The basic notion that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, M.E. and Fibromyalgia are conditions that are caused by emotional disturbances is the thread that connects all the information available on this website. I am being very upfront about it because I don´t want people to be disappointed. I believe that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, M.E. and Fibromyalgia are different names of the same condition, and can be dealt with in a similar manner. In Reverse Therapy, the condition (CFS/M.E./Fibromyalgia) is referred to as “hypothalamitis.” Hypothalamus or “master gland” controls our body temperature, sleep pattern, muscle tension, blood pressure – pretty much all of our main bodily functions.

“One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland (hypophysis)… The hypothalamus is responsible for certain metabolic processes and other activities of the autonomic nervous system. It synthesizes and secretes certain neurohormones, often called hypothalamic-releasing hormones, and these in turn stimulate or inhibit the secretion of pituitary hormones. The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst,fatigue, sleep, and circadian cycles.”[1]

The cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, M.E. and Fibromyalgia, according to Reverse Therapy, is that the hypothalamus has gone into “overdrive” due to too much accumulated stress (which it perceives as danger), and is therefore sending signals (symptoms) to let us know that something must be done to get out of danger. Therefore, what is needed for recovery is getting the hypothalamus function back to normal again. That can be done by “listening” to the symptom-messages and acting according to what they are trying to tell you. Once you get the message and act according to it, your bodily intelligence (“bodymind”) has no more need to keep sending them, the hypothalamus can go back to normal functioning and restore the normal state of your health.

When I first read about Reverse Therapy, something told me that it´s true. Although I didn´t know how this theory would apply to me, I was sure that this was the solution for me. It somehow made a lot of sense. I had been trying to understand what was causing these terrible symptoms for 13 years, but had found no answers. Although the idea that symptoms are actually messages from the bodymind (or subconscious mind) was new to me, I had an inkling that I´d just forgotten it and had actually known it all along. What a relief! Knowing why I had the symptoms made all the difference and I was ready to do what´s necessary to understand the symptom-messages and do anything they were telling me to do. I had no clue what the “messages” were trying to tell me, but was determined to find out. There was not much information available about the messages at the time, so I was clueless where to look for them and how. But a burning desire to restore my health and completely understand this horrible condition led me to keep looking for the real cause.

The first step in understanding the symptom-messages is observation. It is necessary to really pay attention to the symptoms even though it´s unpleasant and counter-intuitive. But I decided to keep at it. The first breakthrough came soon.

“I was experiencing the usual symptoms stronger than ever before (they intensified when I began healing myself). There was a lot of tension and pain in my body and very bad brain-fog. It was almost intolerable. I was incapable of doing anything and my head didn`t work well either. So I decided to sit with it as long as it was necessary for me to understand the truth about the symptoms (much like the Buddha under the Bodhi tree 2500 years ago). For the first time I really felt what all of it felt like with my all of my body. After some time of intense concentration on the present moment and the sensations in my body, there appeared an intense anger, even rage – something I had never seen in myself before. I was surprised to see these intense emotions and didn`t know what to do. But I knew I had to act it out. The action I took was spontaneous and just what I felt was needed. I ran to an abandoned house nearby our house, took old lamp cups and smashed them against the brick wall, one by one, until I felt it was enough. I thought it was a strange thing to do, but it felt just right. Strangely enough, the strong feeling of anger subsided and I was at peace, and I didn`t have the strongest symptoms after that anymore. I could not rationally explain why I had this feeling of anger and why breaking the cups extinguished it, but it certainly was there before and wasn`t there anymore after my spontaneous action. That`s all I can say. The only explanation I have is that the symptoms vanished because I really paid attention to the sensations in my body and then did what felt just right. I realized I was on the right path, but after that no more dramatic change occurred in my condition. I could notice some slight changes over the coming months, but I still had severe symptoms sometimes… until I started to use energy healing methods (TAT and EFT).” [2]

Understanding how your symptoms come about and why can be enhanced by keeping a symptom diary. The aim of working with the symptom diary is to find any correlations between symptoms and emotions. It is necessary to observe any emotions accompanying your symptoms, especially when they get worse. The question to ask whenever you get symptoms is “What is happening to me emotionally?” Record the date, time of day, the situation, the symptom(s), and associated emotions in the symptom diary. Take note of the exact moment when your symptoms got worse or better and note if emotions changed during, or just before that moment in time. Keep doing this although you may not notice any correlations right away. But it is likely that you will have a clearer picture after a few weeks of doing this. Ideally, you will know:

When do my symptoms tend to get worse?

