In the last few days, I've seen a few posts both on blogs and on facebook from people who have stated that they consider themselves to have recovered using a particular approach, which has been individual to them and some have felt unable to discuss the reasons behind their recovery. Here's another update on Martine McCutcheon who has shared some of the secrets behind her recovery. I don't fully understand why people would want to keep it a secret and not help others... Anyway I've been thinking about what recovery is and how it seems to mean different things to different people.
For me eleven years on, I don't consider myself to be 'recovered'. To me being 'recovered' and 'well' is how I felt ten years and eleven months ago. Although I manage to work part time and look after a house (it doesn't resemble the glossy magazine pictures I aspire too though!) as well as looking after my boy and managing to do activities, I still suffer symptoms albeit mild. I'm aware that some schools of thought are that recovery doesn't always mean a return to pre-illness health especially if that lifestyle contributed to you becoming unwell but I would still like to be able to think that recovery could mean that I could still have the option of running a marathon if I wanted to?ha ha!
The question is what can help with recovery? I've tried a few things over the years. Some more helpful than others and I plan to do another post about those later. Should I have done/be doing more to help myself get well?? A (short) graduated return to full time shift work a few months after getting sick was never going to help my recovery... but in my defence I was beginning my longed for nursing career and had financial commitments. I was also in denial for a long time. I carried on trying to live the life I had been previously until somewhere along the line I began to accept what was wrong and alter my lifestyle and thought patterns.
Despite this I don't believe that changing your thoughts and taking an exclusively psychological approach to this illness will work (certainly not for me). When I can, relaxation and yoga definitely do make a difference to my fatigue levels and outlook but they are far from being a cure. Examples like the 'lightening process', 'mickel therapy' and 'reverse therapy' do seem to have worked for some sufferers but in addition to the lack of an evidence base for them, the costs involved are pretty significant. One approach I have been attracted to however is that taken by The Optimum Health Clinic. I have watched the DVD and follow them on facebook and I do believe that a holistic approach could offer some benefit. However until I win the lottery I will have to just make do with what the NHS is offering, which is graded exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy.
I could certainly do with letting go of a lot of the guilt and pressure I put on myself on a daily basis. I have to believe that it's not my fault and I am doing my best given the circumstances. Who knows, maybe it will be me telling you my recovery story some day....