The ME/CFS Ghost » 30 October 2014

Daily Archives: 30 October 2014

2. If Martine McCutcheon Can Recover from ME…

…Then Why Can’t You?

If Martine McCutcheon Can Recover from ME...

The ‘Cures’

In Part 1 I talked about how I don’t fully believe Martine McCutcheon had ME, but here I want to talk about the cures that she mentioned. So many ME sufferers try anything to find some relief. I know this, because I have done the same! I even tried Homeopathy which I knew nothing about at the time, but later went on to research and realised what a futile waste of time, money and health that was. I agree with Martine when she talks about how different things can help ME sufferers, because there are so many symptoms and issues that can crop up and I always say put out the fires that you can. So if you’re depressed, get help for that depression. You’re curing your depression, not curing ME. Yes, it can help take the stress off your body, but it’s not a magical cure. First of all, accept that there is no cure so you do not gewt your hopes up with every claim that you hear. Be aware that there are people claiming extraordinary and ridiculous things out there. Educate yourself by knowing what ME is and what it isn’t and this will help you to judge how viable any treatment plan is.

Lightning Process and CBT

I do not agree with any course or treatment plan that works from the premise of ‘Ill-thinking’. ME is a real organic illness. It’s not psychological. No matter what a new age book or quack course tells you, you cannot think yourself better. Would you tell a cancer patient, or someone with MS or Parkinson’s to think themselves better? No you would not (although I guess some people do)! I have a lot of problems with the Lightning Process. Admittedly, there are people that swear the Lightning Process helped them, and I’m really happy for anyone who finds health, but there are just as many, if not more people who found no benefit whatsoever and these people have been taught by LP that it is their fault that it did not work. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is often put forward as a treatment for ME. It can help you to cope with your symptoms, but it won’t make them disappear.

Graded Exercise Therapy

This is actually a very dangerous one. I wholeheartedly agree that to do too little can be just as bad as doing too much when you have ME, but to force yourself to exercise when you really cannot can be seriously harmful to your health. To be fair to Martine, she did say it depends at what level you are at, and that is very true. Never let yourself be forced into doing more than you can handle. After a while you become an expert at knowing what your body can and cannot handle. Always listen to your body.

Juice Cleanses and Diets

I have tried just about every cleanse and detox program out there. After each one I had a serious relapse. I would tell myself that this was just the effect of my body detoxing and that I would feel better after that. I never did. I remember after one juice cleanse I ended up in bed for 10 days and it took me 8 months to get my energy and health back to level that it was at before I did the cleanse. So when people tell you there is no harm in trying it, let me tell you that there is. My doctor told me that since I had such a serious issue with fatigue and energy anyway, I would be foolish to reduce my calorie intake, and I didn’t listen, but I wish I had. In my experience I have found that making smaller changes to what you eat is easier and more gentle on your body than any radical change, unless you are advised to do so by your doctor.


I’m sorry I’ve harped on for so long, but really what it comes down to is to question whether these celebrities even have ME if they can make these amazing recoveries. Even if they did, what works for one person may not work for another. I can tell you all this because I had my own amazing recovery back in 2010. It lasted about a year and a half. I thought it was a recovery, but really I had just gotten to the stage where I could manage my symptoms, I was on a combination of medicines that helped with pain and I was eating food that was right for me. Within just a few months of feeling better, I had forgotten all about the rules I had learned when I had ME. I was going out, and I even returned to work after 7 years. By the beginning of 2011 my health was sliding fast! I had to leave my job after 6 months and by the time my sister’s wedding took place in September, I was done in and finished. So, I can relate to these people that want to crow about their recoveries, especially in attempt to get work. But I can honestly tell you that I would never and did never state that my own ‘recovery’ was due to thinking myself better or fad diets and cleanses, because it was not. Not that anyone interviewed me, of course. Always be aware of your illness and the needs of your body, no matter what anyone else does or says. I know I’ve shot down a lot of what Martine said but I don’t want people to think that it is not possible to make a full recovery, some people do, but I can guarantee it won’t be through a fad diet or ‘cure’ program.

I wish Martine McCutcheon continued good health and I’m so happy that she is pregnant because now she can talk about that instead of ME. What do you think?

Image used is a screenshot from the interview video.

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1. If Martine McCutcheon Can Recover from ME…

…Then Why Can’t You?

If Martine McCutcheon Can Recover from ME...

I saw this video on youtube today and it annoyed me so much. It was posted earlier this year so apologies for only commenting on this now, but I don’t watch television and I’ve been very ill for most of this year. The video is of an interview with Martine McCutcheon about her battle with ME, and how she recovered. You may have friends and family members who have heard her story of recovery, especially as there have been stories about her pregnancy in the last few months. It’s more than likely that someone will tell you to do what she did, after all, if Martine McCutcheon can recover from ME than why can’t you? Well, for a number of reasons actually and here I will outline just some of them so you can stave off those kinds of unhelpful suggestions while expending the least amount of your precious energy and health. But first the video…

Anger at Martine McCutcheon

Before I even saw this video, I had read a number of news stories about her struggles with ME. I want to say that I actually like Martine McCutcheon and I can totally relate to how an illness wreaked havoc in her life; so many ME/CFS sufferers have experienced the same thing. But the woman is out there doing so much more harm than good with these interviews she keeps giving about recovering. There has been a lot of anger expressed by people in the ME community at the things Martine has said. But it is not her fault; she has been given a diagnosis by medical professionals and is just relating her experiences. There are so many PWME who are not aware of the complexity of the illness and the way it can be misdiagnosed. Anyone who has defended her has also been met with anger. I’m not defending her, and I wish more than anything that she would just shut up, but she obviously wanted to make some kind of a comeback so she could earn a living. I think we would be better suited directing our anger at the idiots that diagnosed her and those that perpetuate these kinds of misunderstandings. She has done nothing wrong.

Was She Misdiagnosed?

In the video she begins well, yes ME is a misunderstood illness and the symptoms she describes are very ME-ish, and I applaud her for wanting to raise awareness about the illness. But what the hell, Martine! I couldn’t stop cringing as soon as she began talking about the causes and onset and said “sadly a lot of athletes or anybody that pushes themselves beyond their limits, and when I was doing the west end show, you are like an athlete, you have to be on form all the time and I think a lot of heartache a lot of unaddressed issues I hadn’t dealt with, just running to the next role, running to the next job, it kinda manifested in like a dis-ease…”. This statement perpetuates the myth that ME is just a form of exhaustion from over-doing things or that type A personalities are prone to getting it and that takes us straight back to the days of ‘Yuppie flu’. I want to address what she said about athletes and ME because this is something that annoyed me last year when Action for ME posted an article about how Olympic and World Champion canoeist Anna Hemmings was the new Ambassador for Action for ME. Every few years you get an athlete, and even an actor like Martine McCutcheon, who comes out with a story about how they beat ME, and this absolutely gives the wrong impression about ME. It is highly unlikely that most athletes do in fact have ME. There is something called Overtraining Syndrome, which has similar symptoms to ME, but that an athlete can actually recover from with adequate rest. The other thing is that low levels of exercise are beneficial for people suffering from Overtraining Syndrome and can lead to a quicker recovery, but for people with ME that same exercise would make the condition worse. So, can you see how it would be disastrous for an athlete to say they had recovered from ME, when they had in fact recovered from Overtraining Syndrome? I’m not saying Martine had Overtraining Syndrome, but there is a real need for better diagnosis by medical professionals. Check out the below video for a better explanation of ‘What Causes ME?’

Continued with a look at Martine’s Cures →

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