Monthly Archives: June 2011

Sweet Surrender

Sometimes I forget that I finally found a Cure that worked for me as soon as I stopped looking for it.

This seemed pretty unfortunate considering that as soon as I could sit up in bed and lift my head up I began researching treatments-and continued to do so for years. Some alleviated a few symptoms, some made me feel worse (absolute bonus), some made no difference whatsoever. And then there were my personal favourites-those that seemed to work miracles-but only for the short-term. I spent thousands of £’s and years of my life trying everything I could get my hands on. Even if something blatantly did not work for me I continued with it anyway, ignoring all instincts to do the opposite.

When the answer finally came it appeared in a really random way. I read a book and emailed the author, thinking I’d never hear back. He contacted me straight away, by phone and gave me one simple piece of advice. It was to read another book. All he would say was “read it and the answer will find you”. As this guy is pretty logical and no-nonsense the choice of book surprised me, but I read it nonetheless (though I’ll be honest if someone I’d had less respect for had suggested it ~I’d have stopped after the first page-it’s still the most random book I’ve ever read…

But read it I did. And it gave me peace. So much so that I subconsciously just stopped the incessant search for a cure. Less than a week later I was lying in bed (feeling extremely rough as per usual) when an article came on the news. I hate the News, still do. But I didn’t have the energy to change the channel, so I sat and watched. The piece I watched was for people who had been left disabled by mystery illnesses-and a cure for them. I was intrigued naturally, but didn’t want to get my hopes up having recently paid thousands of £’s for a treatment I had to fly to Central America for (in a wheelchair-don’t do it. Ever.) which cured me for a whole 6 weeks. I assumed this treatment would cost even more and be in an even more obscure location. Turns out it cost a few hundred quid-and although wasn’t practised very widely-one of the few people trained in it lived a few miles from my parents house.

Two weeks later I started the treatment. From that point on my life completely changed. The author was right, the random book was right-and I learned possibly the most significant lesson I was to carry through with me in every aspect of my life. If I really, really want something, the best thing to do is stop all the action and effort, give up the struggle and wait for it to come to me. If I do that then when it does arrive it is more perfect for me than anything I could possibly have engineered. Or like a good friend recently said to me “if you push for something all you do is move it further away from you”

If you feel like you want something so much, and have put incredible amounts of effort in, only to see no results I highly recommend just letting go of it all. Doesn’t have to be a cure for illness, could be a job, a relationship-anything really. Giving up may seem illogical-but if I hadn’t done so then the odds are I’d have never heard of the obscure treatment that was just around the corner from me the whole time…

Carrie x

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The Chocolate Green Smoothie

When I was four years old I had the world of Grown-Ups totally sussed. I was going to do whatever I wanted when I reached the heady heights of Adulthood. I was going to stay up as late as I wanted-even late enough to find out what program was on after The Muppet Show and The A-Team. No one would be telling me to tidy my room. And perhaps most glorious of all I was going to eat chocolate for breakfast everyday.

So we flash forward past the 80’s and the 90’s in all their man-made fibre glory. I do now let myself stay up long enough to watch whatever I want, (and though sadly the A-Team no longer features on Saturday night tv there is never a shortage of Muppets to watch, trust me) The freedom to live in a messy room did lose it’s appeal some time back-never mind the choice is always there should I wish to return to it… But I finally stumbled across The Holy Grail of Breakfasts on my journey to Wellness-oh yes folks I give you The Chocolate Green Smoothie.

It’s magic. It’s love. If it were legal in this fine country of ours I’d have made an honest man out of it some time ago. It’s a couple of handfuls of spinach (or whatever greens you wish to use) 3 bananas, a spoonful of raw chocolate powder. half a glass of water, a couple of minutes in a blender and breakfast is served.