Are certain actions, places, people, foods associated with my symptoms, and if yes, which ones?

What, if any, are the typical feelings and emotions I have noticed during flare-ups of symptoms? These could include anger, fear, desperation, anxiety, boredom, etc.

Did I take any action to respond to the symptom and did it change anything?

Observing your symptoms and paying attention to any underlying emotions is a crucial step if you hope to restore your health using mind-body healing techniques. It is necessary to try not to escape feeling what you are feeling and instead start feeling what you are feeling. There is no running away from the unpleasant symptoms and emotions. You need to come to your senses, literally, and start feeling everything you are feeling without pushing anything away.

I had tried to escape how I was feeling for many years and had learned to cut myself off from the painful and unpleasant sensations in my body. Feeling the symptoms and experiencing them fully was the last thing I wanted to do, but starting to do so ultimately enabled me to get my life back. It didn´t become easier with practice, it was always unpleasant, but I knew I had to do it if I wanted to recover, so I kept being attentive. I kept a heightened awareness of my bodily sensations throughout the process of recovery, which took about four years, and am still keeping vigil. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been a wake-up call for me. Without it I would probably not have started my journey on the spiritual path. Mindfulness of mental and bodily processes is a crucial practice for spiritual evolution, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been a great teacher of this practice.

People who have heard my story have been skeptical and found it impossible to believe that a disease like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that is so intensely physical can be cured by an emotional approach. An important lesson I have learned in this process is that mind and body are one. Dealing with the mind and the emotions has resulted in full health.  I think relieving stress and healing traumas is a good thing to do for anyone, and if it does not do away with your symptoms entirely, something else has to be done, too. In my case, however, dealing with the emotional aspects of this condition  was all that was needed. Everything else took care of itself – symptoms gradually became less frequent and less intense, the immune system became stronger, energy started to come back, and finally after years of healing, I started to feel as if I´d never had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at all. The underlying emotions (mainly fear and anxiety) were actually more persistent than physical symptoms – they were there even after the physical symptoms were no longer a problem. But after a recent discovery and deep healing that happened during and after sandplay therapy (an article about my experience with sandplay therapy can be read here), I haven´t even had any of the emotional symptoms I used to have for a long time. I feel refreshed in the morning, have no symptoms, am working full-time and enjoying my life. Even hard physical work or what is sometimes called “over-exertion” does not cause any symptoms. I may feel tired, but it´s a normal, pleasant tiredness – nothing like the fatigue of CFS, M.E. or Fibromyalgia. I have been well for a couple of years now and am fully recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

I feel it is important to clarify that the emotional healing I am talking about is really deep and not something superficial e.g. “a hot bath will make you feel better.” Emotional healing means going back to your most painful (and possibly forgotten) experiences and healing them. It is very often work on the soul/unconscious levels, and the overall aim is to base your life on higher values like  love, forgiveness, peace, happiness and joy rather than fear, anger, worry, holding grudges, complaining, etc. Healing often means a complete turn in one´s most basic assumptions about existence. I have had to start doing what I really feel vs. doing what I think I need to do (or what others expect), speaking up for myself vs. suffering from abuse and not saying anything. It has been a profound journey and I understand why a lot of people are not ready for it. That´s why stories of healing and recovery are often met with negativity and anger.

While I don´t agree with the saying “it´s all in your head” in the sense that symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, M.E. or Fibromyalgia are made up, I do believe that our minds have a lot to do with it. Paying attention to, and dealing with the emotional aspects of this condition can potentially be enough for recovery. This approach certainly was enough for me and I urge anyone with CFS/M.E. or Fibromyalgia to look inside to find the answer.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”  -The Buddha

To read more about the mind-body approach and how I regained my health, you can purchase my book.

[2] „A Manual for Dealing with CFS/M.E: A mind-body healing approach“ by Lehari Jarg, p. 39