Profile new.jpg

Firstly I want to say, I am not a health professional nor a trained expert on any of the health conditions, traits or neurodiversities I speak of in this blog; but I am expert by direct experience of them and there is value in giving voice to that. I tirelessly explore how these experiences overlap and inform who we are in a world that is increasingly becoming “too much” for those of us that were born with a high degree of sensitivity. I bring positive spin to most if not all of my topics and write from the perspective of “what did this have to teach me, how did it inform my better experience of myself and of life itself along the way”.

I first became severely unwell with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia back in 2005 when I was in my mid-30s (though at the time I had no idea what was going on) after receiving a flu vaccination, which led to a fluey episode from which I never seemed to fully recover. Strange effects such as sudden low blood pressure, odd sensory sensations and sensitivities, headache and vision issues added to the effect, and my preexisting back pain became so severe I was having to use a TENs machine sitting at my desk at work and to go for acupuncture session in my lunchbreak, since I began having such adverse reactions to pain medications I had to wean myself off them. My health deteriorated very abruptly over the following year, to the point I had no option but to stop work.

The beginnings of this coincided with a period of heightened work/financial stress following a very long stint of emotional stress relating to divorce. I already had long-running issues with back pain relating to a road traffic accident over a decade earlier and had been cautioned about doing office work, though I felt I had no choice. My 20s had been litered with weird symptoms that I now relate to early episodes of POTs, Reynaud’s phenomenon, neuropathy and hypermobility disorder (although I had no idea what was happening to me at the time), worsened by stress and emotional trauma, of which there was a great deal. Now, the intense and widespread pain became relentless and other, often bizarre, symptoms added on all the time, to the point that decision to stop work was made for me as there really was no other choice in the state I was in. Doctors were as bewildered as I was and, back then, very little was known or shared about fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and other chronic illnesses (they tried to default to the bucket diagnoses of anxiety or depression, at which point I stopped seeking medical opinion) so I was left to research my way through very limited information on the much reduced version of the internet at that time, whilst trying all kinds of alternative therapies and approaches. It took constant tenacity to keep pushing forwards, on top of being a full-time parent and coping with “normal” family life with, thankfully by now, a supportive partner by my side.

Over the next 17 years years to the present time, I passed through a whole gamut of challenging issues, including fibromyalgia pain and waves of intense chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple food, chemical and environmental sensitivities, various manifestations of dysautonomia including postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint disorder and dental pain (not caused by teeth!), myofascial pain syndrome (which thankfully responded well to years of myofascial therapies), migraine, tinnitis, peripheral neuropathy and occipital/trigeminal neuralgia. My body was at burnout point and the deep fatigue came in waves that could knock me out for a week, or a month.

Over the ensuing years, I tried physiotherapy and osteopathy, accupuncture, relexology, pilates, meditive walking, Bodytalk, EFT, NLP, regression hypnosis, various other trauma release approaches, therapeutic touch, cransiosacral realignment, hands on massage, myofasicial pain therapy, naturopathy, NES Health, aromatherpy, ayurveda, yoga, kinesthesia, energy medicine, reiki, AuraTransformation, elimination diets, numerous supplements, sound therapy including crystal bowl healing and gong baths, Nia dance, Smovey rings for somatic healing, brain retraining, Sensate meditions, journalling, Havening, qigong and probably a few other things I’ve forgotten to list. In short, I never stopped seeking an answer to my problems and put every resource I had into reclaiming my health.

Things ebbed and flowed after I gave up work and began various alternative therapies but were set back by two unrelated emergency operations (inlcuding 8-week progressed ectopic pregnancy termination and falopian tube removal) in one week, in 2008, which threw my health back into total disarray. I now understand, retrospectively, how much operations and anaesthesia, not to mention hormone upheaval, can throw the hypermobile body into long term disarray but I had no idea at the time. Around that time I noticed, once again, how adversely I reacted to pain medications I was prescribed and was forced to become knowledgeable about alternative approaches. Certainly, hormones were complicating the picture and I began using natural progesterone on the advice of a specialist in 2011. In fact, that year I saw two Harley Street experts and made a giant leap of headway after some sessions of NLP. This allowed me to get a grip on my recovery progress for the next couple of years, making considerable headway, starting meditation and mindfulness practices and massively improving my diet and lifestyle.

