Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The recorded message...

..on the Tiscali help-line says the email faults may take another few days to fix. I imagine engineers in hard hats with walkie-talkies climbing up transmitters and radio-ing to more qualified engineers with white shirts and gelled hair, sweating over micro-chip circuits in open plan control rooms. They'll say, we're gonna need more time, Sir. The blood pressure of chief exec's will be rising steadily as Tiscali customers across the land are email gagged for another few days. I am waving from my blog.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Not Another Highland Wedding?

Okay Agnes, we'll go if they don't serve venison burgers

Like my dear father, I have always been a late-to-bed and late-to-wake person. In a nonsensical way I feel almost proud it it. It feels more bohemian, less straight-laced.

Nice Man drove us to the Highlands for another wedding (we have an unprecedented 6 weddings over 3 months!) and I asked the landlady of our B&B what time breakfast was.

Oh well.., any time really, she said.

Hallelujah, I said - perhaps an over exuberant exclamation, but I never cease to applaud customer-centred flexibility in the hospitality industry.

Great, when's the latest time? I asked.

A quarter to nine for breakfast. Check out by ten.

Pardon? On a Sunday? So Long, Scottish breakfast. I might as well have woken her up at 1.37am when we came back from the wedding and asked her to do me poached eggs on toast. You said any time before quarter to nine was fine... Tired, you say?

On the drive home we stopped in a lay-by overlooking Rannoch Moor. There was a piper in full regalia busking for foreign tourists (who all seem to wear black and red gortex anoraks). His bagpipes were competing with the chug of a burger van generator amidst the general wafting of chip fat. We took my waterproof tartan blanket and hid behind a hillock where we stumbled upon two young deer with velvety antlers, chewing the heather and staring at us from a couple of sofa lengths away. Lovely.

I feel very wrecked again tonight. No boasting about MT improvements for now! I'll see how next week goes.

PS. My outgoing emails aren't getting through due to server issues. Just so you know.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

I have my days

What lack of logic to blame oneself for not sleeping well, yet I do. How tempting, yet unproductive, to manoeuvre into the cul-de-sac of self blame. Stop it you daftie? If I gave the impression that Mickel Therapy was a way forward for some, it may be, but that's not to say that it's easy. I still find myself in pockets of anxiety throughout the process, hence my sleep can waver. I think this is common. (To be fair, I had occasional, pre-process anxiety too). I am too locked in 'headyness' today. I must find something I can do to distract and enjoy myself . Welder by day, dancer by night? (Sorry, obscure Flashdance tag line, suddenly released from a brain cell that still thinks it's 14 years old).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

These Things I Know (for me, if not ME)

Phew! The blog comments kitchen isn't half heating up on the ol' mind/body therapies debate.

I'm trying to avoid getting dragged into rhetoric and I am fine with everyone expressing their views. In fact I feel like I'm sitting in the eye of the hurricane, where the leaves are barely rustling above my head. But I can tell people are still mystified, as I was, and still am. I don't feel qualified to pronounce any definitive answers as the Mickel Therapy (MT) is still a work in progress for me.

However, I thought I'd lasso a few truths and clarify them for myself. I don't wish to sound defensive - it's more a case of 'these things I know' (or at least I think I do...)

1) I know how disconcerting it is when you have tried hundreds of treatments without any success and someone suggests you should try an expensive one, and - guess what - it sounds the most implausible of all. It sounds just plain wrong. Of course you think, No Siree!
I am not urging anyone to try MT/RT/LP. I'm just being truthful about my ongoing experience with MT and how it has surprised me so far.

