Reverse Therapy for CFS/ME/FM

My experiences with Mickel Reverse Therapy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Week VII: A new hope

Apologies for the Star Wars pun. I couldn't help it.

A reader of this blog recently emailed me and suggested it may be a good idea to contact David Mickel and tell him my concerns to see if he had a fresh perspective. I'm glad I did as David has asked me to send him three days worth of MRT diary. I stopped writing in my diary since my last MRT session as I believed nothing was coming from it (as my therapist agreed with me that no specific action beings about symptoms, they all do) so I've started a fresh with my MRT diary and hope what I send David in a few days will spark some more ideas to work with. Seing as David must be the guru of MRT I can safely say to myself I'm giving this the best crack that I can.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Week 6 - Nearing the end of the road for MRT?

At my last session the concluding aim was to develop more fulfilling activities for myself whilst carrying on doing the activities in my life where my symptoms progress at a slower rate. As there is a background level of symptoms where no specific activity gives rise to a significant increase of symptoms there must be something in my life that needs 'sorting out'.

The trouble is, as I think I've said before, I really don't think there is that much to sort out. I'm a balanced, mentally healthy person, with friends, a partner, a roof over my head, a job (albeit part time and not terribly satisfying) and enough money to have the occasional luxury, like going away to visit a friend for the weekend.

I'm looking at what I can do about my lack of fervour for my job and career. When I cast my mind forward to an age old myself, lying on my death bed thinking of what I made of my life, I do agree with the theory that I would rather be doing something else with the majority of my life. So yes, I'm looking into a part time course for that alternative career. However its 16 hours a week and I'm really not sure if I can manage that on top of work. Perhaps it'll be the magic bullet and I'll start getting better and so I'll be able to do more, but it does seem like a large emotional risk and I don't beleive in magic bullets. The let down of having to give the course up because of my illness is a large deterrent. However, as my therapist says, its better to think less of your life in terms of what your health allows you to do and more in terms of what you would like to do. Easy to say, perhaps difficult to do, but I think I'll still give it a go. The fear is the loss of the money for a term or two and the emotional heartache of failure.

One positive thing that's happened over the last couple of weeks is that the rise of anger within me has subsided quite a lot. This correlates with me not keeping up my Reverse Therapy (RT) symptom diary as no specific activities were exacerbating my symptoms - all activities were! I believe that the extra 'analysis' of my life, my lack of ability to do the things I used to do was a cause for the anger. One could throw in other theories that the anger was rooted somewhere else, for example childhood 'stuff', and that the extra time spent on looking at my current unfortunate circumstances was a catalyst for the anger rather than a cause. However I've 'done' conventional (person centered) therapy and the conclusion was that the bad stuff that happened to me as a kid isn't really affecting me any more. Its more like a bad taste in the mouth rather than a blow to the head, if you'll pardon my poor analogy.

So, I fear that I may be coming to the end of the road with Mickel Reverse Therapy. The main theory about watching the symptoms and seeing what activities correspond to them doesn't seem to apply to me and I don't have that much scope for improving my life, or rather changing things that are not fulfilling. I have taken up the philosophy to do things only if I want to, and to try to be less of a 'yes' person, however the only thing that I think I can significantly do is the Open University course. That will for sure tell my body/true self I'm heading in the direction where by I'll be working in a role that I will find more fulfilling. However the course doesn't start 'till September and I have no idea how long I'll be able to keep the course up for.

After my last session I knew I had a few more long standing things to muse upon, like researching courses and taking a close look at my life and seeing what fulfilling activities I could concentrate on, so I delayed my next session for a month instead of a fortnight. So, when I next see the therapist in two weeks I'll talk about these worries and see what comes up. It may be my last session. If so, I'll still keep up with this blog, although the entries are likely to have more time between them.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Psychology & Health

I thought those less news group savvy readers might like to see a posting I made to uk.people.support.cfs-me recently. The message is in response to a someone who was (understandably) very concerned with people addressing CFS as a pschological illness, which was a response to a BBC article about a woman recovering from CFS using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:

"I completely agree with you that CFS is a physical illness, I have serious physical symptoms that debilitate my life. However I'm open to the suggestion that the mind plays a part in our health. I've tried nearly every physically oriented thing possible to get be better, and now, I'm taking a close look at my self and trying to see what things could change to improve my health. I wouldn't strictly say I'm looking at the mental aspects or psychological aspects of myself as there are no hard and fast current models. I'm much more comfortable in using the terms 'true self' or 'soul' instead of 'psychological'. However, there is some research to suggest that there is a link between type C personalities and health.

