In the Face of Adversity

I usually enjoy writing an end of year blog post, but I found it difficult this year.

The last twelve months have been some of the most stressful, trying times of my life for reasons I can’t really share on my blog. (Although I am directly affected by the problem, it isn’t mine to discuss publicly). I will just say that ‘it’ has had a terrible impact and has soured almost every part of the year, which is partly why writing this felt difficult – because it seems dishonest to talk about all the good things whilst avoiding the metaphorical elephant in the room.

Regardless of the elephant, I have still managed to put myself out there and attempt to live my best life. And that is something worth sharing.

My 2019 calendar was filled with things to look forward to and enjoy, so despite the pitfalls that I can’t discuss, I still hold a real sense of accomplishment when thinking about the last twelve months.

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I have been to Paris, completed an escape room, seen three shows at the theatre, attended two weddings, visited Bournemouth for an evening out, enjoyed FOUR nostalgia-rich concerts and a local music festival, attended an LDUK conference with one the world’s top Lyme-treating physicians and the day after that conference I drove back into London to meet friends for lunch – that’s two trips to London in one weekend! Something I would never have done last year.

I had an absolute blast at London Film and Comic Con in July, and there was an abundance of time spent with family and friends throughout the year. We welcomed Rupert to the family in May and I cannot imagine my life without this cheeky and loving poochon pup.

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I spent a week in New Hampshire, which was both wonderful and a real test of strength… 💪

Other travel mishaps include an attempt to visit Prague, but I guess that trip just wasn’t meant to be.

My last big outing of the year was to Winter Wonderland with Royan and we managed to have a really great day out even if we did accidently walk the long way round to Hyde Park and then have zero sleep at a very expensive hotel!

So what else did I get up to?

I stepped down from managing LDUK’s public Facebook page, freeing up some much needed headspace and spare time. I finally swapped my car for an automatic to lessen the strain on my sciatica, and I completed a course of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for OCD which reared its ugly head towards the end of 2018. I live with it daily of course, but sometimes it flares up and takes over. I’m pleased to say the CBT worked and the OCD is firmly back in its place. I own it, it does not own me.

If you’re in the Bucks area and struggling with mental health I highly recommend self-referring through Healthy Minds.

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I managed another term of choir, doing something good for my physical and mental health that I really enjoy. I wasn’t able to keep up with the last term of the year, but I do plan on going back in January.

I’ve spent countless hours reading, and watching film and TV. I signed up for a writer’s magazine subscription and I had a heavy edit of my novel-in-progress. I signed up to the Curable app to help manage symptoms and have found the science really interesting to listen to. If the idea that the mind can heal the body intrigues you then I recommend taking a look at the Curable app.

I made lots of progress at work and have never felt so professionally fulfilled.

On top of my normal duties, I have also taken on the role of leading the company’s Corporate and Social Responsibility Team which amongst other things, means planning lots of fundraising initiatives and organising activities for staff to take part in.

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The aforementioned elephant was the reason behind several health setbacks, and when coupled with the loss of Royan’s granddad in May and his dad in November, we’ve understandably had our work cut out for us. We have a handle on it now though and with a bit of luck, 2020 will be a smoother ride. We won’t be getting married next year as was the original plan, and we won’t be moving house anytime soon, but we can now address the elephant with the correct support and work out a way to move forward.

With everything going on, it’s not surprising that I wasn’t able to keep up with the gym, choir or actually writing my novel.

But that’s all in the plan for 2020.

Keeping active whilst living with the impact of late-stage Lyme disease is no easy feat. It takes a lot of meticulous planning and organising to ensure I’m pacing myself and keeping my head above water. Some things will slide, but prioritising is key. Learning when to say ‘no’ is also key.

I actually consider the fact that I am still managing a 30-hour work week to be a small miracle, so how I have also managed to enjoy so much of my spare time (whilst living with the elephant) is almost unfathomable. Especially when I think about how much time I have also spent in bed barely able to leave the house.

This year has taught me that I am capable of more than I thought.

It has made me believe in myself, it has opened my eyes to the possibilities that lie ahead and there’s no turning back now.

2015 in the rearview mirror (of my new car)

We all go through ups and downs and 2015 was far from a stress free year, you know the deal: one minute your flying high loving life and the next your crying into your pj’s, drowning your sorrows away with 3lbs of chocolate and an Indian takeaway.

Our glasses should always be (at least) half full with something fancy, so at the end of the year I like to take some time and reflect on my recent experiences.

Even the bad ones – the idea is that you move forward into the next chapter with the right luggage, kind of like an inventory.

So what good did 2015 bring? Continue reading “2015 in the rearview mirror (of my new car)”

Working Title

I often struggle to get going with a blog post, it’s beyond frustrating. I enjoy writing and I’ve got plenty say, I just find the initial start up difficult. It’s like having a blocked nose but not being able to blow it. Nice visual right? Sorry.

It’s not just blog posts; I’m actually keen on putting a book together. I’ve been keeping diaries since the early 2000’s and I’ve planned on using them to write a memoir for a long time. The problem is, I just can’t seem to get my butt in gear.

Continue reading “Working Title”

Transparency

Transparency, it's time to talkFor many years, I like many others, have been living with mental health problems. It has at times taken over my day-to-day life, and at my lowest point, summoning the energy to shower was a big win.

I feel confident in saying that I have been through the worst of my depression and that now, when it makes an unwelcome appearance I have the experience and attitude to deal with it.

Depression often brings with it a few ‘friends’ and for me it was a host of extra anxiety issues and the big one- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Continue reading “Transparency”

The world has lost some laughter

Earlier in the week I was struggling to sleep and I lay awake for what felt like hours so I thought I’d see what was going on with Facebook and Twitter.

It was the very early hours of Tuesday morning and the first status I came across was from an old work friend, he was expressing his sadness at the passing of Robin Williams.

Continue reading “The world has lost some laughter”