A few of months ago, this entire place was covered by a layer of one inch of dirt. Dog hair was everywhere, one wall had mold, and the roof leaked in a couple of spots. The backyard was a mix of weeds, garbage, and dirt.
If this place was a human body, it would have been the perfect equivalent to how my body felt during the first eighteen months of my journey with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS). The brain fog, my gut problems, my inability to exercise had me think that my body was in real bad shape and – unlike this house – impossible to repair.
Today, six years from the date I was hit by ME / CFS and a few months after we started fixing up this place, I just came inside my living room from digging up little weedy tree trunks that were spread all over the backyard. The first thing I felt when I lied down on my couch to rest, was a lot of gratitude for being able do this work again—something I thought impossible a few years ago.
Then it occurred to me that rehabilitating this formerly run-down house is very similar to my recovery journey from chronic fatigue syndrome. I believe it’s an uplifting story if you are in the depth of things right now, so let me share it with you.
What to hope for when the situation seems hopeless
As I was saying, when we moved into this place the backyard was covered by dirt, weeds and garbage. Who would have thought that under a few inches of dirt we’d discover a beautiful patio and garden path? I certainly didn’t and only found out by chance.
Since we had ripped out our kitchen and put it under a little roof in our backyard until the new kitchen was ready, we always dumped a bucket collecting water under our kitchen sink in a certain spot in our garden. A few weeks after beginning to empty the water into the garden, the water had washed away enough dirt to set free the stony garden path. Another day, when Erin was collecting leaves in the garden, we discovered the beautiful patio.
This made me think of how during my recovery journey, I also made beautiful discoveries that I didn’t imagine that they existed before I stumbled on them.
For example, I never thought that psychological techniques would help me to improve my well-being and sense of happiness, let alone my health: “ME / CFS and Fibromyalgia are physical conditions! How’s that psycho stuff supposed to help?” At the time, I was studying engineering in school and didn’t believe in anything that couldn’t be seen or measured in some way by a scientist.
Then I came across the Amygdala Retraining Program on Cort Johnson’s blog. Cort was journaling about his experience with the program, reporting some results. “No way, this can never work,” I thought to myself, but since Cort reported otherwise, and because I was desperate and the program came (and still comes) with a money back guarantee, I decided to give it a try.
The day I first put the program into practice, it turned my life around. For the first three days after implementing the program I was so excited about the changes I noticed in my body that that I only slept for about an hour per night. The rest of the nights I either practiced the technique or wandered through the winter nights of my city filled with excitement and joy. It felt like magic. Something that I thought didn’t even exist, the power of the mind, had turned out to be one of the most powerful treatments I had encountered so far
What other unexpected nuggets I discovered
Since then, I’ve encountered more things that have improved my life that I didn’t think were possible. For example, that the love of my life would stick with me even though I’m no longer the sun-tanned beach boy I used to be before getting sick.
Or that I’d be able to be happy again.
Or, that I’d be able to do simple house chores again.
Or that I’d be able to sleep well and wake up rested.
Or that I’d be able to work again.
The lesson I want to share with you is that just like we don’t know what’s hidden in our grim-looking garden, we can never know what astonishing progress in overcoming ME / CFS or Fibromyalgia we might make in the future.
Over to you
Have you discovered anything surprisingly valuable on your recovery journey that you never thought possible?
Any other thoughts and reactions you’d like to share?
Just leave a comment below. As always, I love to hear from you.
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