When I was ill with chronic fatigue, and unable to work for over 10 years, before I discovered what was actually causing the problem (which took me 5 of those 10 years), I would have given anything to find out (a) what was causing symptoms and (b) what I needed to do to get well.
Funnily enough, years later after I was well again, a very astute business woman asked me a question which really quite shocked me:
Her question was “When you were ill, and searching for answers, what would you have given, or paid, someone like you, (ie me the now well-informed health coach), if they had turned up on your doorstep one day and said ‘I have the answers, I can help you’?”
I pondered for a moment, reflecting back on the many months and years I had spent hardly able to walk, do the shopping or function as a human being at all … I mentally added up the number of therapies (140+) I had tried in those first 5 years and the thousands of dollars that had cost me. I remembered the loneliness and frustration as I searched for answers which no-one seemed to have, including doctors and therapists, and the friends or family who could not understand what was going on inside of me when I looked so ‘normal‘ on the outside.
Wow, I thought. I would have given anything. Everything!
Whilst I might not have given ‘an arm or a leg’ (I was still just able to walk after all, and I did need to cook my meals), I would have paid anything for someone to tell me what on earth was going on and how to get well. If I hadn’t had the money in the bank at the time, I would have taken a loan to get it!
That was not my journey however.
I know now, that in a strange way, I was destined to go through a long, protracted journey just so that I could (a) understand in depth the necessary steps for getting well and (b) help others to do so too and (c) be able to help others avoid having to go through such a long process.
I know that I was meant to try (to this day now) nearly 200 therapies so that I could learn what works and what doesn’t in particular for chronic fatigue and pain conditions, and be able to recommend the best options to others so that they wouldn’t have to try hundreds of therapies and spend thousands of dollars.
I know now that this journey provided me with exactly what I would need to help others recover in the shortest possible time with the least amount of angst. I know this now, and am very grateful for my personal journey, even though at the time it was unbelievably difficult.
What is it costing you to stay unwell or unhappy?
This then made me think.
What is the cost of staying ill or unwell, staying where we are, not taking the steps to get better, even when we know we want to?
Yes, this is a very common phenomenon, the reason for which I will come to shortly. But first of all let’s look at the real costs, both monetary and otherwise.
For many people with chronic pain and fatigue conditions, (CFS, ME, adrenal fatigue, burnout, chronic stress, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, glandular fever, PVFS etc) their lives are severely disrupted, many to the point of either not being able to work at all, or to the point that they still are working when they really shouldn’t be.
Let’s take an example of someone who is not working at all: let’s say their salary is $50,000 a year. If they don’t work for a year, that’s $50,000 that is not going into their bank account, plus the additional money that needs to be found to live. 5 years and it’s up to $250,000. 20 years and it’s a cool million dollars!
And yet, over the past 11 years since I have been helping people through these health conditions, I have found that on average the recovery time is 3-6 months, with some people taking only a few weeks, and others up to a year.
Personally I lost out big time financially. I sold my then mortgage-free house and car to pay my living expenses and therapy fees. I was unable to work for 10 years. At the time I sold my house it was valued at $300,000. The value now would be close to $800,000! Since then I have been paying weekly rent, another $350,000! So that’s another cool million or more down the drain. It’s crushing to think about, so I do my best not to, and keep looking forward…
But do the maths (or as they say in the good ‘ol USA ‘the math’). Which option do you think is better financially? To spend a small amount of money now to get your life back on track, or to stay unwell for years and lose a lot more. It’s a no-brainer really.
Which leads me on to the next topic: how long do we wait before taking action to restore our health and wellbeing?
The quicker you make a start at getting better, the quicker you get better
Years ago in London, I ‘put my back out’ while cleaning the windows in my 3rd floor flat. I was leaning out the window trying to clean the outside of the window when ‘ping’ something ‘went’ in my back. I had never hurt my back before and I really had no idea what I had done. As a consequence of my ignorance around back issues, I continued on as before, and did not seek help. 3 months went by, and even though I wasn’t in any real pain, I found that my range of motion was getting more limited.
Then one day I was sitting on the edge of my bed putting a sock on, and I realized that I couldn’t reach my foot. I was 26 years old and I could not bend over to put a sock on! Something was surely not right about this! ‘Surely I should be able to put my socks on‘ I thought to myself, and then remembered back to the day 3 months earlier when I had tweaked my back. Putting two and two together (finally) I realized I needed to seek help.
At that time, the only medical practitioners I had ever seen in my life were a dentist, surgeon and doctor. I had no idea who to see for my back situation, but I knew none of these three were the answer. Somehow, after asking around, I heard of a therapist called an ‘osteopath’. Gosh, that was a revelation, there were other medical practitioners than doctors and dentists!
