Martin, 25

I got ME triggered by an infection and have been ill since I was a child. It was Dr. Wyller at Rikshospitalet who gave the diagnosis when I was 10 years old.

Dr. Wyller recommended for my parents to pay for me taking the Lightning Process, and that this would make me well again. I doubted this was the solution to my health problems, but felt pressured to do it, to show that I wanted to get well.

Before the course, I had been “approved” by having signed that I was “willing to change” and believed that I could have an impact on the disease and get better. I also had to confirm this in a conversation over the phone.

I attended the course in the spring of 2008, with an English coach, and had my grandmother with me as a companion. My mum, who also has ME, attended the same course.

First, the course leader told miracle stories about people who had recovered with the method, including one with a broken bone. She also showed a video of a rugby player telling about his wife who has recovered, and he thanked and praised the course. Then she told how the nervous system could be changed by thoughts and training.

Afterwards we were to do exercises. I had to stand in front of everyone several times while the course leader instructed me.

In order to stop my negative thought patterns, which she explained were the cause of my illness, I was instructed to say “stop” forcefully each time I felt symptoms or thought about the illness. I was to make a movement with the arms at the same time in order to make it more effective, but she wasn’t happy with the way I did it. Afterwards I had to say that I choose “the life I love” and not “the pit”, and mark it by moving myself on the floor to the right place.

I was also told to close my eyes and picture the energy that filled me. I was asked which colour I liked best, and answered blue. But then the course leader said that it couldn’t be used, because it was too sad and that I had to find a new and more powerful colour (red). I felt this was one of the ways she used for me to distance myself from my “old self”, and thus brainwash me.

The course experience itself was for me very tiring and strange, almost like a religious revival meeting. The instructor stomped around the room in high-heeled shoes and spoke in a loud and screaming voice. She seemed scary and was hard and overpowering. I was glad I had my grandmother and my mum with me, so we could talk and support each other.

I reacted found it off-putting that there was a great deal of expectation of recovery from the course leader and demands that I should stop listening to my body, defy medical advice and recommendations, avoid other patients and the Norwegian ME Association and not follow international biomedical research.

The course leader said it was my own fault if I didn’t recover, and on the last day of the course I was asked to sign that I was 100% recovered whether I felt it was right or not, because it was part of the treatment. Besides, everything had to be kept secret.

I experienced all this as an 11 year old as deeply offensive and as a dangerous method. I had nightmares about the course leader for a long time afterwards and have seen a psychiatrist afterwards about the trauma the course inflicted on me. I think it was strange that I was recommended this course by my doctor, who was supposed to be an expert on ME.

I also think it’s frightening that on the LP course I was pressured to not do pacing, which is the only recognised way to deal with the disease, and thus get a potentially worse prognosis. I didn’t experience any improvement and am today sicker than when I took the course.