Is The Gupta Programme a 100% Cure?

I got an email today from a reader of this blog who could relate to my story. They asked how I was, whether parental conflict issues from childhood were common in CFS, and said they were having trouble thinking of the Gupta Programme as a 100% cure. Here’s my response:

Thanks for your message. I’m glad you found my blog helpful. I woke up feeling pretty tired this morning, as usual, and played my guitar for a while before going back to bed for some meditation. I ended up falling asleep, and woke up feeling worse. I lay there thinking “Well, if I feel tired, perhaps I really do just need to rest”. Gets pretty boring kinda quick though.

In the absence of any better theory, I’m pretty convinced that the underlying cause of CFS is emotional stress, and there’s nothing like parental conflict in childhood to set you up for that. It left me with some pretty deeply rooted fear, and a sense that the world was a dangerous place to be in. Throw in a God who lets you go to hell to suffer for all eternity if you do, say, or believe the wrong thing, and it’s little wonder I’m anxious. I don’t think the link is just co-incidental. Ashok’s theory about the amygdala getting stuck in fight-or-flight mode makes sense to me.

I’ve only been on the Gupta programme for about 2 months. It feels like longer! I keep reminding myself to do Stop-Stop-Stop when I have negative thoughts, but I get lazy. Yes, and I too wonder sometimes whether it is all really working or not, and that causes me more stress. I start thinking “what’s the point? It probably won’t work anyway”, and worrying about whether I’ll actually be well at the end of the 6 months. I’ve always been skeptical of the whole emotional-issues-causing-physical-illness thing, but here I am with nowhere else to go so I’m giving it my best shot. I came across some recent medical papers on the Internet talking about a “psychogenic cough”, so it seems chronic stress can cause coughing symptoms. It doesn’t seem like a huge gap from that to full-on flu-like symptoms of CFS.

Nevertheless, I keep getting distracted with thoughts of “What do I really want to do with my life?”, and wanting to be out earning money and feeling like I’m “getting somewhere”. Starting the acting course has made that a little easier, as I feel like I’m a student again back at uni or something, which gives me a reprieve from pressuring myself to be working. Plus I just got an unexpectedly large inheritance from a pseudo-aunty which will keep me going for at least a year without digging into my savings. I really feel for people with CFS who are struggling to make ends meet; that’s just got to put even more stress on them.

I’ve had years of therapy even before getting CFS, and I’m looking at other avenues for unlocking emotional repression that I think probably helps fuel the amygdala stress cycle. So I’m also doing an acting course based on the Meisner technique of getting in touch with your emotions and learning to express them authentically, which another friend of mine with similar symptoms to CFS put me onto. It’s very obvious during the practise sessions that I’m pent up and there are emotional areas I just don’t seem to go into. I see other students struggling with the same thing, and the teacher’s comment is: “We’ll fix that”. I find it really encouraging when other students tell me they can relate to where I’m at, and have since moved on to feeling more free. It gives me hope. They may not have the physical symptoms, but they know what it’s like to be stuck in self-consciousness and emotional repression. Looking back, I was feeling stressed out and desperate for several years before my physical symptoms hit.

I’m glad you’re finding the programme helpful; it reminds me to stick at it. I’ve come across a few people on the forum who seemed to tail off it because they got bored or distracted, even though they acknowledge that it was helping them. Don’t give up! Keep in touch and let me know how you go down the track.

Cheers,
Graham
http://cfs-survivors.org/

Highs and Lows

I feel ok today. Woke up and did soften-and-flow and the positive visualisation. I feel stuffed in the head and tired as usual, but pretty up-beat. Hey, it’s a weekend and the sun is shining. You gotta love that.

I’ve had a heap of highs and lows this week. Been feeling quite tense, though nowhere near as bad as mid last year. My acting course is going brilliantly; I’m really enjoying it. It’s awesome to have finally found something I really love doing again. I don’t know if the novelty will wear off, but at the moment I’m really having great fun doing repetition practice with the other students. It’s a fantastic opportunity to play around with a cool bunch of dudes. I especially love rep’ing with the girls; I just feed off their energy and invariably have them in stitches laughing and flirting with me by the end. I kept teasing this girl like crazy last night and she kept swinging between offended-but-amused and laughing uncontrollably. Told me I should be a stand-up comic. I’ll consider that.