Whilst, for a window of time, fibromyalgia didn’t seem so bad, sensitivities to chemicals, including pharmaceutical medications and other environmental exposures, seemed only to increase year-on-year, culminating in mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), which is now well under control through diet and supplements, mindfulness practices such as meditation and the Gupta Program (see below). I remain intolerant to gluten and still have to avoid several envionmental triggers but my inflammation and allergic reactions to foods and substances feel far less constricting now (partly through avoidance of primary triggers, along with steadily increasing tollerance for those that are harder, or which I don’t want, to eliminate). Thankfully!

Nonetheless, I have been taken on a longer journey, one of peripheral neuropathy and electrohypersensitivity, which remains an ongoing problem as it trip-wires my nervous system into PoTs episodes, heightened pain and chronic fatigue; my longest lasting issues. It began when, in 2015, triggered by several procedures to remove all of my mercury-containing dental amalgams, which I became aware were a source of toxic exposure after one of them cracked and sent me into a major flare-up of symptoms, my health went into a prolongued dip for the four-month duration of those proceedures. During that time, I had an adverse reaction to a Nitrofurantoin antibiotic (known for its potential link to severe, even irreversible nerve damage, I later discovered), prescribed for a severe kidney infection and, straight afterwards, developed strange, tingling/pulsile sensations to my nerves that refused to abate, even months later.

Shortly thereafter, I developed severe electrohypersensitivity, to the point I could not use a mobile phone or any other mobile device connected to wifi or cellular signals without experiencing sharp, pulsile pains, migraine, burning skin, dizziness and low blood pressure, vision issues and wipe-out fatigue. Whilst no longer so dramatic, this issue is ongoing if I am subjected to exposures for very long, so I now mitigate the very worst effects through lifestyle modifications (EMF reduction and protection) and no longer use wifi on a regular basis at home. My occassional peripheral neuropathy in fingers and toes diversified to torso, chest, back, neck/face and other areas and neuralgia began to occur to my pudendal, trigeminal and occipital nerves as my nervous system became ever-more triggered by the new-normal of our 21st century environments.

This development coincided with the beginnings of menopause, which was also when I experienced regular migraines and allodynia (burning skin, intolerance of certain clothing), much more regular interstitial cystitis and relentless tinnitus. I also had a physical collapse which took months to recover from, during which time I saw a specialist who confirmed a major fibromyalgia episode and speculated that menopause was having an impact. It also came to my attention I was having issues with hypermobility, something I have had all my life but which was now presenting a real problem with mobility, digestion, severe headaches and joint stability, also triggering episodes of postoral orthostatic dysautonomia (PoTS) as my levels of oestrogen suddenly reduced, impacting my already compromised collagen. All of these effects feel profoundly related to my highly sensitive nervous system and neurodivergent “wiring” coming under increasing pressure as I went through the changes of menopause, in ways I explore in my blog.

These ongoing challenges all require careful management using natural, hollistic means (since I am so hypersensitive to pharma meds, thus I choose not to use them at all). I learned about the vagus nerve and introduced CBD and other natrual supplements to support the nervous system whilst expanding my daily movement and mindfulness practices to encourage a robust state of, not just core strength but, of stoic circumspection and mindful calm and these are ways I manage my pain and mobility challenges, day after day. Of particular importance is that I walk in nature almost every day (and always have) and, when I can, I do movement to music (dance of sorts) and these, combined with yoga and quigong, keep me moving and positive. I also use my art and creativity as a meditation and make each and every day a celebration of all the positives.

Additionally, and of no small importance, I have come to realise that I am neurodiverse (in more ways than one). I already knew I had synesthesia, in fact I was part of a study for this over 30 years ago, and that I am a very Highly Sensitive Person (see psychologist Elaine Aron’s criteria). Another term used, and which applies to me, is Sensory Processing Sensitivity (which is “not a disorder, but rather an innate trait…not associated with dysregulation, but with awareness, depth of processing, and needing time to process information and stimuli”). Because of increasing lifelong stress related to undiagnosed neurodiversity, early-life trauma and relentless chronic health issues, I believe this has inbuilt trait has developed into Sensory Defensiveness Disorder, as explored in this post, which I am now tackling by means of a daily sensory diet as described.

