“Chronic Fatigue Syndrome took my life apart” or “CFS took my life away“ are common ways of describing CFS. And healing is often equated with “getting one´s life back.” The condition is also described by saying that it has taken away all possibilities or free choice:  “I feel as though all of my freedoms, choices, and decisions have been stripped away because ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia has made all of those for me.”[1]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome surely feels like having no choice and no control whatsoever. You never know when you might have symptoms, so it is impossible to trust your body, and that makes life very difficult. I used to feel that way too. I could never be sure if I could do what I had planned, so in later years of having CFS I refrained from giving any promises to anyone and said: „I´ll come if I can“ (which is not a nice reply to an invitation). And even when I felt well enough to attend a gathering or party, I very often got severe symptoms in the middle and could not enjoy the occasion at all. To put it shortly: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome makes your life a living hell.

WHY?????I often wondered why I had to go through all this. „Why have I lost my life-force? Why am I so exhausted virtually all the time? Why do I have all of these health problems? WHY???“ I did not get an answer during more than a decade of suffering from CFS. I had some speculations, but no clear answers… until I came across Reverse Therapy and mind-body healing approach in general. The answer was simpler than I could ever expect it to be. And as soon as I first read about that approach, I knew that this was the answer to my prayers – the only way I could get my life back. It was something I had intuitively known for a long time, but had not been able to articulate. My experiences may apply to other people who are suffering from CFS, but they do not necessarily apply to everyone who suffers from CFS. I am sharing this information with the hope that it will benefit some people.

So why, according to Reverse Therapy and my experience, has the body gone out of control? It is simply because we have been ignoring our bodymind´s messages and need to pay attention to its demands. The symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are nothing more than messages that act as reminders to pay attention to how we really feel. The symptoms of CFS are there to „tell“ us to be truthful to ourselves, our true feelings and heartfelt wishes. Also, the bodymind can be „worried“ about situations that remind it of threatening situations from the past (in which we may have been abused and felt helpless). They are messages that try to set things right – either by starting to act in a more honest way (if we have lost touch with our inner selves) or by healing the unresolved traumas that are now making themselves felt through symptoms. The bodymind´s aim is to guide us and ensure our optimal functioning. It only wants the best for us. But it does so using harsh methods. It must mean that its messages are important – enough to make it impossible for us to feel well in our own bodies. If the intelligence of our organism perceives a threat, its obligation is to notify us. If we pay attention, it can stop sending the signal. But if we don´t, it is going to make the signal stronger. The bodymind starts out by sending mild feelings of unease, and if we don´t pay attention, they may escalate into physical symptoms. The founder of Reverse Therapy, Dr. John Eaton writes:

“As a rule, when we are under stress, Bodymind progresses from vague feelings of unease, to more clearly defined, and longer-lasting, emotions, to mild symptoms of illness and then on to chronic symptoms. Thus the symptoms get “louder and louder.” Sadly, in some cases, such as cancer, if early-stage symptoms are not picked up and acted upon, major symptoms may set it and can prove irreversible.”[2]

It is the only explanation that makes sense to me. I had a hard time believing it, but because I have regained my health using these ideas, I am now convinced that it is the truth. After all, it is quite logical: if we do not listen to our bodies, they are going to have to make us listen. And once we start to listen, they will be happy to co-operate with us again. However, finding the lost balance can be a long and demanding path. In some cases (like in my own) it may take years. In other cases it may take only a few months. I guess it depends on our ability to “understand” what the bodymind is concerned about and then act accordingly. The tendency to over-intellectualize is a hindrance that can best be bypassed with the help of an experienced therapist who can instruct you in bodymind communication techniques. The messages can be related to events and situations that have been forgotten long ago, so they may be hidden deep in our unconscious minds. In that case it is necessary to uncover the hidden problems (or messages) using techniques that help to reestablish contact with the bodymind. Focusing (by Eugene Gendlin) and simple mindfulness exercises or therapy techniques are designed for discerning the (emotional) truth about any symptom or situation.

You may think you know what your bodymind is concerned about, but this is not the truth because the truth is something other than an idea. A bodymind message is a deeply felt feeling, an emotion that is calling for action, and action can either mean releasing it through a therapeutic process or acting in accordance with what it seems to be “saying.” The idea is really simple, but it can be a tough process.

Recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, according to the mind-body approach, means learning to live in accordance with our inner feelings again, whatever they may be. Once we are able to do that, we can have our life back.

If you feel that this approach is for your, please check out my book.

[2] John Eaton “M.E., Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia – The Reverse Therapy Approach” p. 29