“It was like magic….only I was the magician”
Because there’s a surprising amount of negative info about the Lightning Process on the web, I thought I’d give it time and see if it was valuable long-term before I posted my experience.
It’s about a year now since I did the LP. I had had ‘garden-variety’ CFS for about 4.5 years prior to that. Graded exercise had got me up to walking reasonably but overall I think my energy levels were about 20-25% of healthy normal. I hardly went out, I couldn’t sustain much social contact, I couldn’t do bike riding which I loved, I struggled (ie regularly failed) to do my own cooking and cleaning, I had severe mental fatigue, and I couldn’t rely on being well enough to be able to commit to anything. I had been wanting to do a particular course for years but it started with a week long-residential intensive, which was about as possible as flying to the moon. I felt like I was watching life pass me by.
I read about people who did amazing things on Day 1 of the course, so in anticipation I went there by bicycle and train, with the aim of riding home if possible (about 13 kilometres). Sure enough, I was able to. The first few km’s were anxiety-ridden and I was constantly doing the LP. Then I hit an unforgettably sweet moment when I *knew* I was going to make it home. If I never had anything else from the LP, I am grateful for that moment. I can’t describe the unbelievable delight and astonishment at being able to turn that hollow, flat, ‘no energy’ feeling into ‘energy’ – it was like magic, only I was the magician. I understand other people not believing it – I don’t think you can until you’ve experienced it yourself.
At that point the whole city opened up for me again. Places I had not been able to get to suddenly occurred as destinations I could aim for; I started noticing what had changed in the years since I had last been there and anticipating other discoveries with joy; and I ended up taking an extra 4km detour to get home.
Although I experienced dramatic improvement, things did not instantly go completely straight forward. It’s more that if you plotted all my ups and downs on a graph and drew a line of ‘best fit’ through them, it would have a steady gradient up. I have found it difficult to achieve that elusive ‘balance’, as the balance point is constantly shifting. Some days I have more energy than others.
I will say this: that I think it requires energy and confidence to do the LP, even if you’re doing the LP about not wanting to do the LP for some other effect. There’s a determination you can have when you commit to doing a course which can give you the energy to do the process consistently for that period. It can be hard to sustain that on your own for long periods afterwards (which I guess is why Ian offers support afterwards, not that I ever took it up). There have been days when I would rather curl up in my bed than do the LP. Naturally on those days, I don’t have a lot of energy and I stay in bed. It’s my choice though. Also sometimes I choose to stay in something (say anxiety) in order to look at it and pull it apart, because I want to understand it and not just change it. Mostly though if I decide to do the process properly it works.
It has taken me a long time to build up stamina again, and I’ve had two crashes in the last year (neither of which were remotely as bad as previous crashes). I have been frustrated at being a bit affected by the cold winter again – I thought I wouldn’t even feel it. I feel like I still have CFS in the sense that if I really overdo it, the symptoms that pop up are CFS symptoms usually. However I can deal with them now. They don’t control me. The gap between “What I am feeling” and “How I want to feel” is usually instantaneous these days – it’s a bad day when I have to do an actual walk-through of the process.
This year I’ve been able to do the course I’ve been wanting to do; re-establish as much social contact as I want; guide my community through a very difficult complicated intensely demanding period; manage all my own household duties AND those of a friend through her long process of chemo & radiotherapy; cycle all over the place; and begin the process of re-entering employment. The difference between what I’ve been able to do since the LP and before it isn’t really measurable.
Ian, I am so deeply grateful to you for your delightfully gentle and caring facilitation of the course, and I want you to know that I have told buckets of people what it has done for me. Thankyou. 🙂