Constant tiredness led to more serious health issues - Mel's story
Constant tiredness led to more serious health issues - Mel's story
Moments of extreme tiredness as well as a constant feeling of exhaustion are symptoms of low energy that can lead to chronic fatigue. This is Mel’s story which charts her struggles with chronic and post viral fatigue, the resulting depression and her quest to find a solution to put her health back on track.
This is Mel:
Mel Hillyard was a successful theatre director for 10 years before she encountered chronic fatigue. It started with a series of illnesses that left her feeling permanently exhausted. These symptoms were in fact warning signs that she was running out of energy. The tank was effectively empty. This led to years of illness – each one more serious than the last. As her body tried to fight them, it was further depleting what little energy she had left. And so the vicious cycle continued. During this time she tried every alternative approach possible, given that traditional medicine in the West knew how to treat the symptoms but not the underlying cause.
Here, Mel talks to us about her experience:
I loved my job working as a theatre director. It was rewarding and I was so driven and focused. But it required a lot of energy and my health was suffering profoundly. I put it down to burning the candle at both ends as I was working and socialising non-stop.
What was the first sign of things not being right?
I first got glandular fever. Over the subsequent 9 years I rarely felt well or fully energised. I realised later that I had post viral fatigue. I had recurring tonsillitis for 2 years, and then proceeded to get chronic stomach problems - which I finally found out was due to the collapsed lining of my gut and 2 parasites I picked up in India. It felt like I ́d just manage to overcome one thing and I’d be hit by something else.
Had you heard of post viral fatigue?
At the time, no, as it’s not really referred to by our doctors. I just knew that I was repeatedly catching viruses that couldn’t be treated by conventional western medicine and that left me feeling very low. When I booked an appointment with my GP, we’d talk about the symptoms but never really about the underlying cause.
How did you cope?
I just tried to push through and pretend I was ok as I didn’t want to seem like I was always ill which made me feel weak and incapable. Putting on a brave face was in itself exhausting.
I couldn't understand why most of my friends and colleagues seemed to be fine after a night out, where as it would wipe me out for days. My work was full on and I couldn’t miss it, so my social life struggled and I found myself more and more unable to make basic social events, as all I wanted to do was rest and sleep. I became depressed, anxious, sad and frustrated as I tried to find more and more alternative therapies to help me, after conventional medicine and antibiotics had made me so much worse.
How far would you go to stop being tired all the time?
I think my soul was searching spiritually to connect with something deeper and I was desperate for help physically too. Over the course of six years I tried every alternative approach: reiki, acupuncture, bowen technique, osteopaths, massage, meditation, cacao ceremonies, fire ceremonies, channelling, amongst many other things. All of these therapies had various stages of effect and some alleviated the symptoms a little - but nothing worked for more than a few months. The physical pain, exhaustion, immunity problems and anxiety always came back.
Finally, out of sheer desperation and determination to make a change in my physical, mental and spiritual health, I travelled to Peru for two weeks to take a herbal plant medicine called Ayahuasca - in the middle of the amazon jungle. This plant medicine is supposed to clean you physically, mentally and spiritually and looking back I realise how desperate I was, as it was quite an extreme thing to do. I think something was forcing me to seek help, and amongst all the pain, I knew somewhere deep down that it didn’t have to be like this. I did feel better after the trip to Peru, but again the problems came back a couple of months later.
How did you find out about energy treatments?
I was at the Om Yoga Show with my mum when I came across a stand advertising ‘energy treatments’. I was instantly drawn to it and as I walked closer I saw a calm looking practitioner in a white tunic pressing along different points of a man’s body whilst making a powerful ‘sh’ sound. The man he was treating stood up from the massage table smiling and looking refreshed. He said his whole body felt so much lighter. I decided to have a go and try a treatment with the practitioner, Master Oh. I have never looked back since, it completely changed my life.
In spite of feeling constantly tired over the last decade, I hadn’t really made the connection that I was feeling low because I didn’t have any energy. The only way I thought about re-energising was from a good night sleep or from a high-energy meal (neither of which worked because most food made me feel heavy and bloated). It was only after trying an energy treatment with Master Oh that I realised how desperately my body needed energy. Master Oh explained that the energy my body needed was not the energy we absorb from food and water but the innate energy we are born with, which is like our battery. In the East they call this energy ‘Qi’.
How did you find the energy treatments?
As soon as I saw Master Oh I could feel a sense of love and power emitting from him. Somehow I felt that I was safe in his presence. I knew I had to have a treatment with him.
It took a few seconds to relax into the treatment, as it was something I had never experienced before. Then I began to feel the energy flowing through my body. It was absolutely transformational. The treatment was a mixture of pressing different acupressure points on the body, with a breathing technique to make a sound. This helps the energy penetrate deep into the energy channels. I was very blocked so my stomach hurt when it was pressed, but it felt like ‘good’ pain. As Master Oh kept working on these points I felt them release and eventually they weren’t painful anymore. At the end of the treatment I felt a huge sense of relief, my whole body felt stronger and lighter – and my mind was crystal clear. I hadn't felt that for years.
I immediately booked more treatments. Over the coming weeks, as I visited Master Oh, my bloating disappeared, I started to lose weight effortlessly, I stopped catching colds and viruses and the most amazing thing, I started to feel energised, motivated and with a new sense of happiness, which I felt was coming out from deep inside.
How did the treatment affect your symptoms of fatigue?
After the first treatment with Master Oh I began to feel more energised. At first the effects lasted a few days but as i continued with weekly treatments, the effects started to last much longer. I remember suddenly realising how much more energy I had to do things. I no longer felt like I was dragging my body across London. My capacity to cope with external things changed too. I felt myself becoming more enthusiastic about life in general, like I was finding my old self again. I was amazed at how quickly the change had happened.
During the sessions he helped me to understand myself better. He explained how energy in the human body works and how we are all born with the same essence, which is ‘clear, bright and beautiful’ but that as we go through life, we create energy blockages with our mind and emotions. He also explained about how energy blockages in the family can be passed down to the next generation as inherited energy patterns. It was fascinating to hear him speak and to see how much he could tell me about myself. Everything he said made sense.
After a course of 5 weekly energy treatments, Master Oh recommended I take part in Qi energy classes – these are a mixture of chanting, movements and meditation, to harness and circulate the power of ‘Qi’. I loved the classes too, as I was able to feel myself moving the energy in my body. After a class and a treatment, my mind would be clear and I could feel my energy coming back – I remember thinking “ah this is what it ́s like to feel normal and healthy”. Every time I left the centre, my body felt light and I felt positive and happy. It was almost like I was walking on clouds.
I now understand that energy comes from our own natural source, and that I had deep blockages that I needed to clear, which were both inherited and built up from my life.
I feel so much gratitude for Master Oh. I have never in my life met anyone like him. The energy that Master Oh can give is so powerful and his connection and trust in the Source is so profound. He also has such a deep love for people - not in a 'showy way', but deeply felt.
I can feel this during an energy treatment with Master Oh – my whole body feels alive and well.