Maybe Mickel Therapy Isn’t Complete Bullshit After All

I had a go at Mickel Therapy a couple of years ago, but gave up because:

  • I had difficulty identifying the onset of any particular symptom, which is key to the process. My symptoms remained pretty much constant, aside from an intense tiredness hitting in the afternoon. None of the actions I took every had an immediate impact on the symptom I was experiencing at the time, which left me feeling pretty hopeless about the process.
  • The primary emotion I was experiencing was anger, and Mickel Therapy didn’t appear to have a tool for dealing with anger unless it arose in response to something. I felt angry pretty much all the time.
  • The one thing I could identify that triggered anger was my therapist using a facile analogy of sitting on a pin to describe why it was important to identify the trigger and deal with it. Of course if you’re sitting on a pin, you don’t just sit and meditate on the pain you’re in… you pull out the fucking pin. But when you’re sitting on a pin you know exactly where the problem lies so it’s easy to identify the solution. CFS wasn’t like that for me. My therapist trotted out this ridiculous analogy every time we talked, so my strategy for dealing with that emotion was to quit talking to him.

So I gave up. However, I did continue to implement the 3 assertiveness keys, and to look for ways to process emotions that came my way. In particular I remembered Fleur telling me that she realized by doing MT that she was basically bored. So I started riding my bicycle in the afternoons instead of going to bed, then going to an acting class right around the time I usually felt most tired. Or hanging out with a friend in the afternoon. Or going to the beach to go body boarding. Interestingly, when I did these things I didn’t feel so tired; or at least I didn’t notice it, and didn’t spend time obsessing over it. I’ve also continued to do things I love, like playing music, and to plan more of them every day.

I’ve also been applying some of the principles I learned in the Gupta Program, like meditating every day and going for a walk in nature. I live near bushland, and spend at least an hour each day bushwalking, or just sitting and meditating. Over time, I’ve found my mind is much calmer now and I’m not so anxious. I also exercise first thing in the morning, something my naturopath put me onto in an effort to reduce my night-time cortisol levels so I could get some restorative sleep. My Mickel Therapist had suggested that I not do any other therapy at the same time, and I sort of ignored his advice as I was taking what seemed like the best advice from all over the place. Perhaps that wasn’t such a good idea.

The other day I went cycling in the morning with another friend of mine who has recently done The Lightning Process, and found it significantly increased his energy levels. Along the way we stopped at a beach where I had a swim. I’m not a great swimmer as I’ve never been comfortable putting my face under water; even snorkeling causes me to panic over whether I’ll be able to breathe. So I tried swimming “properly” with my face under the water for a few strokes; something that used to cause me great anxiety as a kid. After a minute or so of doing this in shallow water, I stood up and felt so disoriented, I couldn’t walk straight. I felt nauseous for about the next hours, as if I’d been spun around until I felt sick. I thought I was going to throw up.

Now I can’t explain this purely in terms of fight/flight/freeze response. Nor have I ever been fully comfortable with Gupta’s explanation of the amygdala triggering flu-like symptoms. I just don’t get how that could happen; it doesn’t have that level of control. But the hypothalamus does; it’s in control of just about everything. When I stuck my head under the water, my best guess is that an oversensitive amygdala triggered an oversensitive hypothalamus leading my body to go all out of wack.

So perhaps Gupta and Mickel are both right, and the amygdala and the hypothalamus are both overstimulated; but while lots of the therapy I’ve been doing has been amygdala focused (like dealing with past trauma), it probably came at the expense of retriggering the hypothalamus. It seems to me that since the physical symptoms are the most distressing, the most important thing is to calm down the hypothalamus; and let the amygdala calm down by itself. Or perhaps Mickel Therapy calms them both down by removing the emotional stimulus.

I’m off into speculation land now, but the main learning for me is to stop doing things that scare me, in my attempts to deal with anxiety by expanding my comfort zone. The one exception to this is stuff that contributes directly to my future career, since financial stress is one thing that contributes to anxiety. I also feel even more committed to finding things that I love to do, and doing more of them, so that my amygdala is only ever sending feel-good signals to the hypothalamus.

If everyone else in the world could just join me in this plan, perhaps we can have world peace without me having to win a beauty contest.

Author: Graham

I'm a guy in his late 40's, recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since May 2009. I now offer coaching and support to other people with CFS/ME.

5 thoughts on “Maybe Mickel Therapy Isn’t Complete Bullshit After All”

  1. HI Graham,

    Inspiring posts you have hear. I found your site first by googling CFS and trauma, which led me to your Mickel posts in 2012.

    This is just my personal opinion, but I think you might agree after you watch some of the videos on youtube, that “Faster EFT” is the technique that actually addresses the repressed anger and anxiety (or any other trauma) by changing the old memories and replacing them with new ones.

    I’m not sure if this link will work, but just as a starter, check out this video (there are over 500 free Faster EFT vids on youtube):

    His wife’s story and session are also on youtube.

    1. Thanks for the tip Kelly. I have tried EFT in the past and didn’t find it particularly helpful; although I liked the positive affirmations it involves. I’ll check out the Faster version. Where are you at with your health now?

      1. Thanks for asking…
        y health took a nosedive about 3 years ago, and was almost bedridden about 2-3 months ago, but am very, very slowly improving. Lots of factors involved (just tested positive for urine mycotoxins as one example), but am finding the ‘faster eft’ to be helpful overall…

        Best regards!

  2. Hi Graham,
    I love reading your posts! I have a question for you after reading this post, have you ever been tested for Pyrrole disorder??? Have a read about it here —–>
    “It is an imbalance where there is an overproduction of hydroxyhempyrolin (HPL). The HPL binds zinc and B6 preventing their use by the body and causing excretion in the urine and hair. HPL is a biomarker for oxidative stress and is neurotoxic. Stress of any kind will increases production of pyrroles/HPL which in turn decreases zinc and B6”. People who test positive for pyrrole become so extremely deficient in these vital vitamins that it can reak havoc on a persons life!
    I only ask this as I have been a sufferer of CFS/Fib for 5 years and have only recently been tested for this particular thing as most of the symptoms mirror that of many illnesses like CFS/fib as well the mental health symptoms and my test came back extremely positive. In fact my levels tested at the levels most Schitzophrenics test at! Which would explain alot of my emotional state over the course of my life. Not displaying schitzophrenic behaviour but I have had bouts of depression, major anxiety, fear, been diagnosed with PTSD etc etc and why no matter how much meditation, restorative yoga, counselling, good eating blah blah that I have done over the years has worked when I have such an intolerance to stress due to the Pyrrole at play. I also help run a CFS/fib support group here in Australia and one of our members brang the issue of Pyrrole to our attention during one of our meetings last year.
    Something to ponder for you if you’ve never been tested! If you’d like to chat to me more about it then I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.
    Hope you feel better soon, Keep on truckin’ homey G!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Christine. A close friend of mine who has been ill for several years was recently diagnosed with Pyrrole disorder. I figured I’d wait to see whether the treatment actually works for him, since I’ve been down similar roads before. I’ll add it to the list of things to try. Cheers, Graham

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