Apr 182015
 

 

One of the hardest things I had to do during my recovery and illness was explain my symptoms to people and the reasons I couldn’t do everyday things. On the surface, if you see someone with CFS, unless they’re in hospital or in bed, they don’t really look ill. This was one of the hardest things for me to get my head around and it used to really, really frustrate me when people said, “Oh, but you look great! What’s the matter with you?!”. With hindsight, I’ve come to understand that people express concern in different ways and to love that about others. But for those times when you really haven’t got the energy to speak or string sentences together, here is what you can show or give others to help explain your symptoms and situation:

CFS is an overwhelming, confusing and isolating illness which is debilitating, frustrating and feels never-ending.

Symptoms of CFS

Some symptoms of CFS include (but are not limited to!):

Tiredness

The clue is in the name, but it’s definitely more than “I’ve had a long day at work- please leave me alone” tiredness. Imagine having the worst hangover you could ever fathom, combined with flu and malaria, every single day. This is just a pinch of what people with CFS live with on a daily basis.

Feeling wiped out after a simple task

Putting clothes into the washing machine or picking up the vacuum cleaner used to be my biggest triggers. When I get inside my head too much, I clean, so I always went to cleaning when I needed to ‘do something’ (ie. aside from staying in bed and feeling useless). Despite my best intentions, I would usually end up back in bed or on the sofa breathless about a minute later.

Not being able to sleep

Now, hold on a second. Surely, if you’ve got CFS, sleep should be no problem for you! What’s going on?! Chronic insomnia and horrendous sleeping patterns are also major symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At my worst, I slept for about 22 hours a day on and off, and often I would wake up at 11pm, read until 2am, sleep for 20 minutes, then be up again until 7am. Then, when everyone else was getting up to start their day, I’d be about to sleep properly. This kind of pattern takes months to crack and get back on schedule, but to a greater extent, you really can’t help it. Imagine this every day for months or years, and you can see how frustrating it could be.

Pain, headaches and muscle aches

All over your body. I remember even moving my fingers and toes at one stage was practically impossible and incredibly painful. It’s scary and it’s real.

Unable to cope with light or slight noises

I became hyper sensitive to noise especially. Even the slightest noise would send my nervous system into a panic that I found it difficult to calm down from. This might sound like an exaggeration, but it really isn’t. I could stand some light coming through my curtains, but found it easier to rest with the covers over my head. Light interference always used to cause unbearable headaches and migraines. Hence, busy shopping centres and supermarkets had to be avoided.

head-in-hands-sculptureBeautiful head-in-hands sculpture-taken from here

Intermittent flu-like symptoms

Lowered immune system, fever, being unable to regulate your temperature, swollen glands, allergic reactions to things you used to be fine with, dizziness, the list goes on…

‘Brain-fog’ and other neurological symptoms

On a really bad day, I used to slur my words (so much so I apparently sounded drunk), forget really simple and usually memorable bits of information, forget vocabulary, experience balance problems, ringing in the ears, and so it continues.

Click here for more on brain fog.

Everyone is different, but for me, these were the worst symptoms. For a more extensive list, please visit ME CFS Australia’s website. Even now, if I haven’t been looking after myself properly, I very occasionally slur my words at night, but that rarely happens. As soon as it does, I know I have to slow things down and put myself first.

Please feel free to share your main symptoms in the comments below. It might feel sometimes like you’re alone, but you’re never alone. Please become part of our community through the Facebook page and we can help each other.

Love and rest,

Katie

Click here for more on diagnosing CFS and click here for some advice on dealing with doctors.

Apr 132015
 

 

angerImage taken from here

This is a post I never really thought I’d write, but I’ve been called to write it after numerous emails from readers and questions from clients.

“How can I move on to loving and accepting my illness and myself when I’m so angry with my body and for the way things have turned out?”

I hear you. I hear you big time. Anger and CFS have played a huge part in my healing, but I had to admit that I was angry first and foremost (which is often the hardest part).

If there’s anything I’ve learned about myself during this whole process of recovering from CFS, it’s how to manage anger and accept it as a normal part of every life. In my family, as in many families, I was told that anger was a bad thing. You weren’t allowed to be angry and you definitely weren’t allowed to express  your anger. This might be a part of the ‘British stiff upper lip’ character trait, but I know it doesn’t just apply to those from UK. Losing your temper or getting revved up in any kind of way is considered negative, ugly and ultimately is seen to reflect badly on you as a person.

angerArtwork taken from here

So, what do you do? You have 2 choices- 1) Let it out despite what people think or 2) Swallow it and don’t say anything.

