Friday, 26 June 2009

When you lose who you are

It seems to me that the ONLY reason one ever feels repressed, stressed of even depressed is because of the momentary loss of who you are at the deepest part of your soul. At least this is my experience!

Sure, I've been stressed by work, ill health, financial problems, ridiculous levels of perfectionism and guilt at not reaching such high standards etc etc - but despite all of those things a wonderful feeling of "everything's ok" was always there, if only I had stopped and looked.

Let me explain - thoughout the past few years I have been up and down in my feeling of joy and despair like the greatest yoyo you could ever hope to possess. Yep, I've had my fair share of stresses, as you all know, but there have been times in my life when I have had worse to worry about and been absolutely fine, and others when there has not been a reason to stress and yet there I was, facing the darkest nights. It was not my circumstance that caused me upset, but my reactions to them and they way I viewed the world.

I am a pleaser - I like to please others, either by my thoughts, words or deeds. I am also an achiever, blessed by an ability to achieve great things but burdened by the thought that this means I have to achieve everything and achieve it NOW! These two things combined have caused me more stress and concern than anything else. Seriously.

My second year at uni was one of my happiest - I was spiritually active, I wrote tons of poems and stories, and I had the time of my life. I felt secure, loved and protected and nothing really mattered. Consequently my health was fantastic too, for endo and IBS both react badly to stress, and without it I felt amazing. Then came my third year - I worried and fretted, I closed down spiritually because of my environment and I felt pressured to "prove my worth". Of course life sent me great teachers, but instead of seeing the opportunity to overcome my fears I fell prey to them and lost all my self-worth.

It took me almost a whole year and reaching rock bottom to realise this did not work and at the moment when I should have been stressed beyond measure I felt as chilled as anything. I had my final exams, the tutors were all on strike, and I had to start looking for jobs. But I realised in the grand scheme of things it didn't matter. And consequently I did far better, because through relaxation I found I actually enjoyed the process.

Again, recently, I struggled as my health deteriorated, I felt I was underachieving at work, and I wasn't there for those who needed me. It took a lot to shake me out of it and realise that again I had fallen under my own ideals of who I thought I should be - I should learn these languages, I should study to be a tour guide, I should do more at work, I should give more to my family, I should be able to get us out of debt, I should, I should, I should...

Should never, ever helps us as it places upon us a mask to hide who we really are. I lost my spirituality and my ability to see the beauty all around me and even within myself by following shoulds. I'm not saying there aren't times when I need to act a certain way, but they certainly shouldn't take over my entire life. So I am reclaiming my free time for me and I am rediscovering who I really am.

For too long this blog has been something I felt I should write - or rather it is something I have written posts about based on what I think people would want to read. So now it's time for a change. I am currently writing again and it is beautiful - to do what you feel in your heart and soul is an amazing thing. Too often I have blocked my creativity by trying to find ways to write that people would want - a silly thing for someone who once run a writing course to teach people they could write by writing what made them happy. Sometimes I need to practise what I preach!

And for too long I have not had the time to devote to this one thing I love so much - I have taken on projects here there and everywhere which have eaten up my time and then I have lamented the fact I have no time. Silly, really. So now I am excited to be building up an idea which will alow me to do what I want by truly being who I am.

Of course change can be scary - it means saying goodbye to things you know... like this blog I have nurtured for so long. But a change can be the best thing in the world, when you know why you are changing and what you really want. And for once I believe that I do.

So changes are afoot and I invite you to follow, if you wish, but for now I cannot say how it will change. All I know is that I am excited by this because finally I am ready to say "this is who I am - take it or leave it". Now, doesn't that make you sigh!!

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Importance of Dreams

Years ago when I tried to find a new email address (being fed up of getting spammed constantly due on my old one) I was listening to the You were meant for me by Jewel and the line "dreams last for so long" stuck in my head and became the key to my new address. Years later when considering starting a blog I chose a variation on the theme and chose "dream of living" for my blog's name for after all my whole reason for blogging was to build up friendships with those people who inspired me and who inspired my dream for my own life in so many ways.

I've been called a "romantic" by some - hey that's ok, I'm the most romantic fool you could ever find and it's one of the things T loves so much about me - proof that a dream I held was worth the wait for the man of my dreams really did come into my life at exactly the right time for the both of us. I'm not saying that every dream will come true - I know I have many fools dreams that take me away from reality once in a while when I need a little escape - but the key dreams we hold so dear, the ones that come from the heart and stick with us for years, if not forever, those are so worth holding on to.

I know I am not alone in this, in fact one of the blogs that inspired me the most to start my own blog and continues to gladden my heart is that of Cherry Menlove. Cherry is someone who has a dream and is living it and takes the time to share that with others to give hope and happiness where it may be lacking. Honestly if you haven't already popped by go visit her at

Sometimes, of course, when we are stuck in the painful moments in our life it can be hard to read of someone else's success, particularly in areas we want to achieve in. Too often in recent years I have felt bitter about why I don't seem to be getting anywhere and with the recent struggles at work and hormones all over the place I have been the worst one for that. "What's the point of trying to be the best person you can be, giving the best of yourself to others, working hard and playing by the rules if it never gets you anywhere" are familiar words in my head and even out of my mouth these past few weeks. My heart is yearning for more and in some respects a lot of my unhappiness comes from my reality not living up to my dreams...

