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  • Healthy Lifestyle equals Happy families

    Peace Harmony and Joy Apr 29, 2016

    Healthy Lifestyle equals Happy families A couple of weeks ago I had been planting vegetable seeds ( a bit late I know). I've now been bitten by the bug again and have ordered more. There is nothing like growing your own food, especially knowing that no chemicals have been added to it. It made me think of the health issues so many people have that would not have been around as much 20 years ago.  Why do you think that is?I think it is made up in many parts. A big part is what we eat and breathe. People also do not seem as able to cope with stress. A little stress is good for us but life seems so much more stressful for many people. Lack of exercise is another problem as we have children spending time on games machines and adults who are couch potatoes. What would you do to change things?I would start with making sure that what we and our children eat is in fact good for them. Research where your food comes from, what additives and chemicals may have been added to them and if they have been genetically modified in any way. Stop giving sugary drinks or low calorie[…]

  • Looking back over 2015

    Peace Harmony and Joy Dec 27, 2015

    Looking back over 2015 It's amazing how fast this year has gone past. I can't believe we are almost at the end of December 2015.One of my highlights this year was in August. I was asked to take part in an interview with Faith Canter who is the author of Living a Life  Less Toxic. It was fun, although a little scary to do as I had no idea what she was going to ask me. The link is  here if you want to see it. Another highlight was all the vegetables I was growing in both my garden and greenhouse, although I was a little late in starting the planting this year. Once again I gave quite a few of the plants away. For 2016 I will be starting earlier so hopefully will be able to share even more next year. Vegetables that are home grown taste so much better!One of the sad things that happened was the death of Dr Wayne Dyer on August 29th 2015. Since then many more people have been talking about him and watching his films and reading his books. It feels as if he is still with us, although in a different way. I was first introduced[…]

  • Benefits Into Work. Change Is Needed!

    Peace Harmony and Joy Aug 5, 2015

    Benefits Into Work. Change Is Needed!  Todays blog is unusual for me but I needed to get it off my chest. Thank you for reading.It is just over a year ago that the song Caledonia was recorded by The Libations. The aim was to raise money for local Food banks. With all the changes that the UK government is making I believe more people will be in need of help. Yesterday I spoke to someone who had struggled from an illness and was proud to have started a job. She had to work 2 weeks in hand then would get paid 4 weeks later. That meant she would have to wait 6 weeks till she got her salary. She thought she would continue to get help through her benefits until this, happy to pay any of it back when she got paid.She was totally shocked that she was told her benefits were now stopped. After working 3 weeks she now had no money to pay for her gas, electric, food and housing! How can that be right? Surely the government should be supporting people back into work? I know in certain circumstances the housing can be paid for an extra 4 weeks but this does not help with the other costs.[…]

  • Change Your Mindset, Enjoy Your Life

    Peace Harmony and Joy Jul 6, 2015

    Change Your Mindset, Enjoy Your Life In my daytime job I speak to people with all sorts of vulnerabilities. This could be an elderly person that has not spoken to anyone for a few days or someone terminally ill. Often those that are in a really bad place health wise are those with the light shining from them. One phrase I often hear is " There is always someone worse than me". People can be so resilient even when in chronic pain. The opposite are those that believe everyone is against them and only think of what they cannot do. It shows time and again that mindset has a big part to play in how we live our lives.I remember many years ago reading the Celestine prophecy thanks to my friend Lorraine who advised me she was bringing this book when she visited me in the summer. A couple of weeks later a parcel dropped through my letter box with the words to read it as it couldn't wait till summer! I could not put it down and have now read all the sequels. The main thing that comes out of the book is we are all one of 4 groups of people.They are intimidator, poor[…]

  • Changing For A BetterLife

    Peace Harmony and Joy May 28, 2015

    Changing For A BetterLife Following on from my last blog "You are what you eat" I am  pleased to say that I have watched the film Fork over Knives and have bought the book to read. The biggest change so far is I decided to remove all meat from my diet. For over 20 years I have not eaten beef and rarely eaten pork so my diet was made up of mainly Chicken and turkey when I wanted meat. I realised recently that most of my  diet was made from vegetables and pasta and I was not enjoying the meat  most of the time I was eating it so it was time for change.For all of us there comes a time when we need to make changes in our lives. It may be to do with relationships, work or health. The wrong thing is to sit and wish things were different, instead we have to take action. I have also at the same time joined a club with swimming pool and gym. For now I am starting on the swimming due to the current weakness of my back but hopefully will progress to the gym as well. I have also made a commitment to[…]

  • You Are What You Eat

    Peace Harmony and Joy May 5, 2015

    You Are What You Eat I just have to tell you about the last lady I spoke to at work today. She would like more people to know about what she is doing. She is 71 although sounded under 40 and she has womb cancer. The important thing is it has almost gone instead of spreading and killing her within 3 months which the doctor said always happens. The problem with this  type of cancer is it does not bother you so often goes undiagnosed.A friend of hers said she was not looking good a  year ago and got her started on juicing. In her words her arthritis and pains went and she started to look more youthful. She also dropped from 13 stone to 10. Her daughter at first thought this was wrong but has now joined her after seeing the difference in her mum.She then had a touch of sciatica and went to see the doctor and was shocked to find herself diagnosed with the cancer. They told her it was very aggressive and would spread like wildfire and wanted to do chemotherapy. Spurred on by the difference juicing had made to her she decided instead to use food to treat her illness.[…]

  • Gratitude In The Moment

    Peace Harmony and Joy Mar 26, 2015

    Gratitude In The Moment Do you ever feel you are running on empty and need to recharge your batteries? It could be you are a busy Mum or Dad, or a Business person but we are really all just the same. It is so easy to get caught up in all we want to do that we never stop to just be in the moment. The word "Want" is interesting though as it does not mean "Need". We can all wish for something that we would like to have but it may not be important, whereas things we need are. Are you chasing your tail because you want something or need it?We all need to take time out for ourselves. One of the things we can make time for is to slow down and become aware of all that we are grateful for. This may start out as just a few minutes a day. This does two things for you. When you take it on board that there are good things in your life you will become more contented. Your mind is also an interesting piece of equipment. Your thoughts are energy, so whatever you are thinking about goes out there into the Universe.[…]

  • Let The Light Through.

    Peace Harmony and Joy Feb 7, 2015

    Let The Light Through. The world can easily feel like a dark place with all that's going on in it. Although I have not watched or listened to the news or read newspapers for a couple of years, I still get bombarded with it through social media.When we see and hear things like murders, accidents and generally anything that does not put a smile on our faces it can pull us down and we can get lost in thinking the world is a bad place to be. This is not really true but the media puts the fear into us. You may notice they are not so good at promoting all the great things that happen. I see things every day from  children- yes children- inventing brilliant medical advances and ways to help the third world. It's always best to try and concentrate more on the good things in life rather than the bad as you will have a happier life. It's okay though to have off days too as we are human after all.Of course you can feel down in others ways too. This may be due to  health or other factors. This week I shocked myself with how upset and frustrated I[…]

  • Every day is a gift.

    Peace Harmony and Joy Jan 25, 2015

    Every day is a gift. Do you ever wake up and just be thankful that you can see, hear and smell?  It's something a lot of us take for granted but all are not as fortunate as us.Today I went into the garden with my dogs and saw a tiny bunch of snowdrops which have just opened. It is so easy to complain about the cold and the rain but here is a sign that spring is on its way. I then looked around the rest of the garden and could just see some daffodils peaking through the soil. Considering last week all I saw was brick hard ground it shows that things are always growing under the surface. How about you? Are there  things you are studying- perhaps meditation - that you are struggling with? Does it sometimes feel as if you are fighting against a brick wall? Everyone can learn but it has to be at your own pace. I often tell students that struggle to just slow down when they are on a walk and be mindful of what they are passing in the streets and gardens. This is also a form of Meditation. If you can do this you are on[…]

  • Laughter is the best medicine.

    Peace Harmony and Joy Jan 20, 2015

    Laughter is the best medicine. Do you ever have one of those days that don't go the way you expect?  I was hoping for a long lie in bed today but instead the three dogs I have in my house this weekend woke me up at 6am. One of them belongs to a friend. After letting them out in the garden I did manage to go back to bed till 8am so all was not lost.The day started to go downhill when I went to make breakfast. I put some Hash Browns in the oven and cooked some eggs to go with them. When they were ready I took them out of the oven with a towel and then without thinking went to grab the tray with my bare hand. As you can guess I burned myself as the tray and Hash Browns went all over the floor. Don't worry, Calendula  cream and running my hand under cold water very quickly did the trick. I sat down and ate my lonesome eggs after cleaning the floor. I then realised I had left my coffee in the kitchen so went to collect it. After taking a mouthful I realised it was cold. I had forgotten to[…]

