It’s the weirdest thing. I’ve had 8 years of being pretty much trapped in my home due to ill health (Lupus) and for the last month I’ve been feeling really well. Not put on a fake smile and act well because people are so bored of you talking about pain and exhaustion, but genuine bouncing out of bed, looking forward to the day well.
The weird thing is that while my body is well my mind doesn’t seem to have caught up yet.
For instance I was up early to take my son to his last day of college today (that’s a sad but exciting milestone right?) and as I drove home I knew the morning was starting with a coaching session and I thought “Oh no I’m on my own all day.” (Client was only on the screen so not there in person to have a cuppa and chat with first.)
Usually if I’m coaching for 2 hours I’d need a few hours to recover. Then I could work for a couple of hours and then I’d need to rest before my children got home in the hope I might have some energy to talk to them and maybe help cook tea.
But I had to physically remind myself today “You can do more Mandie!” and so I went for a walk. 45 minutes may not seem big to you but 4346 steps is epic to me.
Usually I would even have to limit my time on the phone (pacing is not just about your physicality as I learnt the hard way – your brain uses up a lot of energy too.) But today I’ve made and had over 10 phone calls already!
This all reminds me of clients who I’ve worked with for a while and in a session they will say something and I’ll challenge them on that thought. Often it’s because they are still using the same language they used before we started working together. Not really appreciating how much has changed.
For example a client said to me “But I’m rubbish at marketing.”
“Are you?” I asked “What evidence do you have to that statement?”
They smirked at me because they realised that this wasn’t true anymore. The person they are now is very different to the one of a year ago. But that negative thought had still sneaked in.
We have to be mindful of every thought we have and ask ourselves if it is empowering us or demotivating us?
Is it moving us forward or holding us back?
But even that is not enough. You then need to take ownership for what you thought and focus on what you actually want.
I’ve started mentally noticing the little things that I’d forgotten about;
- Like dancing to Radio 1 while I brush my teeth instead of leaning against the radiator for dear life.
- Bruises because I’ve got over enthusiastic gardening instead of the meds making my skin like paper.
- Being able to jump in the car and go anywhere whenever I like because I’ve not had to plan 2 days in advance due to the severity of my medication.
I find these and so many other things are making me grin, but there’s a but. And it’s one I didn’t think I’d ever have again.
Walking along the beach I realised that I still haven’t factored in anything in the evenings. The last time I went out at night was to End game on the 25th April, before that it was the 16th December, regular right?
The hardest thing about balancing a long term health illness is that you have to ditch so much of your life. A social life is something I know exists because I watch Facebook friends having one. But now can I have one?
I’m scared to speak these thoughts.
I even have found myself using my clients words “What if?” And unlike me, I’m not assuming it’s going to be awesome! I’ve been assuming with real terror;
- “What if this doesn’t last?”
- “What if the CBD oil stops working?”
- “What if I am forced to be in this house all the time again?!”
Lucky for me I am uber speedy and epic at reframing. I can be in a bad/sad mood and flip to being positive/happy and ready for anything with a lightening speed thought.
So that’s what I’ve been doing;
- What if this is permanent?
- What if you can get back on your bike?
- What if you can work more?
- What if you can travel?
- What if you are well?
Of them all the last one makes me hyperventilate. I’ve worked so damn hard on being happy and as well as possible despite Fibromyalgia, Lupus and a myriad of other illness and problems. Even before this mini miracle I felt truly happy and joyous with my life. This? Well this just makes me feel super human!
My friend is 94 (Sorry Irene, I told everyone your age) and she is one of my role models in life. Flying around the world visiting nephews, ski-ing (Ok just the apres ski – you can’t blame her!) and living life to the fullest. Irene summed it up today when she said “Sometimes to go forward we have to go back”. How perfect is that sentence?
I have absolute gratitude to be able to go for a walk. To be able to drive a car and work. Things I would guess that 9 years ago I didn’t really acknowledge. And having to gain a level of tenacity, determination and self belief that Iron Man would be proud of, how well set up am I for going forward?
If feeling ill I can walk 27000 steps around Disney Land Paris (okay, with enough medications in me to rival any A and E Department!) what can I achieve without the brain numbing, gut destroying, nausea inducing, sleep robbing drugs in me?
I like that I work with a coach, and I like that I can coach myself. The fear is going to be allowed to stay (just a little) why? Because it’s sensible to go a little steady. As Dinah Liversidge (Wow I love that woman!) said “When I was on the road to recovery I only walked for 10 minutes a day, and I didn’t try to push it. Go little and often to build stamina.” (Dinah is also the awesome lady that told me that to get through Lupus I’d need Cannabis and a hot tub. I got both, well the legal version of the Cannabis!
The point of this article is this;
- Never ever give up – Winston taught me that and on bad days I remind myself I’ve stood in his bedroom at Downing Street and I keep going.
- Acknowledge every thought – own it. Process it. And learn how to move on. Ensuring it’s working for you and not against you.
- Smiling at bruises and dancing while you brush your teeth is because I have immense levels of gratitude. And yes one tear has just leaked out of my face and I’m so bloody chuffed. Gratitude keeps us going when everything feels lost.
- Share – don’t hide your crap, your pain or your needs. People can only care if they know. And trust me the right ones do care and will be there for you – as I now can be there for you too!
- And lastly a little reminder Mandie Holgate “You’ve spent 8 years watching box sets and usually only leaving the house once a week, don’t try and get too Iron Man on this body – you are not a robot and will need to respect it will take time. Time is something you have. And as you get there – bloody keep loving the ride!
I never stop working on my emotional intelligence, beliefs and personal development, if you’d like to explore this with me, get in touch. I’m also that in love with CBD I’ve signed up with Tessellate to sell it!