Number 2 seems like a fairly easy option- it’s the least offensive and confrontational. But….it’s also the most toxic. Anger, like shame, lingers, creeps and builds up, causing a variety of illness and symptoms within the body if it is not released. For example, I was hospitalised with jaundice after I had Glandular Fever, which in energetic terms, is a clear sign of holding on to anger and feeling resentful.

Of course you’re angry that you got sick, of course there are days when you could scream out loud because you are so angry at the situation you’re in. My advice to you is:

LET IT OUT!

For the sake of your future health and wellbeing, do what you have to do to feel and express you anger. Recognise where in your body you feel the anger and let it pass.

* Hit a pillow

* Write your feelings down on paper, in a journal or a diary

* Stamp your feet

* Shout along to you favourite song

* Exercise if you can

* Tell someone (in a loving way without shouting) how you really feel, whether it’s about them, you or the situation you’re in- be honest

* Let yourself cry (and I mean really cry)

Expressing anger is a loving and non-offensive way for some people can take  a lot of practise, but it is possible, and it is the best thing you can do for your emotional and physical health. Once you realise that anger is just another emotion and has the same weight as happiness, for example, you begin to accept and almost welcome it into your life. It’s an incredible opportunity for growth, self-realisation and most importantly, honesty.

What are you angry about and how can you express it lovingly?

Love and authenticity,

Katie   xx

 

Apr 082015
 

 

I was incredibly honoured recently to be able to attend a talk in Sydney with His Holiness, The Dalai Lama on his recent tour of Australia. I instinctively knew that there was something he had to say that would relate to CFS and that I could bring back to you. Scribbling notes in my little notebook in the dark while he was talking was such a thrill and I’d love to share with you all some of my insights into how his message relates so clearly to CFS/ME and to our individual and collective journeys.

The one thing I was left with above all else after the event was the incredible spirit, kindness and love radiating from this amazing man. He is incredibly witty, has an amazing sense of humour (click here for further proof!), but most of all he truly speaks from his heart, unafraid of what anyone might think or of other people’s agendas. His message is one of love for all, and he sees himself not as any kind of Guru or anointed messenger , but as a simple Buddhist monk. His humility and kindness of spirit were seen through the whole talk in the way he interacted with everyone around him. He truly is an incredibly special human being and I’m eternally grateful to have been able to hear him speak in person.

dalai laughing

Photograph of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, taken from here

4 Lessons from The Dalai Lama

Lesson 1:

Everyone wants to be happy with no problems at all in their lives, but people create their own problems- they become a “slave of emotion”. Wow- this was definitely me throughout my illness, even towards the end when I knew it was all coming to an end. I kept obsessing about my health, and made my fearful thoughts into self-fulfilling prophecies. If you’re constantly thinking about CFS and all the ‘what ifs’ that play a huge part in it, then you end up being caught in a vicious circle that it’s incredibly hard to get out of. I know, I know- how the hell are you supposed to think about anything else when you’re feeling like this, right? You need to get out of your head and into your heart. Meditation is also amazing (trust me, I know people talk about meditation all the time, but it really is unbeatable).

Move away from the fear that you’re going to get worse if you go for a walk outside when you feel like it. Get someone to go with you- what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll come back to bed and give yourself a huge pat on the back, or you’ll get outside, discover that it’s too much and come back inside. Most of all, if you take these steps, you’re ever closer to cracking that fear barrier- what’s stopping you? 

Lesson 2:

Relating to lesson 1, check in with your emotions frequently- are you actually causing negative emotions by beating yourself up about your illness? Are you being too hard on yourself? CFS is an illness where I’ve found to my detriment that the more you fight it and deny what is, the worse it gets. Acceptance is key. Mindfulness is key.

Lesson 3:

“Your happiness is my happiness. Your suffering is my suffering”- I wish I’d heard this when I was very ill and to a certain extent, took my anger out on my family and friends. All they wanted was for me to be happy, healthy and well. At the time, I interpreted it as them not accepting my illness and accusing me of being lazy. Cut your loved ones some slack, cut yourself some slack. As The Dalai Lama says, “Do not let anger develop- this is the real meaning of forgiveness“.

*(This is also the main reason I set up this website, so you can connect with others in a similar position to you and know that we share our dark times. You are not alone.)*

Lesson 4:

“Fear eats away at the immune system”- wow. This is something we all need to hear right now. When your body is in a perpetual state of fear, there is no room for love and your health suffers. Most of the time, you are not doing this consciously- your illness was not deliberately and consciously brought on by you. But perhaps the fear that led you into CFS caused your immune system to suffer and not let your body do its job properly. It’s far from easy, but learning to lean in to love and away from fear, is a life practice, but one that will reward you greatly.

dalai

Photograph taken from here

Let me know what you thought about these lessons- did any of them ring true for you? Comment below!

