East London age 41

I was diagnosed in December 2010 with Fibromyalgia. My symptoms appeared quite suddenly in the summer of 2010. It started with strange burning/ aching pains in my hands that rapidly progressed to my feet and thighs.

Within a couple of weeks I went from normal daily routines to not being able to walk or hold a pen without severe pain. I felt lost as no pain killers were effective. It totally ruined by summer family holiday for me and my husband and daughter as I found it difficult to join in on our active holiday, which also caused stress and friction which increased my pain symptoms (I realise that now)

For the next few months the pains came and went but I stopped any physical activities that I had previously enjoyed, even walking the dog for 10 minutes daily stopped. I had been seeing a therapist, Louise Levy, for general anxiety issues, for which I had received hypnotherapy and counselling and she suggested I read the mind body prescription, which I did and I then, with Louise’s help, completed the SIRPA programme.

Louise also used her skill as a hypnotherapist to enhance the programme so every week at the end of our session I was hypnotised to reinforce what we had discussed in the session. I found this really useful. Within 2 weeks of starting the programme my pains had virtually disappeared. I learnt to understand that my pains were a distraction and that I needed to acknowledge that and address the real issues. I found visualization and being strict with my goals beneficial.

I now know what I need to do to keep my mind and body healthy and accept that I will need to keep working at it, maybe not for ever but for now. I have a bag of ‘tools’ and I can dip in whenever I choose to. The support of Louise has been invaluable, her calm positive attitude has spurred me on especially when at times I have wobbled.

I have learnt to be kinder to myself and accept that I cannot change other people but I can change my reaction to them. The programme gave me a structure to follow and a wealth of experience to learn from.

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