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.