To tell you the truth, I have been procrastinating when it came to this specific post. Years of training taught me to never let people know what is happening behind closed doors. Never talk about the lows of life and to always maintain a happy and perfect facade. Be the person that everyone wants you to be, wants to see and it was this exact behaviour that landed me in hospital in 2010. It was lying on my hospital bed, having been diagnosed with extreme exhaustion and chronic adrenal fatigue, that I decided – THIS CANNOT BE THE ONLY WAY! So here is my story.
I have always been a motivated and driven person, especially with my career. I am a “glass is half full” type of person, there is always a way and always a solution. Then life started to get serious, I was moving up the career ladder and I was driven more then ever. I started my own PR, Marketing & Events company in 2008 and became work obsessed, literally to the point that nothing else mattered. It was always work first, money first, the need for success was like an illness that plagued me. Many would have seen a successful woman in the making, when in reality that “glass is half full” girl was slowly tearing herself apart little by little until the year of my 30th birthday (2010), when I ended up in hospital and there was nothing of me left. I hit rock bottom, physically, mentally and did not have any spirit left to push on.
What Did I Do Next?
I realised my obsession with work was not healthy (err, ya think). My want for success at any cost was intense. I listen to society and their formula of how to be successful in life. How to dress, who to date, where to frequent, how to speak, the type of degree to study, work a 9 to 5, where to party, who to party with, what age to be engaged at and on and on. Not to say that doing any of the mentioned is incorrect, but its not about whats right, wrong or “appropriate” (yes, that word still gets on my nerves)…..its about whats right for YOU, what is appropriate for YOU. Most of the time I was screaming, “Let me out!”, inside my head as I was not allowed to be ME, because ME was not “appropriate” according to society. Yes I know, heard this a million times right? Or had a friend who did the same, or….yeah that’s ME, that’s me right now, how do I get out? OK, so what did I do next? Well at that point my head was still all over the place and my body was a mess. I could not focus or cope with anything too much, let along trying to answer the questions – What does my life MEAN, what have I DONE!? So I did what any sane person would do, I broke up with my fiancé (yep, whole other story), I sold my company, moved in with my sister and her boyfriend (she was 23 yrs old at the time), quit everything to do with PR, Marketing & Events and decide to take however many months it took, to get healthy and fit. That was my goal, my only goal, it was all I could cope with (yes I know, everyone else thought I lost it too)!
Here Is Where It All Started
Jobless, no boyfriend, living with my younger sister, no idea what I was going to do with my life, friends no where to be seen (or if they were around, were not very supportive) and ill! Little did I know that this was the start of my life changing journey because it felt like a pile of crap at this point. I was not earning any money and decided I wanted access to a gym for free. So I applied for a part-time job as a receptionist at LA Fitness, where I had no managerial responsibility, did not need to think (well compared to my old job anyway), was 15mins walk from the flat and where I could go to the gym for free. Yes, I went from owner of a company (in Mayfair might I add), to working for minimum wage. There was nothing wrong with that of course, but I soon found out that the people around me thought differently. I was no longer the person that could get into the best clubs and restaurants with out having to wait. No longer the person that had the contact they needed. No longer the person to go to for help or to off load their issues on, because I was the one that needed the help this time. Slowly but surely people disappeared. The ones that stayed, well I will tell you that later on. I did not care at this point, I was getting fit and keeping myself busy. Just trying to find my feet again, trying to figure out how I can be ME, when I had no idea who ME was anymore. I realised I was so busy being someone else making everyone else happy, I forgot who I was and what made me happy.