There is nothing this little greeny-brown beauty cannot do. If you need more energy-BANG! If you want your skin to improve-it’s on the case. I used to do a lot of location-based work and I would make two to get me through the day. Now I’m based in studios (and incredibly lazy) I tend to buy juices instead. But I never feel better than when I start the day with a Chocolate Green Smoothie-if you don’t want to splash out on the Raw Chocolate powder, then just go Green! I personally like to eat chocolate as often as possible but it’s a really cheap meal without the powder…

Just a note to those of you not at the walking stage of recovery yet, go slow with the smoothies if you are in a bed or wheelchair right now because if you can’t burn the smoothie off all the sugar will leave you feeling pretty rough. It’s an amazing aid to building back muscle tone when you do start walking though. All the Amino Acids convert to Protein in your body and help with re-building muscle-which is really handy if you aren’t feeling hungry enough for meals yet.

I know it sounds like the least delicious thing on Earth, but try one and you’ll soon change your mind! Chocolate for breakfast- I knew I could make it happen…

The Zapper

In a world filled with weird and wonderful cures this is by far the weirdest and most wonderful as far as I’m concerned…

My lovely friend Amy first introduced me to The Zapper. I thought it sounded completely insane, but I was willing to give anything a go and dutifully ordered mine.

It’s a funny little thing The Zapper is. It’s about the size of a pack of cards, you stick a battery in it and let it, erm, Zap you. The first time I tried it it made me feel like crap-so I knew I was onto something. The more often I used it, the better I felt. It raised my energy levels massively. It’s been two years now that I’ve used it everyday-and I’m a definite fan. What I really like about it is that it’s easy just to put it on and forget about it-it doesn’t interfere with any medications or therapy you may be taking so everyone can use it-even those going through Chemo etc. Babies and Pregnant women can also Zap away with no ill-effects. Absolute Bonus. I hand them out like sweeties to anyone I meet who is ill…have a read of some of the Testimonials to see why…

The biggest convert in the history of Zappers is my Dad. He thought I was out of my tree and down the road to put it mildly when I told him about it. He decided to steal mine and take it to the gym. He discovered the Zapper made his heart rate so low he thought the machines were broken. This intrigued him enough to buy his own…since then it’s helped him heal broken toes, recover from knee surgery super-fast and eliminated a few cases of Malaria he catches on a regular basis whilst working in Africa. He’s so addicted to Zapping that at my last count he had Seven. Every member of my family now has one-every friend I’ve handed one out to has been amazed. I’ve heard of relief from a huge variety of ailments. It’s pretty exciting stuff.

I get my Zappers from here. They are designed and made by the nicest couple in the world, The Crofts. They genuinely care about people feeling better and to me that’s the most important thing. They sell different Zappers for different budgets so hopefully if you want one you can find one that suits your wallet.

I do understand that some people aren’t in a position to invest any more money into treatment. If that is the case you can actually make one yourself. There’s a great book called “The Cure for All Diseases” by Hulda Clark that takes you through how to assemble your own. Again this is a lady without agenda. I like that a lot.

So there you go, a cheap effective way I found of feeling better that doesn’t demand you change your lifestyle. If you do get one let me know what you think!

Carrie x

J-O-B

When I was able to do things like Walk again and leave the house after all those years, the world seemed absolutely massive. Even places I’d known all my life like my local shopping centre seemed to stretch on for miles (I did not grow up in a metropolis trust me) I could not find anything that seemed manageable-no matter how hard I looked.

For me, socialising was impossible. Being around people overwhelmed me. This was difficult as I’d always been very sociable and not exactly quiet. I could not even begin to try. So instead I decided to aim for independence. The job hunt began.

Looking back the sensible thing to do would have been to find a job in Newcastle, stay living with or near my family for a year or so, taken something low stress and worked up my hours gradually…unfortunately being sensible is not my strong suit. Instead I found a job in Sussex near absolutely no one I knew. It was as Head of Dept at a Prep School. The hours were insanely long and left me with no time at all to do anything except work. I chose it mainly for the great Health Care program they had. It’s clear to me now that I was basically waiting to get sick again.

