Born in Kenya, Simon spent most of his childhood in Kent, England. He developed a successful career as mental health practitioner, but started having fatigue symptoms after he took on a stressful management job. In 1997 he was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. After eight difficult years, his road to recovery really began in 2005 when he learned the right mind/body tools. From that moment, his recovery went fast and in a year’s time he was back to working full time, playing sports for hours and living a full life. He now works as a Hypnotherapist, Coach and neurolinguistic programming practitioner and has a great toolbox to help others on their road to recovery from ME/CFS.
What is your advice to people who are just diagnosed?
First and foremost, understand that some people do recover!
You may not understand why you got sick or how to get better, but the pieces to the ME/CFS jigsaw are out there. What I recommend to focus on:
- Make it your mission to learn what helped others.
- Establish a routine around rest and activity.
- Listen to your body – rest when you need to rest.
- If you are doing an activity and you get signals that you need to stop, then stop.
- Pushing and crashing hinders recovery.
- Pausing, recharging then doing a bit more when you feel able helps recovery.
- Learn to process what is going on emotionally. This can be a complete game changer.
- Less hare, more tortoise!
Understand that it is difficult for some people to understand the condition. Your job isn’t to help them understand the condition, Your job is to help yourself understand the condition.
Who is/ are your biggest supporter(s) and what did they do?
My partner at the time, my daughter, some family members and a few close friends.
They listened, they didn’t judge, offered support and respected my boundaries.
What were the key elements for your recovery?
The keys to my recovery were learning how to:
- Identify and interrupt the stressors that were hindering recovery, some of which were unconscious.
- Create new responses; for example instead of fearing relapse, learning to trust that I will be ok even if I overdo it, and that I will keep moving towards my goals.
- Worry less and cultivate more calm in my mind and body.
At first I had no idea that what was going on in my mind was hindering my recovery. Catastrophising, worrying about overdoing it, worrying what others thought, being upset by other people’s behaviour and their disbelief about the condition and judgement of me, were not helping me to get better.
What do you do when you have a bad day, or feel one coming up?
I don’t think of days as being ‘bad’ these days. If I have a day when I feel tired or unwell, I look after myself. When I have a period of feeling upset by something that has happened, I am learning to:
- Reflect on what has happened.
- Acknowledge and forgive myself for any wrong doing on my part.
- Feel good about myself if I know that I have acted with good intention.
What good thing has your illness and journey brought you that you would not have had otherwise?
I have learned how to relax and smell the roses. How to appreciate simple pleasures like being able to go out for a meal, work, exercise. And I learned that I don’t have to keep going. I used to be a total hedonist and would burn the candles at both ends.
What is your go-to comfort food?
Porridge with coconut milk, apple, cinnamon and dark chocolate!
What is the best and worst movie or series you watched while you were ill?
I watched very little TV for a long time when I was unwell, because I couldn’t look at screens. However, The Way is one of my all time favourite films about a man, played by Martin Sheen, who reluctantly walks the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Initially, he is grumpy and avoids the other walkers, but starts to open up his mind and heart to the people and the experience.
Worst movie: The telephone starring Whoopi Goldberg – turned it off after 10 minutes!
Can you share a quote, cartoon or inspirational message that cheers you up?
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If you have to come up with a metaphor for CFS what would it be?
For me, CFS was the result of ignoring the warning light in the car when it came on, I just kept driving on. Eventually, the car broke down completely and needed a complete overhaul. It was only when this happened, that I realised that I had been driving too fast, in the wrong direction, and that had developed bad driving habits. I had to get the car back on the road, establish better habits and decide on the route I wanted to go!
Please share a picture of you in your happy place
Simon Pimenta is fully recovered from ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia and works as Clinical Hypnotherapist, Life Coach and NLP Practitioner. To learn more about his journey and his work visit: