I became very ill in November 2004, at the end of a holiday to the Canaries, my initial symptoms were oedema (swelling) and hives – these became extremely bad in a short space of time, within the week I could not bend at any of my joints due to the severe swelling and even the hives appeared to be getting hives. I felt sick, swollen, itchy and couldn’t cool down at all, in addition, my joints were incredibly sore and stiff.
The doctors tried me with various antihistamines over a two week period however it was only when steroids were introduced that the symptoms started to subside. When the steroids were stopped 6 weeks later the symptoms returned, along with the extremely painful joints and muscles. I was passed from department to department at the hospital and no-one could tell me what was the matter and after various tests, x-rays and MRI scans no underlying cause was found. Eventually a rheumatologist diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia around 3 years ago.
Having researched Fibromyalgia I became concerned to find that a high number of people diagnosed with this condition are high performers, perfectionists and for want of a better phrase ‘do gooders’, by which I mean always putting others’ needs before their own. I also discovered that many have to give up their work due to the severity of the ‘disease’. Remember also that my mum has this condition and I had seen how quickly she deteriorated.
I was determined to not be included in this group and started to look into more alternative ways of dealing with this problem I had. On one of my visits to my rheumatologist I said I would not be beaten by this and I think some alarm bells went off with her as she thought it would be a good idea to see a psychologist to have CBT – cognitive behavioural therapy ( I think she was concerned that I was making life harder for myself because I wouldn’t accept my fate), however as I was trying to find anything that may help me, I agreed, and, as fortune would have it, it was this psychologist that introduced me to the concept of TMS and 18 months later in a roundabout way to Georgie. Rather than CBT though he used a dynamic, analytical approach and the symptoms resolved, although I reamined on my medication.
I went to see Georgie in April 2010 for the 1st time, having already read John Sarno’s the Mind Body Prescription and also dipped into The Divided Mind by the same author. As I had had 18 months of pain free existence it was a bit of a shock to find myself experiencing the severe symptoms again when I thought I had cracked it.
At my first appointment with Georgie, she examined me and noted that I was showing typical signs of TMS. We also discussed what was occurring currently in my life and a bit about my past. I also had some major things going on at the time that were causing me a lot of pressure.
After a discussion with Georgie we agreed that I would benefit by following the programme.
The programme has been beneficial and from being severely depressed, feeling overwhelmed and having a lot of pain in my shoulders, back, hips and legs, I returned to work full time (after 7 weeks off) and feel ‘normal’ again. I also now have the ‘tools’ to see me through any problems I might encounter in the future. This is due to being able to see my way through these issues - as they haven’t all gone away - and being able now to put them in perspective and/or accept the emotional struggles they bring and work through them.
I am journaling regularly and am also writing a ‘positive strokes’ document that I can pick up and read when I am losing my confidence and need to be reminded of all the things I have achieved and do extremely well. I am also off all my medication now.
In the past I was very judgemental of myself and if I received any negative emotions or comments, I would believe what they had said and allow that to be absorbed and peck at my confidence until I began to doubt myself. If I had a disagreement with anyone I would carry the emotion around with me for days, I could literally feel the emotion like lead in the pit of my stomach.
I haven’t changed the people around me - that would be virtually impossible for most of us to do in life, however I have changed the way I allow them to impact on me.
This programme has helped me to believe in myself again – thanks Georgie.