RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE – The photo you see here is of 3 fit healthy happy looking individuals. Back track 5-10 years ago. That wasn’t the case for these three people, In fact 5-10 years ago you wouldn’t recognise them. Why?
These three individuals suffered a severe illness calledmyalgic encephalomyelitis, otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E/CFS). An illness that sucks the life out of you and leaves you with no energy to do anything.
These three individuals were once so severely sick, walking from the bedroom to the bathroom was a marathon. These three individuals, slept more in a day then most would in three days. These three individuals once thought it was never possible to feel healthy again.
I am Toby Morrison, the tall one on the right, and to the left of me is Raeya and Ash. All three of us suffered M.E/CFS and eventually fully recovered. I am sharing you this story because I don’t believe there is anything more powerful than this message right now for anyone else who may be suffering with M.E/CFS in the world.
I suffered M.E/CFS as a teenager for four years. At that time I learnt there was no cure for M.E/CFS, nor was there a practical treatment plan to help people get out of it. At the time 10 years ago – there was a lot of negative stories surrounding M.E/CFS. Things like, it lasts forever, you can’t get better, there is no cure, it’s all I’m your head etc etc. Before getting diagnosed with M.E/CFS I was a fit teenager. So going from super fit, to completely bed bound for 6 months, was extremely scary to say the least, especially when I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow, and I didn’t know why?
Fast forward 4 years through missing almost a whole year of school, Having over 100 doctors visits with LOTS of blood tests that showed nothing, and a lot of advice from people who really didn’t understand the illness. I went on a journey that made me take responsibility for myself and my health. I realised that there was no one that could FIX ME but myself. My journey began with rebuilding from the ground up. I had lost 20 KG of muscle condition and could barely walk for one minute without falling down or getting fatigued. I was 16 years old, trapped in an frail 80 year olds body. Fast forward two years my life started to turn around. Although I had 100’s of set backs, bad days and ups and downs, I rebuilt my strength and stamina, I started to get my energy back, all my symptoms from headaches, nausea, anxiety, swollen glands, sore legs, achy muscles and more started to decrease. I was on the road to recovery and I was inspired to help others do the same. As I started to recover I started studying health, well-being, fitness and nutrition. I started applying everything I learnt in my daily life. I read every self help book there was, and had a burning desire to help millions of people around the world. Because it was the hardest four years I had ever been through, I didn’t want to let anyone else have to go through it alone like I did.
Two years of planning and practicing, I developed a recovery program that was approved by a leading CFS specialist in Melbourne. And while there is no cure, he agreed that this program would be really safe, helpful and practical for M.E/CFS patients recovery. M.E/CFS affects your entire health and life. So I designed the program around every aspect of health. Starting with Sleep, nutrition, restorative movement, mindset, stress and anxiety management and progression. Exactly what I did for myself. It sounds simple, however M.E/CFS is so complex and so debilitating that it is so hard to even know where to start or how to start.
The program was launched and my first client was Ash who you see in the picture. Ash was an elite athlete who came to me so confused as to why he went from being so fit and healthy, to completely bed bound. He was so bad, he couldn’t do any movement for the first few weeks of the program. He stuck to it, and within 4 months ash went from being able to barely walk for a few minutes to back running. He later went on to compete in Europe for state level running. The joy I got from seeing ash improve was HUGE. Ash went on to study exercise science and began working with me to assist others with their health for the past two years, A phenomenal inspiring story in itself.
As I started to help more individuals like Ash I gained confidence that it wasn’t just me that could recover, it can be anyone if they dedicate themselves to rebuilding their health for the long term. Of course it wasn’t easy. It isn’t easy for any one. Life is bloody tough, especially when you are dealing with M.E/CFS as well. One of the quotes that stuck with me is “Recovery is hard, but not recovering is harder.”
Fast forward another year. That was when I met Raeya. Raeya was 18 at the time, Diagnosed with M.E/CFS 5 years prior. Had to leave school, had little help from anyone and felt like giving up. She came along to one of my seminars with her mum. As soon as the seminar finished she asked if she could do the program. I had a cancelation the next morning and she was there in a flash. Little did I know it was going to change her life forever but mine to.
Within 5 weeks she started make amazing improvements. There was more to Raeya then just recovering. Something was sparked within in her that she didn’t just want to recover, but she wanted to help others recover to. I remember week 7 we sat down to go over some personal goals for her to achieve and aim for. I said so what can we aim for in 3 weeks time. She replied I want to work for you and help others. At the time I thought it was a nice idea, however I said no no lets focus on your first and then worry about helping others. She said Toby, This is what I want to do.
To be honest I didn’t give it much thought, but to her determination she made her recovery her no.1 priority. You could see the determination in her eyes how bad she wanted it. She did EVERYTHING possible to improve. Her attitude to recovery was similar to mine, she wouldn’t let anything get in her way.
Week 12 of her program, I got a call. “Toby, what course do I need to do to work for you.” I told her what was required, but I said Raeya I can’t 100% give you a job. It is going to take time for you to learn and get to a level I am happy with you helping others. Well to my amazement she enrolled in her course, and started coming in every week to shadow me with my clients. Every week she would show up with a smile and be there, even if I didn’t ask her. Fast forward another 6 months, She began helping others with their recovery too.
With the help of the other coaches and some people behind the scenes we developed a world wide online recovery program. It launched in 2013 and reached people in over 17 countries. With the help of the internet we have been able to make a global impact and continue to do so each week.
There is no quick fix, there is no cure and although recovery is not smooth sailing and there are plenty of ups and downs it is possible to improve over time.
It is our mission to spread POSITIVE AWARENESS about M.E/CFS, to inspire and educate others on recovery and to show that it is possible for others to improve and recover to.
So here are three very powerful individuals with powerful personal triumphs, over what was once thought impossible. I am/was fortunate enough to watch these two people grow and be walking examples of what is possible.
To think 10 years ago these two and myself thought our life was practically over forever, and to now be standing on the beach smiling, laughing and feeling healthy. IS AMAZING.
This photo represents LIFE. It represents possibility, it represents HOPE. That anything is truly possible.
If you or someone you know is struggling right now, Tag them in this photo. Share it with your friends. This is not just an inspiration for people with M.E/CFS but for anyone who has been going through a tough time.
For application to the recovery program you can apply at www.cfshealth.com
Thank you to the amazing community who support our mission and believe it is possible to recover. We love you!