Why did you come to OHC (what diagnosis did you have etc)?
I came to OHC because I had suffered some kind of mysterious breakdown which seemed to begin as a flu, but turned into something much more debilitating. No one seemed to be able to tell me what was wrong, or how to get better, so I started looking a bit wider than the normal health system.
What was your life like at the time (what symptoms were you experiencing, how had your life been affected)?
Life was difficult: from being a very active person before, I now had miniscule amounts of energy to use. My symptoms were almost entirely physical, and it felt like suddenly becoming a 90 year old. Walking to and from the nearest tube station was a big big deal, a once-a-day thing at most, so I had to drastically cut down all my activities and get tactical so I could do just the most important things I had to do. Within six months or so of the treatment I could do a bit more walking, but often at a snail’s pace. I had no tolerance for alcohol either, and my limbs felt bad (hard to describe the exact feeling). So it had a drastic influence on my social life, my work, and my leisure. Luckily I was able to live at home for a bit, to do some of my work from home, and had friends living near by, so in some ways luck was on my side. But it was a total and drastic change of my circumstances which left me feeling like a shadow of my former self.
What other approaches had you tried, and how did you feel about the OHC approach initially (e.g. were you sceptical)?
I’d been to see a Tropical Diseases specialist and had lots of testing because, since my symptoms began with a very intense, flu-like cold at the end of a trip to the Far East, I assumed the ‘cold’ was responsible for all the on-going symptoms. After neither he nor the conventional doctors were able to suggest anything other than ‘wait’ and ‘convalesce’, I started exploring other options. I’m not a particular fan of ‘alternative’ medicine in general (though I’m always open to exploring) but I was keen to try anything, and especially speak to people who had some experience of what I was going through, because it seemed like no one else had any idea.
What differences did you notice from the work you did with OHC and what did you feel made the difference?
I followed two approaches with the OHC, after an introduction with the ‘90 Day Programme’. It was a long time ago, but I remember that the programme was great at giving me a way to conceptualize my symptoms (the analogy of an overloaded boat sinking from everything you put on it, for what I was going through) and it was very encouraging to see that people had got better after having been in the state I was in. It makes a big difference, after 9 months, to know that people have come out the other side. After that I approached the problem from two sides with OHC: from the nutritional side (with Helen Lynam) and from the psychological/lifestyle side (with Thora Rain). The process of gradually working to get better was very supportive, and gave me the constructive mindset to think critically about what aspects of my lifestyle (diet, sleep, activity, stress-levels, etc. etc.) might have caused it, and what I had to change to improve. Helen and Thora were both fantastic, knowledgeable, and patient, and the discussions were interesting as well as just helpful.
What did you like about the OHC approach and the organisation?
The organization and individual practitioners were very friendly (organized but not chasing you if you were slightly late with a payment once or twice); the place itself (which I only saw a few times, after that moving to Skype consultations) was cosy and welcoming. I confess I didn’t spend that much time watching or reading the promotional material, but it gave me the impression that I was dealing with people who had a lot of knowledge about what I was going through, often having experienced something similar themselves, and really wanted to help people get better.
What is your life like now, and what things can do that you couldn’t before?
Now, I live the life I want. From being unable to walk to the tube 2 years ago, I’m fit and healthy and my health doesn’t physically limit me in any way (I say physically because I’m now more aware about ‘running myself down’, so I don’t put my body through as much destructive stuff as I used to). Exercise has always been a big part of my life, a way to relax and clear my mind, and now I’m getting out and doing something (a 1 or 1.5 km swim, a 40-min run, or an hour or two’s cycle) five days a week, and feeling great afterwards. I make sure I sleep better (and enjoy the day more as a result) and I take pleasure in eating really well. Basically, my life is now the full, active life I had three years ago before everything went wrong. I’m planning to keep it this way!
What does the future hold?
Lots of surprises I guess. I tend not to think a very long way into the future…I suppose that, whatever it holds, my plan is to meet it head on with a healthy mind & body and to make the best of it!