Leaning into love, Katie    xxx

Mar 202015
 

 

As many of you know from my Facebook page, I decided a few weeks ago to try going Gluten Free. There wasn’t any particular motivation around this aside from the fact that a friend encouraged me to try it for a week just to see what happened, as she’s been gluten-free for a while. I thought it’d also be great to encourage me to think a bit more creatively about meals and to be more mindful about my food. If you’ve been following my newsletter as well, you’ll know that I felt so great after week one, that I decided to keep on going with it!

gluten-bread-caution

Image taken from MindBodyGreen

Many of you have probably heard or read things about gluten, and “Does Gluten Free Help CFS?” is one the questions I get asked on a regular basis? It seems as though in every article I’ve written recently (such as this one for MindBodyGreen), someone mentions the link between CFS and gluten. I must admit, I hadn’t really looked into it too much while I was ill, and many of you might be wondering why I’m bothering to write this in the first place if I’m completely healed, right?! Well, sometimes, it’s good just to mix things up a bit. I do sometimes experience digestive issues, especially when stressed, so I thought going gluten-free would be a good way to monitor my digestive system and general wellbeing.

What the hell is gluten?

Gluten is the substance found in cereal grains that basically makes bread doughy and elastic-y- the gluten is the protein part of the grain. Although gluten can very sneakily be found hiding in many unsuspecting things (seriously, this article is scary!), wheat (also in the form of rye, barley,bulgar, spelt and durum – pasta!) is probably the main culprit. It’s incredibly surprising if you actually look at labels to see how much gluten or gluten-containing things are hidden in things we eat- seriously, after a few weeks of cooking gluten-free, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about! Things like chocolate, soy sauce and even vitamin pills seem to be riddled with the stuff.

What are the symptoms?

Funnily enough, many of them seem to be exactly the same as those that CFS/Fibro sufferers get! (Lovely!) Often, there might be more skin rashes or digestive issues if you have gluten troubles, but this is why it’s so hard to recognise. Click here for more information on symptoms and complications.

What does the research say?

As it stands (as with so many things in the CFS/Fibro arena), the small amount of research done suggests that there isn’t any clear overlap between celiac disease – the autoimmune disorder caused by gluten- and CFS/Fibromyaglia. Some people have claimed that cutting out gluten alone was enough to get rid of their symptoms completely, whereas some people say it really didn’t make that much difference to them. However, only 1% of the population have an incredibly severe reaction to gluten, so you can probably breath easy.

The gluten thing on further research is all a bit complicated. Lots of people have food sensitivities which come with their own host of symptoms or which can make CFS/Fibro symptoms worse. Some people might even have been misdiagnosed as having CFS when they actually have a severe gluten intolerance.

gluten

Image taken from here

So, what can I do about it?

If you’re not sure whether you’re intolerant to gluten or whether it’s worth investigating further with your doctor, keep a food diary for about 3 weeks. Do you notice your symptoms flair up the morning after you’ve had pasta for your evening meal? Do you feel incredibly sleepy and dozy after eating bread? Do you have digestive issues or discomfort after eating gluten? (If you have IBS, then it’s possible than gluten might makes things a little worse for example. Also, consider whether or not your IBS is a possible gluten sensitivity.) Write it all down and play around with things a little bit. If you can see a clear pattern, maybe it’s worth requesting an allergy test from your doctor. Unfortunately, if you’re severely gluten-intolerant, you can’t just do it 95% of the time- it’s an all or nothing job, as your symptoms will return and you’ll feel ill again.

What can I eat if I’m going gluten-free?

There are actually a few options, but triple-check the labels on things! Anything with flour in it, such as cakes, sauces and dough/pastry bases, also contain gluten. As I mentioned in this article, things like quinoa are supposed to be gluten-free, but aren’t as squeaky clean as most people first thought! (Boo!) Also, I found that some of the gluten-free substitutes just tasted absolutely awful. I found going to health food shops to buy gluten free bread and pasta a lot better in terms of taste and nutrients. You can eat:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • lentils, rice, quinoa (in theory!) and legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • dairy products and eggs
  • lean meat and fish

However, always make sure you look on the labels of things if they say ‘gluten-free’. Gluten-free is a huge health craze at the moment, and even though the products might be free from gluten, there are sometimes lots of nasty chemicals and additives thrown in instead!

