Happy Monday, one and all.
I’m coming at you with something a bit different today – my health.
Today is my 28th birthday. This time of year. Is usually the time, I start comparing my worst days to others best ones. Thankfully this year, I’m in a really good space. I’m excited to embrace this adventure and the year to come.
If you’ve been reading my posts. You will have seen me mention a few times about my health and the struggles I have with it. But I decided not to go too deeply into that there. So as not to derail other topics.
I’m going to be really transparent here. This is not something I’m going to enjoy writing. I’m a do-er. Always have been. I get ish done. So believe me when I say that, telling people about the bad days. It’s not my forte.
In 2008, whilst pregnant with my daughter. I started having issues with my back, hips and pelvis. I was told it would go away. It was just another aspect, of what was already a difficult pregnancy.
The pain never stopped after having her. I was sent from doctor to physio. Told to give it a year, all would be well once my hormones and body recovered.
Fast forward through a crazy couple of years to 2012. Still in constant pain on a daily basis.
My Gran had just died. I was working full time in recruitment. A job I absolutely hated. I’d just got into a new relationship. I didn’t get the quality time with my daughter, that we both needed.
I was at breaking point.
Whilst shopping in Matalan, bending down looking at pyjamas. My entire body went into a spasm. I could barely breathe, I couldn’t move my arms or legs. The pain was unbearable. That pain lasted for three weeks. When it left, it left behind the chronic pain I was used to. But ramped it up several gears.
I didn’t see it at the time. But my mind and body had given in. They surrendered. It was the universe’s way of forcing me to stop. Of getting me to take stock of my life.
Back then I felt broken. Physically, mentally, spiritually – just broken. I was 23 years old, with a child and a body that seemingly, begrudged me quality of life. I fought doctors, I fought family and friends. I fought myself. I had based my worth, on being superwoman*.
* Superwoman – the perfect woman. Cooks, cleans, works full time, never gets it wrong, saves a city without breaking a sweat, perfect parent, perfect partner, myth..
I could work 44 hours, be a single mum, have a show house, cook nutrious low fat meals every night. Workout three times a week. I could do it all.. Right?
I set my standards so high. I would never be able to reach them. I judged myself by the perceived opinions of others. I tried so hard to appear together. I failed to realise, how far I was stretched.
I held it all together. Until I couldn’t. I left my job, I ended my relationship, I cut people off. I dealt with the physical pain. In the only way I knew how – survival mode.
I spent just over a year trying to get a diagnosis. But in December 2013, I got it. Fibromyalgia, along with various issues surrounding my back, hips and pelvis.
I’d spent years being told I had no medical reasons for this pain. It was all in my head. I should exercise more and stop smoking. Once the hormones calmed down.I should try yoga and eat three cranberries a day. If only my hair was straight, if only the moon was made of cheese – ok I jest here. But that’s how it felt at the time.
That first year was tough. I’d gone from being a massively independent and functioning member of society. To having to rely on people’s help. There are still times now that I struggle to ask for what I need. However, I’ve learnt that asking for help doesn’t make you weak. We all need help at some point!
Getting that diagnosis changed my life for the better. I’d learnt that I had an incurable chronic disease, that wasn’t likely to get better.
But I now knew what I was dealing with. I could read and learn and adapt. So that’s just what I did.
It’s been nearly 3 years since that diagnosis. I’ve tried all kinds of medical and alternative therapies, diets, injections, exercises and treatments. None of them have ‘cured’ me. No cures exist. Some have helped, some have made no difference and some have made it worse. But all you can do is try.
If you ask me now. I would tell you this; Sometimes the things we think are sent to break us. Are actually to break us open. Only by doing so, can we reveal the potential trapped inside.
I’ve had three years to experience a whole host of life, learning and self exploration. That I never would have had otherwise. I’ve attended school plays and watched the seasons change. I’ve had self care days and met amazing people. People that would never have crossed my radar before. I’ve taken time to find out what I love and what makes me happy. I’ve let go of dictating my life to try and fit other people’s standards. I am not everybody else and everybody else is not me.
I can tell you that sooner or later, the way I was living life. My health would have flared. Everything was too high intensity. It was all too much.
Of course, I have missed working. The buzz of deadlines and office banter. The fat pay check at the end of the month. Who wouldn’t? But all of this has made me realise, that my destiny doesn’t lay with the snootily contained world of corporate business. I am not a power suit and business lunch kind of girl.
I want to help people. I want to heal people. I want to contribute to the bigger picture. So, that’s just what I intend to do. I’m starting a role next month, working with that NHS – our National Health Service for my overseas readers. Which supports and educates people, with chronic physical and mental health conditions.
I’ve taken this course myself. I’ve been sat, where they are now. I’ve felt at times, like there was no reason to carry on. I’ve walked in their shoes.
For myself and the millions of other invisible illness sufferers (Spoonie’s) out there. Our stories need to be heard. People need to see that you can slay your eyebrows and have a dis-ability at the same time. That just because, I’m ok right now, doesn’t mean I will be in an hours time. It can be really hard to get your head around an invisible illness – imagine trying to live with it, haha.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. All you need to do, is try and understand. We don’t need pity, but empathy really helps.
I feel like this post is getting rather long. So I’m going to leave it here. If you made it this far, well done. Grab yourself a gold star on the way out.
But more importantly, thank you so much for reading this. It’s taken me a long time to be this honest. Today just feels like the right day, to share it.
I’m embracing everything the future has planned for me.
If you have any questions, comments or anything you would like me to expand on or clarify. Please comment down below or get in touch with me using the contact form.
Happy Monday and as always..
– Jada 💖