dance and stay out ‘til 2 in the morning! I can go for long walks, go to work, go to the gym, chat with friends for hours, can travel by plane, train, bus, car – visiting friends again, instead of them always having to come to me. My boyfriend and I can go out for dinner, go to the cinema, go on trips together or plan a holiday, without having to worry about whether or not I can manage it. Any symptoms I have experienced over the past two months or so have been fleeting and a warning to keep using the Mickel Therapy tools I have learned.
As a scientific practitioner myself, I only hope that the effectiveness of Mickel can be formally investigated in a tightly controlled research trial soon. If scientific data could be captured, demonstrating the efficacy thousands are reporting (including myself!) I believe this could shape treatment methods on the NHS and could be life-changing for so many people.
I will forever be grateful for Dr Mickel hypothesising the underlying mechanism of these conditions and discovering treatment which can return people to health. Words just can’t express how grateful I am! I am also extremely grateful for Leisa Zakeri’s kindness, encouragement and guidance throughout my recovery.
I recently returned to an old favourite hobby of mine – being in a local musical society show. I was, understandably, a bit apprehensive about how I would cope with the physical demands of it. After 3 hours of singing and dancing, every night for a week – completely symptom free – I thought…thank you Mickel Therapy – I’m back 🙂