The year I spent in Sussex was without doubt the hardest year of my life. Everything was a struggle. I was constantly tired, not very good at walking and permanently scared of being around so many people after all of that time in the house. Open spaces scared me as I didn’t know if I’d be ab;e to walk them, small spaces were frightening as I was so unused to the noise and activity. All of this combined with my being too afraid of food to eat anything-well you can imagine what I must have been like. I think probably the hardest thing of al was that no one I worked with knew what had happened. It took me such a long time to get to a place where I could talk about it to people. I can only imagine how I must have appeared to them.

I’m glad I did it though. I think one year of doing a job I never intended to do longterm, in a place I never intended to stay for long was a golden opportunity for me to re-socialise myself using massive amounts of trial and error. On the very rare occasion I do take myself back to that scary time of my life, it’s to show myself that the hardest part is definitely over.

I’m aware that the way I went about getting a J-O-B will not suit everyone. Many people prefer to enter the work-place again by volunteering a few hours a week in a charity shop, or working with a friend and building up gradually. I don’t think there can be a wrong way to do it-as long as it is your way. Nobody else can really fully understand what makes you comfortable, and doing a job you feel comfortable in will always be the easiest step as far as I’m concerned.

Remember it’s not a race, and it’s not a competition. There’s no need to push yourself further than you are ready to go. For me it was an acceptance that the first year or so was going to suck in a big, big way, (it was actually more like 18 months in the end)…then it would gradually get easier. But that was my expectation not yours. Maybe you will be in a better place ion a matter of weeks or months. It doesn’t have to be perfect right now, it just has to feel like progress…

Carrie x

There Goes The Fear

With a massive life change such as an illness comes a massive shift in perception. We never are the same afterwards. This is also true of our Emotions. They change throughout the journey in so many ways. Today I thought I’d talk about my journey with Fear, as I think it’s been the most dramatic emotional shift for me…

 

When I thought I was going to die I was very afraid, very, very, very afraid. It just seemed so wrong, and so quick and I was not ready for it in any way. Then I didn’t die, but I didn’t feel very alive for a long time either. I firmly understood what it meant just to simply exist. That didn’t feel very fair either to be honest, but I also felt relief that I was still to ill to function, because whilst I was ill I could not get sick again.

How bizarre is that.

 

As time went on (lots of time, my mid-to-late twenties to be precise), I felt the triumphs of every bit of progress I made. But it was scary as hell. Because the more Well I became, the more I felt I had to lose if I got ill again.

 

Imagine the most afraid you’ve ever been in your life. Imagine that never going away. It being a constant from the moment you wake up to second you fall asleep. Imagine dreaming the Fear too. And then it happening all over again. I was constantly terrified, it became as normal to me as breathing. Every single moment of my day. I look back on it now and I literally cannot believe I made out that everything was fine. I went from being terrified and in bed, to terrified in a wheelchair, to walking, to working. I don’t actually understand how I did it. I remember physically shaking constantly. My voice also constantly shook, I sounded like an old woman. It was very embarrassing.

Yet throughout the whole time (and trust me it was years) I held onto the hope that actually one day I’d conquer the fear -and nothing would scare me ever again. I can’t tell you where or when it happened, but I can tell you that I’m at the point now. And that as I suspected it was worth every second of the Fear to get here.

 

Now I am physically strong enough to work as many hours as I want (and I work some truly crazy hours). My voice no longer shakes-it’s a source of great pride the I essentially talk for a living, it’s my second biggest achievement after the walking. I have the confidence to go anywhere and do anything. And it’s real confidence. It’s not the pretend confidence that I used to fake before I got ill. It’s a confidence I had to build from nothing.

All of this would probably be enough for me to have a very happy life-but I discovered something new about myself that’s just as good as all of that stuff. I am now able to show myself to people emotionally without fear of the consequences. I don’t shut myself off from people. If I think someone is good at something, or I admire them then I tell them now. I don’t just sit there with all of the admiration I feel in my head. If I like the way someone is and I want to be their friend then I let them know. I’m fully aware I’m probably the only person over the ago of 10 that does this but I don’t care. I don’t have a fear of rejection anymore-and to me that is real freedom.

