I have paused my little furniture sale and I am now working hard to organise a community screening of 'Unrest' at The Horse Hospital, London. This event will form part of the #TimeforUnrest global campaign and call to action. #TimeforUnrest calls upon those who are able from the ME/CFS community and its supporters to host local community screenings of the Sundance award-winning documentary, Unrest, with a view to raising awareness of this desperately misunderstood disease which affects upwards of 250,000 people in the UK alone.
Proceeds from the event will go towards two very important ME/CFS charities, including The Optimum Health Clinic Foundation. Tickets: http://TinyURL.com/UnrestHorseHospital
If you are unable to attend but interested in supporting, it goes without saying that donations are always massively appreciated!
I have been a patient with The Optimum Health Clinic since November 2014 after being diagnosed with ME/CFS a few months earlier. At that time I became virtually housebound within a matter of weeks following a gradual decline in my health over the course of a year or so, culminating in a flu-like virus which never seemed to go away. It completely consumed all of my energy and scattered a medley of unwelcome symptoms across my body, leaving me with barely enough energy to walk 10 minutes to the local shop before getting dizzy and nauseous, let alone able to work. Prior to my diagnosis, I had been working full-time in a Consumer Insight & Brand Strategy agency in London and doing all the things I loved: playing club hockey, which I had done since I was 12 years old, going to gigs and travelling around the world to music festivals with friends, and occasionally DJing myself.
Unfortunately many GPs and much of the wider medical community know very little about how to treat patients with ME/CFS. Many patients struggle with not being believed, often belittled by doctors and peers alike. Some trivialise their condition whilst they are sent around the houses for months before diagnosis and then given very little hope of recovery. Once a diagnosis is given, the treatment offered to ME/CFS patients on the NHS is extremely limited and fiercely controversial within the ME/CFS community. Many patients report that one of the suggested NHS treatments, Graded Exercise Therapy, seriously worsened their condition until they dropped out of treatment altogether. At the time of my eventual diagnosis I was told I would be put on a year waiting list on the NHS for the aforementioned treatment or that I could go privately. Fortunately I had the resources to consider researching private options and whilst I was lying despondent in bed, my Mum stumbled across The Optimum Health Clinic.
The clinic was founded by a former, recovered ME/CFS patient who never gave up on his own recovery. They employ fellow recovered patients as practitioners who really understand the challenges involved in both living with and recovering from such a complex and misunderstood condition. It is truly an inspirational place. Their caring, sensitive and dignified approach to patients and holistic integrative treatment for a sustainable recovery has changed my life. They offered me hope when I thought there was none, they gave me the belief that I could significantly improve and eventually recover from the 'unrecoverable', they have supported me at every stage of my recovery and they have given me enormous insight and invaluable tools to achieve and maintain not just manageable health, but vibrant long-lasting health. The recovery journey from any chronic illness is never quick and it's certainly never easy. However, in just a few years, they have taken me from months of living essentially housebound to part-time work, with some long-haul heath & wellness tourism and a Masters thrown in along the way. I am confident their approach is working for me and that I am on track for a full recovery.
But, the treatment that I have been lucky enough to receive is not currently available on the NHS. Meaning some patients do not have access to this remarkable approach, either through a lack of awareness of it or financial barriers to it. The clinic are working to extremely hard to raise the funds needed for a randomised control trial of their approach, which is necessary to allow the NHS to offer patients the option of the same treatment I have received but on the NHS. I am hoping to raise a bit of money to help them along the way...
More information on The Optimum Health Clinic Approach can be found here: http://www.theoptimumhealthclinic.com/