Saturday, 31 January 2015

Working with worry in children

If you are a parent, the last thing you want for your child is to experience extreme worry or anxiety, as if you have experienced it yourself, you will know it can really take the joy out of life.
I see one or two children a month with worry issues and also see many adults who still carry the scars from the worries of their youth. Common triggers for worry in children include exams, falling out with friends and dealing with peer pressure.  Some are also perfectionist type personalities who beat themselves up if they don’t perform perfectly in everything they do.
A good way to help your child relax is by getting them to do a simple breathing technique. Get them to breathe in for the count of 7 and out for 11 half a dozen times, this helps lower the heart rate. Remember they a little genius and a brilliant learner so they can master new techniques very quickly.
Getting children into good states is the way to make change. If they are anxious and they want calmness, ask them to think of a place they felt very happy and relaxed and calm.  If it was a nice day at the beach last summer, ask them to close their eyes and remember the relaxing day and that they are there again. What can they see? The sand the sea and waves and seagulls. What can they smell and what can they feel? From the temperature in the air to the grains of sand in their hands and under their feet. You might even suggest they wrap that relaxed, happy feeling all over them like an invisible cloak. Repeating this process will help change their neurology and thus help break the predicted response.
Making them laugh is also a good way to change their state. When they can bring humour and laughter back we know that’s a good sign and when they are giggling and happy it is a wonderful opportunity to give them extra hugs to reinforce the good state.
It is important not to blame yourself as a parent. However, our children can pick up many of our good habits and therefore they can also pick up our bad ones. Sometimes in a family both the child and adult need help and would benefit from learning new strategies to deal with worry and stress.

When we have a negative thoughts or negative beliefs about ourselves it can change our brain chemistry; more bad thoughts lead more bad thoughts.  I often give children tips on how to stop the negative thoughts and show them they can have an influence on them. I get them to think of times when things were OK or when they sorted out another problem, or get them to recount a time when they thought they would never master something such as riding a bike or a PlayStation game or times table test.  I do also teach those children who are very stuck the Lightning Process, to train them to recognise and interrupt negative thought patterns to influence  and change their thoughts and feelings

Thursday, 6 November 2014

My story By Sam N Age 11

My story                 By Sam N

In January 2013 when I was in year 6 and aged 10, I had a really busy and fun life and was involved in lots of different activities. In the week before I was ill, I went busking in Manchester on my cajon (drum box), had rehearsals as the main part in the school play, went sledging with my friends and did a 5 mile fell run.
On my little sister’s birthday I woke up and couldn’t move. The ringing in my head was so sore I could barely speak. My throat was so swollen and my ears started to get really, really painful. The doctor came to the house because I couldn’t move to get out. He said it was an old fashioned dose of influenza and we’d just have to wait for me to get better. A few days later my ears go so sore I couldn’t stop screaming with the pain. I had ear infections in both ears and was given antibiotics. I stayed in bed and didn’t feel like eating: it was so sore. Mum and Dad had to help me to get upstairs to the toilet.
It just went on and on and I didn’t get any better. I didn’t eat with the family anymore: I couldn’t stand the noise. I kept covering my ears. The music that was usually going round in my head stopped and there was nothing.
I was so bored and after a while I tried to go back to school for a few hours every few days. I just couldn’t handle it. I didn’t want to miss out on anything but physically I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to be back in my bed. I was so desperate to be in the school play, they delayed it and I did it but I felt so exhausted afterwards I was in bed for days afterwards. The same happened for a concert. I hadn’t played my drums in months now: I just couldn’t take the noise.
I had one friend who came round most days to chat about school, but I couldn’t manage to listen to him for more than 10 minutes without being exhausted. I was losing contact with the outside world. I couldn’t even walk to the end of the Terrace.
I saw a consultant who said it was chronic fatigue and might go on for up to 5 years. He didn’t give any suggestions of how to make me better. I tried Activity Management but that seemed to make it worse. How long was this going to go on?! I wanted to get back to my old life that I loved.
A friend told us about the Lightning Process. Her sister had had ME and after LP, was completely recovered. We got in touch with Alastair as he was running courses nearby. It sounded like he had been through something similar and come out the other end. I wanted to give it a go. Mum and Dad went through the book with me, I filled in an application form and chatted with Alastair on the phone. We arranged for me to do the 3 day course 1-1 just a few weeks later in May half term.  Mum came with me.
I thought it was a bit weird at the start…I thought it was going to be really easy, just like flicking a switch, but then I realised it was really hard and you had to persist with it. I began to recognise my catchphrases and how my body was reacting to my thoughts. When I got in the car at the end of the first day, it dawned on me that I had to do the Lightning Process for every thought that came into my head. I did the Lightning Process all the way home: maybe 70 times that day. I sat down that night and ate a meal with my family for the first time in 5 months. I felt so good I asked Dad to take me to the cricket nets. We played there for over an hour.
By the end of the 3 day course, I was looking forward to my new life and enjoying myself again. On the Monday I went back to school (part time at first) and did my cycling proficiency. On the Saturday I played in a full cricket match. The music in my ears came back and I started playing my drums again.
It’s been 18 months since I did LP. I’m now in secondary school, really involved in music and drama and looking forward to the future!
Thank you Lightning Process for giving me the tools to move forward. I carried the LP card round with me for months and did the process in my head to give me more strength when I needed it. I’ve got some exciting times ahead with new challenges. I‘ll never forget the LP and the skills I’ve learned. I think they’ll always come in useful.


Monday, 24 September 2012

Lightning Process research from Harvard

Lightning Process research
on the 19th September saw the publication of a Harvard and King's College, London study into the Lightning Process for CFSME.

