8 years ago, my father passed away from cancer. This was followed by a period of additional stress in my life. I had several months of picking up every virus going – in and out of stomach bugs and so on. Where once I had bounced back from these common ailments in the blink of any eye – they now laid me low for several days at a time. Having just come out of yet another stomach bug – gastric flu – I was given a flu jab, because I have a history of a heart condition. Boom! My system imploded.
I went from being an energetic, active person, who had once been very sporty at school (hockey, athletics competitions, competitive swimming, gymnastics – you name it, I used to be able to do it), to someone who could barely get out of bed in the morning and one who literally feared exercise in any form. My body was inexplicably wracked with pain – I never knew where I was going to hurt next – and NEVER knew why. The fatigue was terrible. Coordination, hearing, vision deteriorated and my ability to think clearly seemed to vanish without a trace! I could barely hold down my job – which fortunately was part-time. The days I wasn’t working, all I wanted to do was sleep. I was utterly exhausted – all the time! Yet, I was unable to sleep at night – insomnia was my new bed mate. I hurt in so many places, and yet there was no reason for the pain. Most days, trying to get out of bed, took several minutes – as I was determined to push through the pain, no matter what.
So began the cycle of repeated appointments to the doctor and consultants, trying to find an answer to the string of bizarre symptoms that I was living with. Inconclusive blood test after blood test. Assessment after assessment – until finally I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
My family lost their Mum, as they had known her. My husband lost his wife as he had known her, for years. He ended up having to take on board so many of the things that I used to do, on top of working long full days, himself. The doctors tried all manner of drugs to help manage my symptoms, and pain levels. Nothing worked. All the drugs did was help me sleep through the cycles of insomnia. They made the brain fog so much worse, that I simply could not take them during the day – and hope to function at work.
Scroll forward a few years, when I began learning about Rhythmic Movement Training, which had helped my son so profoundly. My instructor and mentor, told me that as I worked on my reflexes, particularly the Fear Paralysis Reflex and the Moro Reflex, I would get better. She had recovered from chronic ME, using Rhythmic Movement Training, herself. I confess, I was sceptical. However, I have persevered with working on my reflexes – which incidentally, had ALL become active again – and the changes have been significant.
I hardly ever have any pain any more. I can go for five mile walks with my family, without needing to sit down and rest every 200 yards or so. (Many a time, family outings have had to be brought to a premature end, because I was in so much pain, I could not walk.) I can canoe with my family for seven miles without even flinching. Not so long ago, I could not even swim 50 metres of breaststroke, without my muscles seizing up.
I know when my low tolerance to stress is kicking in again – because the pain begins to return and the fatigue begins to climb again – so I have to be careful. I do three minutes of selected exercises on a regular basis – daily when I am having a dip. My coordination is returning, The exercises help me to sleep better – without the aid of any form of drug, they give me energy the next day and they help me to think more clearly. As a result of what I have been learning through the Rhythmic Movement Training, I can understand why so many aspects have changed for me, and I recognise that it will take time to get totally better again – but I am in a completely different place, to the one I was in a year ago. One of the greatest things about it, is that all I am doing it, stimulating my brain to heal itself again.
The stress I had been under reactivated my primitive reflexes, which are meant to protect us. They triggered my body into ‘flight’ mode, so that everything was withdrawing. This created an instability in all my postural reflexes. Normal things became an awful lot more effortful for my brain to cope with – hence the fatigue. This, in turn has had a knock on effect to my sensory awareness, my gross motor coordination, my fine motor coordination, my visual skills and my auditory skills. So, I have a lot of work to do, to put things back into place. It took me nearly forty years to get to where I was, before I developed fibromyalgia – but it’s great to know that it won’t take me as long as that, to get back to that point, again.
Have you had tremendous stress in your life? Do you suffer from a chronic fatigue condition? Investigate the role that primitive reflexes play in your development and functionality. If you want to see if Rhythmic Movement Training could help you, look on www.rhythmicmovement.com or www.rhythmicmovement.co.uk to find a provider near you.