  • Mindset Over Age - Positive Thoughts Go A Long Way

    Peace Harmony and Joy Dec 14, 2014

    Mindset Over Age - Positive Thoughts Go A Long Way It always seems my Blog gets more views than the source of this article so I've added it here.Thispast month has been full of experiences at work that I felt impelled towrite about it. I work for a company and help people withvulnerabilities. This can be age, health or low income related. Most ofthis is done over the phone where a lot about a person's state of mindcan be found out during our conversation.There will always bepeople that feel down due to one of the above but what really makes mesmile is the amount of people that think positively regardless of theirsituation. Two that stood out for me recently were an 84 year old ladythat had just returned from a 2 mile walk. She mentioned that it shockedher earlier that day to realise she was now 84. She said that othersmay be expecting her to slow down but she had no intentions of doingthat. The other was an 80 year old lady. She honestly sounded like shewas 30. When I mentioned this to her she said that she had long blondehair, a slim body and wore up to date clothes so there was no reason forpeople to think she was[…]

  • Living your life with Gratitude

    Peace Harmony and Joy Jul 20, 2014

    Living your life with Gratitude I have recently had the Bon Jovi song "It's my Life"  going round in my head. Check out the lyrics here. It talks about living while you are alive. It made me think how many people go through day to day just existing rather than living.Do you have a job you go to that feels not right for you? Are you there just to pay the bills or because you like working there? Do you  go to work then come home and vegetate? Would you call this living while you are alive? I certainly don't think so. Life has to have some sparkle to it both in and out of employment.There may be some of you reading this who are unemployed and may feel you just have to get through each day as everyday feels the same, perhaps without much hope depending on where you live. You all have the choice to make changes. It's up to you if you choose to do something about it.If you look around there is so much more out there for you to use your time wisely. There are many charities needing help and there are many organisations set up for whatever you like[…]


    Peace Harmony and Joy Jun 29, 2014

    CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE I recently had a client who spoke of her Grandmothers positive attitude. She died a couple of years ago aged 100!  The client mentioned that she used to feel uncomfortable if she was complaining about a bad day at work as gran had been on her own all day, but then she only had positive things to say back to her granddaughter. The Grandmother had always been like this and the client thought this was what had made her live so long and contentedly. This made an impact on my client and she now tries to think positively in many more situations she finds herself in.It may have taken some time to break through but the connection was finally made.  Now this client is going on to bring her children up in the same way. This is the way I  believe that children should be brought up, knowing they can look for the best in things as well as knowing they are loved. It is important to be aware that how we talk and what actions we take will all make a difference on how our children grow up. We have to remember that the greatest thing we can do[…]

  • Get with the programme this summer.

    Peace Harmony and Joy Jun 17, 2014

    Get with the programme this summer. Do you ever feel it's time to wake up and get with the programme?  I was speaking to someone recently about how they were going to make a social media comeback. It made me think that I needed to increase my blogs as I was letting down those that looked forward to my posts. I think we all have spells of concentrating on different things but letting people find out about your business should be constant.I have been remiss in blogging this year as I have been spending time on my reiki workshops and of course my lovable dogs. I am loving the amount of people coming forward for reiki workshops this year but more importantly it's as if everyone is waking from a deep sleep and becoming more spiritual either before or after training in a workshop to become attuned to reiki. The changes that I am seeing in each person are wonderful.I wrote recently on my Facebook page that as I run small workshops I get to know people in more depth than if I was running larger groups. This is the right way for me to train and word of mouth has attracted more people to[…]

  • Raising our vibrations.

    Peace Harmony and Joy Apr 16, 2014

    Raising our vibrations. How are you feeling today?Here in Edinburgh we have had sunshine for 3 consecutive days. To some of you that may not seem like much but you can see the difference in people here as everyone goes about their day. You can't walk down a street without seeing someone gardening, washing their car or even sitting in a sun lounger in their garden. Most of all you see a lot more people smiling. If you smile at someone they will usually smile back so why don't you join in and keep the cycle going.When the sun shines it lifts our vibrations. We  feel happier and more communicative with others. We go walking more and often people are to be found in the parks that they have not visited since last summer or autumn. It's like everyone comes out of hibernation. All the fair weather dog walkers can be seen again, joining those of us that are out in all weathers. This is a great way to meet people rather than shutting yourself away during the colder months. I can't believe that my 2 x15 month dogs have now owned me for just over a year. It's amazing how fast time[…]

  • Changing Your Thoughts To Create Harmony In Your Life.

    Peace Harmony and Joy Nov 17, 2013

    Changing Your Thoughts To Create Harmony In Your Life. I am lucky to have a field locally that is securely fenced. This means that anyone walking their dogs and puppies can let them off their leads to play and socialise. Last week on a day that I was off I took my pups there and saw Willow run to the fence with another dog. On the other side of the fence was a crow. The crow walked slowly on the pavement taunting the pups who could not reach it. It then flew just above their heads landing on top of the fence looking down at them before flying to a tree. I was advised by the other owners that this happened daily as the crow came to their 9 am club. It enjoyed outsmarting the puppies each day and often would fly above just to taunt them! I must make sure I take my camera or phone with me the next time I join in with them.                                               It reminded me of a few years ago walking my previous dog Misty in a local park when we were suddenly attacked  by crows. I assumed that they had chicks in the tree and were being a bit over protective as my[…]

  • The Social Media Effect

    Peace Harmony and Joy Oct 27, 2013

    The Social Media Effect I was thinking today about what social media has brought into my life. I then found myself in a collage photo on a special persons page. This person Lives in India and I connected with him through a lovely lady who lives in  Spain.  Please check out his website and share it. He is a Heart surgeon and has already operated on 100 children for free due to his charity efforts.You may remember my blog last September when I holidayed with the author of the children's Skellee Rescue series in Spain. In fact back then she was on book number one but has since made a few more. You can find out more here and download a free book if you have young children.This got me thinking that through her and others, I have connected with people all over the world that enrich my life daily. I have to say that previously I  had paid attention to what was just in my own locality, unless a major catastrophe was brought to my attention elsewhere in the world. Now I get information from all over the world and some of it speaks to me so that I also end up sharing[…]


    Peace Harmony and Joy Oct 5, 2013

    SPREAD A LITTLE HAPPINESS PLEASE SHARE THIS and spread a little HappinessHow does it make you feel if someone steps in to help you unexpectedly? Does it give you a warm feeling?Sometimes we do not acknowledge how much we are able to help other people and the impact it has on them. It may be you giving someone a cup of coffee. It may be helping someone with a project though not necessarily only when they ask. It may be holding a door open for someone or even just giving them a smile.How often do you hear of a problem that someone has and come up with a solution to it?I had a great experience of this a few years ago when a friend of mine on hearing I had a lack of space in the summertime decided to convert my attic on a budget at barely any charge at all. His answer to me was “You supported me when I needed it” This was completely unexpected and made me feel fantastic.I also get a buzz out of helping others. I like to offer the use of my Chi machines or my time if I hear of someone in pain or needing to chill out. This week people[…]

  • Gratitude through life changes

    Peace Harmony and Joy Sep 14, 2013

    Gratitude through life changes Do you ever have one of those days when you feel your heart is fit to burst? I had one of those moments this morning. This last week has been full of great things happening, some unexpected , but all moving in the right direction and it's going to continue in the same way.When I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed in the evening I always take a few minutes to go over what I am grateful for. This may be the changing seasons, family and friends, my puppies and lots more. Now, sometimes things do not go the way you might expect, but often you may find later that the right thing happened at the right time. Because of this I try hard to find something positive in every situation. I may not always succeed, as just like you, I'm human. This is always work in progress!I have not always been like this. A few years ago I would have a couple of things go wrong and then wait for the 3rd thing to mess up. I then became involved with reiki and my attitude had a big change. I  read the Secrets of[…]

  • Eamonn's Trading Project

    Peace Harmony and Joy Sep 5, 2013

    Eamonn's Trading Project This week my Blog is dedicated to my Grandson Eamonn. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for the wonderful thing that he is doing. Before school had stopped for the holidays he heard the story of the man that started out with a red paperclip and kept trading up(Kyle).  He ended up with a house! Eamonn did not have such high expectations, and just wanted to try it for fun. A couple of days later he then decided he would help a local charity. He thought long and hard about which charity to help and decided on one that he personally knew was helping others. He went ahead, with dads help, and set up a Facebook page called  Eamonn's Trading Project.In just under one week he has over 200 people liking his page and the swaps have started. As I type he has an Xbox, 2 controllers and 6 games ready to swap. The only rule is that every swap increases in value. The plan is whatever gift is left on Christmas Eve will be auctioned and the money will go to East Lothian Food bank.  This is a charity that helps people who are struggling. Unfortunately with all the benefit[…]





This weekend my Grandchildren have said they will help me make a video about the Sun Ancon Chi Machine. They have both had use of one for a few years. My Granddaughter who is 4 was introduced to it when Mum was pregnant. Not only did it help my Daughter who had SPD but it also put the baby to sleep when she was restless. Mum also used to use the Chi machine halfway through the night to get my Granddaughter back to sleep again.

My Grandson is now 8 but I remember him being desperate to try it when he was younger. I had said when he was 4 he could use it so a few days after his 4th birthday he came to the shop I was working in. The room had a wonderful light that changed colours and sheets looking like sails draping down from the ceiling. Funnily enough this has now been replicated in my own therapy room. He was so taken by the lights changing colour that he did not want to lie down for more than 30 seconds and kept raising his head to look in awe at all the colours in the room. The good news is after this he learned to stay still for more than a few seconds and uses it now when he has a headache or a tummy ache.  

My Granddaughter was so eager to use the Sun Ancon Chi machine that she used to watch Mum and Brother on it and as soon as mum switched it off she would lie down and make her body move in the same way as when the electricity was switched on. The ways it makes the body move is like a figure of eight so this used to keep us very amused. As soon as she too turned 4 she was able to use it with the machine actually doing the work for her.
To see the faces of the two of them when the Chi machine switches off is fun. Unlike adults they find it really hard to be quiet and enjoy the sensation and instead we get bombarded with words of how they are feeling and usually a lot of laughter too. Don’t you just love children!

The Sun Ancon Chi machine can help with so many health issues or just to help people relax and chill out. If you want any more information about it to find out if it may be able to help either you or someone you know please feel free to contact me for further information. Contact me.
I will upload the video to my Facebook page.  Please feel free to like it.

I woke up thinking about gratitude today. I especially wanted to think about some of my life experiences that had not been so good and why I should be grateful for them.

I grew up in a house where my Mother was often ill. I then found out how great my extended family were for taking care of me each time I went to live with them . This also involved going between 2 schools for a while so I had to learn to fit in with each schools way of learning. This meant accepting each time that I was moving up or down a class too as the teaching methods were so different.

I got married too young and had a problem marriage but gained 2 wonderful children from it and now my beautiful Grandchildren. I learned a lot about tolerance and patience through this period in my life and how to make ends meet on a low budget.

I suffered from serious Back problems then found Reiki and the Chi machine to help and inspire me. I am now a much more positive person than I was before. Through both of them I have been able to move on with my life and also help others who have health issues. I have also been able to use these therapies to raise money for various charities.

I had a leaking roof for years that various companies could not correct. Eventually when this was sorted a friend built me a Therapy room in this space which is awesome and was a great surprise for me.

Do you see the similarities? Out of each negative event in my life something really positive came out of it. I have also learned on the way to have respect for others and to accept what cannot be changed but also to help change what is not acceptable.

What happens in life shapes the way we will grow. We can learn from it and improve our life or we can get stuck in the “Poor me” situation. Which direction have you taken? If it is the wrong one there is still time to change your life for the better.

If you want to check out my latest or any of my aticles that I have been writing this year you will find them here


This is my latest one

Developing Superior Confidence - How to Raise Your Self Esteem

Expert Author Joy Fraser

I visited a friend a few days ago who had the most gorgeous 8 week old puppy. She had only been home a few days and will build her self-confidence as she grows. I really wanted to take her home as all she wanted to do was curl up and sleep. The pup has been found to have a problem with her leg which may cause her problems as she grows older. She is lucky to live in a loving home where this was spotted quickly and with the right training she will grow to be a beautiful confident dog. It made me think that we are not all perfect but still lovable. The problem is do we know it?

Most of us have something in our lives that we are not happy with. I know I would love to lose some weight and gain enough money to have a stress free life and be able to help others more (although some stress is good for us all). Too many times in life we are looked at only from the outside by others. This can often make us feel negative about ourselves. The most important thing for us all though is to look within. What should really matter is what is inside us and how we feel -not what others want us to believe about ourselves. We all have love to share with others but do we love ourselves? We are the most important person in our life we should learn to love ourselves first to allow us to appreciate others more fully as well.

Low self-esteem can be a problem that many people have. This may be due to how they were brought up or relationships that may have gone wrong when they were younger. They may have been bullied at school because they were overweight or shy and did not make friends easily. If no one helped them through this minefield it may have continued into their adult life.

