Tag Archives: Lightning Process

A New Home

10 Apr
The stained glass window in our hall, I love how it's sunshine, so positive and uplifting.  © Jess Bruce 2015.

The stained glass window in our hall, I love how it’s sunshine, so positive and uplifting. © Jess Bruce 2015.

Hello from our new house!

We are all moved in and very happy in our new home.

The move itself went amazingly smoothly, despite our moving company sending a truck that was too small! We are largely unpacked and thanks to my amazing Mum and Mr B, the house is clean and already feels like ours. Mum blitzed every room and Mr B cleaned all the carpets – I supervised 😉

Our new kitchen. About 6 times the size of our old one! © Jess Bruce 2015.

Our new kitchen. About 5 times the size of our old one! © Jess Bruce 2015.

We are loving our new life in the suburbs, it’s so nice waking up to trees outside the window rather than a busy road and train line. I am completely in love with my new kitchen, the red Range cooker and I are already well acquainted and having all my recipe books out on display and easily accessible is making me so happy – pretty much the first piece of furniture I insisted we buy was a new bookshelf for the kitchen! Having a garden and outside washing line is a joy! Simple things…

My pride and joy, cookbooks bookshelf :-) © Jess Bruce 2015

My pride and joy, cookbooks bookshelf 🙂 And still space to add some more to my collection!© Jess Bruce 2015

We did the stereotypical suburban thing over the long Easter weekend with multiple trips to our local DIY superstore and IKEA (my advice to you, never go to these places on a bank holiday). We are now the proud owners of a lawnmower and hosepipe! We also enjoyed a lovely country walk in our new area and tried out our new local pub – which I’m happy to report is amazingly allergen aware, providing gluten free dairy free bread, pizzas and even gravy on their roast lunch.

So all is good on the home front.

Health wise things are a little lot more shaky. After several very stressful and busy months, I guess it was inevitable that ME/CFS would catch up with me at some point. And it would seem our Easter weekend activities tipped me over the line (hopefully not the point of no return…) and I’m more symptomatic this week than I have been since my emergency retreat back to my parents in February. Fatigue and myalgia have both spiked. I’m trying hard not to panic and to use the Lighting Process to curb my symptoms.

Magnolia tree in our garden © Jess Bruce 2015

Magnolia tree in our garden © Jess Bruce 2015

Life tends to get in the way of managing a chronic illness and if I’ve ignored things for too long then my ME/CFS gets louder and louder until I’m forced to take notice and stop. It seems I’m at that point now. It’s not that I intend to push myself too far, I think it’s human nature (or my nature at least) to keep going whilst I’m feeling okay. That’s the hard thing. Okay masks a lot and is a bit like skating on thin ice. So it’s back to listening to my body and putting it first – this seems to be a pattern of my recovery…a bit boom and bust, think I need to reacquaint myself with the concept of pacing.

It’s just very hard when life is so busy – whose idea was it to move house and get married in the same 6 months?!

I’m yet to get my camera out and take proper photos of our new surroundings so for now I hope you like these few snaps from my iPhone.


24 Feb
Float like a feather. Photo credit: morgue filer user katmystiry

Float like a feather. Photo credit: morgue filer user katmystiry

Stress is a word that has been on my mind a lot recently. As regular readers will have seen from recent posts, life is pretty incredibly stressful at the moment.

Stress really is a menace. It is the devil. As someone who knows the health implications of stress all too well, I have spent a lot of time recently trying to de-stress. Trying to calm myself. Trying very hard not to stress.

And you know what I’ve realized? The more you fight stress, the worse it gets. The more you struggle against stress, the more stressed you become. The more you engage and identify with the fact you are stressed, the deeper down into the black hole of stress you go. The more you engage with it ‘I’m so stressed, oh I’m so stressed, I can’t do this….’ the more stressed your thoughts become. And the more stressed your mind is, the more stressed your body becomes. And that is never good.

That is not to say that you should sit back and let stress pummel you by doing nothing. No. That’s not what I think is best. But the way you interact with your stress is important.

The anology of quicksand is quite useful. The urban legend goes that if you find yourself caught in quicksand (heaven forbid, thankfully not a lot of it in London, the physical sort at any rate, lots of the stress sort) the very worst thing you can do is to fight it. The more you scrabble and struggle to get out, the more you put weight down on your foot in order to push yourself out, the deeper into the sand your foot goes. The more you struggle, the deeper you go and the more you struggle. It goes against all our natural instincts but the only way to survive quicksand is to lay down and spread your weight out across your full surface area. You have to just stop and be with the quicksand (and wait/pray for someone to come help you get out of course).

This can be applied to dealing with stress. The more you struggle against being stressed the deeper you fall, i.e. the more stressed you become. Then you fight it a bit more, and yep, you fall even deeper down into the stress. Never ending cycle of stress Hell. But if you can summon the strength (and boy is it hard) to just let the stress be and just accept the stressful thoughts and feelings, you will find that you survive. You will get through it and come out the other side.