Unfortunately not everything is on the web - here is a book chapter that has been suggested to me (which I haven't read yet) that points in this direction.

Title: Personality and health: Dispositions and processes in disease
susceptibility and adaptation to illness
Source: In: Pervin, Lawrence A.; Ed; Handbook of personality: Theory and
research.; 638-669; New York, NY, US, 1990, xiv, 738
Author(s): Contrada, Richard J. ; Leventhal, Howard ; O'Leary, Ann
Standard No: ISBN: 0-89862-430-4 (hardcover)

However, saying that, a Google search on type C personalities and health brought up a book review. Which when taken with the usual internet pinch of salt does make good skim reading, where actually, the book synopsis makes better reading.

I've discovered recently that I thought I was less of a type C personality that I actually am. I'm now trying to figure out the best way I can creatively respond to my personality type, my conditioning and my current life. I'm hoping that this will lead to better health."

Thursday, May 05, 2005

More e-motions

One unfortunate side effect of the therapy is that I've becoming increasingly frustrated with my illness, less pure acceptance and more wanting to change, but so far, not being able to. And I've also become a bit more emotional to (not that I'm an unemotional creature to start with), realising that much of how I (used to) deal with difficult feelings is to suck them in and not truly see them, not deal with them and process them with my mind to dissolve them. I'm now trying to feel more, but going through a process of learning how best to creatively deal with those feelings. If RT doesn't work, at least I have learnt this, which is surely an important realisation about myself.

Week 4 - what do I want to do?

The main Mickel Reverse Therapy (RT) process is to wait for the symptoms, read the message (a feeling), and then stay with that feeling, not trying to be analytical, and sensing what would be the best action for one to do. Unfortunately with nearly all of the situations which I noted in my exercise book that give rise to symptoms I didn't have any obvious or even semi-obvious actions to take, and if there were actions, they were impossible because I was ill!

As it turns out, my therapist reckons, and I agree, that most of my symptoms/messages are 'background' symptoms, because I get them (fuzzy head/achy body) whatever I do - a by product of Hypothalamitis, and that there must be something(s) generally in my life, which my body/true self is unhappy about. My task now is to work out what that is, I have inklings, but its difficult. As I'm terribly analytical, my heart speaks, and my mind jumps in a millisecond later, I've got to try and trust my heart and see where it takes me. Something for me, which is very scary.

The therapist did suggest that an area to look at is what was going on in my life before I became ill. The most obvious factor was my unhappiness, or itchy feet, with my career. I was ok with it, but I didn't want to progress any further with it, it was comfortable and I stuck with it, when perhaps, my true self didn't want to, and the little ol' mind was saying 'yes, but just stick with it, things could be worse'. In fact prior to becoming ill I was doing lots more thinking about career changes reading What Colour is Your Parachute etc, whilst being afraid of making a mistake, of taking a risk (something which I realise I rarely do - everything must be calculated and as safe a decision as possible!). I had even started to do some voluntary work in the sector I was interested in, but it was too late, I became ill a few days before the training.

So great, that's what I need to do, change career - easier said than done for someone just holding down part time work. However, the therapist helped me look at my position with less black & white thinking. Less "I'm ill, I can't do that" and more "I'll try that, it may help me improve". With this in mind I'm exploring the option of taking a part time Open University course. It'll be tough, no doubt, but it is within the realms of possibility for me to fit it in. Other things in my life will have to slide away, I wound have to spend less time on one of my favourite hobbies and perhaps less time fiddling around on the web! If I try the course for a year and it helps then that's great, if I try it and I can't do it then hey, I can say I tried to do what I thought, or even felt, was the best thing for me, and I'll try something else next, whatever that may be. The theory (hope) is that the body/true self will see that I am listening to it again, and in doing so the body will lessen the messages (symptoms) to me.

I'll leave you with a good quote from my therapist:
"Now progress gradually with the things you want to be doing that lead to a fulfilling life."

Monday, May 02, 2005

Week 3 - frustration

I've got the hang of working out what I think my symptoms are trying to tell me. I'm now becoming frustrated with not being able to find out the right action for these body (true self) messages.

I have learnt a thing or two about myself from the process of writing down where I am and how it is effecting me emotionally. I've become much more aware of my emotional workings, and I actually thought I had a fairly good handle on this already! Dealing with this new found knowledge has proved to be a little tricky, but I reckon I'm lucky enough to have a good body of self-awareness to be able to think, - but not too much ;-) - about what's going on with me, and learn, understand and change for the better.

So far, still no improvement on my symptoms. Although an RT therapist may not be surprised as I still haven't found out how I can 'action' the messages my body is giving me. Oh well! I haven't given up yet!