Update on Mickel Therapy progress

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I thought it was time for an update. It’s a bit over two months since I started Mickel Therapy, and I feel really ambivalent about the whole thing.

On the down side, since starting Mickel I’ve felt more panicy, anxious and depressed than I have for some time. I feel tense in the head all the time (although that started several months before) and the feeling of constant fear sends me crazy. I also go to a depression & anxiety support group where the leader is convinced that my physical symptoms are due to anxiety; technically I shouldn’t be doing any other kind of therapy while I’m doing Mickel, but I have no idea how to do that without going completely insane. I need other people to talk to about this whole thing. I have a pretty big fear of going downhill into some crazy depressed/anxious state and not ever coming out again. When I’m really anxious, the negative thoughts just go ballistic and I end up feeling really anxious just about being anxious.

On the up side, applying the third key to Mickel therapy has motivated me to get out more and have more fun. I’ve been going dancing again about once per week, something I used to love doing before falling ill. I don’t seem to have any after-effects from the physical exertion, like I used to. I only stay for half the lesson and just focus on having fun. I used to focus on picking up women at dancing; that was always a big part of the attraction for me. Now I’m trying to focus on just dancing, enjoying the music, and the company of the women who seem to like me and enjoy dancing with me. Perhaps I should have asked for that cute girl’s number; but which one? I’ve fallen into trouble before when I asked for the number of the best friend of another girl I’d been hanging out with a little, not realizing they were best friends…

I’ve also been doing a greater variety of physical activity, on the assumption that my body is bored. The main element of Mickel therapy is identifying what emotion is underlying the symptoms as they arise, and taking some action to address the emotion involved. My symptoms don’t vary all that much and I struggle to apply this part of the process. I hate taking notes and it’s just so fucking boring. I can’t see any great correlation between the symptoms and anything I try to do to address the emotion underneath them. My bullshit detector keeps going off, telling me this is probably a load of crap, even though much of it is consistent with other things I’ve been learning about how the brain operates. I’m still skeptical of how a suppressed emotion could generate the feeling that I’ve got a cold all the time. I get angry with my Mickel therapist when he starts talking about the theory behind it, half of which sounds like something out of a new age Louise Hay book to me. Being ill for four years has certainly put me in touch with my inner cynic and I feel like giving up. Usually in the afternoon between about 2pm and 4pm, when I usually feel like a narcoleptic puppy dog desperately in need of a sleep. Apparently that’s just “false tiredness” in Mickel lingo, so I try to go out and do something fun/interesting/less boring instead like ride my bicycle, play guitar, visit a friend or go to the beach. I’m really sick of this whole thing sucking my life energy out of me when what I really want is to be out doing something creative and rewarding. Not trying to get well all the goddam time!

I went to an Inner Child bootcamp two weeks ago, which was all about healing some of the emotional scars I was still carrying from childhood. It was fun at the time and I met some really compassionate people who were also working on their own stuff. I felt exhausted afterwards; I guess emotional healing is just plain tiring. Not doing it is also tiring, so what to do?

I’ve been feeling anxious a lot lately and that’s the worst part of this whole thing. I can cope with feeling tired, but feeling anxious really bugs me. I don’t feel so bad when I’m doing something creative. I seem to have the capacity to worry about just about anything. I think I might have a go at worrying about alien invasion or something else that I’m dead certain will never happen. People sometimes say that we always worry about things that never end up happening; but I remember worrying about getting CFS before falling ill, so that’s like a kick in the guts.

I alternate a lot between feeling cranky/angry and feeling anxious. I think I prefer angry.

I haven’t been posting much because I’ve been focusing on the third key of Mickel therapy, which is to meet a balance of my own needs, and that means not sitting behind a computer screen blogging all day. Instead I’ve been playing keyboard and guitar more, and going out more. I love playing guitar by the beach. I fantasize about some hot blonde bombshell in a skimpy bikini seeing me play guitar while walking past, thinking “Hmm… musician!” and sitting down next to me to chat. I end up back at her place learning how to untie a bikini. That sounds like a positive note to end on, and I hear my guitar calling…

Happy 2011, and an update

Hey folks,

Well it’s been a long time between updates, but I thought I’d drop in to wish you all a Happy 2011.

This year has been pretty rough at times, but I seem to be recovering gradually. There is hope on the horizon. On a bad day it may feel like wishful thinking, but I don’t think so.

Most of my energy in 2010 was taken up with a very demanding acting course, which another friend with Chronic Fatigue recommended as a way of unlocking my blocked emotions. Wow, it was a blast. High highs, and low lows. Plus I got to meet a really inspiring group of people who are pursuing their dreams. I’ll always be grateful for the friend who put me onto it. Did it make me better physically? I’m not so sure, but it was a great experience and I do seem a bit more energetic than when I started the year.

In lieu of any better explanation, I’m going along with Gupta’s amygdala hypothesis that the underlying problem is really anxiety. It seems to fit my symptoms, especially the panic attacks and frequent anxiety overwhelm. I suspect I got more out of doing Path of Love than I did out of doing the Gupta program though, and I’m going to continue to pursue avenues for emotional catharsis, reducing anxiety and eliminating shame through exposure in loving environments.

