Many people know I used to suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and I cured myself using NLP, among using a few other related tools. I know this is the point where people with Chronic Fatigue want to start pushing back, as I am presupposing it is curable.
And if you have been told there is no cure, and when you are in a space where you see no light at the end of the tunnel, that’s hard to believe. If that’s you, please bear with me. Hear me out!
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
The world of NLP or personal development doesn’t have a definition for Chronic Fatigue, as it is a medical term.
The Mayo Clinic defines it as:
“Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for at least six months and that can’t be fully explained by an underlying medical condition. The fatigue worsens with physical or mental activity, but doesn’t improve with rest.”
There are other symptoms often paired with the disease:
- muscle or joint pain
- a sore throat
- flu-like symptoms
- feeling dizzy or sick
- fast or irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations)
- digestive track issues.
I had all of these things. And what isn’t mentioned here is that when you are sleep-deprived and exhausted your thoughts are a hot mess. And your emotional state regulation is, well, what shall I say? What emotional state regulation? I was overcome constantly with sensory overload, anxiety, sadness, and anger. My thoughts kept spiraling down, going in circles, I had brain fog and issues with memory.
Can Chronic Fatigue Be Cured?
According to medical professionals, no. According to people who sell non-sense and snake oil, absolutely yes, and in 5 minutes. I am saying neither of these things.
Let me get one thing out of the way with the nay-sayers to me saying I am cured and must have self-diagnosed. Trust me; I cringe when people self-diagnose and then live and communicate their disease as fact.
I was officially diagnosed by a panel of 3 psychologists, using proper diagnostic tools, and re-evaluated through assessment and self-assessment every six weeks for two years out of the 3 years I was sick. I also was interviewed every six weeks by a medical doctor who represented the opposing party of a court case I had filed, I was evaluated by an occupational therapist several times & every particle of my diagnosis was taken apart in a series of 3 court cases.
Is chronic fatigue real? I don’t know, I am not a scientist, not a psychologist, or a medical professional. Ask them. Could I have had another condition? Sure. I didn’t get every single hormone test available, no brain scan, and I also wasn’t evaluated for auto-immune disorders. It could just as easily be any of these things. Hindsight, I wish I knew to ask for a detailed hormone test and get the full run-down from things like Vitamine D-levels, magnesium, heavy metals in my body, Candida etc. And I would consult an integrative or functional medicine professional, to at least get the right dietary changes plus supplements.
What Do I Think Looking Back As an NLP Trainer?
When I was sick, I did a lot of therapy with a psychologist. I did all of the work there, it was raw, and I view it as pulling the dead trees and weeds out of my garden. And about two years in I had tried several other (alternative) therapies as well. I was still sick, though I did feel my load of life lightens knowing that I worked through things, and I still regard my therapist as an angel. He was amazing at detecting and pointing out blind spots. I needed that, and I regard this as a BIG chunk of my healing process.
This strange metaphor came into my mind about 1.5 years into my illness. What if metaphorical sips of poison caused my fatigue? No, I am not talking gluten, cow milk, GMOs, heavy metals, meat, or mysterious gut growth.
Mini-poison I took:
- Thinking negative thoughts and having an emotional response to things that were real.
- Thinking negative thoughts and having an emotional response that seemed real, but in hindsight, were only a perception.
- Thoughts that spiraled down.
- Having good people as friends but because of their own problems or a lack of understanding about (mental) illness weren’t a good fit.
- Failing to set boundaries on everything and everyone.
- Perfectionism at work & hugely imperfect how I maintained my home and body.
- Bad food & alcohol.
The second thought I had what if there is a mini-elixir of health I could drink instead:
- Movement (starting with walking, and building out from there.)
- Eat healthily.
- Cut off negative thoughts and emotions (prevent & not complete them.)
- Cultivate positive thoughts and emotions (hunt the good stuff, savor & augment.)
I made small changes initially. And kept making additional changes as my brain and body were healing.
Later, when I started to get more air:
- Remove people from my life & build new relationships.
- Change career – a healthy & positive environment.
- A clutter-free home.
- Take pride in 80% perfection.
- Increase purpose and meaning – lead a life that matters.
- Adjust sleeping hours to be awake with daylight, and asleep when it was dark.
- Utilize my signature strengths rather than trying to improve my weaknesses.
- Reduced use of electronic screens & TV.
And eventually, and I know this is hard to hear for people with chronic fatigue, I had to take 100% ownership of how I got there. And that I had some powerful positive intents (secondary gains) to have remained ill. I had to take many steps that felt like a lot of work, high risk for failure, terrifying, and on some level felt counter-intuitive. Like starting a business, following my dream & decide to become athletic while being sick.
Being cured and building my dream life felt like Mount Everest. And climbing that isn’t for the weak-hearted.
What NLP Techniques Did I use?
All of them. NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner.
My relationship with the present:
My focus became daily on preventing or cutting off poison ingestion and cultivating drinking of the healing elixir. Though initially, I did this in small shifts and actions, my obsession to actually “win” the day by drinking a more positive elixir rather than poison was huge!
My relationship with the past:
I started to intentionally not complete thoughts about negative contexts in my past. And I began to cultivate thinking about things I loved as a child and relived these moments as if they were real. I kept going back to positive moments, how I traveled the world and held my niece in my arms for the first time.
My relationship with the future:
I started to step into the me that I wanted to become in my mind. What I would see, hear and feel in that moment. The more I did it (usually while walking), the more real this became.
My relationship with my imagination:
Other than my obsession with imagining I was Sydney Bristow from the TV show Alias? I imagined that I would become a powerful person, who would lead a life that matters beyond her own lifetime. In my mind, I would become this person who is to be admired because she makes a great positive impact on others. I imagined what I would see, hear and feel teaching a seminar that would change lives.
A new understanding:
The aim was not for me to return to the person I was before I became ill, as she is the type of person who gets ill. The aim was who I wanted to become as a result of having been ill and my life almost being taken away. What kind of aunt do I wish to become for my niece? Who will make her believe as long as possible, that unicorns are real.
That’s why I needed all of NLP, NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner tools.
NLP Master Practitioner: