I contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome back in June 2013 so even before our first exhibition here. In my case I was weak as a kitten and often in pain. I didn’t find a proper diagnosis until March 2014 and since then I have been recovering at a steady rate. I discovered how wonderful story tapes could be – I was too exhausted to read. I learnt how to meditate which is actually pretty cool. Aspects of alternative medicine I would never have countenanced I am now embracing. I spend a good deal of time balancing my chakras, indulge in lymphatic drainage and reflexology. I have no shame about watching films in the daytime. As I haven’t been able to do any physical work I have accepted the imperative to delegate, which was painful in itself.
I had a huge amount of help and support from my family as well as from some pretty effective and wise alternative health practitioners. I had very little support from the NHS and I urge NICE to rethink its guidelines for the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Six sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy over three months, given the condition lasts years and cannot be ‘cured’ by leaflets, is plainly ludicrous. For me at least my CFS was caused by a barrage of viruses, toxins and parasites hammering away at my broken immune system not a failure to ‘buck up’. That advice, regularly given, is the worst thing a sufferer of CFS can try to do. Inevitably active people who are suddenly rendered floppy as a soft toy do become depressed. So there have been dark days. A medical doctor who practises homeopathy was the clincher for me, and set me on the road to recovery. I am amazed at the number of people who I come across who have suffered the same condition, most without any effective treatment.
The saving grace through all this has been that mostly I have been able to draw and paint throughout my illness. I have been deep in the world of watercolour. It was good to have the notion that art is actually good for you proved. The combination of meditative hand movements and drifting thoughts is restorative.
Working on a computer has been very hard. It is much more draining than you all imagine. Which is why I haven’t posted anything here for such a long time.
And that is the answer to the question what the hell has happened to Ben for the last year.