Liz Seller

Just over a year ago I was told by my doctor that I probably had ME as he’d tested for everything else and all was clear but I was still suffering from terrible lethargy and head fog. Initially I’d had labyrinthitis followed by extreme lethargy keeping me in bed for about six weeks. I felt better in bed and I slept for about 14/16 hours a day. It was depressing! But I then got better for about a week and I heaved a huge sigh of relief only to have my hopes completely dashed when my symptoms returned for no apparent reason. This time they did not go away and this is when I went to the doctor. But by now the sleepy phase had passed; I was getting bored in bed but when I got up the symptoms were distressing. I couldn’t do anything and constantly just wanted to be back in bed… but bed was boring. And so for months my days were a miserable cycle of getting up, not coping, going back to bed and being very fed up.

Luckily for me (but not for her), an acquaintance in our village was experiencing very similar symptoms. She had found The Optimum Health Clinic on line and gave me their information. She had attended the 3 Day course in London with 90 days of follow-up support and had come home inspired, proactive and most importantly she was being supported by the clinic at home – she wasn’t on her own. My doctor had told me to learn to live with my symptoms. So to hear that many people had recovered from ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia gave me the first hope I’d had in almost a year. I really felt I had nothing to lose from contacting them as I am pushing 60 and can’t afford to waste any more time on such a ‘stupid’ illness (who can!). I had my 15 minute free chat with them, they listened to my story and agreed I would be a good candidate for the course – so I eagerly signed up.

I enjoyed the 3-day course immensely but when I started out I didn’t really believe I had any psychological issues that needed addressing so it was surprising and fascinating to learn so much about someone about whom I thought I knew everything. It was a gently and comfortable 3 days and everyone else attending was in the same boat. I learned a lot about the causes of this illness which I began to understand had been building up in me for a long time. I had been pushing myself for years and not listening to what my body was telling me. The OHC’s help in teaching me how to listen to my body is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life and will stay with me forever. I know how to recognise stress now, not something I thought I had a problem with because I was good at ignoring it – not ideal! But that’s just one area – everyone has different life-events and reasons for getting ill and the clinic has a whole tool box full of different techniques to help different symptoms for different people with different approaches to life.

Another important aspect of the care they offer is the nutritional side. Again at first I thought I had a pretty near perfect diet and really didn’t need help but I was “in for a penny, in for a pound” and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Their advice and the in-depth testing they offer has been hugely beneficial and has thrown up areas where I have real problems which my doctor would not have considered investigating, i.e. an adrenal test has confirmed that I am gluten intolerant which was probably the cause of muscle and joint pains that I’d had for years and which my doctor had put down to arthritis. I am free of these pains now and have come off the prescriptionparacetamol/codeine painkillers that I had been taking for 12+ years. I can’t tell you how liberating that is!

I have worked hard on my recovery (at first it seemed like a full time job) and after three months I am almost fully recovered but better than that I am in control now and I know how to deal with any lingering symptoms. I guess I was lucky that I hadn’t tried any other forms of treatment before enrolling with the OHC so I hadn’t wasted time and money elsewhere. This illness is no longer a life-sentence as more and more is coming to light every day about its aetiology but just not from the NHS. So I am profoundly grateful to the clinic for getting my life back and for learning how to live differently in order to stay healthy. They are professional and hugely experienced and from day one I felt confident that they knew exactly what they were talking about, not least because all of the therapists I was with had suffered with this illness themselves and most of them for much longer.