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  • My Journey - The Final Instalment

    Where to from here?


    2015 certainly hadn’t started as I had intended. I tried going back to the gym but my poor body just couldn’t take it. I walked around in a haze as days turned into weeks, turned into months. When I look back now there is little I remember of that time. I had some acupuncture sessions to keep me ticking over but on the whole I felt numb.

    Gemma


    I had promised myself that I would host a workshop in my local area some time that year and I was determined to make it happen. Sundays came and went and very little progress was made on this front.
    While researching a space for the workshop in late 2014, I had come across a therapy and counselling centre called The Phoenix Centrerun by Gemma Mc Cabe. We had emailed a couple of times regarding room rental and her emails were always kind, understanding and friendly. From the moment I crashed in January 2015 I kept hearing a little voice telling me to “call Gemma, call Gemma” which I largely ignored instead choosing to listen to the many excuses I usually create for myself – I can’t afford it, I don’t have the time, It’s too far away, I don’t have the energy etc… I don’t know why I was so reluctant. I’d been in therapy a few times before and I had always found it to be immensely helpful. The ego mind and the inner saboteur can be tricky devils to deal with. The ego is never ready for what the soul wants to do.


    By March however I’d had enough and I was ready to act on the nudges I was getting. In a moment of despair one evening after work, I finally called Gemma who was gracious enough to give me an appointment the following evening. I remember that first meeting so well. Sitting in the armchair I felt like a big blob. I had so little energy I could barely keep my head up. All my pent up frustration, anger, resentment and hopelessness came flooding out while Gemma held a space for me and patiently listened. Do not underestimate the power of another human being witnessing your pain with compassion and lack of judgement – it is a true gift.
    At later sessions I discussed my fear of possibly being severely depressed and my occasional thoughts of suicide both of which Gemma told me were normal for someone who had been dealing with this ongoing illness for so long. She assured me that she didn’t feel I was severely depressed but justifiably down due to my circumstances. It was such a weight off my mind that she verbalised what I knew deep down to be true.


    I’ve been going to Gemma almost every week since then. Her support and guidance have been inspiring and life-changing. As a judgement-sensitive individual, I am programmed to read even the slight hint of judgement in someone’s expression I can honestly say I have never seen even a glimmer of judgement on Gemma’s face. She is remarkable.

    A little spark of hope


    In April I went ahead with my workshop with two lovely ladies in attendance. As a born teacher, I enjoyed my time with them immensely. I had very positive feedback from them both and after it was over I knew “this is what I’m on the planet for.” A little spark of hope was born.


    However the debilitating fatigue continued. I went back to Italy and Greece to my Greek familyfor some much needed R&R and while the experiences were almost identical to the year before, I felt neither relaxed nor rested upon my return.  While in Greece I had watched a documentary on FMTV called E-motionwhich discusses how trapped emotions and repressed experiences can cause chronic illness in the body. One of the contributors to the film, Dr Bradley Nelson, has developed a technique called The Emotion Codewhich helps to release this trapped energy. I was intrigued. I checked it out and requested a free consultation with an Emotion and Body Code practitioner. The next day a lovely American woman called Wendie (who had used this technique to heal herself of Lupus) Skyped me and we started working together. Lots of things came to the fore during our sessions however a common theme was how I wasn’t expressing my spirituality in the world. I started to reconnect with my intuition which I had repressed for a long time for fear of being seen as a “weirdo” and I rediscovered my passion for angels. It was so nice to speak to someone who held similar beliefs and she became a kind of spiritual mentor for me.


    It felt great to have reconnected with my spiritual side although I still trusted my intellect above all else. However one evening after a particularly bad bout of brain fog, I had a conversation with my angels as I was driving home from work. While I was crying and begging them for an answer, a feeling of peace came over me and I heard “All is well.” Later that evening when I went to bed I said a prayer telling the universe I had no more answers, I was exhausted, I had had enough and that I was surrendering all control over to God. I could do no more and so I promised to follow whatever guidance I was given.