Three months in I was doing some form of excercise at least 5 times a week. Some intense, some soft and gentle. I was still trying to find my gym legs, what I liked, what I didn’t like. I was also seeing an acupuncturist once a week and taking Chinese herbal medicines. Why did I go the holistic route, because I have been put through years of the NHS system before via my with my hereditary blood disorder (beta-thalassemia, yes another story) and to be frank, it was not much help. I was diagnosed with an eating disorder (yes, they actually said that), from a blood disorder to an eating disorder. So you can see why a western medical approach was not my first port of call. Not that I do not agree with western medicine, I just believe it works better with some illness rather than others and same with a holistic approach. ANYWAY, I digress. It was then when I was stood at the gym reception, looking at the physiotherapy clinic opposite, that I had an eureka moment. Why not become a physiotherapist! A job where I can help people with their general body health. I can relate to desk job workers as I used to be one myself, I understood the environment and mind set of the corporate world and it is something that I would be happy doing. Helping people! My first and second degree were in the sciences, I had a years stint working for the NHS (again another story), I was good with people…..it was a PERFECT fit! It was also around that time that I discovered yoga, but not realised the full potential it had at that moment. So off I went to research universities with physiotherapy courses and that was when I stumbled upon osteopathy. Never heard of it before, but the more I looked into it, the more I liked it.
No Such Thing As Coincidences
Month six. I finally got round to the yoga class that everyone was raving about 8:30pm on a Monday evening and I LOVED it. I had been going every week for the past 3 months, alongside my other fitness loves. Jogging, spin, Pilates and a good old weight session at the gym (got one of the trainee PT’s to show me how to use the equipment). I went yoga crazy, I tried to find more classes like this. I was doing yoga at home, searching for yoga videos on YouTube, trying to replicate the sequence I learned in class AND then, my second epiphany! Why not become an instructor and get PAID to stay healthy. This was it, it was all coming together, I found a university that agreed to take me on their osteopathy course and I can earn money teaching classes whilst staying healthy all at the same time. It was a perfect fit, everything just made sense and I was healthier and happier then ever. I felt like myself again, my old happy go lucky the “glass is half full” self. I looked like myself again, but better. My mind was clear, I was full of energy and I had my spirit back. I also noticed that I lost weight and I was looking, well…..HOT (love myself much, haha). I had not felt like this in years and I was ready to rock the crap out of life. I remembered I bought a pilates course in 2007 but never started it. I even tried to transfer the pilates course to my younger sister in 2008 because I never thought I was going to need it. The awarding body said the course was untransferable and that I either needed to complete it myself or just put the cost down as loss, so I did the latter (money sucking ba*tards I thought at the time). Cut to, I want to become an instructor, a pilates and yoga instructor specifically and of course the awarding body had a yoga qualification as well. Coincidence? I honestly believe there is no such things as coincidences as they happen all to often to make them a coincidence (hmmm, is that not a coincidence itself). ANYWAY, at this point of my journey I started to realise, in life there are signs (your gut feeling so to speak). If you ignore them or cannot sense them because your body is out of balance, then you can end up pushing in the wrong direction, but no matter how far you push, if you are willing to change, then life will put you back on track. Call it whatever you will, life, the universe, god, your subconscious, fate, destiny, they all mean the same thing, just depends on the point of view. So I was finally getting there, I started to understand, I felt strong and in control. I still had to figure out who I was, and teach myself how to be ME, but my gut was telling me this is the right way…..so off I toddled and I have never looked back.
What About Those Friends?
Oh yeah. Forgot to tell you what happened to the friends that stuck around. Long story short, me feeling bad made them feel good, so they stuck around. Me feeling great made them feel no so great, so they decided to put me down. This hurt, but I only have myself to blame. I realised I was harming my own mental health because I did not want to see the truth of things I was scared to walk away from something that was familiar, even though it was bad for me (ring any bells). Having to walk away from years of “friendship” was a sad realisation, but I strong was enough now. Looking after my health made me mentally strong enough. It’s now 2017 and I am no longer scared of what life might bring. I am a qualified osteopath, a yoga and pilates instructor, have the most amazing daughter and partner, have an entrepreneurial (fitness fanatical) social circle and I am opening my first lifestyle and wellness concept space (obvs, as there are going to be more) in Notting Hill. Am I happy? Your DAMN RIGHT I am! My ex-friends probably are too, but that just means they were friends for the moment, not for forever (will tell you about that concept in another post). Best thing of all I am no longer scared to be myself or take what I want out of life. As we only have one, so what do YOU want to do with yours? Unsure? Do what I did….no, not dump your other half and quit your job (unless you want to), just start with your health and then the only way is up, I promise.
Not Just Yoga