My case is perhaps rare and as of recovery in 2016, occurred over more than a decade and a half. There is much to relate but a summary will suffice. Having enjoyed a strong constitution in childhood, I unfortunately developed significant emotional problems during my teenage years. These compromised my quality of life and behaviour and the resulting negative chapter was exacerbated by a debilitating viral infection I contracted at age 19. The after-effects of this led to a ‘burn-out’ in 2004 and then a series of unforeseen events:
I endured two and a half years of profound exhaustion, fever-like states, respiratory infections and muscular pain. These seemed mysterious in cause but were unrelenting and so taxing they rendered me partially disabled. Eventually, it was explained to me by specialists at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead that I was likely suffering with Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome/Chronic Fatigue. Their understanding of the condition was evidently limited, so, desiring a full recovery rather than their suggested management of symptoms, I left their care.
Then, in 2008, the run of bad luck I had met with continued – I developed a case of Gastroenteritis which warranted hospitalisation. Treatment was simple: several days of antibiotics, followed by a certification of health. But it seemed clear that the disease had caused lasting harm to my intestines and, from that period onwards, I lived with new and problematic digestive symptoms – pain, sensations of inflammation in the gut and a worsening inability to digest solid food. By the Autumn of 2011, these had become so severe that I lost the ability to eat entirely, along with a quarter of my body weight and started passing blood.
I was promptly taken into the care of several of Britain’s leading gastroenterologists, who examined me and concurred I likely had some form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. They undertook extensive testing in attempts to verify this but conclusive evidence was somewhat difficult to obtain: some data strongly suggested the hypothesis but was then countered by vaguer results. That left them with little to offer except the advice that I await a more adequate diagnosis while they continued investigations. The one vital role they did play immediately was placing me on a liquid medical diet. This may have saved my life.
Five nightmarish years ensued, which saw me confined to not only my house but my bed for the overwhelming majority of the time. I grew skeletally thin, earned daily insights into the realities of starvation and suffered constant pain. My principal activity consisted of staggering out of bed to prepare one of the liquid meals provided to me before collapsing again and was only really complimented by occasional visits to hospital. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a desperate shadow gazing back at me. My only respite was sleep. The brutality of what I was forced to suffer was almost too much to bear – trapped in a body which had lost the ability to regulate itself, I could but lie where I was, hoping beyond hope that some help might appear.
The pain was appalling, the hunger like being tortured every day. Yet as absolutely awful as both of them seemed, they paled in contrast to what was happening to my mind. It was the combination of the physical dysfunction with years of isolation, acute vulnerability and an increasingly vivid fear of death which tipped me over the edge and I began to break apart. In fact, I experienced four psychotic episodes, the last of which was so acute that I attempted suicide then ended up being sectioned. The extreme stress of finding myself confined to a psychiatric ward, terrified that I might never recover my sanity, exacted a further toll – my Thyroid gland began to malfunction and was diagnosed as hyperactive. Thus, I was not only extensively weakened and traumatised in body but also barely able to process reality. The obligation to try and control my mental behaviour when it felt as if every element of suppressed torment was erupting from within me was the very lowest point. It tested my will to live more than anything ever had and left me feeling that I genuinely might rather die than struggle on.
One of the hidden blessings such monumental crises always contain is the encouragement they offer us to evolve. It may be commonly said that we can never know how powerful we are until we face our greatest challenges but it is also definitely true. The descent into those hellish states and borderline madness actually enabled me to find myself and some spark of life was kindled. As I regained the ability to order my thoughts, I recognised I had no choice but to accept the situation I had ended up in and then spend what energies I did have on trying to recover. This would evidently involve abandoning the mainstream medical profession, which had offered me everything it could but failed. It was time to look for help elsewhere. I embarked on the only remaining course of action – a quest for answers.
I had actually investigated ‘alternative’ healing methods somewhat over the years. The experience of living with disease whilst studying the traditions which sought to empower invalids to overcome it offered a perfect opportunity for implementing their teachings. What greater test could there be? When I was allowed to return home I embraced the isolation I had resented, seeing new potential within it for reflection. I meditated intensively, spending hours each day in altered states of consciousness. All aspects of my illnesses: thoughts, emotions and symptoms, were reconsidered and analysed as clues to my predicament. What was actually wrong with me? Why had someone who had known almost limitless vitality earlier in life collapsed into such incapacity? Crucially as well, what role was my attitude exerting on my prospects? Answering these was not easy; I was still desperately hungry and almost unable to think. But I persevered, finding invaluable relief in the quiet of trance and, over several months, making an extraordinary discovery.