    Resistance


    Shortly after I read an article in Natural Connectionsabout woman who had used a technique called Biomagnetism for to treat Lyme disease. The centre was pretty local and with nothing left to lose, I made an appointment with a practitioner called Sherrie. I’m still not sure exactly how biomagnetism works. It’s a bit like Kinesiology with the use of magnets to rid the body of parasites, bacteria, viruses or anything else that is causing dis-ease. Believe me, even to an open-minded person like me, I know it sounds hokey but I had promised myself I would follow my guidance without question. In all honesty it was an up and down experience. The sessions were more expensive than I could realistically afford and the thought of investing in the suggested 10 or more sessions made me uncomfortable and a little resistant to the treatment. At times I felt an increase in energy levels and at other times I felt awful afterwards. Sherrie explained we sometimes have to get worse to get better but I wasn’t convinced. After one particularly bad episode I suspended treatment although I believe now my resistance and fear of the expense was largely to blame for the severity of the reactions. My ego wasn’t ready to give up just yet.

    D-Day


    The rollercoaster of CFS continued until one fateful Sunday in July. I woke up with a slight headache, which had been with me from the day before, but it was a sunny day and I was determined to get out for a walk. I felt uneasy from the first step but I powered through. Only 15 minutes in, my head started to pound and it felt like my brain was about to explode. I turned around and headed for home stopping every few steps because I was so disorientated. When I got to the carpark I could go no further even though it’s a stone’s throw from my house. Thankfully a kind lady could see I was in distress and offered me a lift. She also offered to call an ambulance but I declined. All I wanted to do was get through my front door without collapsing. Once inside I threw myself on my bed and sobbed and screamed like I’d never done before. I was so scared I had a brain tumour and I felt so powerless.


    My mother knew I’d been having a bad week and called during my breakdown. I tried to keep it together so as not to worry her but as soon as I heard her voice I burst into tears again. You can imagine how concerned she was! She wanted to come and get me straight away but all I wanted to do was hang up and pull the covers over my head so she made me promise I would go to the doctor the following morning.


    I slept like one can only sleep after long bouts of crying and headed for the doctor’s surgery. I chose a different doctor as it was nearer to work and I wanted a fresh opinion. She was very understanding and took a variety of blood samples and a urine sample (at my request). When I asked her what the course of action would be if the tests came back normal, which deep down I knew they would, she suggested the same solution of SSRIs. As soon as the words were out of her mouth every cell in my body silently screamed “No!” I asked her if she thought I was depressed to which she replied “no” and when she couldn’t explain the proposed course of treatment I was seriously pissed off. With the anger came a little bit of empowerment, I was determined I wasn’t going down that route unless someone could give me a valid reason for it. Later that day, I met my mother and my heavily pregnant sister for lunch to get some support but more than anything to reassure them I wasn’t going to kill myself. To this day I feel bad about the worry I must have caused them.

    The Turnaround


    A couple of days later I had a chance conversation with a client who told me that 10 years previously he had been bedridden with fatigue. Because he worked on a farm, doctors were convinced his symptoms were due to a bacterial infection and wanted to put him on high doses of long-acting antibiotics which he refused. Instead he decided to do an intensive course of acupuncture three times a week for 8 weeks and he eventually got better.


    This was exactly the encouragement I needed! I thought about the treatments I felt had helped me over the years and decided to create my own intensive healing plan. I was going on holiday in just over six weeks so that’s how long I gave myself for the plan to work and if it didn’t work, I would go back to the doctor and follow her advice. It was an expensive idea but deep down I truly felt it was the right path. I discussed it with my mother who kindly offered to lend me the money so I promptly booked acupuncture, reiki, physical therapy and nutritionist appointments. I also went back to Sherrie for biomagnetism. I had an appointment with someone almost every night of the week!


    Two weeks into the healing plan, I was already seeing results which I kept to myself for fear it was a placebo response that would be short-lived. I was following my guidance and step by step I was being shown where to go and what to do. During a session with Sherrie she told me that heavy metalswere contributing to my fatigue. When I mentioned this to Fiona, one of my acupuncturists, she said “Well then you have to see Conor. He’s a nutritionist who specialises in heavy metals.” After a 2 hour comprehensive consultation with Conor he recommended I send a urine sample to a lab in Germany for testing as my first port of call.

