Hi everyone! I've never posted on this forum before so I thought I'd do a little post on the Lightning Process as I know it's something many in the ME CFS community are intrigued by or have strong opinions on. A little disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the process. Please read the whole post before commenting. And please be nice . As many of us stuck in ME limbo with no support from the NHS do, I turned to the internet. I did a lot of research on the Lightning Process and concluded that not only was it mumbo jumbo (expensive mumbo jumbo) but that it was potentially dangerous, so I gave it a wide birth. My Mum, however, kept seeing articles about it in the Daily Fail and urged me to take a second glance, so I did for her benefit. I found a Facebook page and some online forums with people saying how wonderful it was and how it had helped them. This made me a little more intrigued. This wasn't a shiny brochure, this was real people with real accounts - could it be true? I was still hugely sceptical but my Mum wanted me to do it and offered to pay so I pretty much signed on for her benefit. I was sent a DVD of a Dr explaining the 'Science' behind the Lightning Process and the theory behind it (which is primarily focused on adrenaline) in a nutshell, their theory is that people with ME have an overproduction of adrenaline which causes all sorts of problems and shuts down or causes bodily functions to, well, not function. Although I was still hugely sceptical this made my ears prick up, perhaps they really had hit the nail on the head? Contrary to what I'd heard, they apparently do think it's a physical illness. I met the lady who runs the course who had suffered herself from ME for years. She credits the Lightning Process to completely curing her and I have to say (spoiler alert: the lightning process did not help me) I think she was totally genuine and I don't think there was any hard sell marketing going on: she truly believed it had cured her and she had ring binder upon ring binder of people who had sent her letters thanking her for their new found energy and lives. I have to say, from all of this, I approached the course with a feeling more than optimism, a feeling that this could really change my life. Day 1 I'm not going to go into huge detail about the process itself because I don't want to get into any trouble about discussing intellectual property. Day 1 was a lot of marketing, about the process, about the creator Phil Parker, about the adrenaline response theory. The funny thing was, was that although 'officially' the lightning process recognises ME as a PHYSICAL disease we were told about the placebo effect in great detail and how effective it was, as well as being told to say we were 'doing' tiredness, we were not tired or we were doing worry, we were not worried, because in neuro linguistic terms that tells our brain that we have a sense of control over it. In the last half an hour we were taught the actual process which is a lot of moving around, speaking and arm gestures which is supposed to stop the adrenaline response in its tracks. Because the idea of it is to stop the adrenaline response, you are supposed to do it EVERY SINGLE TIME a thought crosses your mind about 'I'm tired' or 'Ohhp, felt a bit off balance there for a second'. As you'll probably all know for someone with ME that is the majority of the time. So every time you have one of these thoughts you are supposed to jump up and do the process. That could literally be all day long. Some people do the process on day 1 and apparently feel better or even cured. I did not. Our homework was to do the process every time we needed to. The practitioner said she expected this could be around 30 times. Now that sounds exhausting. But I did it. Day 2 Day 2 was extremely similar to day 1. Some discussion about the process, any problems that had arisen the night before. All in the group said that they did not feel any improvement but the practitioner assured us that we would. We did various things like drawing pictures of how we wanted our lives to be when (not if!) we were better and did some more of the process. I have to say we spent very little time actually doing the process as much as talking about the process. We were promised that on day 3 we were to be taught 'an even more advanced version of the process' and we would 'come on in leaps and bounds'. Day 3 Day 3 came and again we spent the first half discussing the night before and any problems that had arisen. By this day, I was feeling REALLY tired. I couldn't politely hide my tiredness and I was almost lying horizontal listening. The practitioner said 'You look so much brighter today, I can see that it's working, doesn't she look brighter everybody?' "I don't feel brighter" I replied "I feel really terrible today". I felt a little hostility there. I wasn't playing along. "Don't worry you'll come on in leaps and bounds today". The advanced techniques were basically the same process but with visualisation included. The same type of visualisation you are probably familiar with from CBT. On day 1 the practitioner had said that some people felt better by the end of day 1 and most people felt better by the end of day 3. At the end of day 3, when I really was not feeling any better I approached her and told her my concerns. She told me that sometimes it took longer and that the next few months 'would be a journey'. Well, that's certainly convenient. After the Process When I returned home that evening I was determined that I would not waste my Mums money. That even if it wasn't working I would give the process 110% so that if, in the end, it didn't work, I knew I had given it my all. I forced myself to walk to the corner shop, looked up at the blue sky that day and hoped that this would be the start of change. That weekend I also, although feeling my usual tired self, forced myself to go to the beach for a walk with my other half. Of course we mustn't forget that I was doing the process every time a negative thought crossed my mind. I managed to have a nice day and felt that maybe the process was starting to work. The next day even, I took my Grandad shopping. Everyone around me was so pleased with the progress I was making. Of course many of us have those better days where we attempt a task for an hour or so, feeling not so terrible, then a wave of fatigue comes over us. There is the opportunity to do the process. But what happens when you wake up and you feel you've crashed or you have PEM and you don't feel tired or have a wave of tiredness, you just ARE tired? What happens when you don't have a sudden moment of vertigo but all day you are dizzy? Are you supposed to get out of bed in this state and do the process all day long? I tried to, as much as I could, but I started feeling counter-productive. I felt that my few days of doing the process and pushing myself had caused this PEM (which, shouldn't have, according to the process). So I emailed the practitioner. Rest, she said. Don't push yourself too hard, too soon. So I rested. Except this bout of PEM or a crash lasted weeks, so slowly, although I was doing the process as much as possible, I was pretty much doing what I'd always done. I wasn't getting any better, so the practitioner offered to see me again. I thought there would be something significant that would happen when I saw her but we just did the process and some visualisation together and she said to me, not to lose heart but that there were times 6 months after the process where she had episodes of ME. This isn't exactly the same as being told we may feel better on day 1 and we certainly would by day 3. Since then I really gave the lightning process my best shot. You can tell from what I have written, hopefully, that I went into it with an open heart and mind and really gave it my full attention and best try but here I am, 6 or so months down the line and my health is not in a good place. ME is so often misdiagnosed that it makes sense to me that there are a range of illnesses labelled as 'ME' and perhaps some of those can be aided by the lightning process. As I said, she really did have lots of ring binders full of thank you letters, but it seems irresponsible to say it will work for everyone. The one positive thing I did learn from the process is on better days, if I started feeling nauseous for example, I would focus on it. That, in turn, can make it worse. Trying not to focus on it helps me to enjoy my better days. On the most part though, my better days are few and far between.