Welcome to cfsrecoveryproject.com – we provide free information, satisfaction-guaranteed courses, and one-on-one coaching to help people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia regain their happiness, functionality, and health.
My name is Johannes Starke; I am the founder of the CFS Recovery Project and a professionally-trained health coach for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and related conditions.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and me
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome hit me in my first year of university: It began with me coming down with what seemed like a cold about once a month, especially after I did strenuous exercise. After a few months cognitive symptoms, some would refer to them as “brainfog,” and other symptoms slowly crept in.
Soon I felt horrible and was no longer able to study, sleep well, engage in fulfilling conversations, or do any of the other things I used to enjoy. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome forced me to drop out of college and move back home; I felt like I was living through hell on earth and wanted it to all end during the worst six months of my illness. The only reason I didn’t give up was my love for my family. So I decided to press on, giving myself two years to regain my health or at least learn how to enjoy life again.
My diagnosis and treatment
Luckily, when my illness began in 2007, my awesome primary care physician was familiar with the condition. He was able to diagnose me immediately and served as a strong ally throughout my entire recovery journey. With his support I tried many treatments and, seven months into my illness, found the first physical treatment that actually helped: one of the simple remedies suggested by Dr. Teitlebaum in his book From Fatigued to Fantastic (silly title!) helped me to clear my cognitive symptoms a little and slightly improve my quality of life.
My life was not yet enjoyable again, but at least acceptable.
Oh, and my mind had a role in this too…
After two years of successfully and passionately denying it, I recognized that, although I had a physical illness, my mind could play an important role in my quest to regain my health and happiness.
I would probably have never found out if I hadn’t come across a DVD-based CFS recovery program that offered a 100% money-back guarantee in case I didn’t make a full recovery within six months of starting the program. Without the money back guarantee I would have thought the mind-based techniques offered in the program were false and never touched it. With the guarantee, I still thought that it most likely was a scam, but I saw a small chance that it would help me, so I took on the non-existent risk of giving the program a try.
How I regained my happiness
I didn’t ask for my money back. After my first round of practicing the Amygdala Retraining Technique that was taught in the DVD-program, I felt like a poison had been extracted from my body, heart, and mind—for the first time, I had experienced the power with which my mind could influence my body.
One week after starting the program, happiness returned into my life. Two months after starting the program, I felt well enough to see myself being a good husband, so I popped the question my love, Erin, had been waiting to hear.
Two years after beginning the program, I was able to exercise again. I had regained my happiness and had recovered some of my health. The only remaining step was to regain my ability to work full time again and make the difference in the world I was longing to make.
The last 30% of my recovery (a work in progress)
Since 2011, I’ve worked with several coaches and mentors with a wide array of expertise, whose teachings, encouragement, and accountability empowered me to bring the mind-based techniques I already knew to the next level and also discover new ones. I was able to expand into every corner of my life the healing, energizing state that had entered some aspects of my life through the doorway opened by the Amygdala Retraining Program.
For example, I learned how to be in relationship with my wife so that my minor remaining handicaps became an asset to our relationship, not a burden. I designed processes to shower, prepare food, and get ready for leaving the house without getting stressed or fatigued by it. I developed software for my computer that allowed me to return to using it 6-8 hours a day without triggering symptoms. I invented little systems and tools that made it possible for me to live my entire life in a happy, healing state of mind.
In a good place
Today, I’m in many ways better than I ever was—even compared to before I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: I love my nearly full time work more, feel more often in the flow, and enjoy the flowers on my daily walks more than I did before my illness. In the summer of 2012, I surfed my first wave since I’ve had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Are you a psychologist?
No, I’m not a psychologist. What I have in common with psychologists, however, is my interest in how humans can reach their full healing and happiness potential.
I’ve been trained as a life coach at the Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael, California, and further my professional development by participating in trainings and intervision calls with the official coaches and psychotherapist associated with the Gupta Amygdala Retraining Programme.
I believe one-on-one coaching is a fast way to learn. Therefore I have received non-intermittent coaching and mentoring since 2011.
My work is influenced by that of Ashok Gupta, the Optimum Health Clinic, The Collaborative Operating System (basically a healthy way to work and live in organizations, communities, and families), Leo Babauta, and my meditation/spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.
Why the CFS Recovery Project?
One of the greatest miracles I’ve ever witnessed is my recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Being able to enjoy life again was something I never thought possible during the first year of my illness. Being able to exercise again made me seriously doubt that the conservative outlook I had on my recovery was justified. The magnitude of the fact that I’m now able to work 30-40 hours a week again and make a difference in the world is something I still struggle with grasping today.
At the same time, ME/CFS is the most horrible thing I have ever experienced. Because of my close connection to the suffering I experienced during my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome journey, there is nothing that gives me more fulfillment than helping people overcome their suffering and get their lives back. It’s like I’m allowed to partake and witness miracles every day—this makes my heart sing and has me feel like I’m living my life purpose.
What makes the CFS Recovery Project different?
It has to do with that my dad is an engineer, my granddad and great-granddad were engineers, and that I also studied engineering before I came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
While I believe in the power of the mind, you’ll notice in my teachings that I’m aware of its limitations, too. I have not yet seen a person grow back a leg by retraining their brain, so I also very much value the power of non-mind tools.
I believe that the holistic solutions that are part of the CFS Recovery Project will get you further along the recovery path than anything else that you’ve discovered so far. My believe is based on the fact that I’m not shy to engineer a solution if something can’t be done with the mind alone. To get a better idea of what I mean, you can read the explanation of the Healing State Work, Life, and Love System on this page of the CFS Recovery Project Manifesto (it begins in the middle of the page).
By the way, the other part of the story is that my mum is a teacher, my grandma was a teacher, and my great-granddad, too. All the information I provide through articles, tele-classes, etc., is distilled and structured. It might be a family thing 😉
Are you a scam?
I’m aware that a recovery story like mine can sound freaky. “This guy just tells all this so that he can make money, taking advantage of my situation!” That’s what I would have thought four years ago if I had read a story like this. I still think that’s a healthy attitude, if you’re thinking this right now.
That’s why I see it as my job to help you get to know, like, and trust me without you having to take great leaps of faith. I’ve designed my website, http://cfsrecoveryproject.com, so that you can get as much as possible free. Start with my free recovery skills e-course, self-help articles, and “Melt Away Tension and Experience Peace” guided meditation audio. If you notice they help you a bit, you could try risk-free DVD-based recovery program from my mentor Ashok Gupta, which comes with a money-back guarantee, so that you can get an experience of the unexplainable power with which your mind can influence your health.
Once you’ve gotten to know me and learned to trust me a bit more, you can still sign up for a free complimentary Healing Journey Starter Session to let me help you discover which one of my 1-to-1 coaching programs could support you best in infusing energy and well-being into every part of your life. I’m located in Davis, California, but coach clients all over the world via Skype and telephone.
If are ready to get support on your journey toward health and happiness immediately, I’d be delighted to help you find out how you can get the most from the CFS Recovery Project right now. Send me an email or call (650) 204-1567 today to schedule a free 30-minute Healing Journey Starter Session in which I’ll help you gain clarity about what’s next for you and your recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia.
Questions, thoughts, comments? Leave a comment below or send me an email–I look forward to connecting with you.