2) Phases of illness - Regular readers may know that I have been ill with ME for 20 years and my worst phases left me bed bound for two separate episodes of 4 years each. In the beginning the severity was almost beyond words. It was like a living death - I couldn't hold a knife and fork, wash my own hair, talk, watch TV, bear light or sound. I was in agonising head pain and felt 'poisoned' to death every waking moment. I was 7 stone and had involuntary muscle twitches, strobe-like flickering behind my eyes, new onset eczema etc, etc. You get the picture.
Do I think MT could have helped me then? My gut instinct would have said no, but one of the things MT has done for me now is to make more open in my thinking. I can't see how it could have helped the living death phases, but then I was adamant it wouldn't help now either. I have heard of MT/RT therapists who do house visits to the severely ill and claim that they can facilitate some sparks of improvement. My jury is out.

3) Price - I know it is expensive. MT folk are lobbying for trials to try and get it on the NHS (some ME folk are against this, but I think if it was free, there would be nothing to lose, for those who want to risk trying it). Anecdotally I hear that some therapists do give clients a discount after a few sessions. I hear that the MT/RT companies have a lot of running costs. If I took all the money I've lost over the years on trying a 101 things, it would pay for MT, and at least I am seeing some results, where before I saw none. (Pauses to remember dosh wasted on homeopathy, acupuncture, supplements ad infinitum, faith healers, some weird guru who cut off my hair and analysed it for cellular injuries?!)

4) Looking back on my first two sessions, my therapist said my face was 'a picture of complete doubt'. Yup. I was asked to 'suspend my disbelief' and try to follow the new theories in small ways. It is not about forcing or pushing. That is all I tried to do in the beginning. It was very slow, frustratingly slow, but I started to see pockets or small 'shifts', where I didn't feel as ill as I thought I would in the usual circumstances.

Okay...I'm beginning to feel uneasy as if I've fallen into trying to defend my status-quo, and defensiveness is unrelaxing. (If you live by the blog, you die by the blog, said Nice Man cheerfully). So I'll leave it here for now. I hope I make more progress, so I'll be able to consolidate what I'm trying to say. So I can talk the talk, then walk the walk.


Monday, May 21, 2007

A Highland Wedding

Lords a larky, I go away for a weekend and my blog comments section is simmering away like a debate in a medium-heat Tefal saucepan. Fair do's to all.

I'll stand back from the debate (for now!) other than to say I had a great weekend and managed to do more than I had in ages. Witness photo evidence of myself and Nice Man at the delightful wedding of Gaelic singer, Julie Fowlis ('it's great, but I have no idea what she's on about - Ricky Gervais). By the way, Julie will appear on the Jools Holland show next weekend.

The reception took place in this Victorian hotel in the Highland town of Strathpeffer. One of the pipers told us that Gaelic has far more words for shades of greens and blues than English. He told us it is rich and sensual in descriptions of nature. In the church people sang Amazing Grace in Gaelic and it sounded just as spine-tingly as it always does. And when the sky turned inky blue - or however the Gaels would paint it - there were Gay Gordons and Strip the Willows till the wee hours.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Hello again, dear readers and thanks for the comments and questions. So, an update...(pauses to twirl a cotton bud in her ear - is it only me who is hooked and on two or three a day?). I'm feeling a bit stretched this week as I flew down to visit my sister and cute nieces last weekend, and Nice Man and I are invited to a wedding in the Highlands next weekend. So I'm trying to catch up with the small stuff in between - email, dark washes, wilting pot plants. I am trying to keep in the 'flow' and attempting to side step what-if-I-can't-manage thoughts, which hover like wasps by a nest.
In response to Neil's very valid question - Why are you not encouraged to talk about the mind/body therapies? Well..., I used to wonder this myself, but I can see a rational behind the recommendation. In all these therapies, they suggest that clients try and move away from 'headyness' - I like this word because I do often feel tangled up by my thoughts. I get very 'heady' at times and I don't enjoy it. Analysing, explaining or defending MT to others might hold you back, when you are supposed to be trying to get into the flow of listening to what your body or 'bodymind' wants from everyday situations.
I don't think it's a cult or anything. If a patient got a medical procedure, his friends and family would be better off asking the doctor for technical details, rather than the bloke himself who has just started the tablets or had an appendix removed.
I don't know if MT would help most PWME. I hope it'll help me further but I still struggle with the concepts of it myself, so I've still got big 'L' plates on my MT car. I do know, however, that PWME's would be more likely to listen to other PWME's - those who hoed the rows for years, alongside them. Is that how you write hoed? Dictionary says yes.
Must go for a bowl of cereal now. It appears to be my main fuel. Move away from the headyness, lock target on Jordan's Organic Muesli. But thanks to others for asking and I'll let you know how I get on.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I wished I'd started this blog anonymously with some cool Internet nick-name instead of my own name which is mispronounced the world over. Plus, I could say anything with a secret identity.