    Finally! An Answer!


    By the time I got the results I was on holiday and the six-week plan was over. I had been experiencing marked increases in my energy levels and overall wellbeing however I couldn’t afford to continue with so many treatments. To say the results shocked me is an understatement! I had extremely high levels of mercury, lead, thallium, copper, arsenic and nickel in my system. Conor said he had rarely, if ever, seen such high readings.
    I finally had an answer and diagnosis for my illness. The relief was immense. I wasn’t going insane! I was put on a chelation protocol for 3 months but I noticed an 80% improvement after the first treatment.  An added and completely unexpected bonus to the chelation was the fact that I had a normal and pain-free period for the first time ever without the contraceptive pill. I have had a complicated history with my period since the day it started and now every month has been a breeze for the past 8 months. This alone was more than enough proof that heavy metals have been largely responsible for a variety of health issues.


    In conclusion, my life has done a 180 since then. I still have the odd “bad day” but I put this down to residual metals leaving my system or a flare up of bacteria or a virus that may still be lurking in my body. I continue to eat well, avoid toxins, get occasional treatments and use supplements for support. I will probably have to do so for the rest of my life. Who cares! Compared to the alternative it isn’t a high price to pay. Most importantly, I continue to listen to my inner guidance or my inner truth as I have come to call it. I trust it more and more each day and it has yet to fail me. It has changed my life so radically that I am now on a mission to encourage others to listen to their intuition more hence why I started Your Inner Truth.


    I know this blog has been a long one but I feel it’s a necessity to give hope to those going through the same thing. So thank you for sticking with me. In my next blogs I’m going to discuss what I have unearthed about the various, possible causes of CFS and ways to support your treatment. They will be much shorter, I promise!

    A big thank you to all the friends, family members and therapists who have helped me on my journey. You know who you are and I am eternally grateful. <3

  • My Journey Part 1

    Sick and Tired

    It all started in 2012, although in reality it started a long time before but my body had finally had enough by then. I had started a new job in February and while the hours were longer the stress was a lot less. I was so ashamed that my fatigue might be due to the fact that I couldn’t hack an 8 – 5 job that I didn’t tell anyone how I was feeling. I especially didn’t want my new colleagues to know!  I had already spoken to my doctor about my exhaustion and persistent dizziness but my bloods had come back normal so he put it down to low blood pressure and/or depression, offered me antidepressants and sent me on my way. I powered on through while I got angrier with myself and my body for being so sensitive and so weak. I wish I had known then what I know now.

    By the summer of 2013 I sat at home on the sofa most evenings with barely enough energy to lift a fork to my mouth while the sun mocked me from outside. Of course this was the best summer we’d had in years and anyone who knows me knows how much I love the sun! I couldn’t even cut the grass without taking half-hour breaks every ten minutes. Even my daily walks had dwindled to nothing. Gradually, over the next few months, the muscle and joint pain started to creep in. At times it got so bad that even lightly rubbing my thigh was unbearable. Because I was exercising less I thought the pain was because of lack of use.

    I Need Help!

    In September I went to Karen my physical therapist, and also a good friend, for some relief. I couldn’t believe how much discomfort I felt even at the slightest touch. The fear, frustration and concern was so overwhelming that at the end of our session I started to cry and confided what I was afraid to admit: “I think I might have Fibromyalgia.”  Karen was caught off guard. I’m usually so strong that I could tell it was strange for her to see me so vulnerable. She was truly great though. “Let’s not jump the gun.” She said. “It may just be a magnesium deficiency”. “You know Nancy, you’ve been really stressed the past couple of years, have you heard of Adrenal Fatigue? It might be an idea to check it out and see if it resonates.” Karen recommended a magnesium supplement and to read J. Wilson’s book Adrenal Fatigue as well as Marilyn Glenville’s Fat around the Middle.

