My Journey So Far

Everyone has a story. Some are more exciting than others, there are the heart-breaking ones and then there are those that inspire you.

I wanted to tell a story about a vibrant young woman who became a recluse and nervous nelly. That would be me!

This was taken in 2017 when I had a better handle on my fibromyalgia.

I grew up in a somewhat dysfunctional home (many of us have). My childhood experiences had me wondering what a happy family was meant to be like and I wanted to have a big family because my heart was bursting with love to share in a way I felt was lacking throughout my childhood. I never thought it would be easy but I figured I would be the best mum ever, no matter what it took (I was and most likely am still delusional).

When I moved to the UK in 2000, I never would have seen myself getting married and having 3 more children all a year apart but hey, shit happens right?

So here I was a foreign woman in the UK married with 4 children and I had no family around me which meant my husband became my everything. Now don’t think I’ve never had visits from my family back home because I did but it was once a year or every 2-3 years and when we could afford it, we would fly back to my home country but never all of us at the same time, at least not when they were all still young.

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My eldest is 19 now & my youngest is 13

Moving on…

As I stated, my childhood was somewhat dysfunctional and by the time I had my fourth child, my body and all the mental and emotional experiences I went through took their toll on my health and in 2014 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and bi-lateral sciatica and these two chronic conditions sucked the life out of me.

2015 saw me yo-yo between despair and hope and I would have months of lows and darkness and a sporadic day or two of clarity, determination and belief that I could control my conditions and not allow them to impact on my life.

Roll on to 2016 and I rapidly declined to becoming bedridden 80% of the time. I would lie in my bed in sheer agony wanting to remove body parts to escape the endless pain. I couldn’t FIX myself and I found very little understanding and even less meaningful support from health professionals and people I had been close to.

My husband and I in Badplaas, Southern Africa in 2018

My husband became my main carer, my children swapped roles with their mum and became young carers and it tore me to pieces. That’s when 2 of my closest friends stepped in and started helping out in every way they could and I started connecting with people who had similar struggles and I started to develop an amazing support network.

Someone else who was and still is instrumental in my recovery process and is helping me understand mental health and its effects is my friend Kwame. I met Kwame when I was very active in a dancing scene that had hit the UK some years back; something I love so much and sadly (for now) I’m unable to do without having a relapse of some sort.

Dancing is not the only thing that has been taken from me as a result of my conditions; I’ve had to scale back on some of my hobbies, my cleaning, socialising and doing fun, crazy stuff with my children.
In order to be able to pursue things I found joy from before fibromyalgia, I tried and still do try just about every type of therapy, medication, self-help technique, homeopathic and alternative drug/supplement and dietary methods available in order to heal from the inside out as you do but sadly it’s not always that simple to find anything that is long lasting or easy to maintain, well not as yet.

I have dreams and desire as do many of us spoonies and on the bad days I see my dreams dissipating and falling to pieces as I struggle with one issue or another but I am a ‘glass half full’ kind of girl!

Each day has its challenges with either having to overcome extreme fatigue, all over body pain or low mood but I try my best to keep going despite the physical and mental challenges and when I complete a task I feel as though I’m a Goddess who can take on anything the universe has to throw at me; as mums, we all have these moments don’t we?

It isn’t ‘all gravy’ (slang term I picked up from my kids) and I doubt myself a lot but I am a fighter and it’s because of my resilient attitude (DH can verify my resilience) I have come to accept my lot and as I grow from this, it is my desire to help others to do the same.

People with chronic conditions or invisible illnesses will probably have similar stories or experiences and I am hoping to share their stories in further blogs to demonstrate the complexities of living with conditions that cannot be seen or treated conventionally.

May you find your inner strength to overcome that which may seem insurmountable and the ability to conquer that which you believe is impossible.

Wishing you good health, wealth and success,

Karen

P.S. I have attached a link to one of Kwame’s blogs. This particular blog has opened my eyes to the connection between mind, body and spirit and how they create this cycle which indirectly or sometimes directly impacts on the body’s physical responses to life and it’s many challenges we face. Click here to read it.