I was going to swat a fly this evening and I picked up the first magazine to hand. It was a copy of Advocates for Animals and a pang of guilt made me make the extra effort to open the window and chase the fly out. I used to get Animal Times from Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). It was a glossy magazine with cover stars of calfs that looked like they were wearing mascara or collie dogs with bright eyes and black shiny lips. There was a purrs and grrrs section - pointing out companies or people who had kind animal policies (purrs) and those who perpetuated cruelty (grrrs). I used to write protest letters to the grrrs.


Radio news

Radio Scotland contacted me and invited me to take part in a half hour documentary on my 20 years of living with ME. Previously I'd have agreed on the spot, but this time I was unsure, all because I am still having Mickel Therapy sessions and finding them of benefit. In the world of ME politics, this is a very strange place to be. The mind/body therapies are a minority subset and those in the mainstream can't see how they could possibly help an illness as real and severe as ME. I know, oh yes indeed, because I used to be in that mainstream, flying the flag. No one is a surprised as I am.
Anyway, I agreed to do the programme, focusing on my longer term experiences and will record further interviews today. It's amazing how articulation and grammar try to jump out the window as soon as someone points a spongey microphone at your chin. There's a lot to cover as twenty years is a fair hike. The programme won't air till sometime in June and it'll be online too, so I'll post details when I have them.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Readiness, Parks, Chips.

I liked this quotes from my quotes-of-the-day email:
... if we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin. Turgenev, Ivan
Does life work best when there is overlap - a willing momentum to take one small risk after another? Either that or I'm just not good at being patient. I wanted to write something today, before I went across the street to the leafy residents' park. I have to write something or I'll feel like a kid that got off school all day with no homework.
I love the park opposite my house, but it still seems shockingly elitist that it's 'residents only' (a private key is £60 a year). Often I am the only person in it. It's ringed by mature trees and is overlooked by the twin spires of a blond church. Birds chitter and leaves rustle and you could kid yourself you were in the foot hills of the Austrian Alps....until the local school kids walk past in big groups, swearing and shrieking things like, Come on Anne Marie , gees a chip, ya wee mongrel.
PS. I put lavender oil on my pillow when I couldn't sleep last night. I overdid it and 16 hours later it is beginning to offend my olfactory system. PPS. This post better have decent line spaces. The unruly formatting is...well, unruly.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I need to write more. Do I need to write more?

It's a question that often fleets through my head, similar to, I need my hair trimmed; do I need my hair trimmed? (I usually get 2 hair cuts a year, yet inexplicably, vainly, I mull over the trivia of possible hairdressing options on a more regular basis). Geeze, I'm waffling already. What I mean is - writing takes discipline. It's like swimming in the sea in summer. It's worth it once your under; getting under is the hard part.
I went to a local poetry event last night. It made me swear I wouldn't go to local poetry events anymore. There were a couple of good poems, like a couple of raindrops in the Sahara. There were poems about angels and rainbows and hearts breaking. I remember the judge of poetry competitions saying that the words 'gentle' or 'gently' were used far too often in poems. I'm sure they've slipped (gently) into a few of mine, but I see what she's getting at.
I love a good sibling rivalry poem and click here for one I found earlier.
Perhaps I shall try to blog a bit more. But hark, the fiery ball is high in the sky, unimpeded by clouds. I must get out to feel it on my face.