“All In Your Head” – Chapter 4 Extract

An excerpt from Chapter 4 of All In Your Head – “Undiagnosis…”– by Marcus Sedgwick.

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All In Your Head - Marcus Sedgwick


The full horror of not knowing had started to sink in.

I was desperate to find out what was wrong with me, and should proof of this be needed, a look back through my diary in that first year yields a bewildering array of appointments. Some of them are of the more, and some of the very much less orthodox kind. As for the latter, I have always been somewhat caught somewhere on the spectrum between gullible and cynical, though if pushed I would probably fall into the cynics’ camp. There are those people who believe in all the weird, flaky, new-age ‘woo’ stuff going, and those who believe in none of it. I was always unhappy with either extreme viewpoint – it seems the height of arrogance to think that we know all there is to know, and the very essence of science, as any truly wise scientist will tell you, is about moving from not knowing to knowing. Eventually. Maybe. Anyone who confidently dismisses homeopathy, and may be right to do so, is also no doubt the person who confidently would have dismissed allergy testing previously, and would have been wrong to do so. But, similarly, the other extreme point of view, of unquestioning faith in the most unlikely therapies, based on theories that are questionable at best and laughable and fraudulent at worst, also seems dangerous. I get sad thinking about this kind of belief, because I suspect what underlies people’s gullibility in such things is two powerful forces: fear and desperation.

Fear and desperation. I was starting to experience my fair share of both, and I could see that this was pushing me into trying things I would not normally have given the time of day. Alongside, I continued with more traditional medical routes, things which, though they were outside of what the health service had decided could be done, were still based on ‘accepted’ science. More or less.


For the record, then, here’s a list of who I consulted in the first five years:

  • General Practitioners – 7
  • Specialists in tropical medicine and infectious diseases – 2
  • Rheumatologist – 1
  • ‘Orthodox’ medical specialists in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – 3
  • Practitioners of various ‘alternative’ therapies for CFS – 4
  • Allergist – 1
  • Homeopaths – 2
  • Acupuncturists – 2
  • Osteopaths – 2
  • Chiropractor – 1
  • Cranial-Sacral Therapist -1
  • Internists – 2
  • Haematologists – 3
  • Massage Therapists – 3
  • Nutritionists – 3
  • Herbalist – 1
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapist – 1
  • Interpersonal Therapist –1
  • Neurologist – 1
  • Balneotherapist – 1
  • Myofascial Release Therapist – 1
  • Hypnotists – 2
  • Remote Healers – 1
  • Jungian Psychologists – 2
  • Urologists – 2
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapist – 1
  • EMDR Therapist – 1
  • Reflexologist – 1
  • Reiki Master – 1

That’s a list of over 50 people I consulted in the first five years in an effort to recover. I have probably missed one or two. There have been more since. There were also many blood tests I paid for directly with labs around the world, the quality of which I had no way of even estimating, but which I was driven to from fear and desperation; those scheming co-conspirators. I dare not add up exactly how much money I have spent in the process. It is in the tens of thousands of pounds. Many, many people do not have the money at all to pursue lines of enquiry like these therapies, none of which made the slightest bit of difference to how I actually felt, with one or two exceptions, which we’ll come to much later. Similarly, almost none of it even helped me understand what was going on, take even one step towards understanding what was actually wrong with me, to move out of the place of not knowing. Almost none of it, I say, and though there are a couple of exceptions, they come with warnings attached.


All In Your Head by Marcus Sedgwick