Experiences of young people who have undergone the Lightning Process to treat chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis – a qualitative study
Silje Endresen Reme, Nicola Archer,Trudie Chalder
British Journal of Health Psychology

It's groundbreaking as it is the very first research ever published in a peer-reviewed journal about the Lightning Process.

Of the participants 'seven reported that they were very satisfied with the treatment and that they were either much or very much better' and 'two participants reported being dissatisfied with the treatment and did not experience any improvement in their CFS'

Fine details
Young people between 14 and 26 were recruited from an advert displayed on the AYME website (this is not normally a good place to find successful Lightning Process graduates, who tend to move on from being involved in ME related associations once they are well, so we are particularly pleased with the results) in 2007.
The research team talked to 9 young people and three parents of those under 18.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Me, M.E., Me

In June 1999 my life was fantastic I had just got married to Marie and we were off to Mauritius on honeymoon. While there though, I became ill with gastroenteritis, which developed into hepatitis. I knew this was a serious condition when it took 10 days to even get well enough to fly home. However, I was told to “Take it easy” and that I would be better by Christmas, but this was not the case. Little did I know that this was to result in nearly seven years of suffering, which would mean I would be unable to leave the house without using an electric scooter.

Several months later I was made redundant after 20 years with the same company, which was obviously a real blow to my self-esteem. On St Patrick’s Day 2000, I was diagnosed as having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy), at the Royal Free Hospital, with the main symptoms being fatigue, muscle pain, brain fog and feeling overwhelmed. Strangely, I felt relieved when given the diagnosis, for surely in today’s advanced medical times what can be named, can be cured?

However, as I was to learn, no known cure for CFS exists and there is little understanding of the disease, both within the medical profession and the wider public. The medical advice I was given was to rest and to learn transcendental meditation – which I did and still value the learnings from doing so. I was fortunate that my local GP was forward-thinking enough to try both traditional and alternative therapies, including acupuncture and B12 injections.

From very early on, I tried almost everything in the alternative medicine field in my search for a cure. Partly, this was me searching for a cure that western medicine could not give me, and partly it was to prevent myself from accepting the role of the victim.

We moved to Bournemouth in September 2003 as Marie took up her first post as a newly trained Montessori teacher.  We loved Bournemouth right from the beginning, and initially took in students in to help supplement our income but soon that became too much for me. In fact, the words “too much for me” became a regular part of my vocabulary from then on.

To keep myself busy, I initially committed myself to some voluntary work with Disability Wessex in 2004, helping answering the phones. That also became “too much”. Every six months I would have a medical review, and I was clearly deteriorating each time, despite increasing the regularity of my medication from two times a day to four times.

My turnaround started in May 2005. The director of Disability Wessex told me of a great free six week course called the Expert Patient Programme (EPP). I was inspired by the course and the people running it; with its focus being on people with long-term conditions helping each other with support and recovery.  This course is still free and I would highly recommend it for sufferers, as well as their carers. This course inspired me to not accept my status as a housebound victim. Previously, I had even given up going to my local shops which were a mere 100 meters away, because I found it too exhausting. The course inspired me to get out of the narrow comfort zone of my home.

Once I finished the EPP, its organisers asked me to be a tutor.  At the same time, I was told about funding that was available to those who needed to take control of their illnesses and get back to work. I realised that if I got this help, I could take charge of my life again and it would free up energy to become a tutor.  In summer 2005, I was granted a personal assistant for 12 hours per week.  In September, I bought an electric scooter. It was as instant success. Previously, I would go to the beach and sit on a bench while Marie walked on her own, but now we could do little trips together.  I described this turnaround as like finally being able to watch a film, where previously I could only look at the poster advertising it outside the cinema.

Having had an interest in NLP (neuro –linguistic programming) therapy for a few years, I decided to start taking night school classes in it. I was blown away with the concept and inspired by the tutor. I also did my EPP (Expert Patient Programme) training and became a qualified tutor later that year – a role I continue to this day.

In Feb 2006, whilst listening to Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show, I heard a feature on the Lightning Process which had someone talking about how it had changed their life. Radio 2 had a follow-up in April, which was also very positive. I later tracked down people before and after they had taken part in the three day course to find out about the results they had achieved, and was then determined to give it a go.  Marie and I decided to plan our annual holiday around me going on the Lightning Process course, and my true recovery began.

I arrived on the first day; exhausted as usual, along with a number of CFS sufferers. My life changed that first afternoon. I went home and did my homework and was then able to walk up a hill for the first time in six years.  It felt fantastic, although I was a little worried about what this might cost me the next day. However, I woke up at 6am a new man; I had a refreshed sleep, new-found energy and even a desire to go for a run! I got up and walked and walked, for some reason singing Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best!” A lead weight had come off me; I felt alive for the first time in years. Each day got better and better from then on. I never used my electric scooter again and my carer was given notice as there was no longer a need for their services.

I was so impressed with the process and it had changed my life so dramatically that I decided I wanted to help others make a positive difference in their own lives, so I studied to become a qualified Lightning Process Practitioner.  After more than a year’s training with the brains behind the Lightning Process, Phil Parker, I set up my own Lightning Process practice. I decided to call my company “Withinspiration” as I want to inspire others the same way I have been inspired by the positive influence it can have on lives. I thought that if I can inspire even one other person to break free from their illness, I will have paid back the gift I had been given.

I have run courses for clients from all over the world and have worked with children as young as 10 through to those in their 80’s, and it has truly been inspiring.  I am not bitter about my illness because I was very fortunate to find another side to myself and I believe that without going through what I did, I would not have unlocked my true potential to live the life I love. If what you’re doing is not working, try something different. You might be surprised.