I have already written about the fact I have started getting some knee pain*. A second visit to Mount Chambers Surgery in Braintree had my GP referring me for Physiotherapy. As soon as this happened I totally relaxed about my knee. I decided there was nothing serious wrong and everything that could and should be done had been done.
I was almost disappointment when my physiotherapy appointment came through really quickly. I had an initial session a fortnight ago and then a 2nd session today.
Today’s session has really stretched me. It also sent me into a search of negative patterns and thoughts.
I have always been very poor at following therapist instructions. I am not very bodily aware. Therefore my brain was getting lots of good exercise that moves me forward (in old terms I get stressed, tired and frustrated trying to following instructions. Notice although I want to write this article the negative way I still wrote the first draft positively. This shows how strong getting into the habit of positive thinking becomes).
What provoked this article however was that the Therapist said I needed to stretch my muscles more. That my knees were hurting and I have a hamstring on my right leg that is odd shaped because the muscles are over tight.
I was instantly taken back to a time I had a professional massage as a birthday present. I had probably had my ME/CFS for about 4 years at that point and the masseur was stunned that by the time he had finished massaging my second leg the first leg was tighter than before he had started it. Having read Richard Bruno’s “The Polio Paradox: Uncovering the Hidden History of Polio to Understand and Treat “Post-Polio Syndrome” and Chronic Fatigue” I now have an understanding of why this might be. This immediately got me thinking “Oh boy, I am now a runner again but I clearly still have ME/CFS“.
I also was aware I was feeling light headed moving around today. Again I now have an understanding of this and it gave me a depressing thought.
Finally I was aware that it takes me what seems like 2 to 5 seconds to scan my body and notice how I feel. The physiotherapist wanted to know how I felt with each exercise and I would expect most people can answer straight away. I felt odd and wondered why I am so different. But then it occurred to me I have spent since 1994 ignoring how my body feels. Of course it takes me a long time to access how I feel I have spent years training myself not to notice my aches and pains. The exercises also highlighted that my back is still more painful than a typical persons. I might have stopped taking painkillers after 15 years and reduced the pain but clearly I hadn’t solved all the problems with it.
All in all I felt disappointed. It was then that I caught myself and noticed my negative thought spiral. That I was feeling helpless about my ME/CFS.
Then I started thinking positively again. It is possible that I might have these problems for life but what use is that to me? It means I am dooming myself. I am not prepared to do that anymore. I have moved from being a Mobility Scooter user to a runner. I could not have done that without choosing to move forward and see myself being the runner I wanted to be.
I am now really intrigued to speed up my awareness of my body. By becoming more aware of pain and discomfort perhaps I will be able to make even more corrections to my body. By doing stretching exercises I can relax my muscles and train/re-train the neurons in my body to do something that was perhaps lost when I first got ME/CFS. It might be that it is a long slow process. It might be something that happens really quickly but while I focus on making it happen it is more likely to happen. Certainly much better than if I think “blast, I am like this for life. What a wreck” etc.
It is normal to have negative thoughts. It is normal to be unsure of the future but what doubts do you have in your life? Are you accepting them and being limited by them or do you have the courage and determination to move forward?
* I will leave that sentence like it is but I note that it implies I am expecting more pain. I completely missed that negative thought. This is why even someone that is used to the language of hypnotherapy will still miss things and benefit from sessions.