My Recovery Journey So Far

Written by: Elva Ainsworth Recoverer

Elva Ainsworth has been working with The Chrysalis Effect on her recovery from M.E for 6 months. We are delighted that Elva is able to share her story so far.


My background story is that I was super active and busy with no limits (I thought) until I had glandular fever at 19.  My stamina hasn’t been the same since but I nevertheless managed a busy career as a Business Psychologist and business owner, having 3 marriages and 3 children by working hard on my health and wellbeing
(all fitting a somewhat “heroic” narrative!).


I was known by my friends as “Duracell” and “super woman”.

I coped by having a team of energetic supporters including osteopath, acupuncture, coach, pilates tutor and homeopath.  I was fine until I was 50 when I had my first big relapse.  I then worked super hard to get better. I saw all manner of experts and ended up with a long list of diagnoses – none of which were “serious” but also with no obvious treatment plan either.  I added a nutritionist, environmental doctor, orthopaedic consultant and fitness expert to “Team Elva” and was struggling along for 6 years.

After a winter of pneumonia with resulting breathing difficulties plus pain from 4 slipped discs I decided enough was enough!

I moved the whole family from London to
York a year ago to create a new lifestyle with better air and a more inspiring environment.  This was a bold move but it did indeed result in my being able to breathe freely (straight away – amazing). I sold my car after 6 weeks and started to walk again. My boys walk the 5 mins to school themselves.  We found singing and bellringing to inspire us in a welcoming warm community where we felt appreciated and understood. Life was good.

Problem solved you might think?  But no. External factors had been eased but I had not changed who I was. 6 months here I was still tired all the time and needing daily naps, my IBS was worse and my joint and throat soreness was seriously distracting. I was not able to work well and my patience was running thin most days. I signed up to the Chrysalis programme as a last resort.  The result was immediate and such a relief – I had support at last from people who truly seemed to understand my condition!  It felt so good! I thought – if there is just one thing I have not yet learnt then this is worth it and I was delighted to find there were many things – 6 months on, here are the highlights:

  • I dropped the need to be a “busy-holic” and re-invented myself instead as a “serene artisan, influencing others by being relaxed and listening, enjoying my family and friends along with writing, drawing, playing the piano and singing”
  • I started to truly put my wellbeing first, even beyond my children’s needs – they help me cook dinner now, I have cleaners manage the house and my business is here to support my health not the other way round.
  • I recognise what 80% energy feels like now and aim to stop at that point, rather than continue on until I am “on empty”
  • I have reframed “doing nothing” from being a bad scarey thing I literally never did to being “gorgeous nesting” I am now desperate to schedule!
  • I thought I had been “pacing” but all this time I hadn’t had a clue! I had never done sufficiently little to really get what was possible.  I needed to go to no walking and no work to discover that on minimal physical and work activity I could feel truly awake again.
  • I added new tools to my portfolio – guided meditation for physical pain and tapping for stuck emotion
  • I learnt to recognise better my personal stressors – big ones were walking and managing my team of 6 employees. I now cycle mostly and I have delegated management to my no 2.
  • I turned uncertainty re the future into a detailed retirement plan agreed with my husband

How is my energy now?  It is better than it was but my current level of a few hours of energy a day does not represent the  transformation – I now know for sure what there is for me to do. I have properly expert support and the confidence and trust that healing takes time. I accept that my body requires constant loving management.  I relate to my life as full and joyous everyday and know that that can continue for as long as I am committed to it.

What’s the big point here?

Insights and revelations provide the opportunity to transform but the real work is with me every moment.  I have learnt to enjoy that work and am now sharing that experience with my family and friends.  I can now be an authentic contribution to their wellbeing too…

Thank you so much Elva, for sharing your journey with us, I know without a doubt there will be so many points in this that we can all relate to. We are so excited to see what the next three months of the programme brings for you. Keep us posted!!!

The Chrysalis Effect


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