I made an appointment with this man, and the first thing he said to me after hearing my window-cleaning story was this:
‘You should have come to see me as soon as you had the injury because now the body has compensated for the injury and it has set in, which means it will take longer to get better’.
This one decision to not seek help as soon as I could have after the original injury would, unbeknowns to me at the time, haunt me for another 20 years, including countless appointments with many osteopaths, and even visits by ambulance to hospital for morphine to deal with the pain. But that’s another story…
If I had known better and been more in touch with what was going on inside my body I would have saught help straight away, and if I ever tweak my back now, I know to seek help immediately, ideally the same day.
However, back then, I was completely out of touch with my body, and had no idea about alternative practitioners, so I did what a lot of people do, and ‘just put up with it‘ until I could no longer tolerate the pain and inconvenience.
The point here is, whilst conditions such as CFS, adrenal fatigue, ME, fibromyalgia etc are indicative themselves of not having gotten help immediately (because one simply cannot be experiencing these conditions without there being a multitude of long-standing stress and emotional issues that have been going on for months, and often years), at least once we know we have a condition it is wise to do something about it and get help as soon as possible from someone who truly knows what to do about it. Because the longer we leave it, the worse it gets. And the quicker we start identifying and rectifying the root causes, the quicker we can get well. It’s just common sense.
Whilst on the whole I have found the quicker we get onto it, the quicker the recovery, and the younger the person, the quicker the recovery, I have also worked with people who have had serious symptoms for 20 years and recovered in 2 weeks.It does happen, but I highly recommend not expecting it. It takes months and years to build up symptoms of chronic debilitating pain and fatigue, and we need to be prepared to take the time to make the necessary changes to reverse the situation.
What is the true cost of not being happy or healthy?
So what is the cost of staying unwell? There is only one answer to this:
EVERYTHING! YOUR LIFE!
Every day, month or year that goes by and you cannot function well physically, mentally or emotionally is time you will never recoup.
Conversely, every day, month or year you are happy and healthy is time you can spend doing what you want with your life.
What is it you want to do with your life? A fulfilling relationship? Enjoy quality time with your family, children, parents, friends? Share your gifts with the world? What does your life mean to you? Do you want to be lying on your deathbed and be grateful and proud of what you have done in your life, or do you want to waste away year after year wishing things could be different?
Not only do we lose out financially if we cannot work, we lose every aspect of our life: work, family, friends, hobbies, fun…
But here’s the good news!
We can get better if we know how. We have a choice and the power of free will. We can change our circumstances, as long as we understand that this change ALWAYS starts with us and from within. And it starts with the decisions we take over if we are going to do something about our situation, or if we are going to keep coming up with excuses as to why we should not take action.
Which brings me to the final point of this topic:
What is it that is really stopping you from getting well?
Why is it, when we know we want to be well, that we can find every excuse in the book not to?
Usually the reasons we give ourselves are something along the lines of “I can’t afford it or “I don’t have the time“. Yes I have heard both these reasons as a therapist a lot!
My response to that, given the statistics above, is ‘can you afford not to’?
Over the past few years I have discovered why most people think they cannot afford to do what it takes to get well. This has been the result of many years of personal discovery plus seeing the same pattern turning up in clients:
Deep, deep down, unconsciously, we do not feel deserving of feeling happy or getting better.
Please note the word UNCONSCIOUS here. We are not doing this consciously! It is something that is usually happening well beyond our conscious awareness.
Deep within we can have beliefs running our psyche called ‘transparent’ beliefs because we don’t see them. They are also referred to as ‘false’ beliefs because once they become conscious, even though they tend to feel real, they are not the truth. But we believe them because we don’t feel deserving of good things in life, such as happiness, success, abundance, recognition and more.
These beliefs are formed early on in childhood, usually by the age of 7 years, and run our every waking (and sleeping) thought and action, without us even knowing it. They are, in truth, what have led us to become ill or unhappy in the first place.
It goes without saying that we must discover and clear these beliefs, and the original events which set them up, in order to transform our current situation. And this we can do, if we know how. And it can take much less time and be easier than we might think. But unless we decide to seek the help to do so, nothing will change, and we will stay exactly where we are, for another month or year…
I have dedicated the past 25 years to learning this ‘stuff’, and I know for sure that we can change our circumstances as long as we make the decision to do so, and then follow up with appropriate, consistent action.
As the famous quote by Goethe goes:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
Don’t waste another day, month or year losing out on your precious life. Get the help you need right now so that you can get on and live the live you were born to live.
And if you want to check out my online self help Mickel Therapy programs, you can do so here. Even the most expensive program works out to be under $20 a week over the period of a year. How much could that save you in the long-run? Maybe your life…