Getting Well: A Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Mind Game

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Cort Johnson and Health Rising.

I came across a powerful practice the other day that I wanted to share. Used by coaches associated with Landmark Education, it involves a subtle but powerful shift in how we approach major goals like getting healthy.

First, they have their clients envision their big goals – goals they have difficulty accomplishing: goals that involve their careers, their family and relationships, their health, quality of life, etc. Then they have them envision the goals being fulfilled – complete – accomplished.

Then starting from that point (the goal achieved), they have their clients look back and determine how they got there. What actions did they take? How did they change what they were doing? What, in short, worked?

That shift from what we usually do –  placing ourselves in the present and looking towards an uncertain future –  to placing oneself in the future and looking back to the present can make a big difference.  For one, big goals – like attaining one’s health – can seem insurmountable looking from the present. They certainly look uncertain.  Looking from a future accomplishment, on the other hand, provides an entirely different kind of energy.

It also provides a kind of vision that we don’t usually have. Doing this practice revealed things I could be doing now which I’m not doing –  things I tell myself I’m going to do, but often put off and off.
As I did the practice, it became clear to me that I mostly just keep on doing what I’m doing.  I’m basically adrift, moving to my goal of better health at a snail’s pace.

There are, of course, no guarantees.  Achieving one’s health after decades of a chronic illness is a pretty big goal.  This practice concentrated my mind, though, and gave me some energy.

After envisioning returning to health, I looked back. These were the things I did that helped me get there.


  • My mostly Paleo diet is already good, but when I dug deeper into Paleo and other diets, I found I was able to refine it, remove some things that weren’t working, and add a few things that added a small but noticeable boost.
  • I began making home-made kefir again. I’ve found that home-made kefir can be quite powerful, but I’ve let the excuse that I’m living out of my van stop me from doing it again. Adding home-made kefir to my diet added another small boost.
  • Ditto with sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented vegetables. I’ve found that Gut Shots can be really good. When I got really good at making fermented veggies, I was able to make my own gut shots and that helped.
  • I ate more small and more frequent meals
  • I ate hearty dinners early in the evening allowing me to do mini-fasts, aka Courtney Craig overnight, and give my system a rest. These were all little boosts but they did add up.

Supplements and Others


  • ME/CFS Specialists – I visited three different ME/CFS/FM specialists (one focused on immune, one focused on autonomic nervous system and one other) to get their input.
  • Dr. Rea – I visited Dr. Rea in Dallas to get desensitized to mold, foods and chemicals.


  • I visited a gut specialist to determine the state of my gut and determine the best way to improve it.


  • Vagus Nerve Stimulator – I continued using the vagus nerve stimulator. It’s the most powerful thing I’ve done and is still producing significant results for me. It could be my ticket or a major part of my ticket. For the first time in years, I feel I can take a deep breath at times. See Vagus Nerve Stimulation in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS: A Trial of One
  • Sauna – I retrofitted my old sauna with infrared and used it to relax and detoxify.


  • Obviously all this took more money. So along the way, I found a way to increase my finances.

Stress Reduction and Pacing


  • I got focused on a higher goal than myself (key Landmark Insight). Doing that gave me focus, calmed me and helped get me past the petty issues that I was otherwise sidetracked by. Having it be about more than me made things easier. I kept doing Landmark programs to gain similar insights.
  • I was in a great relationship that calmed and enriched me.
  • I fixed up my van so that I could work in it without having problems with chemical sensitivities. I fixed the solar problems so that I didn’t have to come into town frequently, which took a lot of energy (and expense).
  • I used Dragon’s Naturally to create blogs instead of typing them – that freed up energy as well.
  • I got really organized. I did things one at a time. I got control of my finances and knew what I had and didn’t have. That reduced my stress levels.
  • I kept an eye on potential new treatments. When I came across one, I put it into One Note and examined them periodically. When something on the drug front popped up, I got access to it through the doctors I was seeing. I experimented with LDN and other products.

Look back – from the future – that’s how I (hopefully) got healthy after 30 plus years of ME/CFS. My guess is that more treatments will have to come along – something else will have to pop up – for that to really happen, but when it does, I’ll be in a good position to maximize it.

It’s a lot of stuff and I will have to innovate and do some things I am reluctant to do, but much of it is doable. I don’t know if it will work, but it gives me a much better shot than I have now.

I invite everyone to do the exercise. I grant that even thinking about being healthy might seem too unachievable. If it is, you might try feeling better or just being a bit healthier. Step into that goal like it’s already happened and look back and see what you did to achieve it.

You, too, might come up with things that you know to do but that you aren’t doing and find things that you would like to do but can’t figure out how to do them right now.

It would be great to hear how it happened for you.

About the Author: ProHealth is pleased to share information from Cort Johnson.  Cort has had myalgic encephalomyelitis /chronic fatigue syndrome for over 30 years. The founder of Phoenix Rising and Health Rising, he has contributed hundreds of blogs on chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and their allied disorders over the past 10 years. Find more of Cort’s and other bloggers’ work at Health Rising.

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One thought on “Getting Well: A Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Mind Game”

  1. jenash44 says:

    This article brings back the old saying, “Act As If” but takes it to a deeper level. It’s a real how-to article and very helpful! Thanks so much!

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