 

So if you do like someone-just tell them! Not everyone has to go through the bed-to-chair-to-walking routine to get to this stage. We can decide to let the Emotional Barriers down at any stage we like. And if that person in question doesn’t want to be your friend or boyfriend then it’s not going to hurt like it used to because you can walk away head held high knowing that you showed them the True Essence of Yourself…to me that’s what my life is all about now, showing people my true self and hoping they’ll show me theirs in return…

 

Carrie x

 

 

Control-the Orthorexia Nervosa Story…

One thing I do remember about being Sick was how out of control I felt-all the time. Until that point in my life I’d never really cared about controlling things. In fact I’d always quite enjoyed the feeling of being out of control ( a less kind way of referring to this would be my decade of Alcoholism). But when I was suddenly unable to control any part of my life is seemed to matter very much. It’s a deeply frustrating thing having to rely on others for everything. It’s unsettling not to know when this situation will change or end. I found myself wanting to feel in control of something, anything at all. So I choose food.

I was never very hungry but I had to eat at some point. And so I chose to control with military precision everything that I consumed. I actually thought I was doing myself a lot of good at the time. Such a massive part of the market of Alternative Health is concentrated on tackling sickness through lifestyle change. I came across Raw Food and thought I’d found the Holy Grail…I’m not going to go into the In’s and Out’s of the Raw Food lifestyle. It does work for many people and it is not always an eating disorder. But for me it was and it took me years to release myself from it.

The more I read about “bad cooked food” the more convinced it was dangerous and I lived in fear of every mouthful making me even more ill than I already felt. Experience has now taught me that any Cure that insists that not following it will result in Mortal Danger is not one worth pursuing. But at the time I thought I was doing the best for myself.

Even though controlling my diet never got me well, I had spent so many years doing so that when I was eventually well enough to join society again it held me in a trap of fear for two more years. I can honestly say I’ve only been free of it for less than a year.

My real turning point was two-fold. I found a wonderful book by Steve Bratman, a former Orthorexic himself. Reading this was a massive relief, a huge eye-opener-and more than a little terrifying. I wanted so badly to be free from the constraints of this eating disorder-but it just seemed like one more hurdle to jump after everything else I’d tackled. Luckily reading this book coincided with a very painful break-up of a relationship-the aftermath of which left me with so much to clean up and sort out that I was finally unable to care what I ate. I’m not saying this was the most ideal scenario emotionally, but for me it was a blessing in disguise. I just did not care enough to protect myself from the “dangers” of “bad food” I just went into survival mode and did what I had to do. For me it was incredibly effective.

I’m not 100% there yet-if I find myself in a situation I can’t control then my first thought will always be to control my food intake. I don’t act on this impulse any more but as an emotional trigger it still exists. Perhaps it always will.

If you are at the point in your journey to Wellness where you feel you cannot control anything then I’m going to tell you what I wish someone had told me back then. Controlling food intake is just a symptom, it’s not a cure where I was concerned. The most effective thing I could have done in those circumstances was Choose My Thoughts. Many of us concentrate so much on putting good stuff into our mouths that we pay no attention to the bad stuff that comes out of it in terms of our thoughts and words. Thinking that works against us causes frustration. Thinking that works for us is just as nourishing and nurturing as any meal can be.

If you recognise yourself in this scenario then please know that help is out there. I always believed I’d get out of a wheelchair-but I never thought I’d feel freedom around food again, ever. And I do now, constantly. Please also know that it’s not your fault. It’s a perfect normal reaction to wanting to combat illness. And it’s even encouraged in some fields. Like anything, lifestyle adjustment can bring wonderful benefits-as long as it does not come from a place of fear. I don’t think fear is ever good for the health.

Carrie x

Medical Disclaimer:

I’m not a doctor. The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider. Thank you.

Clear Vision

As I awoke this morning bleary-eyed from a night show, I decided to wake myself up by heading into my local town for a cuppa to enjoy the nice weather.

I hopped aboard the Big Red London Bus as a lady was getting off. I heard her enquire whether she was in a particular Town Centre. The bus driver very rudely told her no, he wasn’t going there so she’d better get off the bus. Now. I watched in disbelief as this driver kicked a totally blind lady off the bus at least 15 minutes walk from where she wanted to be and nowhere near anywhere she knew.

