Monthly Archives: January 2012

Boytalk…

So…Dating…

I’m pretty terrible at it actually. Don’t ever take any dating advice from me ever. If I ever do write a dating book please burn it. Yes even if it’s on Kindle. It will be worth the expense, trust me…

My being generally rubbish with men has nothing to do the wheelchair or the bedbound-ness. I was equally bad with the menfolk beforehand. It’s not even genetic given the fact my parents have been together since they were about 12 years old. It’s just a fact. Me + Boy= Disaster…not to worry, I’ll just take up needlepoint or something…

When I did get back into the Real World and also started dating, I suddenly realised I was probably going to figure out a cover-story, or just come out with my own slightly bizarre truth. Actually I was hoping just to skate over it entirely, but when you have a huge gap where your late 20’s should be your Date is going to notice during the whole “getting to know you” part. So here are some very small tips to save you the bother of a lot of trial and error…

  • Don’t be vague in the hope that he will just leave it. When I tried this one bloke actually thought I’d been in prison. Awkward. Unless you don’t fancy him, in which case by all means work away…
  • Be matter of fact about it. I was sick now I’m well. Concentrate on the wellness. He probably doesn’t need to know your mother fed and dressed you for the past few years.
  • Own it. It’s something that happened to you, it does not define you. It’s a springboard to the amazing life you are now discovering for yourself. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You didn’t do anything wrong.

Do they have to know?

Probably not within the first 5 minutes of meeting them. If you want them to play a part in your life then I’d have to say yes, they will find out at some point from someone anyway. Far better it be from you in your own words. And if you aren’t ready to tell them (and I couldn’t talk about what happened to me til last year, not to anyone at all so I don’t blame you) then I have to say that maybe you just aren’t ready to date yet…which brings me to my next point…

When will I be ready to date?

How long is a piece of string? It’s going to be different for everyone. Like every other part of my Journey to Wellness I dived into this way too early, messed it up badly, and then was too scared to go near it again for a long time. Literally right now is the first time I can honestly say that I’m ready to Date. And I honestly wish I’d waited til now to start. And the only reason I know I’m ready now is that I’m perfectly fine on my own, I’m perfectly fine being with other people. I can now do everything for myself, from working to travelling, shopping to housework. I’ve done everything I knew I still had to work on, and that was a bloody long list trust me. But I’m there now. So if l do decide to embark on a relationship with somebody it won’t be because I need them for anything. This wouldn’t have been true for me to say even last month.

So, in conclusion. I’m probably the last person you should take any form of dating advice from. But do it when it feels right, when you really know in your heart that you are ready. Own your story, tell your truth, and be kind to yourself. If he likes you he won’t care about your past, he will only be interested in playing a role in your present. The future can take care of itself.

Cxx

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But Will it Happen Again?

It’s probably the most common question I get asked by people. Am I afraid I’ll get sick again? Am I worried I’ll end up back in a wheelchair? People like to know the odds of it happening. If I have a back-up plan. I do. I plan not to end up being cared for by others ever again. It took me a long time to believe it but I’m here now.

It’s totally understandable that you’d be scared of getting sick again. I’ve never known fear like it, its all-consuming . But I’ve learned that for me it’s a thought I can’t live with. I can’t make peace with it or accept it. So I had to do it a different way.

I had to create a life for myself so filled with things that I loved that I didn’t have room for that fear anymore. I had to learn to focus my thinking towards what felt good rather than bad, because if it felt good then it was never a scary thought. I had to become obsessed with joy so I’d not be in the same emotional range as the dark scary place I lived in for so long. It’s impossible for me to feel love and fear at the same time. So I trained myself to feel love, to laugh, to see life as a game. And what started off as a survival technique became a habit.

So will it happen again? I don’t care anymore. It’s not happening right now, right now I’m living a life so authentically mine and mine alone that brings me so much joy and inspiration that I don’t even let the old fear through the door.

For me it’s not about being strong or brave. I don’t want to be brave anymore, I got tired of it. Tired of looking fear in the face and trying to overcome it. So I stopped carrying around with me, I put it down and left it alone. I don’t want to be courageous. I just want to love my life. I just want to keep feeling this amazing state of Total Happiness. This joy that negates the need for bravery. Try it. It will change things for you really quickly. The fear really will disappear.

C xx

Life’s little certainties

I’m really bad at changes of routine. They knock me off balance, scare me. I’ve spent the last few years trying to keep things as samey as possible. Even to the point where I refused to move even though I really disliked where I was living, and kept working somewhere I wasn’t happy with anymore. That feeling of change was too overwhelming to deal with, I didn’t think I was capable of it.

 

I often say that the life I lived before I got sick was nowhere near as good as the life I have now, and that’s still true. But I always loved unpredictability back then, the unknown was always welcomed. It’s the one thing I wished hadn’t changed for me. The one thing I wanted back. And recently I figured out how to do it for myself-and it’s totally changed everything for me. And if you find yourself in a similar bind then I really hope it helps you too.

