Last week the Daily Mail featured a letter written by Paul and Jennifer Tonks; it told the inspiring story of how Jennifer had been diagnosed with ME by a Professor in Nottingham and was so severely affected that she was dependent on a wheelchair for three years... until she took the Lightning Process, about seven years ago now, and has been well ever since.
It's one of the many thousands of cases of recovery from ME, an inspirational story that, you would think would please anybody suffering with this or a similar condition. However, as always seems to be the case with positive stories about recovery from ME, a certain small section of the ME community saw this as an opportunity to attack both Paul and Jennifer, suggesting that,since she had recovered, she never really had ME and the Lightning Process for helping her - but why is this?
I always find it strange: if someone had cancer and learnt that someone else had recovered from it, attacking them for 'not really having in the first place' would seem a very odd response. I think this is particularly true of ME, where for years sufferers have fought to have their illness recognised as a real physical one, facing accusations of it all in being in their head, or not really being ill... so it seems bizarre and massively unthoughtful to accuse a fellow sufferer of the very things that anyone with ME would be appalled and outraged to be accused of.
One of the reasons for this appears to be the success of the Lightning Process, as it contradicts the perceived opinion that ME is incurable, despite the evidence of the thousands of people that have recovered, through various approaches: secondly, the Lightning Process looks at how the disturbed physiology of those with ME can be addressed, and it does this by mustering the body's internal operating system - the central and autonomic nervous systems. The simplest way to achieve this without using strong and very un-targeted drugs is to learn to exert conscious control on those systems... in a way similar to those practising mind-body skills such as mediation or mindfulness have been documented to achieve. However as soon as the word 'mind' is mentioned some people with ME have a knee jerk reaction - which you can see in the negative posts about this and other recovery stories- and assume it's suggesting ME is in the mind - it's not and this approach clearly states it feels the issues are physical and the most useful approach is to use the brain to reset the body.
After nearly 30 years in the field helping people recover it's really time to get these important messages through the noise of negativity and nay sayers, so please next time you see a success story, whatever the approach used, join in with the lucky person in celebrating their good health and spreading their good news, the world needs optimism about this very severe and complex illness.