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Emotional health and it’s impact on M.E, Fibromyalgia and CFS

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

Can your emotions make you sick?

When someone we know is unwell, we ask “how are you feeling?”.  As we leave, we may pass on a hope that they will “feel better soon”. 

These everyday phrases show the intimate link between health and emotions. 

At some instinctive level, we understand that physical health includes emotional health.  If we believed that our health was purely physical, perhaps our question would be “what are your symptoms?” or we would pass on a hope that their “symptoms will lessen soon”.

We are emotional beings.

We experience the world around us through touch, taste, sound, smell and sight.  At a conscious and subconscious level, we link emotions to these sensual experiences.  The memories that come back to us when we hear a piece of music, walk into a kitchen, bite into a childhood snack or touch a beautifully soft scarf show us how strong the link is between the sensual experience and emotion.  The feelings that we experience may be good or bad.  Either way, our emotions and sensual experiences have an impact on us.

The link between the two was brought home to me when I was pregnant with our first daughter.  I can remember walking past a bakery and breathing in all the aromas wafting out through the door.  The smell I had always associated with yumminess triggered my morning sickness and left me feeling queasy instead of comforted.  I was really confused by the reaction, so much so that 26 years on, I can still recall its impact on me!

The link with physical health

How comfortable are you with the idea that the experiences we have in life, and their emotional counterparts, can contribute to physical illness?  What if your experiences repeatedly trigger difficult, challenging or scary emotions rather than comforting, happy or uplifting emotions?  How well can your body cope?

My experience of working with clients who have chronic fatigue conditions such as M.E, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Post Viral Fatigue (including long Covid) is of two things:

– There are usually multiple challenging emotional experiences. These might include things like:

  • bereavements

  • loss of job

  • difficult relationships or friendships

  • feeling like an outsider who never quite fitted in

  • difficult childhood or teenage years

  • trauma

  • surgical complications

– The body has not been able to cope and this has triggered some form of failsafe or shutdown mode.

My experience is that emotional experiences are absolutely, 100% contributing to physical illness.

It’s not all in your mind…

I am not suggesting that chronic fatigue conditions are all in the mind! Far from it. 

I know there are physical elements. 

This is demonstrated by how quickly my clients’ physical health improves when they work on nutritional health with a specialist practitioner who understands which levers to pull to address issues specific to chronic fatigue.  I also know that tackling the physical side on its own does not lead to sustained good health.  It is vital to work on the emotional side as well in order to prevent re-lapses.

The work I do with my clients is all around helping them to move forward.  Sometimes to "move forward" you need to understand what’s happened in the past by looking at some of the emotional experiences. It’s a bit like drawing a giant dot to dot picture.

We find connections between experiences in the past, the beliefs and values that those experiences have generated, the feelings that existed at that time and how these have all come together in the present situation.  This awareness of what was then allows choice about the shape of what is to come in the future.

Peeled many onions recently?!

Therapists often talk about peeling the layers of an onion as a metaphor for the work that we do to support a client.

We humans are extraordinarily complex emotional beings.  We have a subconscious that protects us from all manner of difficulties and danger.  Because of this complexity, it's not realistic to expect to be able to solve complicated conditions like chronic fatigue within a short space of time.

The peeling of the onion allows time for the emotional discoveries to be absorbed and understood, examined and decided upon. This unpicking of events is a journey of self-discovery.  There is immense benefit in terms of self-confidence and self-belief in going through this process.

In some ways, to try and shortcut this journey results in missed opportunity for learning and is likely to lead to relapse and re-occurrence of the conditions.

We are all wonderfully unqiue individuals who all have wonderfully unique experiences throughout our lives.  No two people experience an event exactly the same way, therefore no two people are likely experience the same emotional impact.  For this reason, I do not believe that there is a single, one stop cure for M.E, Fibromyalgia or CFS.

I do however believe that we can follow a process to enable recovery.  My Your Energy - Your Way programme does exactly this.

Your Energy - Your Way

My 5 step programme has developed to help you regain increased, consistent and stable energy levels that allow you to confidently commit to doing the things you love, without worrying about whether you’ll be able to manage it.

As you follow the 5 steps, you’ll be able to get personalised guidance from our team specialist recovery practitioners in Wellbeing Coaching, Nutritional Therapy and Trauma Release. These practitioners are dedicated to recovery from chronic fatigue and have supported many to regain their energy levels and get their lives back.

Step 1 - Define Your Vision

Preparing YourSELF - Establishing your starting point so you can see, feel, and measure progress as your energy levels return. You will have set a clear and focused vision of what feeling better will look like for you in 6 and 12 months time.

Step 2 - Put Your Oxygen Mask On

Self Care & Self Love - Creating the space for your body to heal. Learn how personality traits, sensitivity, values & beliefs underpin fatigue and then apply this to change what's happening in your body.

Step 3 - Expand Your Energy

Self Expression & Self Understanding - Exploring your emotions and mindset, digging deeper into what's keeping you stuck, developing skills to put firm boundaries in place, being mindful of how you use your energy, and addressing issues from your past.

Step 4 - Become Who You Are

Self Compassion & Self Worth - Feeling energised and inspired to make plans for the next 2-5 years. You will be tapping into your dreams and passions to build a vision of a joyful and purposeful future, where you are able to contribute again and make a difference in your world.

Step 5 - Maintain Your Balance

Looking after YourSELF - Implementing your plans for the future, but may be feeling the need for support as you overcome the day to day challenges that Life holds.Continuing as part of the recovery family will help you to maintain your balance with time and space to check that you're still on the right track as you move forward and achieve your dreams.

The programme allows you to explore the impact that your emotions and thoughts have on your physical health, and to recognise that your emotions and experiences are not set in stone. 

How you choose to interpret them, how you choose to let them shape you can be altered.  You have the power to change them.  This in turn means you have the power to change your chronic fatigue condition.

How amazing would that be?

I find it mind-blowingly positive and hopeful.  It means that you can chose not to be the victim of your circumstances but can instead be the boss.

Instead of feeling hopeless about a diagnosis that is “long term” and “incurable”, there is a route to recovery that puts you in charge.  Better yet, it’s a route that other people have taken and have got their lives back as a result of following the process.

If you or someone you know has a chronic fatigue condition and has an inkling that there is emotional ‘stuff’ sitting in the background that could be contributing towards ill health, then please get in touch with me – link to Contact page.  I offer a free 30 minute health profile review which allows you the chance to find out more about what I do so you can decide whether or not it’s of interest to you.


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