The good news if you are stuck in a negative feeling about yourself is you CAN change. Nowadays there are so many Life coaches available to listen to on the Internet that it does not even have to cost you any money. One of the people I love to listen to is

. YouTube is full of his motivational videos. If any of the above rings true for you NOW is the time to take control to change whatever situation you are in to a positive one.

I chose Reiki without knowing how much it would change my life. I now feel the world is my oyster and I am stronger and more positive than before. For each of us there is a way forward and we owe it to ourselves to find the correct solution to help us change to make our lives more positive. There are many clubs nowadays for people who enjoy all different interests whether it is social, sporty or crafty. A well rounded club that I know of is Spice UK which covers all over the country. Check it out and see if it could fit into your life.

Whatever choice you make take the action now and watch your life become positive and fun. Check out the internet and find things that interest you because now is the time to build your self-confidence and enjoy the rest of your life.

Synchronicity and the Universe

A few nights ago I had been writing an article on Synchronicity. I will add a link here shortly. A few days before I had decided I wanted to make some short videos about the Sun Ancon Chi machine as I think it's awesome. I feel it's my duty to spread the word as it can help so many health issues. This week when everybody around (including me) has been getting headaches due to the weather it has come into it's own. If I wake up with a headache 10 minutes on the machine and it's gone.

The synchronicity continued on the same evening. I had been befriended a few days before by someone on Facebook and that evening he sent me an invite to a webinar on making videos. It was very interesting and gave me lots of info to get started. The very next morning I received information for a course I was about to take part in that I needed a video of myself before I started. Talk about getting the message loud and clear!

I have found more and more this year that often when I think of something the answer comes up a few days later. It can be as simple as needing x £'s and then finding that overtime suddenly comes available and I can earn the same amount.

One thing has certainly become clear-the Universe is listening. It's really important to put out positive thoughts. Don't say " I have no.... " Instead imagine that you are doing what you want to do and that whatever is needed will come in at the right time. If all you put out is that you have no money, bad health, no relationships etc then this will continue to be attracted to you. Instead whenever one of these thoughts enter your head change it to a thought that you are now at the place you are meant to be and only positives things will come your way from now on. One thing to be aware of is sometimes things happen in our life that seem negative but often when you look back on that time you will see that it taught you something that you took onboard and it changed things in your life for the better.

We all go through life learning as we grow. On looking back my life started to change when I took up Reiki but in 2012 synchronicity is speeding up!


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Following on from my posting this morning I was led to this great piece of writing by Sonia Pouton's Blog in the Daily Mail which I thought I would share with you all.


M.E. is comparable to AIDS, so why do so many people still deny it exists?

THIS week is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Week or, as it's more accessibly referred to these days: M.E. That may not mean a great deal to you. Certainly, it didn't to me.

Oh wait, yes it did.

Based on no personal knowledge whatsoever - fortunately neither I or my loved ones have M.E. - my judgement was gleaned from how the world has portrayed the illness.

Like millions of others, I have seen M.E. through the eyes of the medical establishment, the Government and the Media. The picture has not been good.

Here is what I have previously understood about M.E. and those who have it.

M.E. sufferers are workshy malingerers. They whine, constantly, about feeling tired. They are annoying sympathy seekers.

Damn it. We're all tired. Especially those fools like me who work all hours God Sends (and even some he doesn't) to support the type of people who say they are too tired to work.

Oh, and mostly, importantly, M.E. is 'all in the head' and can be overcome with a bit more determination and a little less of the 'poor me' attitude.

That, generally, is what I thought about M.E.

Until, that is, a reader sent me a DVD of a British-made film about the illness titled 'Voices From The Shadows'.

I receive dozens of clips and films each month, and I try and see as many as I humanly can, but there was something about 'Voices...' that stopped me in my tracks.

One of the reasons the film had such an impact is because it challenged my deep-seated preconceptions about M.E.

Through 'Voices...' - and the subsequent research I have conducted - I have come to realise that what I thought I knew about the illness was a fallacy but, more importantly than that, was actually detrimental to those affected.

So, as a naturally curious individual, I'm not a journalist by mistake, I began to question why I had been furnished with one version of events - and inaccurate ones at that.

The more I began to delve into the subject the more curious it all became.

Like for example, why are records pertaining to ME locked away in our national archives in Kew for 75 years? The normal period would be 30 years.

75 years, the period generally used for documents of extreme public sensitivity and national security, is excessive.

