Where is your happy place? For me my place was; pulling on my leggings, my son’s hand-me-down t-shirts, tying up my trusted NIKE trainers and securing my long thick mane tight on top of my head. What came next could vary. Some days it was running the streets, others running through mud and fields with or without the dog. Some days feet were replaced with wheels; six miles to work, four miles into the city centre and back or a Sunday roll through country lanes with friends. A couple of times a week it would be early morning brutal HIIT classes that turn your face red and your knees weak or booty camps in the park with the girls and a brutal trainer barking orders.
My absolute favourite was wrapping up my hands and donning my pink boxing gloves. BOOM, BOOM, POW! The sound of leather hitting the pads or bags was the magic formula that unwound every tense muscle in my body.
This was my new found addiction and I wanted to share it. The boyfriend reluctance was soon a distant memory as he too became hypnotised by the powerful pull of feeling good. Nights in front of the telly were replaced with date nights at the gym, we started spending more and more time together. We looked forward to date nights and often rushed home from work to make a class at the gym or to go out for a run together. We partnered up encouraging and often trying to outdo each other. Who could make the loudest BOOM, BOOM, POW?
It wasn’t just our activity levels that were affected by our feel good obsession. Our diet was transformed as well. Meals were jointly prepared meals to fit in with our new fitness regime. Shopping lists now contained foods like Quinoa or chia seeds or coconut oil. Our Instagram photos documented our happy, healthy lives. Everything felt good in fact it felt bloody amazing
Then one day in August 2014 something happened. I didn’t know at the time how much it would change my life. But it did. Jumping off some steps at the gym I jarred my back. I wanted to carry on, push through the pain. I kept thinking it will right itself just keep going, don’t give up. It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror that I actually realised that this might be something more serious. As I stood there looking at my contorted reflection with one shoulder higher than the other, ribs jutting out I began to think that this is not normal.
What followed was a year and half of tests, worry, pain, appointments, tears, change of lifestyle, resentment, anger, grief. You name the negative emotion and it was probably felt at some time. Life had become a waiting game; waiting for appointments, waiting for results, waiting for procedures and tests, waiting for a diagnosis….
We saw so many professionals, some showed pity, some non-nonchalance, some disbelief and denial of my symptoms. Why was finding answers proving so hard? I started to doubt myself I lost confidence in who I was and what my life was about.
The glimmer of hope came when we travelled to London. As we sat there waiting in the white walled room I felt nervous yet hopeful. This was the culmination of the research to find someone who would believe in me and give me a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Thankfully we were in the right place. Hallelujah! However there was no cure, no magic powder, no pills nothing that would take this diagnosis away. The only hope he could give me was an operation to help stop the progression of nerve damage. There were no guarantees that this would cure me. My feel good feeling had long gone, every last drop had been sucked out of me along with any motivation I once had. I was struggling.
My sister told me I had a choice; I could either let this illness consume me or I could look for other things that could make me feel good. Easier said than done though as I still wanted the life I had, the more I thought about changing my mind set the angrier I got. I wanted to be able to run through the streets, travel on my bike, train insanely, hear the BOOM, BOOM, POW but most of all I want our date nights back.
I agreed to go along to an event she was doing for support even though I didn’t understand what it was about. That night I found out their mission was to mobilise communities to become more active. I met people that I wouldn’t normally have met. I heard stories similar to mine as they had challenges and choices. However the one difference was they had a call to action. This was the missing link in my story…It dawned on me I needed purpose, I needed to belong once again I needed a call to action!
Could I build a community of like minded people around the idea of feeling good? What would this community look like and what could they do to find their BOOM, BOOM, POW?
Surgery took place in London on May 10th 2016, although there are no guarantees was the only option I have to try and fight this disease. As my nerves were badly damaged there will be a long recovery period with a lot of uncertainty. So to keep the Feel Good momentum going I am on a mission to build a community around the idea of Feeling Good – now I also have a call to action! It is a fact that connecting with others makes you happy so join us as we take the steps to Feel Good. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Furthermore you could become a health activist yourself and join the Feel Good Ambassador Team there are many different things you can help with depending on your skills and time.