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Defogging My Life: Fiona’s Journey With Chronic Fatigue/ ME

This interview is from the Like Mind, Like Body podcast. You can listen to the full interview below, on iTunes or Google Podcasts.


Fiona has spent the last 25 years of her life battling serious health issues. The most disabling of those issues for her has been ME, or as many people know it, chronic fatigue syndrome. ME/CFS has severely limited Fiona's energy and mobility for the past 14 years. There’s a lot more to her story than just her illnesses and the burdens that they have placed on her life; but today, that’s the topic she’s here to speak about. After years of suffering, Fiona has found a way to work with her body that is drastically changing her health - and if anyone else out there who is struggling with fatigue or chronic pain could benefit from hearing her story, she wants them to hear it.

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Can you give me an overview of what kinds of symptoms you’ve been dealing with and for how long?

I have had a very complex health history. 25 years ago when I was 11, I started experiencing pain. It was so limiting that I pretty much dropped out of education because I was not well enough to attend school. I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital and tried all sorts of treatments over the year. In general, I had huge difficulty in walking and sitting and any kind of social activities. About 14 years ago, after a lot of ups and downs, my body had pretty much had enough. I developed disabling fatigue as well. I then had 14 years of living with both the pain and the fatigue, being very disabled by both of those - struggling to walk, struggling to leave the house, struggling to do a lot of basic care. My fatigue specifically involved crashing. I could do little bits here or there, but then I would then constantly deal with trying to catch up and get back to a manageable level because my symptoms would get so difficult. I felt very, very ill. I think that’s the best way I can describe it - I felt incredibly ill.

The year leading up to that had been a massive time of change. I left my job and became a caretaker for my grandmother. That forced me to make a lot of realizations on the structures I had in my life and the relationships I had in my life. I spent a lot of time with my family that I hadn’t done in a long time. And it made me see everything differently as an adult. It also challenged a lot of relationships I had with friends since I was spending so much time with family.


How did you stumble across Curable?

I have to laugh about this. It popped up on my Instagram account. I love instagram, I’m a bit of an addict because it used to be something that gave me contact with the outside world. It’s very inspiring.

I kept getting this ad [for Curable] coming up on Instagram, and I kept thinking: “There’s no way this is going to work. There is no way this is going to help me.” I very firmly believed that I had a very simple physical illness - that there was something wrong with me at a cellular level. I had come across programs similar to Curable before. In fact I did one a few years ago, and I spent hundreds of pounds on it and it didn’t work.

So I saw these adverts [for Curable], and I was really quite offended that they kept coming up on my Instagram. I just wanted to enjoy my Instagram and not be bothered by things like this. But they just KEPT coming up. In particular, there were some [adverts] with testimonials. And I couldn’t ignore them because you had people who were saying that this had changed their life and made them better. So eventually, I was sitting there feeling really desperate and I thought “Okay - I’m going to give this a try… probably more to prove that it’s not going to work for me.”

I’m living with my parents at the moment, and my parents were going away for three weeks. I knew I couldn’t do it when there were other people in the house because I felt that I really needed to take it seriously and give it a good try. So I knew that they were going to be going away, and I thought “okay - I’m going to spend the entire three weeks doing this program.”There was a TINY part of my brain that thought “you know, MAYBE this might work, and that would be really incredible…” but I was still telling myself “no way, absolutely not.”

I was still living with pain [in addition to ME/CFS], and I thought “Okay - I can see it might work for my pain, and if it does, that’s great. That’s going to improve my quality of life.” When you’ve been chronically unwell for a long time, any little benefit is worth it and it’s useful. I was so desperate, so I thought “If this can just help me a little bit with the pain, I’ll be happy.”

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Did you tell anyone you were starting the Curable program, or did you keep it a secret for a while?

No! I was just terrified. I thought “If I tell somebody and it doesn’t work, this is going to be devastating, I can’t cope with this.” But in fact, about a week and a half into doing [the Curable program] when I still wasn’t sure how much it was going to help me, somebody came and knocked at the front door who I had known for a few years … and this person who came to the door said to me: “My goodness, you look completely different.” He’s known me for years, and at times he’s seen me answer the door looking extremely ill. I used to look very, very pale and exhausted. And he said “What’s happened? Something is going on. You look so well.” And I said to him: “Don’t tell anybody at all, but I think I’ve found this program that might help.”

He said “I knew as soon as I saw you that something has happened.” There have been other people since then who I’ve seen and they’ve said “actually, your color in your face is completely different. You look so well.”

[this was an excerpt ... listen above for full interview]

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Curable is an online program that uses proven mindbody techniques to reduce chronic pain.