The penny then dropped (at the age of 51!) that I also have underlying hypermobility type Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), also ADHD, that I am autistic, an empath with highly overactive mirror neurones and someone who classifies as “2E” (see my post) which means that I am gifted yet also have some of the deficits/challenges of being neurodiverse, along with all five classifications of over-excitability (all discussed in that post) that have been associated with gifted individuals. The thing is, if you are twice-exceptional, your gifts can become so overshadowed by your “defecits” (areas of life where you profoundly struggle with approaches and expectations designed explicitly for the neurotypical individual) that they all but disappear out of sight while, meanwhile, your giftedness artificially masks all the ways you are struggling and desperately need accomodations and assistance because you overcompensate for, and expertly hide, them away. So, again (as is the case with female autism and ADHD) it is so easy to fall through the cracks and spend a lifetime flailing around all by yourself, wondering “what on earth is wrong” with you, manifesting as all kinds of challenges that remain unaddressed for years or even many decades.

Learning about twice-exceptionality and its challenges introducd me to the term “positive disintegration” and no other lable ever felt like a better fit with what I have been experiencing all these years, which is the break down of an old way of being/thinking/living and the beginnings of a breakthrough into a new paradigmn that feels more authentic with the way I am made; even though the process of disintegration can feel utterly brutal and destructive while it is underway!

I strongly feel that these overlapping traits, as above, go a long way way towards explaining why I was susceptible to so many, equally overlapping, chronic health conditions when, progressively, life became too physically and emotionally overwhelming for me to handle, given I did not realise why I was different, nor did I ever receive any accommodations or support for them. In fact, learning about these, how they are often interlinked, about my sensory processing challenges and also about my introversion using Myers-Briggs and Enneagram tools, has been the biggest piece of the jigsaw as I continue to build a bigger picture of my health. Coming to realise that increased sensitivity is a major factor in so many cases of autism and ADHD, both of which can result in sensory processing overload and adverse reactions to medications, has been a major insight.

I believe that neurodiversity is a truly wonderful gift to be explored, but that the fact my autism and ADHD status had gone completely undiagnosed all through childhood, higher education and well into a challenging adulthood, during which I often felt as though I was “wired” differently to other people and struggling to comprehend the ways of the world, played no small part in this wholesale collapse of my health.  EDS became most apparent following the oestrogen drop of menopause and then the link from EDS to autism opened up the rest of the box. I must add, ever increased awareness, bottomless curiosity and a willingness to draw dots together, noticing trends and patterns, have been essential tools on this health journey and we owe it to ourselves to develop these skills.

Whilst I might seem to have gathered a long list of condition lables, I choose not to regard myself that way and have never lost my determination to heal. In early 2021, I began using The Gupta Program, which draws together many of the healing approaches I have researched and tried over the years into one coherent recovery program with an extremely good track record. Those practices form the basis of the mindset of health and happiness that underpins every single aspect of my life. Most of all, I have developed my own daily practices for mindfulness, positivity, gratitude and movement and these are at the very core of a life that is not defined by illness but by the potential to become more of who I am every day.

In fact, daily mindfulness practices (meditation, mindful movement using yoga, qigong and dance, and tirelessly working on staying more present) plus copious journalling, including a gratitude list compiled every evening, are THE most powerful methods I use, every day, to increase my self-awareness and learn how to thrive, in spite of and often because of the journey my health has taken me on.

I began this blog about a decade ago, shortly after my account of how the practice of art had transformed my outlook of my health and other circumstances got published in a self-development book distributed worldwide (after I was approached by the publishers because of my writing on another website). I remain a passionate advocate for looking at the bigger picture when it comes to our health; of joining all the dots and of noticing all the overlaps between circumstances such as stress and the various different or unacknowledged expressions of neurodiversity, any childhood or other trauma lurking in the shadows and anything else that isn’t being routinely addressed (because everthing is connected!) when we tackle these “mystery” illnesses that seem to manifest out of the blue. We need to stop looking at them piecemeal and draw all the information we have together, to see what they have to tell us about ourselves, what was being overlooked and left bereft while we were try so hard to conform to versions of ourselves that are not authentic but which we felt cayoled or bullied into by the apparent need to “fit in”.