The Results of my Gluten-Free Experiment

After about 2-3 days, I didn’t feel as bloated as I sometimes used to and my stomach felt a lot calmer, like it didn’t have a huge stone in it. I didn’t have many stomach upsets, but I once accidentally ate a wrap made from wheat, and I really felt the difference afterwards! Going GF makes my stomach feel a lot lighter and even though I’m not gluten-intolerant, I definitely think cutting back on gluten is going to benefit me. So…I’m sticking with it!

So, over to you! Have you heard the reports about CFS/Fibromyalgia and gluten? Have you tried going gluten-free yourself? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Love and light,

Katie    xx

Mar 112015
 

dont-give-upPicture taken from here

How to Deal with a Diagnosis of CFS

I will be forever grateful to the doctor who actually diagnosed my condition and got to the bottom of what was happening during such a confusing time for both my family and myself. When he gave us his opinion, something inside me clicked. Having initially thought it was leukaemia (probably due to low white blood cell count), he then examined the bloods again and altered his decision.

I think if you can find a doctor who is sympathetic towards CFS/ME, let alone diagnoses it, you’re doing very well. Every doctor I’ve met since then, whether for CFS-related things or not, with the exception of one, has dismissed my condition and immediately demanded that I had more blood tests. I made the mistake of having more tests a few years ago, even though I knew for a fact my bloods would be absolutely fine. Cue my doctor telling me that I’d probably get over it in a week or so, and me feeling just as confused, tired and down as when I’d first been diagnosed.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some amazing doctors and specialists out there who are experts in their field and work incredibly hard to help hundreds of people recover. I’m not here to badmouth the medical profession. I lived in a tiny village in England, so my access to these people was limited. I therefore had to do something about my condition myself.

At the time of writing, there is no test for CFS. Basically, the doctors have to rule out everything before coming to that conclusion…and I mean, everything. I had ECGs, brain scans, chest x-rays, you name it. Nothing, nada, zilch. It was quite a scary time for everyone, but I think I was so tired from being dragged from appointment to appointment that I could barely even think about what was happening. The diagnosis didn’t really alter what was happening in my everyday life, and because there was no treatment as such, everything just went back to the way if was. My parents didn’t really know what to do, so just tried to make me eat and get me out and about. I was prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping tablets, but held on to the prescription for months and never used it. Something kept telling me that this wasn’t the answer for me. My Dad persuaded me to go on the anti-depressants- I lasted a month, felt the same, so came off them.

The truth about being diagnosed with CFS is that even though you now have a label and something that you can attribute your symptoms to, you still feel stuck. The key is trying different things, which unfortunately, takes quite a while. I think it took me about 3 years to really get a handle on thing. You can ask another doctor for a second opinion, you can treat symptoms individually (ie. headaches) and visit the doctor this way, you can explore alternative therapies, you can read books or you can alter your diet.

I hope in this blog I will be able to show you some things that have worked for me. I have decided however to add a disclaimer to the website, because even though these methods worked for me, they may not work for you. For example, I’ve always been vegetarian (since the age of 6- it caused quite a stir at primary school!, so meat does not play a part in my diet. However, you might need this for your recovery, and you should be open to including certain things in your diet.

I have every faith in your healing and your body’s ability to heal. It is up to you to know it and believe it.

Love,

Katie xx

For more on doctors and CFS diagnosis, click here.

For more on how healthy eating is only part of the battle(!), click here.

Mar 062015
 
CFS fear manifesto

 

This CFS Fear Manifesto is something that’s been in the works for a while now. To be honest, the timing’s never really felt right until now, and I was so grateful for how well this manifesto was received that I thought it was high time to release it out into the world.

Stick it on your wall, on the fridge, on the mirror- anywhere where you might be able to spare a moment to think about whether you’re acting from a place of love or fear.

Lots of love,

Katie     xxx

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR VERY OWN, FREE COPY.

CFS fear manifesto

Feb 272015
 
Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

 

For some reason recently, I found myself thinking about (and being absolutely baffled by! All of the times I went to the doctor while I was ill. For years, I completely pushed CFS away and ignored it- there had to be something simpler going on. Couldn’t they just put me on a week’s worth of antibiotics?! But I paid the price in the form of relapses and a prolonged recovery time.

illness-05Artwork taken from here

Even when I’m writing all of my blog posts, I constantly hit a wall when I get to how to write about illness- do I make it my own, or do I distance myself from it? It was once a huge part of who I am, but that doesn’t mean I’ve completely disregarded that part of my life, as it’s been my greatest teacher and mentor to date.

