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ME Recovery Stories - Diana

I was first diagnosed with ME when I was 28. I had just bought my first flat, started a demanding new job and had been racing around for years and pushed myself hard.

In the past I'd also had Epstein Barr/glandular fever, which is a classic trigger. Then I picked up a bug and soon after I was completely exhausted. I had only been in my new job for a year but had to take a few weeks off. Unfortunately, I only seemed to get worse with excessive levels of tiredness, myalgia, and I became very weak physically.

This time I took six months off and moved back home with my parents as it was so difficult living alone. I remember taking a few minutes walk, and having to call my mother to pick me up as I was unable to make it home. It was very frightening. Would I ever have a 'proper' life again. What about relationships? My future? It felt pretty depressing.

I saw a couple of specialists but they didn't have much to offer apart from meditation. I also saw a GP/acupuncturist who put me on a restrictive diet but I'm not convinced it made much of a difference. I did receive advice on pacing which I found useful. It was also reassuring to talk to someone who understood. You can feel very isolated and lonely with this illness.

After six months, I went back to work part time but it was still a struggle. I seemed to have perked up a bit but soon got worse even though I moved to be a few minutes away from my job so I could get back easily for rests. My employers were helpful in many ways but didn't really understand ME. I looked OK (although when I see photographs of myself looking tired and grey I wonder how they could have thought that). I saw the work GP who didn't believe in ME and was convinced that I needed psychological help. He tested me for depression but I knew that wasn't it.

Soon after I took another six months off and went home again. One wonderful thing had happened - I met my husband at a party (I needed to go out and have some drinks however I felt afterwards) and he was lovely and understanding. I returned to work again, part time, and had certainly made improvements and was very careful about my lifestyle.

However it was a constant battle between me doing what I felt able to do and them wanting me to do more. One day I decided I'd had enough. I wasn't going to be able to change their attitude but I could make the changes myself. Nonetheless I found the adjustment hard. I'd given up a regular salary, prestige, a high-profile job to work at home without all the informal contact you have with other people.

Some time later I was seeing an excellent acupuncturist (who had ME in the past herself) and she urged me to do a course with Amir Norris in Wales. Clients of hers had found it amazing. I had heard of it and even looked into it in the past but have to admit that I was sceptical, and even annoyed by the claims that were made. I decided it was time to take the plunge and put most of my cynicism aside and went ahead. One thing I knew for sure was that I really wanted it to work and that I had spent far too long living under the shadow of ME.

I hadn't expected to actually enjoy the course - hanging out with a roomful of ME sufferers! But the surroundings were beautiful, the course itself was interesting and revelatory and so much of it made sense. I could at last understand why I had been feeling the way I had for so long. It was good, also, to hear what other people had to say, much of which I recognised. I found it strangely moving, especially to see the improvements other people made during the course and hearing what they'd been through. It was courageous of them to come along. I put into practice everything Amir taught us and gradually started to feel the benefits while I was there.

When I went back home I knew that ME was a thing of the past and that is the case now. It's very liberating. After I'd completed the course people commented on how well I was looking even though they'd had no idea I'd been on it. They thought I looked happier, better, and I certainly felt lighter somehow.

I was also reassured because I knew I had the necessary tools at my disposal so I could look to the future with much more confidence. I started writing more, which is something I really wanted to do and, with the inevitable blips and dips that are part of life, I feel I've made a huge improvement. My body feels much healthier. I don't take it completely for granted, though, and want to make sure that the life I lead isn't too hectic as it just doesn't suit me - you have to know yourself a bit.

Anyway, I heartily recommend this course to others and I now firmly believe that it can change your life too.

- Diana


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