Conditions like these stop us in our tracks and call time on the old ways of being that no longer fit who we are, keeping us from our authenticity and truth. Often, they are an invitation to look deep into the corners of our life and do the real work…the kind that brings us into love and acceptance of who we really are, beyond the stories and expectations that get overlayered by our crazy and demanding lives. Often, there is an opportunity to be found in our own disarray and, once we find it there, it doesn’t stop giving…not ever, for the rest of our lives.


Disclaimer: This blog, it’s content and any material linked to it are presented for autobiographical, general interest and anecdotal purposes only. They are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or prescribing. This article does not constitute a recommendation or lifestyle advice. Opinions are my own based on personal experience. Please seek medical advice from a professional if you are experiencing any symptoms or before you change your diet, your nutrients, your habits or anything else.

6 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi there

    I’ve very recently visited a NES practitioner. Can you share with me your experiences of using such a therapy. It seems far fetched, but I believe you’ve had positive experices using it yourself?



    1. Hi Simon, yes I saw Clare Badrick in Godalming for probably about 8 months. It was (and still does feel) quite hard to pin down the nature of the treatment and what it “does” …and yet the scans that she ran each visit were very nail on the head with what I intuited was “going on” with my body or they flagged up things that went on to have more meaning for me later (like a heavy metal overload that emerged, and was dealt with, more fully later); also, these scans altered perceptibly each time I saw her so there was a feeling of progressing through layers. I think, for me, it was an essential stage of my recovery but I would also say that depends on the mindset with which you approach it. If you go in questioning “how can this tincture possible make a difference…?” then that is what is likely to get realised so I jumped on board fully (reading the book about how NES came about and how it operates at the energetic level was a crucial part of my journey and I would strongly recommend that you do so). Also if you know anything about homeopathy you are likely to be more open to it. For me, it was a perfect fit with my increasingly quantum view of the world at that time. The next question is how long to pursue it – Clare would probably have kept me on it for longer but there was a distinct point that I felt I was ready to leave it behind and that felt right without me knowing why…but then I always seem to instinctively know when its time to move on. Now, is it a coincidence that I went on to enjoy my best summer yet and have exponentially “recovered” since? I guess I will never know; but I wouldn’t want to go back in time and take this part of the jigsaw out of the equation… Hope that helps. Helen


      1. Hi Helen

        Ummmmmm, interesting, but inconclusive hey? We’re never certain with health issues are we? Lol

        I’m unconvinced I’m afraid. I was exactly as you said, how can this little bottle do anything! lol I’m also unsure of the lady I saw. I questioned the whole NES thing and I think she got a bit defensive. At £80 for an hour I have every right to! So, I don’t know what to do going forward. Can you give me a positive boost to help me believe? 😇

        How much was you paying a visit? Was it once a month?



      2. Hi Simon, yes I was paying something like that once a month. There’s really nothing anyone can say to persuade someone onto this kind of healing, if it doesn’t feel right it probably wouldn’t work for you as your openness to its potential and positivity around pursuing it is essential (as with all quantum healing since belief affects the outcome) and you would be better looking for a more empirically based health protocol. Ultimately, its not my place to persuade you as I am not a NES practitioner, I only share what has been positive for me and you will have to feel this out for yourself. As I said, reading the book would be the best start, here’s an Amazon link to that, it should tell you all you need to know. Hope you find a way forwards one way or the other and that you find something that helps. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Decoding-Human-Body-Field-Information-Medicine-ebook/dp/B003ZHVB6M/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1


    1. If you look down the right-hand margin of my page (scroll down a little in the menu, underneath Latest, Topics, Paypal etc) you will see direct links to my facebook page and instagram account. If you have any problems seeing that let me know. I’m on FB as Livingwholehealth and on insragram I’m living_whole_health. Hope that helps 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s