If writing this blog has taught me one thing I’d love you all to know though, it’s this:

Do not own your illness- as soon as you say ‘my illness’, the power has been given over to the CFS. You have the power and you’ve never lost it, not even in your darkest, most wavering, meandering moments. Detach it from yourself and it’ll detach from you- say ‘the illness’ and it suddenly doesn’t seem as scary. It becomes something you control as opposed to it controlling you. It means that when you feel the waves of the illness washing over you, you know for sure that it’s only a temporary visitor, a fleeting feeling, like the tide, like the clouds above us.

This is a short post, but one which I hope gives you lots of food for thought and something to meditate on. Do you own your illness or does it own you? Can you distance yourself from it, or are you imbedded in it? Let me know your thoughts below my lovelies.

Love and gentle separation,

Katie    xxx

Would you like more inspiration to help you through CFS? Click here to sign up for my newsletter and you’ll get a copy of ‘The Little Book of CFS’ completely free! Woohoo! xx

chakra ebook

Feb 272015
 

First, let’s start with a confession…well, it’s not really a confession. The thing is, I’m not a great cook- never have been. I used to hate Home Ec classes at school, much to the despair of my Mum and Grandmother who are amazing cooks. I’m a ‘follow the recipe’ kind person and I never really focussed on getting nutrients from my food. However, all this changed for the better when I started changing my diet and realised just how creative you could get in the kitchen, and most of the time, what I make turns out ok!

Let me just say that I know cooking, even eating sometimes, is really difficult with CFS. My diet after I returned to Uni, and probably for a lot of time during it, was embarrassingly awful. Anything that was quick and easy was always in my mind’s eye. My diet during Uni mainly consisted of toast and cereal. Yep, there we have it- quick, easy and absolutely zero nutrients. When I went into my last year a group of friends and I made a big deal of having two nice lunches a week, just to keep ourselves sane and have a chat more than anything. But I realised that nutrition and enjoying your food really does make a huge impact on your energy levels and can really help you without you having to really think about it.

Here are some great recipes you can make, or have someone else make, along with a few easy ways to get nutrients into your diet (and no, they’re not all veggie/vegan!):

1) Juices and smoothies

These are everyday essential for me. I usually have a smoothie for breakfast and a juice as a ‘snack’ in the afternoon- more recipes here! Adding spirulina gives them an extra nutritional kick.

juice

2) Soup

I absolutely love eating soup, I could eat it all day- so I’ve become pretty good at making it (if I do say so myself!)! This is great way to use up leftover veggies you have and to pack as many nutrients into a meal (an easily digestible meal) as possible. Two of my favourites include:

* Broccoli soup from Lee at the amazing Supercharged Food website- it sounds disgusting, but I started making it  in batches for friends, I got so many requests!

* Vegetable (and chicken) soup with old-school soup mix (full of lentils, legumes and nutrients- it’s too easy!)

Broccoli-Soup

Photo taken from the Supercharged Food website

3) Vegan desserts

Now, before you tell me that you don’t do vegan- try this recipe for Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake, courtesy of The Detoxinista. It will blow your socks off! My other half is in no way vegan and can’t get enough of this. Lots of gorgeous raw nuts, raw cacao (bursting with antioxidants), lemon juice, lots of goodness. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

SONY DSC

Photo taken from The Detoxinista’s website

4) Herbal Teas

Go for it- camomile, chai, dandelion (a great coffee substitute), rose, green tea (my personal favourite), peppermint, lavender (I know!), liquorice, fennel, nettle, lemongrass- the list goes. I would now much rather have herbal tea than coffee any day. It’s cheaper and you’ll feel more cleansed and lighter in the long run.

tea

Photo taken from here

5) Add flaxseed oil and chia seeds to recipes

Flaxseed oil is my nutritional secret. I put it on salads and take in in capsule form (1000mg a day). This is the supplement that really helped with brainfog and aching joints. Chia seeds also have amazing omegas (good) fatty acids in them which your body needs to work at its optimum level and are amazing for creating lasting energy. See this post by Jess at The Wellness Warrior for more chia seed inspiration.

chia

Photo taken from here

So, there we have it. I’ve just given you a few to start off with, but I just wanted to say again how important good nutrition is while you are recovering. As I mentioned in this article here on MindBodyGreen, junk food is a hell of a lot easier, but the nutrient content is zero. Do what’s right for your body and yourself and think about the nutrients your body needs.

Let me know if you have any more recipes you’d like to share!