The reason given, that of data protection, is a nonsense as it is perfectly acceptable, and easy, to omit names on official documents. The excuse, supplied in Parliamentary questions by the Department of Work and Pensions, didn't wash with me.

Why, I thought, were they making such an exception?

It got me thinking about what information the files actually do contain. And, seeing as the topic of M.E. is still beset with misunderstanding, we could all benefit from some enlightenment on the subject.

So, to this end - and seeing as it M.E. Awareness Week - here is my personal guide to shattering the myths and blatantly-pedalled untruths about M.E.

Myth No. 1: ME is a mental illness

Not so. It is a neurological one. It is not a case of 'mind over matter' despite many GP's and health professionals still thinking it is. Psychiatrists have bagged it as 'their thing' and the General Medical Council has been somewhat remiss in suporting it as a physical condition.

I spoke with one ME sufferer, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of upsetting the medical professionals who are currently treating her. She said a new GP at her practice had suggested she take up meditation to help her combat her decades-old condition.

Thankfully there are some doctors, few and far between admittedly, who really understand the physical nature of M.E.

Dr. Speight, a medical advisor for a number of M.E. charities does. Commenting on the wide-ranging debilitation of the illness, he has said:

"The condition itself covers a wide spectrum of severity but even the mildest cases deserve diagnosis and recognition because if they are given the wrong advice or don't handle themselves correctly they can become worse.

"At the more severe end of the spectrum there's a minority of patients who are truly in a pitiable state...some of them in hospitals, some of them at home...and this end of the spectrum is really one of the most powerful proofs to me of what a real condition this is and how it cannot be explained away by psychiatric reasons."

Sadly, there are still many health professionals who buy into the notion that M.E. is a psychological disorder and should be treated as a form of insanity.

In Denmark, only last week, The Danish Board of Health sought to remove a 23-year old woman, Karina, from her family home on the grounds of mental illness despite the fact that what she really has is M.E.

Karina, bed-bound, light and sound sensitive and too weak to walk is considered to be insane, rather than physically sick, and her family has been repeatedly told by Danish doctors that the diagnosis of M.E. is not recognised.

Myth 2: ME is just extreme tiredness, right?

Wrong. Despite falling under the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome category - as does Fibromylgia which has its own Awareness Day next week - it is entirely wrong to assume that M.E. is merely about lack of energy.

This confusion arose over the past 20-odd years and is due to the condition being re-classified as a Fatigue Syndrome.

The result of this has been to trivialise the illness which has served as fodder for ill-informed public commentators who have used M.E. and Fibromylgia to talk about 'scroungers' in the benefits system who are 'too lazy' to get out of bed.

For those who know about the illness, this type of commentary is viewed as dangerous rhetoric that deserves to be classified as a form of hate crime.

Myth No. 3: M.E. is just like a bad flu

Oh, if only. M.E. is a complex, chronic, multi-system illness that affect the body in similar ways to Multiple Scelerosis. In addition, inflammation of the neurological system can lead to heart disease, extreme muscle pain and other debilitating and life-threatening conditions.

As one doctor put it, comparing M.E. to an illness like flu is like comparing Emphysema to a chest infection. It seriously undermines the truth extent of M.E.

Myth No. 4: M.E. sufferers should just 'pull themselves together'

Many sufferers have found themselves abandoned by health professionals, struck off of registers and even rejected by their own families when they have failed to respond to 'tough love'.

Too many people assume that M.E. can be overcome with the right mental attitude. This consequently leaves M.E. sufferers even more vulnerable to issues like depression as they are further isolated.

M.E. is not a case of the mind being able to heal itself with determination. M.E. breaks the body down and that also includes the brain.

Myth No. 5: Only adults have M.E.

Children have M.E. and their childhoods are destroyed as a consequence.

Margaret Rumney of Allendale, Northumberland.watched as her 11-year-old daughter, Emma, was reduced to a shell of her former self when she was struck down with M.E. nine years ago.

"Since then it has been a continual rollercoaster of emotions and has been one fight after the other," says Margaret. "It is very hard for my daughter being ill, she is virtually housebound, often reliant on a wheelchair, and to have to cope with disbelief and ridicule on top of this makes this illness even harder to bear.

"Our experience of my daughter's school was an awful one. When my daughter was receiving home tuition organised officially by the Education Welfare Officer we were threatened by one professional that if my daughter didn't return to school that it would be classed as a psychological issue and social services would get involved."