My first thought was now I understood why bus drivers are surrounded by a plastic pod, because if I’d had him any closer he’d be looking even uglier than he already was (a feat of daring to imagine if ever there was one), my second was to get off the bus and get her to where she needed to be.

So off we walked at a leisurely pace. I felt pretty bad for her because truly I’m terrible at directions. I have a sneaking suspicion everyone whose ever asked me for directions is still walking around various parts of West London dazed and confused…it is my greatest hope they have set up a support group for each other… I managed to get us to her destination in one piece..barring one moment where I walked us both headfirst into a massive Rose Bush…she was very nice about it though…

As we were walking the strangest thing happened. She was a really calm quiet person, and it made everything else around us seem hyper-loud and fast. She stood in silence with me at crossroads to listen for the audio signal at traffic lights that I’ve never even really stopped to listen to. She anticipated every crack and incline in the pavement. It was quite astonishing.

It was a beautiful day in London. I could easily have walked through it appreciating the sunshine, and the fact that I could walk at all. I would have done that anyway. But nowhere near the way I did after meeting this lovely lady. I was bombarded by the riot of colours before me. It seems like everyday I’m so overloaded with visual information that I break it down and cancel 90% of it out so I don’t get overwhelmed. This definitely used to be the case when I first started leaving the house again after 2 years. It was too much. Too scary. I couldn’t handle it. But today it felt like a miracle, everything I could see, could hear. I wanted to take it all on board, really feel it fully. I hope it lasts beyond today. I think that’s something stronger than positive thinking or appreciation. I think it’s life affirming. I feel quite greedy for it now. If I could I would bottle this feeling and give it to you right now wherever you are on this Journey.

Carrie x

 

Medical Disclaimer:

I’m not a doctor. The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider. Thank you.

Friends

I’m referring to the ones we have in our own lives-rather than the bouffe haired one’s that crack one-liners whilst sipping truly massive cups of coffee in Central Perk, just so we’re clear ok…

Ah Friends-aren’t they the best. In Primary School you pick them by such means as who has the matching pencil or lunch box to yours. This decided the friendship is further sealed by a skipping rope, one of you being restrained by it round your middle as the “horse” the other the rider…

It gets slightly more complicated as you get other though. Once we stop using Rainbow Brite Lunchboxes and swap the pencil cases for purses. Then we need things like shared interests or places of work. Boys on the whole seem to skip this issue altogether by having the same group of friends since the age of 3…

The thing about being ill suddenly and then remaining so for a very long time is that it’s a pretty fine crash course in revealing who your true friends are. If your experience has been anything like mine then it will truly surprise and at times shock you. I had people I considered soul-sisters drop me without a second glance-yet people who I was a truly crap friend to astonished me with their loyalty. Once I was at the point where I could function again as a regular person I’m happy to say I dismissed the former, and kept the latter very close to me indeed.

Some people can probably go through their entire lives never truly knowing if the people they choose to surround themselves with are genuine friends or not. I’m glad to say this experience in my Journey to Wellness has made me really proficient in spotting which is which. I’m friendly to everyone. But I’m very careful who I call a true friend.

True friends don’t care whether you can walk or not. If you are bed bound in your parent’s spare room. If they are a great friend they won’t even see it after the first few visits. A real friend, a keeper, will just love you for who you are right there and then. This sort of friendship is worth it’s weight in gold.

And let’s not be mad at the one’s who could not hack it. It’s not really their fault. And whose to say we would have been any different anyway. They can still be acquaintances, there’s no need to go around being angry at them. That does no one any favours.

You don’t have to go through such drama to see who your true friends are that’s a certainty. True friends have no agenda, they simply enjoy your company. It’s quite simple when it comes down to it. So let’s appreciate the wonderful gift of friendship we have on our lives today. Because it’s the best gift there is, no matter how you came to possess it.

Carrie x

 

Medical Disclaimer:

I’m not a doctor. The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider. Thank you.