 

(slight disclaimer here: I know that lots of what I write here sounds beyond weird if you haven’t ever been housebound or gotten out of a chair etc. Thank you for putting up with it. This is definitely going to be one of those times. I’m definitely about to sound totally ridiculous. That’s okay, I’m a pretty ridiculous person. But if you have been where I’ve been then this is going to make you feel a lot better, that’s all that really matters to me…so here goes…)

 

Even though I’m way, way happier now than I was during or before I got sick, I’ve been terrified of changes to my routine because without realising it I’ve been craving certainty anywhere I could get it. When your life is turned upside down all certainty leaves and doesn’t come back on it’s own. I used to be certain of so many things, even if I wasn’t happy I was certain. I took everything for granted because I was certain. I missed that certainty so much that even after I physically recovered all those years down the line I still couldn’t feel certain. Certain that I was going to stay well, certain I was going to have the confidence to face people again. Certain that I’d ever feel normal. No certainty. None. And I didn’t even now that that was what I was needed so badly-until I stumbled across it.

 

I was having one of those downward dips where I didn’t believe I was ever going to be able to make my life work properly again. I’d left Horrible Flat and moved in Nice Flat. I’d left Boring Job and started Lovely Job. And I was panicking my ass off. I wanted old flat where I knew my way around, I wanted old job where I knew exactly what was going to happen literally minute by minute of every day. It was all too hard and I didn’t even know why.

 

So I started to look for things that were familiar. My belongings were the same, I looked the same. That felt more comfortable. I was happier then. I looked for things I knew like what day it was or what colour my front door was, what time trains ran at, song lyrics I knew, (seriously I know how absolutely crazy this all sounds but saying all of these certainties to yourself is amazingly comforting). The more things I looked to be certain of the more I found. And the relief of these certainties is something truly indescribable. It’s like someone just comes and fills a hole into that abyss that opened the day you got sick. It’s transformative beyond measure.

 

I’ve spent these past couple of years trying so hard to avoid something I couldn’t even put a name to. This chronic uncertainty that never let up. I’ve made myself miss out on so much, friends, jobs, relationships, because I never felt truly safe. Because without certainty I couldn’t have any confidence. But I have that missing piece of me back now. And all it took was saying silly things to myself like what colour the grass was or what the characters were called in Eastenders-how weird is that?

 

Honestly, even if you think I’m the biggest idiot around just give it a go for a week. The world can be a very big uncertain place when your safety net has been taken away. You deserve your certainty back. Everyone does. I’m so glad I found mine again. Five years is a long time to be scared for.

 

Cxx

 

 

 

 


What’s My Age Again?

Let’s be honest, we all like to use Age as a Big Stick to beat ourselves up with. Most of us do it daily. We hunt out examples of people we know or have heard of who seem to have more money, better lifestyles, more talent. Those who seem to have much more success than we do. We measure ourselves up to them and we find ourselves lacking. We find it particularly unsettling when these people are the same age as us or younger.

I can remember feeling like this throughout the whole of my early twenties, I never felt good enough, always falling short of what I considered true success. And I always felt so old kind of jaded and worn out. Had I known what was coming next I probably would have enjoyed what I had a lot more…

I find myself in the unique position of having a blank where my late twenties should have been. 26-30 didn’t happen for me in any meaningful way. Four years of nothing, no career to progress in, no new friends or relationships, total arrested development. Try explaining that without feeling like a total failure.

It’s not something that I ever really talk about, because I know it wouldn’t help in any way. I don’t think there’s any way of getting over it, not really. Even if the trade-off is that I’m much happier now than I was in my early twenties. To try and put words to that level of loss isn’t something I’m capable of. So I’ve finally worked out that my way of getting around it is to just leave age out of it altogether. I’ve tried everything else-this is the only thing that works.

Putting the Age Stick down and stepping away from it altogether is a massive relief. I’ve chucked out deadlines I didn’t even remember setting myself. And what’s really nice is I’ve stopped using other people’s age as a way of measuring them. It’s much easier to be kind to myself when I stop counting away my life in days weeks and years. It’s irrelevant when everything is Present Moment anyway.

Maybe you didn’t spend your late twenties the same way I did. Who cares? It doesn’t mean you have to be mean to yourself because of when you were born. Who decided that age was such a big deal anyway? Why should it take being in a wheelchair to finally be kind to ourselves? Maybe if I’d loved myself a little more to begin I might not have ended up there  in the first place? Who can say? All I know is that it’s nice not to feel eaten up by grief and unworthy of a nice life because of my age like I used to be. I highly recommend it. It realy does feel like life got a lot more interesting for me…

Cxx

I get knocked down…but I get up again

There are many things in life I’m not great at, my school days bear proof that I can barely draw a straight line with a ruler (quite a feat actually) and that I’m the least natural athlete you’ll ever meet (whenever I enquired which position to take on the rounders field even my best of friends would reply “one very far away and try not to touch anything“). Yes indeed there are certain areas in life I’ve never been able to succeed.