Love and more of that Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake please,

Katie      xxx

Feb 262015
 

Accepting The Now For What It Is

I’ve known for a while that I’m quite stubborn. I’ve always prided myself on being independent, paying my own way, doing my own thing, but my concept of independence changed completely once I became very ill. My parents had to look after me, and me being so ill, I didn’t really have a lot of say in the matter. I think looking back, when I became well enough to walk around and do small, everyday tasks, I was actually quite angry and sharp with my parents, because they’d fussed over me for so long and my independent self didn’t quite like that. But now, I’m grateful to my parents for dedicating themselves to my recovery in what must have been a worrying time for them.

Ahh, the power of hindsight. Even when I went into teaching and had to take occasional days off, I would spend days feeling really angry with myself, wondering what my colleagues would think of me and about the mountain of work that was probably building up. The last thing I thought about, ironically, was resting up, so I could get better and allow my body to recover. Even as I’m writing this, I  think about how strange these thoughts are. I’m not surprised that in most cases my worrying caused my illness to linger for longer than I would’ve liked.

This was when my interest in mind-body medicine began. As soon as I began to accept my situation (believe me, this took years!), and not wish it away, pretending it wasn’t happening, my perspective changed. I grew more patient with myself and began to feel grateful that my body was sensitive enough to let me know if I was pushing things too much, or if I could afford to use more energy. If you’re suffering from CFS though, you’ll know that this is a fine art. If I had a dollar for every time I thought I was ok and pushed on anyway, only causing myself more pain and fatigue, I’d be a very rich woman! It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, one which others rarely understand however much you try and explain, but if you stand back and accept the situation instead of fighting it, you might find yourself in a better situation, both physically and mentally.

Image found here

Make ‘acceptance of now’ your goal for the next 10 seconds, the next minute, the next hour, today and all your tomorrows….

Love and acceptance,

Katie

Feb 262015
 

 

I’m sure that if I told you you were courageous right now, you’d probably tell me I was mad. But, you’d probably say something, then slowly turn back towards me, curious as to why I’d given you that now oh-so unfamiliar label. How can someone who feels so weak and helpless demonstrate outrageous courage and strength? How can strength and courage in CFS possibly go together? How can you, when you’ve been ill for so long, even begin to get your head around the fact that you’ve actually come a lot further than you realise and that you can cope with more than you know?

13-courage

Image taken from here

You’re stronger than you know because….

  • ultimately, you kinda have to be- you’ve got no choice.
  • you take comments like this and this, and just roll with it. It might be unpleasant, but you’re as gracious as always. As Wayne Dyer once said, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”
  • you are bearing such a huge physical and emotional burden right now. If other people knew how much you had to endure, they’d be in awe of you. However, even the warrior needs a break every now and then, and it’s always ok to cry.
  • in the midst of all this s#@* going on around you, you know deep down that you are still you. You are still here. Take strength and comfort from that, even if brain fog tells you otherwise.
  • finding the means to carry on with all of this ‘not-knowing’ will set you up great things in your big, bright future and you’ll be better for it.

You’re more courageous than you know because…

  • you’re hunting around on websites like this for answers and things that might help you heal. If you were scared of your illness, you wouldn’t be here.
  • you’re open to take your healing into your own hands.
  • you’re willing to try new things, even if this pushes you massively out of your comfort zone and you’re incredibly scared that anything you try’ll make you worse.
  • you’re willing to look at the root causes of your illness, even a tiny bit at a time. It’s unpleasant and you don’t like asking yourself these questions, but you might just discover something you didn’t know about yourself.
  • you know that this innate courage inside you is the one thing that’s going to carry you through the darkness and into your healing. Love it, look after it and remember it when the road gets bumpy. Only you can really heal you.

You-Gain-Strength---Eleanor-Roosevelt-Magnet-C11750665

Quote taken from here

Trust me my darling, you are stronger and more courageous than you think you are. You put up with so much rubbish day in, day out for days, weeks, month and years at a time, all the while questioning who you are, your self worth, your relationships, your career, your body, your past and your future.

Just know in the here and now, that I admire you for your courage, determination and strength. No-one ever told me this while I was ill, so I’m telling you now.

I’ve got your back. I know how hard it is. Everyone reading this knows how hard it is. Let it out….let it out….and trust your courage.

Remember, as Paulo Coelho once said, “An act of courage is always an act of love.”

Love and courage,

Katie     xxx

If you enjoyed these inspirational quotes, there are plenty more in my new (FREE!) e-book! Click the green book image at the top of the page or below for instant access!

A little book of quotes and inspiration for the journey

Feb 172015
 

 

Many of you have read about my belief that I think the reason Chronic Fatigue Syndrome started within me in the first place was because I was coming from a place of fear. Once I realised this fear, my healing really began and healing became expected and easy.

