The Secret To Healing From Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Inspiration for self-healing in the story of Karen Cripps.
Posted April 24, 2012
I meet some of the most amazing people on Twitter and Facebook, and after posting some of the quotes from my upcoming book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, many people who have embarked upon self-healing journeys have reached out to tell me their story. I find these stories incredibly inspiring and validating of what I’m writing about. In fact, I’m using some of the stories in the book itself.
This one, from Karen Cripps, who has transformed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome into an opportunity to seek higher ground and a better life, really touched my heart.
Take it away, Karen!
How Karen Healed From Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Seven years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Encephalopathy). Overnight my life came to a standstill. At that time I didn't really know what ME/CFS was; I was vaguely aware of it being referred to as “yuppie flu.” So armed with my diagnosis, I started researching the illness, and more importantly, how to get better.
I soon became aware that conventional medicine was not going to be the answer, but that didn't phase me. I am a typical Type A (the classic kind of person prone to CFS). I read what I thought at the time was a great book on how to overcome the illness, put a plan in place, and expected to have it nailed in six months at the most. Well, it probably won't surprise you to hear that my strategy did not work.
Actually, for the first couple of years I attacked getting better in the same way I had previously lived my life, the life that had resulted in total burn out. Ooh - hindsight makes me cringe!
Making the diagnosis
A few years ago I started working with a specialist ME/CFS clinic and they had a holistic approach to recovery: physical, psychological, emotional and so on. And although, I ultimately didn't achieve full recovery by working with this clinic, it is here I began to understand the level of changes I was going to have to make in my life to get better, and I began my journey of discovery and healing.
I started to understand that CFS was a rather loud message from my body that my previous lifestyle was not serving me, and that I had to make some fundamental changes to the way I lived my life.
Writing the prescription
I learned about nutrition and I followed an extensive supplement program. But more significantly, I began to address the psychological component of a physical illness, and the spiritual/emotional side of recovery.
In the last few years I have added to my treatment program:
- Several recovery programs (each bringing with it new understanding)
- Daily relaxation and meditation
- Regular yoga
- A new diet
- A regimen of supplements
- Regular hypnotherapy
- Other complementary healing treatments, such as reiki
- Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques to help me retrain my self-limiting thoughts about illness and recovery
Changing my beliefs
I have also put a lot of focus on maintaining a belief in recovery - this can be easier said than done! The hypnotherapy has really helped here, as has reading recovery stories and spending time on websites like OwningPink.com. Maintaining a belief in recovery is more than just holding onto hope, it also means searching for information to support this belief. It changes your whole strategy to recovery.
Acceptance of my new life
The biggest changes came when I accepted that getting better was not about reclaiming my old life, but about building a new life, a life that suits me like my gorgeous red dress, not my jeans that are too small and I try to squeeze into!
I now have no desire to return to my stressful, fast-paced life and “big” job of seven years ago. I have started a new career as a freelance writer - and basically I now take really good care of myself. In return, my body is now strong and healthy again.
It has been an incredible journey and I have changed nearly every aspect of my life. I believe that it is because I have been prepared to do whatever it takes (including facing up to my own role in all of this, which can be really tough), that I have made such big health improvements.
Worth the ride
It has been a bumpy ride, and some of it has been awful. But at the risk of sounding like a cliché, I have come through this experience with a greater appreciation for life and I am truly happier. Before all of this happened, I always had a niggle in the back of my mind that I hadn't found my niche. And it has been a privilege to have seven years to get to know myself in a way that most people don't have time to do. I would never have become a writer before all of this, I feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to reinvent my life.
Lissa, your website has been a source of inspiration to me. I have definitely had to 'own my pink' to get here.
Lissa’s Note: It's inspiring to read about others who have used illness as the opportunity to seek higher ground and a more fulfilling life. I firmly believe that, for all health conditions and illnesses, but especially for illnesses like CFS, for which conventional medicine has little to offer, this kind of radical life change is often the prescription, not just for health, but for whole life happiness.
Our bodies speak to us in whispers, and when we ignore the whispers, the body begins to yell. We can keep ignoring the body as it screams, or we can surrender to its wisdom and, like Karen, do whatever it takes to reclaim the vitality that is possible for us all.
What does your body need to heal?
If you suffer from physical symptoms, ask your body what it needs? Listen to the whispers. Don’t wait until your body screams.
Tell us your stories here.
Trusting the body’s whispers,
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, Pink Medicine Revolutionary, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
Learn more about Lissa Rankin here.