I’ve spent the last 4 months working on The Confident Man Project, which is now mostly in maintenance mode. There will always be more stuff I can do on it, but I have many other projects in mind to complete. I tend to jump from one thing to another rapidly without settling, which makes it difficult to see anything through to successful completion. I think the more emotional healing work I do, the closer I get to being my true self, and the clearer my plan for the future should become.

One minute I want to be a rock star, the next a famous writer, the next a stand-up comic, and then some sort of life coach. Fear of failure and the amount of effort involved in anything creative to become successful has me blocked. I feel stressed due to a lack of clear direction, but in the mean time I keep working on existing projects. Maybe one day I’ll feel satisfied just “being” without having to “do”; but I want to make a contribution and I want to be rewarded financially. That’s not gonna happen just sitting back meditating all day, even if I did have the patience for it.

Anyway, life is pretty good. I’m not so depressed these days, and less anxious lately. Sharing how I really feel with other people has been tremendously valuable in this regard, as has learning to express my anger and stand up for myself more. It’s all hard work when I’m feeling fatigued, but that hasn’t been so bad lately, so I feel optimistic.

Be kind to yourselves, and be real with other people folks. If people accuse you of negative thinking when expressing frustration, grief or upset at being ill, tell ’em to take a hike. We will get better. Hang in there…


Unrefreshing Sleep!

Woke up this morning feeling depressed and washed out. “Unrefreshing sleep”, as they say. Well, I’ve never been a morning person so this is just more of the same. I think it was mainly about feeling overwhelmed and the zoned-out feeling in my head doesn’t help. I tried some anti-histamines yesterday to see if it did anything to my nasal congestion; but it did not. I also tried some Benadryl PE cough suppressant to try and help me get to sleep last night, and I think that helped a bit.

This afternoon I went to my men’s group, which I really enjoyed. There’s something about having a group of guys who don’t judge you; who accept you for who you are and where you’re at. I few years ago I would never have told anyone that I was depressed; the stigma would have been too great and I would have felt ashamed. But what do you know… everyone in the group has been depressed at one time or another. It’s normal. It’s natural. It’s not what you want, but it’s part of the whole experience of being human.

Meanwhile, I have big plans for the future, and I’m working towards them. For some time I’ve been working towards becoming a professional public speaker or comedian. I’m not exactly sure how it’s going to pan out, but I’ve got a few ideas for going forward. The main thing to deal with is my fear of failure. It’s unlikely that I’m going to hit the nail on the head first go, but I’m tired of feeling listless and like I’m not going anywhere. My fatigue is worst on the days when I have to get up in the mornings, but I cope reasonably well in the evenings. So evening gigs should be do-able. I need to keep reminding myself to be patient because it’s going to take some time to get the skills that I need and to do the networking that I need in order to get bookings. In the meantime, I’ll coach other people and pass on the communication skills that I’ve learned so far – They say that the way to fulfil your dreams is to help others fulfil theirs. Having a direction of some sort leaves me feeling more optimistic and less anxious than when I just have a vague plan and little real direction.

I thought I was Anxious, but actually I’m Angry!!!

I cried myself to sleep last night; the mood swings were really getting to me, and I just felt really depressed about how stuck I feel being ill much of the time. Lee’s advice yesterday to put my dreams on hold and avoid pushing on with the help of medication, while valid and helpful, sounded depressing. Who wants to have dreams on hold? I went to bed feeling like crap. I hadn’t cried in ages, so it felt good to have a bit of emotional release.

I had weird dreams all night, and woke up feeling really anxious. I have a morning class on Wednesdays, and I’ve never been a morning person. Even less so now. I headed off to class, feeling anxious and resentful. When it came time to do my activity in class, the teacher paired me up with another guy. We’re doing scripts in class this week, and the script is written for a guy and a girl; not two guys. I was in a filthy mood, and when the activity started, the guy I was working with was holding back, half-hearted, sly and manipulative. So I called him on all those things… and got angry… really angry. So much so that he was rather blown away by how forceful I was; didn’t know where it was all coming from.

At  the end of the activity, the teacher said my work was brilliant! He asked me where I had got that from, and I said “I woke up this morning feeling really anxious!”.

“Well, do that before every class then! Your work was really good. You had a breakthrough today.” my teacher replied.

I felt so so so relieved afterwards; I was beaming. It wasn’t just the positive feedback, it was also the getting-it-off-my-chest thing. I think there’s something to the idea that when a man represses his anger, it comes out somewhere else, particularly as anxiety or depression. It made me wonder whether I could run a workshop for men on anxiety, teaching the acting technique we use. It’s very simple at heart, but incredibly liberating, especially for guys like me who have a life-time’s practise at withholding anger. After class, one of the other beginners who seems quite like me asked if we could do an activity together, because I was on fire!

I came home feeling really good; and I think that’s how I’ll spend the rest of the day, thanks… taking it easy. Feeling about 7/10. And no, I haven’t had any medication today! (Just the usual vitamin regime).