Fear comes in many forms and disguises. The most obvious, widely recognised forms of fear are phobias- spiders, snakes, the dark or small spaces. People respect these fears, are sympathetic towards those who have them and many take active steps to lessen their fears.

Fear however can be seen in us in many ways other than phobias. Many of these varieties are subtle, sneaky and even a bit uncomfortable at times. Have a look at the list of fear-based emotions below and see if any of these words and ideas resonate with you. Where are you frightened? Can you see where this fear comes from in your life?

fearPhoto taken from here

 Fear-Based Emotions

  • dishonesty (lying- to others and to yourself)
  • anxiety
  • worry
  • being boastful
  • feeling hopeless
  • despair / depression
  • panic
  • illness
  • fatigue
  • negativity
  • getting cold feet or giving up
  • excessive focus on the past or the future
  • jealousy and suspicion
  • shrinking away (not being your true self)
  • being too selfish / not considering other people’s opinions or views
  • pleasing other people
  • focusing on darkness
  • not confronting others for fear of arguments
  • not asking others to help you
  • feeling worthless
  • hiding away
  • feeling helpless
  • feeling alone

Now, once you’ve recognised these traits in yourself, replace your attitude with one of overwhelming love:

loveImage taken from here

Love-Based Emotions

Which negative emotions can you replace with loving ones today?

Love and more love,

Katie    xx

Feb 162015
 

 

This article is re-blogged form an article I had published on the amazing Tiny Buddha.

womanPhoto taken from here

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi

My ‘Not Where I Want To Be’ Story

When I left high school, I had no idea about what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up’. I still had no idea when I left University. There wasn’t anything in me that really burned to be a doctor, a translator, a lawyer or an artist for example. I was a bit of an all-rounder and wasn’t really 100% focused in any one direction. I always thought this was the curse of completing an arts degree (namely French) where in many cases you can go in any direction you chose, but what if you have no idea?

I think what I was always quite sure of is the feeling this unknown career would instil in me. I remember speaking to a Careers Counsellor and saying something about wanting to be a powerful woman who wears suits, has some kind of semi-important title and spends a lot of their time getting the train between Paris and London for business meetings.

As soon as I said it though, I felt hollow and instinctively knew that that wasn’t me. This is what all my friends were signing up for and I was torn- do I follow what I’m expected to do and go for the lifestyle, or do I dive back into the crumbling well of not knowing what I’m doing with my life?

After a lot of soul searching, I decided to move into High School teaching- I could still be involved in all things French, have some kind of semi-prestigious role and make a difference (the suit was optional though). That business woman feeling I’d wanted translated quite well into teaching- I felt wanted, important, needed, useful, creative, like a fountain of knowledge creating an impact where it mattered. But something was missing.

After feeling empty, fed up and like I was sacrificing my wellbeing at the expense of my career/search for a particular feeling, I knew I still wasn’t in the right place. I then went through a few years of relentlessly comparing myself to others and where they’re got to in life. My friends at University seemed to be settling into jobs that were made for them- they were making good money and climbing the ladder.

Why couldn’t I do this? Why didn’t I want to do this? It wasn’t supposed to be like this. What the hell was wrong with me?

The last few years after moving from the UK to Australia have marked something of a transition for me. I feel that there was a reason I was meant to move to the other side of the world- I came here to follow my own path. I was meant to come to Australia to stop comparing myself to my Uni friends, to stop feeling that I’d let me parents down and to be really secure in myself and not myself in the eyes of others.

Away from this, I became incredibly interested in holistic health and nutrition, spirituality, healing and meditation- a far cry from the powered up business woman ideal I was aiming for when I left Uni. I am in no way where I thought I’d be when I left High School or University.

I’m pretty sure that if I told people what I was doing now (writing, coaching and training to be a healer), they’d be quite surprised. Trust me, no-one is more surprised than me. But I absolutely love what I’m doing and I’m so passionate about it- I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve found my ‘thing’.

If you’re nodding your head furiously at anything I’ve written and feel like you’re not where you want to be, I’d love to invite you to think about the following questions.

1)   Is it really as bad as it appears to be?

Ok, you might not have the salary, but is your job progressing the way you want it to? Do you have steady income? Do you like your work colleagues?

If you really drill down into ‘dream’ jobs, there’s always something people don’t particularly like doing, but generally it’s ok. They don’t call them ‘jobs’ for nothing!

2)   Are you putting unnecessary pressure on yourself?