I’m quite good at not being in a wheelchair though.

That’s pretty much what all of this is about. But unlike my drawing of straight lines, or athletic prowess, the getting out and staying out of the Chair was achieved through practice. And I fell at many hurdles, so many that initially I actually refused the treatment that turned out to be my cure. I so nearly did not get here. I nearly stayed knocked down that last time. I’d still be down now. I’d had enough, enough of spending thousands on cures that did nothing, enough of all that physical pain and mental strain only to leave with less than I’d come with. I had given up. I was done.

It’s easy to feel like that, that’s why even if being around friends and family is distressing when they look at you like you are the shadow of the person you once were, or you have to listen to stories about a life you no longer get to participate in, well best to grin and bear it because these people will be the ones to pick you back up again and set you on track when you just cannot do it anymore.

If you can also try and get to a place where you’re ruthless in your attitude to what has not worked treatment-wise, just brush it off, never think of it again, move on completely and try not to be bitter about it, seeing it more as a bridge leading you to the one that does work, then that’s less painful too. Because once you’re out of the Chair and back in the world it’s a skill you’ll utilise everyday in the quest to find out who you are now. It takes some getting used to but it’s such a handy tool to have. You’ll keep using it long after your Chair has gone.

There are endless ways to get better, and a lot of them will keep you better. Yes we’ve all been in the position where a treatment has either not worked at all or the cure has been temporary. But life does that a lot doesn’t it? Did we decide to never get another job because we didn’t like our first? Nope. Do we all become members of the clergy because a Boyfriend turned out to be a temp rather than the real deal? Hopefully not… We pick ourselves up, we try again.

So, in a nutshell, try everything, throw away the stuff that didn’t work for you, don’t give it any room in your thoughts, start each treatment like it’s the first one you’ve tried. If you can’t talk yourself into a place of inspired action then let someone else do the motivating and you just show up. Remembering all the while that everyone who is out of their wheelchair now started off in one and also didn’t know to get out. But they did it, and so will you,

C xxx

Doing it a Different Way

I wrote a lot last year about the challenges of getting your Life After on track, some of my own pitfalls on my Journey To Wellness. I spent lots of time telling you in various ways that it will be painful and you will cry and be scared but that you will get there.

I’m not going there again. We’re going to be doing it a different way from now on.

I feel like its time to show you and also remind myself why it’s worth all the hassle. Why you would want to get your life back and what you can do with it. I want to show you the great things life has to offer. How starting your very own Life After can be exciting and fun and totally doable. How this blank canvas can be the best thing that ever happened to you.

I don’t think it has to be as hard as I made it. I think there’s a missing step here that we can find together. I think if Happiness and Faith in ourselves and our bodies and our New World is achieved consistently then effort may not even be necessary. Maybe enthusiasm and passion can overcome fear and trauma. I’d certainly like us to try it and see.

I’ll be spending a lot of this year out and about finding different things for you to try. Not as a cure, just to show you all the stuff your new Life After could be filled with. The more we have to aim for the easier the process. I can see that now. Maybe then your own cure will find you.

Let me know if there’s anything in particular you want me to seek out, be it a place or a person, a job, I’m happy to be your legs for you of you’re not at the stage where you can use your own, just like people did for me.

Lots of people feel more comfortable emailing me rather than leaving a comment if it feels too personal. Please feel free to do that. I’m here if you need me, remember this is your year. This is the year you get better. The cure that worked for me finally found me the first week of the year a few years back. It’s my biggest wish and greatest hope the same happens for you. So let’s so whatever it takes to make that happen,

C xxx

A Totally Aspirationless Year

Happy 2012!

Looking back on the last Five Years or so I realise that the majority of it was filled with struggle and fight. Starting from scratch, adjusting to a world I didn’t really understand. Last year in particular taught me a great deal about myself and who l am now. I spent a lot of it staying out of the wheelchair, and didn’t really focus enough on what I got out of it for in the first place.

This year is going to be very different. I only have one goal. To be very, very, very happy. My capacity for happiness is incredible these days, that’s probably the biggest gain to have come from all this adversity. I have the ability to feel Joy that I never knew possible before this journey to wellness began. But I don’t utilise it enough . I tell myself if I have the Job I want then I’ll be happy, the house the man the money, whatever. And then one of them turns up, and I’m not happy. Because if my life has shown me anything at all it’s that being happy makes you happy. End of. That’s it.

So that’s what I’m doing this year. 100% total and utter happiness. Thought by thought I will take myself to a place of complete Joy. It’s all that matters really, and it’s something I’ve been viewing as a sideline rather than the main event. And I know better than that.

So if I want the massive job success or a lovely boy or lots of money then I’m sure 2013 will oblige me. But for now I’m going to do whatever it takes to make sure I stay in this lovely feeling place. I have to say the view alone makes it very worthwhile. Tomorrow is looking very promising from where I stand.

C xxx