    Let the Research Begin

    The magnesium helped somewhat to relieve the pain and in Glenville’s book I learned all about the cortisol rollercoaster which I will speak about in a later blog. In Wilson’s book I learned how important our adrenal glands are, the multitude of reasons that can cause them to crash and the devastating effects these little glands can have throughout our bodies if we don’t look after them correctly. Adrenal stressors include but are not limited to:

    • Infections (chronic and acute)
    • Constant/repeated stress
    • Emotional abuse
    • Physical abuse
    • Allergies / food intolerance
    • Over exertion
    • Exercising too much / too little
    • Smoking
    • Lack of sleep
    • Poor eating habits (junk food, processed food, takeaways)
    • Lack of fresh fruits and vegies
    • Sugar and white flour products
    • Would healing
    • Prescription and non-prescription drugs
    • Marital / relationship stress
    • Caffeine (including energy drinks)
    • Fear
    • Unemployment
    • Negative self-talk and beliefs
    • Lack of relaxation
    • Death of a loved one
    • Financial pressure
    • Perfectionism
    • Toxins / heavy metals
    • Lack of purpose / place in the world
    • Loneliness
    • Feeling misunderstood / unlovable

    Look carefully at that list. Isn’t it a snap-shot of our lives in the 21st century? No wonder autoimmune diseases are becoming more and more prevalent!
    I have to say I was overwhelmed when I read this list. Although I didn’t tick all the boxes there were plenty that I did tick. Did I have to rectify all of those issues at once to feel better? And who would I go to to help me?

    Confused

    Even though my diet was pretty good, I felt an easy place to start would be nutrition. I found a well-known clinic in Dublin and booked an appointment with a nutritionist. To cut a long story short, the sessions, tests and supplements cost me a fortune and I felt no better by the end of my treatment. Please don’t let this put you off nutritionists. I have found really good ones since that have helped me immensely. I knew from day one we weren’t a good fit but I was so desperate and I was sure that, because she had a title and worked at a world renowned clinic, she must be good. The takeaway from this (and from my work in general) is to ALWAYS trust your own instinct no matter how much your ego or others try to convince you otherwise.
    At the same time I also had my thyroid, B12, folate and vitamin D checked. All came back “within normal range”. I had hair analysis done for heavy metals and sent off samples for allergy testing. Nothing significant. The only red flag was that my homocysteine levels were in the moderate category at 17 (optimum is below 10 to 12) but again I was told to take more B vitamins to help lower it and that was it. I was never made aware of how important these levels are and what they can indicate. So why test in the first place?!

    I had read about good acupuncture is for chronic pain so I sought out a good acupuncturist to help with the recurring bouts of pain I was experiencing and started going to Fiona. What a God-send! I cannot begin to describe how much I have fallen in love with acupuncture and how it has helped me over the years.

    Frustrated

    So by the end of 2013 I had tried lots, had felt better at times but the fatigue continued to get worse.  I spent most of my time trying to muster enough energy to get me through the work day and swinging between frustration, anger and large doses of denial but deep down there was still a glimmer of hope I could find solutions to my problems. Little did I know though that I’d have to get a lot worse before I got better.
    NEXT TIME: Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better.

  • My Journey Part 2

    Maybe it is all in my mind


    By January 2014 I had progressively gotten worse and I had now reached a plateau. The human body and mind are amazing. In order to be able to function I was running on auto-pilot. It was as if I had never known life before this reality and when I started to think back to happier and healthier times they felt like an entire lifetime away.  I was no longer able to go for my daily walk on a regular basis and any time I did feel up to it, even the shortest walk left me exhausted. I had had to stop volunteering at my local animal shelter. This probably broke my heart most of all and I didn’t even pop in for short visits anymore because I was so ashamed that I could no longer offer help or support.
    Acupuncture, a healthy diet and a multitude of supplements were all keeping my head above water. At the time it didn’t feel like it was making any difference but I know now that I hadn’t looked after myself in this way I wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed in the morning.


    Shame and Fear


    People ask me now “why didn’t you speak out?” There are many answers to this question. As I said before I had come to accept this reality as the new “normal”. Moreover I didn’t people at work to think that it might be affecting my performance and I can honestly say it rarely did. Plus I was scared to imagine that what doctors were telling me was true – that it was all in my mind. If that was the case, then what? Would I be sent to a psychiatric unit? I wasn’t calling my illness Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I just called it “This damn fatigue” and I felt like my body had really let me down. I ate well, I had exercised, I lived a clean life, I had never smoked or done drugs and I rarely drank. I felt like loser, a whiny little child. I had always been perceived as so strong, capable and independent. The shame I felt was almost unbearable.


    Where has Nancy gone?


    This feeling of shame was compounded when in May 2014 I went back to Italy to visit some friends before heading off to Mykonos for a week in the sun. The next part of my story is really hard to put into words but I’ll give it a good go. While I was in Italy my thoughts were filled with negativity. I couldn’t help but compare myself to the person I had been when I had lived there so many years before and the comparison was not a good one. This thought process was verbalised by a friend who asked me “No offence but where has Nancy gone?” I constantly felt vulnerable, inferior and very fragile all the while putting on a smiley face which I’m sure everyone saw through. The truth was I couldn’t wait to leave.


    Release


    Then one evening over dinner with a friend I discovered that my ex-boyfriend had become a father. This was a guy that I had truly believed was my soul-mate and I had been convinced we were meant to be together. I had beaten myself up for more than a decade that it hadn’t worked out and I hadn’t allowed myself to really love anyone since. I have never wanted children and in that moment when I heard he was a dad, I literally felt a part of myself come back into my body. I have no other way of describing it. If it was his destiny to become a father then we were not meant to be as I led myself to believe. The peace I felt afterwards was a balm to my soul. I had released a huge burden.
    The following days and weeks felt like a dream. Synchronistic moments showed up at every turn from special treatment on my flights to and from Mykonos to an upgrade at my hotel, to the owners of the hotel treating me like family from the moment they met me, to my very own Shirley Valentine romantic encounter!


    Things can only get better


    Upon my return I felt revitalised and ready to get back out in the world. My health slowly improved and I started to believe that I probably had been suffering with depression due to the stress and heartbreak I had endured since that relationship had ended. I started a Facebook page called Life and Soul and I began exercising at the local gym. I still wasn’t 100% but life was good again.
    At the end of the holiday I had been ready to say goodbye to my holiday romance. I felt we had had a really lovely time but that’s all it was – a holiday romance. He, however, wanted it to continue as a long distance relationship and my friends and family were VERY excited about this new development. I hadn’t trusted myself for such a long time that I went along with what everyone else wanted for me. Yet again I went against my inner truth. Needless to say in September the relationship ended badly and what should have been a beautiful holiday memory turned sour. ALWAYS trust your inner truth!

    Because I was feeling so good I stopped many of the healthy protocols I had put in place while I was sick. I thought "why spend money on therapies and supplements when really all I was suffering with was an extreme form of heartbreak?"
    I was still exercising regularly and enjoying the improvements to my health that I saw every day. In October I decided to join a 6 week challenge at the gym to take us up to Christmas. My motivation had been waning so I thought it would be a perfect way to encourage me to keep going. I’m not a fan of the gym but I’m also not a fan of rain either. I’d much prefer to be out walking but the Irish weather doesn’t always permit that. :-) To be fair, Hannah’s classes were much more fun than other classes I’d been to and I loved the dancing element in Zumba. For those 6 weeks I went to a class every chance I got averaging 4 times a week. By the end of the challenge I felt toned and strong and I won 2 medals for my efforts!


    Crash!


    Over the Christmas break I was walking on air. I said to myself: “2015 is going to be my year!” I performed my annual ritual of clutter clearing and making a vision board of what I envisioned 2015 looking like. I was pumped and ready for the year ahead!
    Sadly, very shortly afterwards I crashed and burned. “This damn fatigue” came back with a vengeance. I screamed at the sky “why is this happening to me?” and all I heard in response was “It’s not depression.”  - To be continued.


    Footnote:

    I’d like to take this opportunity to say a BIG thank you to Andreas and his beautiful wife Evagelia who own Panormos Village in Mykonos and who are now known as my Greek family. Without even knowing me they took me under their wing and treated me which such protection and kindness from the moment I arrived. Their hotel is stunning, the breakfasts are delicious and their hospitality is second to none. I feel so grateful and blessed to have met them and it proves that no act of kindness goes un-noticed.

     

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