Whether you’re recovering from an illness or setting up your own business, it can be terrifying and can often feel like you’re never going to get there. Remember to give yourself a break and be kind to yourself.

Take time to step back and look at what you’ve achieved so far. If something’s worth doing, it’s worth taking time over and really pacing yourself. A bit of patience and a sprinkle of hope, and you’ll get there.

3)   Whose expectations are your fighting with- yours or someone else’s?

I suddenly realised after years of comparing myself to other people, that I was doing myself a huge injustice for making myself feel inferior to them.

As much as I wanted to blame society, the government or my parents for not being where I wanted to be, I realised the expectations I’d placed on myself were incredible. Even if I was as perfect as I’d envisioned, I still wouldn’t be happy. The same goes for expectations laid down on your by other people- they’ll never be happy with where you are either.

That’s when I realised I had to let it all go. These herculean expectations were energy-zapping and weighing me down, so I released them.

4)   What can you learn from the situation?

Everything happens for a reason. Are you underselling yourself at work? Are you spending time on things that really light you up?

The big lesson for me was learning to be myself and be ok with that. I learned that my talents and skills are unique and that at the end of the day, people want and remember you for you, not for your job.

5)   Is there anything you could do today to move you closer to your ideal life?

Once I thought about all the time I’d wasted wishing I was higher up the ladder, more glamorous or more athletic, I wanted to do something right away that would make me feel like I was moving the right direction.

If you’re constantly berating yourself for your fitness, go to the gym. Want to eat healthier food? Cook healthier food. It’s simple. Often we self-sabotage ourselves into avoiding our dream lifestyle as an avoidance tactic- nobody can do it for you but you.

There’s no time like the present- your dream and goals are just waiting for you to run towards them with open arms. All you have to do is say ‘yes’.

 

Love and lifelong learning,

Katie     xxx

Feb 142015
 

 

(This was my very, very first blog post- published in February 2013. Bless me!)

Over the years I have developed a love of yoga and feel the benefits straight after class. I’m one of those people who goes to yoga for the spiritual benefits, rather than for getting fit and toned, although those are great reasons too. I particularly love hot yoga, but please be advised, this is not for everyone, especially in the early/transition stages of yoga. I’ve really had to learn to listen to my body and not go crazy doing too many classes at once.

Incorporating yoga and CFS has been a bit of a rough journey for me. At first, I was absolutely delighted to even make it through a class. Then, I would convince myself on the journey home that I would probably get ill in the morning, that I’d put my body under too much pressure. Low and behold  the morning after, I was achey and berating myself for even trying (there’s that mind-body communication again!) I’m currently living in Sydney where everyone gets up really early to go running and surfing, and people are generally super fit and healthy  So, why couldn’t I do more than one yoga class a month?! I’d gone from being happy with one class a month, to beating myself up for not doing 4 classes a week!

The key to yoga is taking to slowly. There’s a bit jump between being bed-ridden and trying to do some ‘easy’ yoga stretches! It’s a lot harder than it looks! Here are a few tips to help you along the way (again, I’m by no means an expert, so please listen to your body and do some further research):

* Investigate studios near your house, so you don’t have to worry about travelling to and from class, or being exhausted after it and having a long commute.

* Research different yoga types- I absolutely love Yin Yoga and could quite happily do every class on the schedule! Yoga Nidra is also very relaxing and focusses a lot on breath work and meditation. Yoga Nidra is thought to aid sleep and actually translates as ‘yogic sleep’.

* Make sure you phone or email a studio you are interested to ask if they feel they can cater to your needs or if there is a specific instructor in mind who could help you.

* Before attending your first class, make sure the instructor knows that you have been ill and are still recovering. Also, be sure to tell them about any muscle pain or difficulties you have. You’re probably not the only one experiencing some form of physical pain or discomfort, so don’t feel that you’re alone in needing adjustments!

* If you are in class and feel the exercises are too difficult, there is no shame is recovering by going into Child’s Pose. This has been one of the biggest challenges for me, as I always want to push myself and seem to compare myself to others quite a lot.

* Make sure you drink lots of water before and after class, and also prepare yourself a lovely nourishing meal afterwards. Many people recommend not eating 2 hours before class, but ask the studio to see what they recommend.

* If in any doubt, check with your doctor before attempting classes and if you don’t feel strong enough, don’t go!

Image found here

Yoga is meant to be relaxing and pleasurable, so remember not to push yourself or put to much pressure on yourself. Classes are supposed to be fun, not torturous!

Namaste!

Love, Katie

Click here for an article on hot yoga and CFS, and here for a little trick that might help you to shift your mindset when you walk into the yoga studio.