Threats and intimidation of this nature at the hands of the authorities are a constant feature of those in the M.E. community, and particularly those caring for children with the illness.

Naturally, this pressure merely adds to the overall anxiety that sufferers are already experiencing. Education is key. Bullying is not.

Myth No. 6 - You can 'catch' M.E.

Absurd. It is no more infectious than a broken leg is. M.E. appears to follow various viral infections, including meningitis, although the true cause is still a hotly debated topic among professionals.

Myth No. 7: Real M.E. sufferers are few and far between.

There are currently 250,000 recognised cases of ME in the UK. That's 1 in 250 so that's hardly an insignificant amount, is it?

Myth No. 8: Only severe cases of M.E. are worth acknowledging.

Terrible misconception. M.E. ruins people's lives even if the patient is not entirely bedbound.

The media tend to concentrate on the worst case scenarios but this does not help the full situation as it leaves others, who are still able to move at times, with the stigmatisation of 'not being ill enough'.

Claire Taylor-Jones, a mother of one from Rhyl in South Wales, has been unable to pursue her ambition of becoming a solicitor after she was diagnosed with M.E.

In common with other sufferers, Claire has good days and bad days but she is not consistently well enough to pursue her goals and she is left in a type of limbo land. Her plans are on hold.

Myth No. 10: Children with M.E. have neglectful parents

There's the notion that children with M.E. are actually victims of mothers who have Munchausens by Proxy – the illness where parents act as if the child is sick to further their own need for attention.

This is a particularly dangerous belief system as it leaves the true M.E. sufferer without sufficient support and diagnosis and the carer is treated as the problem.

Myth No. 11: Phyiscal exercise will benefit M.E. sufferers.

Absolutely not true. Worse, still, enforced 'graded exercise' can escalate the condition to dangerous and irreparable levels for the patient.

During the research of this subject, I have watched footage of hospital physiotherapists literally bullying M.E. patients to stand and walk. It is pitiful to witness.

The physios say things like 'Come on, you can do it. You just have to put your mind to it' and, at worst, 'You're not trying hard enough.'

Julie-Anne Pickle, who has had M.E. for the past seven years has experienced a serious deterioration in her condition as a consequence of wrong diagnosis and ineffective medical response. She is now 90 per cent bedbound and has been diagnosed with depression, diabetes and Angina.

She told me:

"Cardiology phoned me with an appointment the other day and they told me to wear trainers because they want me running on a treadmill while on an ECG! I said: 'You do know I have M.E.?' They said they did but not to worry as I won't be running for more than five minutes! Running? I crawled on my hands and knees to the loo this morning!"

This idea among some of the medical professional that enforced exercise will help the condition of a M.E. belongs to a darker time in our history. A period when we thought that autistic children were a result of being born to cold and detached women or 'refrigerator mums' as they were heinously and immorally labelled.

Myth No. 12 - M.E. is not life-threatening

It is, although the true mortality rate of M.E. is mired in great confusion.

Recently, Labour MP George Howarth asked Paul Burstow, Minister of State for Care Services, to supply details of deaths to arise from M.E. Mr. Burstow replied that 'this information is not available and is not collected centrally'.

As with so many issues regarding our sick and disabled, the Coalition had this wrong, too.

According to figures obtained from the Office of National Statistics, there have been five deaths listed as the cause of M.E. in recent years.

For campaigners this is nothing less than a fudge of the true scale.

Figures are easy to massage with M.E. because it triggers so many other illnesses, such as heart disease. Given that many health professional still deny that M.E. is a physical condition, they are unable to list it as a cause of death even if it is.

Myth No. 13: M.E. is an excuse not to work

Despite recognition from the World Health Organisation in 1969 that M.E. is a neurological disorder, many Governments - including our present Coalition - have chosen to ignore this.

Consequently, M.E. sufferers are subject to a battery of controversial fit-to-work assessments. The anxiety and physical exertion this requires generally worsens the condition.

When the M.E. sufferer is unable to work, because of their illness, they are removed from disability benefit and are plunged into poverty.

So, for M.E. Awareness Week, let us be clear. M.E. is comparable to AIDS and Cancer and all the other vicious and uncompromising diseases that savage the body and, in some extreme cases, kill it completely.

The fact that it is still so widely misunderstood is a modern day travesty that must be addressed without further delay. Or is it convenient that we still view M.E. as being 'all in the mind'?

I believe that we, as a nation, deserve to know the truth. Not only for those still battling the disease, but for those poor souls who have already been lost to it.


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