Cover image for the blog entitled, "There is nothing wrong with your body". Find my energy website

There is nothing wrong with your body…

I invite you to explore a controversial, yet empowering idea: there is nothing wrong with your body.

Don’t stop reading because you think you know what I’m about to say here! This is the most important framework to understand if you really want to heal.

It also happens to be one of the most controversial posts I will be sharing. So, [spoiler alert], you may find this difficult to read.

But if you have the courage to continue, let me try and outline why I am arguing that there is nothing wrong with your body.

Why might you hate me for saying there is nothing wrong with your body?

That’s easy. Ten years ago, I would have hated me for saying that too! For far too long, CFS/ME has been branded as an “imaginary” illness. In 2023, we still do not have a blood test that states there is a problem. None of the research, to date, has found a single bio-marker that can be linked to CFS/ME and nothing else. So, that leaves the conventional medical world stumped.

Unfortunately, in society, we have had a dangerous tendency to invalidate people. In other words, if a blood test doesn’t say you have a problem, then you must be fine. And, if you still insist you are ill, then you must be making up your symptoms because you are a hypochondriac.

I hope that, with education, those opinions are now changing. But there is every possibility that you may have come across someone who dismissed you and your illness.

That is not what I am doing here.

I fully acknowledge that you are in a lot of pain. And yes, your body’s physical systems are operating in ways that are out of balance and causing problems. You are likely grieving the life that you used to have.

This can all feel terrible. And that grief and pain is very real. I have been in that position of anger, resentment, grief, loss, fear, confusion. It sucks!

But the perspective I want to share with you here was critical to getting me out of that nightmarish situation.

Image of spider web covered in frost.

The miracle of the human body

Our bodies are an absolute miracle. On some level, we all know that. But have you really considered this idea?

We are naturally primed to survive. So, whatever threat comes our way, the body has an in-built mechanism for trying to deal with it.

If a sabre tooth tiger were to suddenly appear in front of you, your mechanisms to run away to safety would kick in. You don’t have to ‘learn’ these mechanisms, or sit and work out what to do: they just happen.

When a bacteria or virus attacks, your cells know exactly how to send out a distress signal. Your immune system knows just how to respond. It facilitates all the necessary parts of your body to expel that threat (coughing, sneezing, fever, etc.)

Over and above the immediate threats, our bodies are also set up to adapt and evolve. So, if something new appears in the environment and won’t go away, your body automatically triggers systems to adapt. It finds a way to defend itself, or to accommodate this new element and grow stronger (hormesis).

When I watched my Dad lose his battle with cancer, the thing that stayed with me wasn’t the fragility of his body. No, it was the strength. The sheer number of organs, cells and tissues that the cancer had to destroy before his body finally stopped working was incredible.

Are you at war with your body?

So, let’s take that idea a step further. When we feel rubbish, or we find we can’t do things we would like to do, it’s normal to feel angry, scared, confused.

Negative emotions are not pleasant to experience. This is yet another clever mechanism your body has, to keep you safe. Negative emotions naturally arise when we feel threatened. They are meant to act as danger signals.

The problem isn’t the signal, or the danger, it’s the meaning we have given to all of that.

So, when you feel those negative emotions, you feel uncomfortable, you want to feel better. Most likely you look at the thing that caused the negative emotion and you label it as your enemy because it made you feel bad.

Image of raspberries in ice. A metaphor for the idea that there is nothing wrong with your body: it is simply adapting to an unsupportive environment. Find My Energy website.
A metaphor for the idea that there is nothing wrong with your body: it is just adapting to an unsupportive environment.

Have you ever considered you might be missing the point?

What would happen if you didn’t experience that uncomfortable, negative emotion?

Imagine you’re standing in the street. A robber comes up and points a gun at your head and says, “give me your money or I’ll shoot you.” If you didn’t feel fear, you would probably end up being killed.

In other words, your negative emotion is saving your life. It is triggering your physical body to signal and implement whatever systems it believes will best allow you to survive.

So, yes, in that instance, it may be easy to see how the negative emotion helps you. But what has this all got to do with your CFS/ME symptoms?

When you start to feel those muscle pains, or your sore throat worsens, or you wake up and realise you don’t have the energy to get out of bed, which of these thoughts pops into your head?

  1. “Oh, thank you. That’s just reminded me that I need to rest.”
  2. “Oh, [fill in any expletive(s) you wish]. Why is this happening to me? I hate my body!”

For me, it was always option two. I imagine you may be the same. Stick with me here…we’re just getting to the really important part. Understand this and you’ve just mastered the foundation for healing!

There is nothing wrong with your body

In my opinion, all of us – not just the CFS/ME community – approach the idea of illness and symptoms from an unhelpful direction. That is to say, it’s unhelpful if your goal is to heal. If your goal is to explore disease, then maybe it’s not a problem.

We see symptoms as a sign that there is something wrong. The body is mal-functioning.

The truth is, your body is not mal-functioning at all. It may not be allowing you to experience the life you desire (active, pain-free). But that is not (I believe) the same as “mal-functioning”.

Your body’s key motivation is to survive. You may have the desire to thrive, but you cannot do that unless you are alive.

So, your body’s most basic instincts (specifically, the Central Nervous System) are not about helping you get a great job, find a loving partner, enjoy amazing holidays, or whatever else you want from life. They are simply to allow you to survive.

Your symptoms are your best friend

When your body throws up symptoms, it is trying to adapt to survive.

So, if you really want to heal, you need to be asking, “what is this symptom signalling? What is it in my environment that is causing my body to feel threatened?”

Sometimes the answer is obvious. If you just ingested a poison in your food and you then start to vomit, we have a simple cause and effect. But sometimes the answer is more elusive.

Perhaps it is not a ‘single’ dose, but an accumulation of doses. So, it can be hard to spot. For example, think about something like the build-up of chemicals in the system. At some point, the body reaches a tipping point where it cannot clear out fast enough. So, it isn’t the one chemical, it’s the one chemical on top of the thousand others already there.

Then, there are the non-physical things. Your emotions. Worse still, there is the cumulative effect of unhealthy adaptations that have taken place over your life-time, or been inherited from your ancestors.

In other words, there is nothing wrong with your body. It is actually doing an amazing job of surviving against all the odds. The problems stem from the environment in which it is trying to survive.

Now, you may feel very resistant to that idea. I respect that. I felt that way myself for a long time. So, I could have elected not to write this post because you might not want to hear what I have to say. But I’m sharing this information because coming to terms with this idea is what allowed me to heal fully, not just ‘get by’ and manage my symptoms.

Image of flourishing cacti in their best environment. Metaphor for hope when living with CFS. Find My Energy website.
A metaphor for hope: we can all flourish in a supportive environment!

To summarise…

If you want to find deep healing, it’s time to revise how you view your symptoms and your body.

Your symptoms are not problems that need to be fixed. They are messages that need to be heard and understood.

There is nothing wrong with your body. It isn’t broken. It is working perfectly. But you have placed it (accidentally) in an environment that doesn’t support it. In order to keep you alive, it is frantically trying to adapt to that environment.

The way in which it is adapting happens to be causing symptoms that feel unpleasant to you. That should be an indication that you need to make changes. But you may see it as a problem if your desires (living a full life) are not in alignment with your body (survival).

Focusing on eradicating symptoms is a lot like driving your car down a muddy lane, then taking it to the car wash, then driving down the muddy lane again. Your car isn’t the problem. The muddy lane isn’t the problem. The problem is you driving the car down the lane. (And even that isn’t a problem unless you find it necessary to have a clean car!)

So, your CFS/ME symptoms aren’t actually a “problem” at all, unless you want to live a life that requires you to do things beyond simply surviving.

Your body is doing exactly what it should. It is adapting to survive in the environment in which you have placed it. And it will survive that way, for years. CFS/ME is rarely (if ever) fatal…unless you decide your life is unbearable and choose to take it.

If you wish to do more than simply survive, then you need to look at changing your environment, not fighting your body.

Image of a family of swans swimming. Metaphor to show yourself compassion. Find My Energy website.
A metaphor for compassion: remember the power of parenting yourself with love!

Ending on a compassionate note

The idea that there is nothing wrong with your body is a lot to take on board. For some of you, it may feel like a lightbulb moment. You may see a path forward, a way to accept where you are today and start looking to change things for tomorrow.

But for others, this is going to trigger you immensely. Especially if you have had a lot of experience of people accusing you of making up your illness. Or, even if you haven’t had that experience, you may have experienced people placing a lot of blame on you for different reasons.

So, when I say you’re living in a bad environment, I am not intending to create any feeling of blame or shame. Neither you (nor your parents or other friends, relatives or society) deliberately created any of this. We have all grown up trying to do the best we can with the knowledge that we have.

So, please don’t start trying to assess yourself and your life and pick out all the things that “went wrong”. That isn’t the best way forward.

This idea shouldn’t be blaming or shaming. It is actually meant to be empowering. Rather than being at the mercy of a body that nobody understands, you have the potential to take control of your environment, create something more supportive and simply allow your body to adapt to that. Then see what happens…

The sequel

You may want some time to process this idea. That could be hours, days, months, or even years! But when you are ready, there is a sequel.

Having just said you may be existing in a problematic environment I also have good news to share. So, in the sequel, we’ll be asking the next question: what is your environment and how can you adapt it to allow you to thrive?

Now, if these ideas have got you curious, follow this link to keep reading…


Leave your details to join the Find My Energy community and explore further whenever you are ready