If you read last week’s post, here is the unveiling of the second half of my New Year’s resolution. I am reaching out to you asking to hear your story of living with a long-term condition or serious illness/injury that has been life changing for you in some way. If this has piqued your interest, read on.
Where you are now
Have you experienced the onset of a serious illness/injury or long-term chronic condition in the past 2 years and it has changed your life on many levels? Or maybe you are the carer? Either way, the experience may feel isolating, and so much change has happened to your body, family relationships, job or career, and so much more. It can be a bit overwhelming.
Others may not realise the magnitude of the change, and how worrying or draining it has been for you. It can be hard to tell them what it’s like. You don’t want to burden them or maybe some just don’t get it. You may be going through the motions of life, but life kind of feels like it’s on hold. And you are wondering if it will continue like that, will you just be existing.
What you’ve done
You don’t want to feel like the condition, illness, or injury is in the driving seat of your life. You know better than most how fragile life is and want to move forward. You may have searched the internet to learn about your condition, bought a book, found a support group, changed your diet or tried alternative therapies.
This may have helped and you know you are doing the right thing in trying out these possibilities. But it may still feel like there is so much change that has happened, and there may be changes you actually want to make. Just where to start doesn’t feel clear. So feeling a sense of wellness can remain elusive.
Where you want to go
You want to feel well again, balanced, in control and that you can live a life worth living. The good news is you can return to wellness. You can move forward from just existing to designing what I often refer to as a ‘new normality’ and living well in spite of the illness, condition or injury’s impact.
In addition to what you have done, what is often needed is looking at how this experience is playing out in your mind, the emotional side of it, and the impact of that on you, your relationships, job/career and other areas of your life. Also, defining what you want your ‘new normality’ to look and feel like, whether in the immediate and/or distant future, really helps as that allows you to identify practical and realistic actions you can take to move yourself forwards.
This work often includes re-learning how you have been positively helping yourself, which are valuable reminders that you already have great capabilities you can use to return to wellness. Learning how you may inadvertently be getting in your own way and finding ways to change that also help. Discovering what makes you tick develops your awareness thereby increasing your choices of what you can do. This helps you to experience a greater sense of control over your life and the direction you are taking in it. This in combination with defining your ‘new normality’ enables you to create actions that are right for you to take to move forward. You discover that you can re-engage with life in the way you want to and it no longer feels like a negative fight.
My experience in this area
I’ve been there myself when I contracted a rare neurological condition and then was the carer for a loved one who had one of those mid-life brushes with mortality and lives with the ongoing impact of that.
In my case, there wasn’t much information and support available in the early stages. I created my own rehabilitation plan and returned to work. With my other half, good information was plentiful, but there was the impact on the sense of oneself as a person, all the lifestyle changes to be made, the setbacks in recovery, the return to work, and both of us learning how to live with the impact of the conditions, even now several years on.
I know what it is like to live on that island of sheer anxiety, wondering if I, and then later my other half, would ever get well. Not just feeling physically ok-enough, but feeling well in ourselves. What helped was a combination of my professional expertise as a coach, adult learning specialist, research I’ve done in this area, and unique characteristics that make me ‘me’, and my other half ‘him’.
Through my personal experience and my role in a charity, I saw (and continue to see) many people and their families having to struggle on their own to make sense of the changes a serious health event brought to their lives and find a way through it. It’s like being in a forest dense with trees, there is no path and you have no compass to find your way back to civilisation and a sense of normality.
I decided that has to end and I could use my skills and experiences to help people create a map of their ‘new normality’, define the routes they will take to it, and design their compass to help them navigate their way back to civilisation. My aim is for people in this position to feel that they are engaging with their lives in the way they wish, living well with and in spite of the condition’s impact, and moving forward. If that can be accomplished, our corner of the world will be an even happier and better place.
Share in my journey – What would help you?
But as I start travelling this route, it would be really helpful to know what you think would help you. This will help me understand the types of support I could be offering which would make a difference to you. I’ve got ideas but I don’t want to operate in a vacuum offering something that no one wants. That wouldn’t be much fun or viable.
If I have been describing you and your situation, I would love to chat with you about it. I would like to understand where you want to get to, what forms of support you might have already used, were they helpful, and which forms of support you wish were readily available on your doorstep. It’ll be a 45-60 minute confidential chat and it can take place morning, afternoon or evening.
In return, I am happy to offer you a free Wellness Session, which will allow you to take stock of where you are in various aspects of your life, where you may want to make changes and what those changes may look like. You will gain greater awareness and ideas of what you can do next.
So get in touch
If you complete the contact form, I will email back and we can arrange a time to chat on the phone or via Skype/Facetime.
If you know of anyone else that this is relevant to, do share using the icons below. Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!
© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2016