Sometimes the lessons we learn in life are tricky. Here is my own painful lesson about the importance of recuperation following a serious illness. Thankfully in the end I came out the other side with good health. The learning has since been transformative in my life.
When I was 27 years old I was diagnosed with post viral fatigue following glandular fever. My GP told me to rest which I did. I then gave my self six weeks to get better. I was positive, hardworking and I guess driven. Still unwell with a myriad of symptoms I decided that 6 weeks was long enough to be ill.
I determinedly took on board the principles of mind over matter. I wanted to do things, so I’d do them even though there was a cost to my health. I started to build up what I was doing, and forced my exhausted unwell body into increasing levels of activity every day. I tried to return to my usual daily life. I even walked up Hellvellyn in the Lake District mountains. Over a few months I worked myself into the ground. I finally crashed unable to work with severe symptoms. It was nearly 15 years before I would recover enough to return to employment. Looking back I believe I unintentionally completely overwhelmed my body's capacity to heal.
I know now I was running a fairly common pattern in our Western culture, though perhaps to rather an extreme degree(1). As a society and individuals it can be easy to have an expectation that we will recover quickly and simply . Usually it's useful, but what when we don't recovery quickly and simply because our body needs more time?(1) Looking back I realise the approach I took accidentally put in place patterns that would slow the process of healing.
With the help of a great nhs practitioner I learned to pace (2), and I did that for many years. For some people pacing enabled a slow grading up of activity and a return to full health. For me it allowed me to stabilise my illness. I lived within an envelope that brought a degree of certainty into my life that enabled me to plan and have a reasonable quality of life.
I recovered when new techniques were developed which taught me how to switch my body into a state of wellbeing.(3) I used a technique for this, the Lightning Process (TM) (3) which I now use to help other people restoring their health.
(1) Dr Gavin Francis, Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence Profile Books 2022
(2) Managing Your Daily Activities https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/your-road-to-recovery/managing-daily-activities/
(3) Phil Parker, DO et al Understanding the Lightning Process Approach to CFS/ME; a Review of the Disease Process and the Approach July 2018