I never seem to get angry during the repetition practice even when people are having a go at me. Whenever I start heading towards being angry or sad, I laugh. I know it’s a defence mechanism and I’ve been looking at that as something to try and “fix”, but now I’m thinking maybe I’ll just accept it. I dunno how much I go along with the idea that repressed anger causes illnesses like chronic fatigue anyway. Maybe I’m just not an angry guy. If people insult me and I just laugh it off, that sounds like a pretty good coping mechanism. Much better than getting hurt and upset about it like I used to. So what if I never really get angry? And a stand-up comic who laughs off hecklers and puts them in their place would go down rather well. Perhaps it is my second calling.

The downside is that when I feel low, I really feel low. And it comes on quickly. Lately it’s always triggered by my book not selling. It’s like the world is rejecting me because it doesn’t like what I have to offer, which pushes my buttons big time. I gave up engineering because I got burned out and bored, and doing something more creative in the arts still appeals to me; but the reality is that it’s a shitload easier to get a high-paying engineering job than it is to make a fortune selling e-books on the internet! My conservatism and unwillingness to fork out money on a project that’s not earning anything doesn’t help; I’m massively risk-averse. My savings are my security, especially when I don’t feel up to working. I don’t want to go blowing it on some crazy money-making scheme that may not pan out. And the more time I put into promoting the e-book when it’s not selling, the more I go through these goddam mood swings. Besides, it’s meant to be fun. It’s not fun when I’m worrying about whether people like it or not. That’s just old needy Graham popping up again in a new context.

I’m considering taking next week off altogether; but I know I’m addicted to validation and people purchasing my wares is just another form of that, so I can pretty much guarantee I’ll keep at it. I’m not really following Ashok’s advice to stop working though. My meditation retreat is coming up in a few weeks time, so that will definitely give me some time out.

I’ve also joined a men’s group, and we have our first meeting this afternoon. I’m looking forward to that; I’ve never had really close friendships with many men before, and I think it’s something I’m lacking a bit. It should be a good support mechanism too.

Mood swings

I find I get really big mood swings with this thing. They’re always triggered by some experience, like an interaction with someone else or getting negative feedback in some way.

I went to a workshop in Saturday which was all about who we are and the sort of energy we give to the world. I didn’t like what it told me about myself, which was basically that I’m sensitive and reserved.  I think that’s quite accurate, but it’s not who I would really like to be… So I ended up feeling quite upset and down on myself. I think the inner conflict about this is all part of what stresses me out, and keeps the illness going. I’m going to meet up with the guy who ran the workshop and talk it over with him. Interestingly, he mentioned in passing that he’d suffered from Chronic Fatigue too during his 30’s; understanding who he was and what he had to contribute to the world seemed to be part of his recovery story.

I had a pretty good day today. Created some presentations on SlideShare to promote my book, which was pretty good fun. Had a lie down this afternoon and did the meditations. I don’t feel too bad when I don’t exert myself. Bit frustrating when I imagine all the things I want to do when I’m better during the second meditation; because I want to do them now! But if I can at least keep from feeling like I’ve been hit by a Mach truck all the time, life’s not too bad. I think I’ll skip my guitar classes this term, as I’ll miss two weeks when I’m on the meditation retreat I want to go to.

Meanwhile, if you’re reading this, let me know how you’re doing. If you’re just starting the Gupta programme, make contact so we can talk about how you’re finding it.

The emotional rollercoaster continues

Had a rough night last night emotionally. I had been chatting on MSN to a girl I dated briefly at the end of last year on MSN, and she totally slammed me about the ebook I’ve published on dating and attraction. I kept thinking “That’s your reality, not mine” at the time, letting it just wash over me. But later that evening I got really despondent about it and decided to give up trying to promote it. It’s more important that I get my health back anyway, and it’s just an extra stressor at the moment. Went to bed at 11:30pm feeling despondent, and physically just tired.

Woke up this morning rather early at about 7am. Did the meditation and wellness visualisation.

Then when I checked my email, I found I’d had another sale. That always motivates me. So I did some work on the website, which went quite well. I stopped for lunch at a respectable hour rather than just ploughing through like I used to, and played some guitar. I’m learning a couple of songs for my nieces, for when they get back in a week or so. After finishing “work” for the day, I did the meditation again, and I ended up feeling really positive.

I know I made that 6-month commitment to not work and just do stuff I enjoy, but I actually do enjoy the Internet marketing stuff I’m working on… when I feel like I’m getting results. Fortunately today was one such day. I think it’s important not to push myself when I start feeling tired though, so that’s it for today. I’m off to read a book, grab dinner, and vege out in front of the telly for the rest of the evening.