I’ve been trying to keep this in mind. Trying to let the stress just be. As the Headspace meditation taught me, the calm of a blue sky is ever present, it’s just a matter of letting it come to the surface. By not struggling with the stress, that blue sky can appear much more easily.

Float like a bird. © Jess B 2015

Float like a bird. © Jess B 2015

I have also been thinking a lot about choice. I am not the stress and the stress is not me. It is not an uncontrollable part of me. It does not define me. Stepping back and seeing the stress as separate to me is really helpful. It helps me see that I have a choice about how I think/feel/react to the stress. I don’t have to let it take over. I can choose to step back and breath and let the blue sky bubble up.

Choice plays a central role in the Lightning Process. On recognizing a negative thought or physical symptom, you stop and choose what you want to do instead of just blithely following the negativity or damaging pattern. In prolonged periods of heightened acute stress, especially in bodies that have a history of ME/CFS, the nervous system can all too quickly become permanently switched on. We are wired very primatively and our bodies can not differentiate between actual danger (a hungry tiger ready to pounce on you) and uncomfortable difficult situations (such as idiot buyers holding up your house move). So even though there is no tiger about to eat me, my nervous system thinks there is and goes into overdrive in order to protect me.

The STOP of the Lightning Process is quite strong and can be too abrasive at times when your nervous system is in serious freak out mode (as mine has been over the last few weeks). At these times, you need to really sooth your nervous system. And a strong powerful STOP is unhelpful as it will just ramp up the stress in your system that bit more.

Instead I have been choosing to pause…. To breath….. and ground myself. To coach myself over and over that I am okay….. I am safe….. I am okay…. I am completely safe….. I have been choosing to float through the stress. To just let time pass….. To just float…. Float like a soft white feather on the breeze…… Float like a rubber duck bobbing in a bath of warm water…….. Float like a beautiful bird gliding through blue sky….. .Float on my back in calm turquoise waters…. Just float…. Just let it be…..

Words of the week:





I feel calmer already.

Hope you do too.

A Tactical Retreat

17 Feb

This week I am writing to you from the very comfy armchair in my Mum and Dad’s living room.

Last week I made a tactical retreat, leaving the stress and uncertainty of our on again off again flat sale in London behind and made the 130 mile journey north to my parents’ house in Lincolnshire.

My sleep had been deteriorating over the last few weeks, taking forever to drift off at night due to all the stress and thoughts, about our house move falling through, swirling around in my head. It came to breaking point last Tuesday night when, having gone to bed at 9.30 pm exhausted, I was still wide awake at midnight. I couldn’t stop crying, I was so tight, stressed and wound up. The whole ‘the move is not worth destroying my health over’ had been forgotten, I was so stressed out I couldn’t see that. I couldn’t see anything. After a couple of hours of watching Brothers and Sisters (through tears and swirling thoughts) I think I eventually fell asleep around 3 am. I spent Wednesday curled up on the sofa feeling like I had been hit by a bus / jet lagged / completely undone.

My emotional state and sleep are fairly good indicators of how my body is health wise. They always have been. They’re the first things to disintegrate when my ME/CFS starts to worsen. My myalgia was spiking as well. Little things, like washing up or typing an email, things that don’t usually trigger pain anymore, were/are bringing on that burning, heavy, aching pain in my arms. My elbows hurt and forearms are burning. The vertebrae in my neck hurt and my shoulders feel like that have ten ton weights on them. Although the pain is not anywhere near as acute or persistent as it once was (thank you Lightning Process), the fact that it is there at a level that makes me stop and acknowledge it is cause for concern. Hence the need to remove myself from the scene of stress, so to speak, and vacate our flat for the more tranquil air of Lincolnshire.

It felt a bit pathetic to need to take action. It felt very lame that the stress of the house move had got to me so badly, especially when Mr B seems oblivious to it all. But as my Dad reminded me, selling houses and moving are one of the most stressful things people do and even ‘normal’ people, people without nervous system affecting illnesses, would be affected by this so I am trying to be kind to myself. Hence, being at my parents.

I’m trying to keep myself distracted with wedding prep, yoga and of course meditation. I’m still doing my Headspace practice each morning and trying to take a step back and do the Lightning Process when I find myself caught up in the frenzy of stress. The joy of email and smart phones means the lawyers and estate agents are never far away. It’s hard to step back but it is necessary. Very necessary.

And as my Mum said when I arrived, come in and let everything fall away. How is it that returning to our childhood homes is like sinking into a warm bubble bath? Ahhhh bliss. Perhaps I should drop my smart phone into the bubbles and let the estate agent and lawyer emails float away 😉

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