There were specific areas of my intestines which had been particularly badly affected – they ran in complexes through the abdomen, feeling like burning knots in its tissues. But as I paid attention to them I realised they were vastly more intricate. There was an emotional quality to each of them, revealing them to be not simply physical masses but almost aspects of my personality residing in separate places. They also changed as they were examined – sensing into them and perceiving the feelings bound within them would trigger releases of these and then improvements. The emotional charge would lessen but so would any symptoms associated with it! A few repetitions of this were enough to expose the truth: the precise areas of my body where I had stored negative ideas I had long lived by had ended up the most damaged and inflamed. I had held onto the pain of childhood and inherited family trauma, failed to come to terms with it and left it to grow so strong that it manifested as physical disease. ‘Chronic Fatigue’, ‘Inflammatory Bowel Disease’ and ‘Hyperthyroidism’ were depression, anger, fear. The very same psychological problems I had first dealt with in adolescence were bound up in and driving my illnesses!
One dream-like vision in particular, seen in meditation, revealed the absolute significance of this: drawn to a memory from a dozen years earlier, I was able to remember a time before the physical problems had started and when I had been ‘well’. Nevertheless, the presence of emotional issues I had found at the root of my conditions was clear, even then. They were like echoes from the past; only in subtle form initially but unmistakable as causes of ill health in the present. All that remained was to determine how such destructive tendencies could be resolved. I pressed ahead, spending several months fathoming how thoughts and emotions behaved then developing methods for clearing them. With every layer of these I uncovered and let go of, I grew stronger.
That process – meticulous self-analysis, recognition of the spiritual causes of my symptoms and their resolution by mental means – became a healthy obsession. I did almost nothing else whilst involved in it except seek the advice of various healers. Some were much more capable than others and it also became apparent how important it was to find the right teacher relative to one’s character. I asked for advice and learnt meditation and hypnotherapy practices from various therapists. But the most important part of the journey was my own self-inquiry.
I was entering the latter stages of recovery and despite the continuing emaciation and fragility, started tapping into a happiness I had probably never known. For there was something about establishing the will to live that was supremely empowering. Although the trials of the body and its symptoms definitely impacted on how much I could do at any time, this seemed to matter less and less so long as I continued honing my intentions. Notions of limitation were explored and released. ‘I cannot’ became ‘I can and will’, and it was astounding to feel the body assert itself again. Then, in a case of interesting timing, I was invited back into hospital to hear news that my gastroenterologist had acquired certain evidence that I did, in fact, have Colitis. He was tremendously enthused and related how it would be possible to proceed with a treatment regime! But I already understood that this was not necessary – my inner healing had advanced enough that I knew I was leaving it all behind and would get well. I refused the medication offered, did not book in for additional testing and instead spent some final, exhilarating weeks at home. I recovered.
It was blissful to be out of pain, to feed the body again, leave the house and enter environments more varied than those four walls. As the healing was consolidated daily existence became infused with an appreciation for life which is hard to describe. I also became a healer – the recuperation was complete and my confidence in the methods I had refined inspired me to apply them in helping others. Some of my client’s cases are detailed here on the website and the telling of my story and theirs brings us largely into the present. I am based in Herefordshire, England, researching holistic healing and will spend the rest of my life contributing to the field. The work is so priceless that it seems only right those passionate about it advance what is already known about the mind and human potential. I am also available for consultation and if you are interested in meditation, emotional development or have physical issues you would like to try and resolve then please get in touch. Consciousness is an intricate phenomenon and guidance regarding its cultivation from those who have studied it in detail can be very helpful.
Such was the life of a man who never expected to be deprived by circumstance of almost his entire adult existence until the age of 34. My odyssey through fourteen years of trauma and adversity was an absolute nightmare. It saw me told by ‘experts’ that there was no hope, drove me to the brink of ending my own life then inspired me to search across continents in pursuit of what I ultimately found within myself. The events which took place during my illnesses seemed for so long to constitute a cruel and terrible imprisonment which was ultimately followed by the most incomparably rewarding surprise of a lifetime. My restoration was almost unprecedented by conventional standards. Yet my case, along with those of many others who have faced extreme odds and overcome them, is undeniable proof of the power of one’s decisions. If I could pass on a suggestion to anyone facing their own existential challenge it would be…never give in! Our self-healing potential is truly greater than we have ever realised and miracles are possible.