Yet I would never denounce the power of dreams for they are what keeps me going. Without a dream I would lose hope and in times like these when it is so easy to fallen into a state of depressions a dream can really buoy you up and give you something to aim for (and I don't know about you but the lack of something to aim for depresses me more than anything else - if I'm living a life I don't like and see no future alternative what would be the point?) I've spoken before about the power of faith and gratitude and both of these go hand in hand with the power of dreams - like three best friends, held together forever. With faith that my dreams will come true and gratitude for all those that have how can I stay down for long?

I said in my last post, which you will not deny was rather angry and sad, that I might just start writing more about endo. Endo is one of those things that gets in my way - it sucks away my energy and makes me feel vulnerable. It messes with my hormones, and therefore my ability to think clearly and rationally. Worse than that, it is an invisible condition which is entirely unpredictable and is so badly understood by doctors and society both that it can be difficult to deal with. Sometimes endo even gets in the way of my dreams by taking away my hope, tugging on the energy resources I need to start living my dream, and just downright annoys me. But I would never have made it this far, never survived 4 years at uni with extensive travel, and the crazy business of starting out in the world of work if it weren't for dreams. I also would never have survived the endo without becoming a complete victim to it - by giving up.

Don't get me wrong, I have wanted to give up so many times in my life I cannot count them anymore. There is nothing wrong with giving up and sometimes I think I fight too hard, sometimes it might do me good to give up for a day or two. Some of my dreams have had to be readjusted, like my dream of working with children - instead of working with them now I am hoping I'll find a more easier way on my health in the future, running workshops perhaps or writing books instead of working in the nurseries. Others have been put on hold - like the dream of working from home and having more balance in my life. But many are ongoing and constantly I find them being fulfilled without my even trying - like my dream to speak several languages, I might not be fluent but after years of studying languages I pick them up very quickly now and working in the job I do, meeting people from all over the world on a daily basis, learning new words, phrases and even practising the ones I had forgotten, comes naturally.

Dream of Living is about just that - having a dream about life, the life that you want for yourself, and then living it. I have a long, long way to go but in the words of Bliss, "a part of me seems to know, that there is someone standing close, and guiding me whenever I go wrong". A friend of mine sent some Angels to be with my this week and already our house feels different. I'm a firm believer in Angels and used to ask them to be around me constantly - but I forget these days and having that reminder to stop, breathe and enjoy the sensation of being cared for constantly is a tonic beyond any other I could find. I am also a firm believer that everything happens for a reason - not that things are pre-destined and we have no choice, but that there will always be ways open to us if we are meant to go that route, and what else could lifelong dreams that stir you so strongly you cannot help but follow be but flickers of the path you feel you are born to tread?

I must go now as my bus leaves for work in ten minutes and I am not yet dressed hehe but I do hope that something in this post resonates with you. Have a wonderful week, my friends xx

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Sometimes I wonder...

why I feel so passionate about fighting for causes and those who cannot fight for themselves...

then I remember it's because I KNOW how hard it is to fight for yourself

Currently I am struggling with my employer - never mind the "we're a caring employer" impression they give out - I am currently one step away from formal procedures due to my absences - the same formal procedures used for people just taking the pee. I can't be dealing with that kind of stress - I have a chronic illness, an illness I told them about before even being employed and have been nothing but upfront with them about it throughout all the time I have had off. But do they care? Nope, they just see that the amount of days I've had off have hit the corporate triggers and so let's just fill in forms and tell our employee she is under review and any more absences this coming month (just one month after a major operation that she is still recovering from when she might just need some time off) one more day off during this month and that'll be that.

So - I am emotional as hell due to my hormones, exhausted beyond belief and terrified of making myself worse as I have done in the past by working beyond my ability to cope, sinking into the beginnings of depression and what do they do - they add to my stress. I used to love my job - in fact the job itself I still do love, but I feel like it is killing me. And it made me realise that the only time in the past 8 years I have not been like this was when I was working part-time at the uni - I was depressed and exhausted and ill at uni, whilst working at both nurseries and again now. It is like I don't have the stamina for full-time work - especially the kind I enjoy which means I am on my feet, up and down, round and round, serving people or caring for people. I just can't do it but have no choice but to continue. I do so love my job, but is it worth my health?

As it is I have 90% decided not to do my tour guide training - can you imagine me losing what little free time and energy I have left to studying for something even the healthiest people tell me is "extremely challenging"? Besides, I recently started writing again and I want to do that... or should I expand and say that I started writing again whilst on sick leave after the op and for the first time in years it began to truly flow because I was feeling relaxed - since going back to work I have written nothing and lost all confidence in what I was writing - all because I was stressed. I need to rebalance.

I'm looking forward to the forthcoming edition of endolink as it is focussing on women and the workplace. I am also looking into the possibility of having my endo classed as a "disability" for work purposes - because why should I be measured against the same absence targets as someone in perfect health who never needs time off sick? I go in when I feel like hell and have to be really bad to stay off, which just shows how ill I have felt, and yet because I have had so much time off I don't even get full pay when I'm off work now. How stinky is that?

My dad told me not to stress so much (in a nice way not an uncaring way - he is a manager and he knows how it works and how stupid it can be and he also knows me and how stressed I get and how stresed he gets and he feels so helpless - he is a true warrior for those who need it, yet wise enough to let people fight for themselves when they can!) Anyway he said I have done everything by the book - I have been honest with them from the start and they have no means to touch my job in any way because of it. That's not the point though - the point is they are doing this in the first place instead of reading the occupational health report and my drs notes and the forms I have to fill in constantly and seeing that it is all related to the one thing I cannot control. THAT is why I feel it is so important to fight and why, for the foreseeable future, I may just focus this blog on spreading endo awareness... I just may!