A year ago today I officially launched my business and as I’m sat on the train heading to London I’ve been reflecting on how far I’ve come.
When I look back at how physically unwell I still was a year ago, I’m amazed I even had the energy to start my business at all. To be honest, I didn’t have the energy and everyone that attended my launch party would never have guessed how unwell I’d been the week running up to it or that I spent the following day in bed, because I was so exhausted from having to be centre stage.
I may not have had much energy then, but the one thing I did have was the drive and determination to get better and the belief that I could be me again. 18 months after having my breakdown I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue. They say most people who are diagnosed with CFS never fully recover, but at no point did I ever consider that was going to happen to me. I took the diagnosis, went away and researched all my options to get better – I fought hard to get my health back. In hindsight I’m not sure if the CFS diagnosis was the right one. Yes my symptoms added up to it, but for most people with CFS it’s unexplained why they have become ill. I arrived at this place after illness during pregnancy, followed by a baby/toddler that never slept for four years (literally) on top of my perfectionist tendencies… I basically burnt out, big style.
So, am I me again? Yes and no. Yes – I’m physically well again. The fact I’m even on the train on my way to London is something that I wouldn’t have had the energy to do a year ago (or if I did, it would have made me unwell afterwards). I’m exercising regularly at the gym, which I haven’t done in five years. As someone that had exercised from the age of 18 until falling pregnant at 36, not being able to exercise has been like having a part of my personality taken away. I’m socialising again, planning ahead and most importantly, I’m well enough to enjoy my little girl.
No – because I’m not the same person I was before all this happened, but then I don’t think I’m supposed to be. When something as major as this happens in your life it’s a wake up call that things needs to change. I’ve learnt that some of my thoughts, feelings and behaviours weren’t serving me. I’ve learnt to practise more gratitude (something I haven’t always done in the past). I’ve learnt to value and appreciate the important people in my life and to let go of others. I’ve learnt that I’m not perfect and that’s OK. I’ve learnt that life is short and you need to grab it with both hands.
I’ve also learnt that if I can get through the last four years, I can get through anything. I’m not saying it’s made me fearless, but it’s made me realise that you’ve just got to feel the fear and do it anyway. Who knows what the next 12 months holds, but after four years in the darkness I finally feel like I’m back – so the only way is up from here.