Not long ago “How my life changed overnight” would be seen by many as a cliche story in the media. We would hear news stories of people winning the Lottery or doing well on Reality TV as well as just how drastically someone’s life can transform from ‘rags to riches’ or ‘riches to rags.’
But if anything, these times have shown us just how quickly things can really change that are beyond our control.
It’s no surprise to me, however, because as writing this it is a year since I was blue lighted into Leeds Intensive Care Unit. I don’t remember much of it but all I know is I couldn’t have predicted what would have happened that day.
I have had many ‘turning point’ moments from the worst times such as my baby daughter being the one needing to be admitted to Paediatric Intensive Care to some of the highlights of my life giving birth (well the newborn baby in my arms part of it) and also being one of ‘those’ people who did well dancing on reality TV.
I have had huge changes and small ones too… all just as valuable.
But the “only constant is change” as I am always reminded of in my Yoga sessions which are now done online as we currently don’t have much control over what happens in this Pandemic.
I am obviously one of the fortunate ones as I sit here in good health in front of my computer, having the freedom to express myself through the written word.
It is easy to stop and think ‘why me?’ when I look at the so-called misfortunes in my life. But actually if I hadn’t have had those bizarre sliding door moments of “if only I’d known,” I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I have had the opportunity of writing this column and then later I will be finishing reading the first draft of my autobiographical book published this Summer called Eat. Sleep. Control. Repeat. which documents on ‘how I went from having the worst eating disorder possible to recovery and blogging about health and wellbeing.’ It is actually thanks to the huge transformational moments in my life that I have the pleasure of writing so much and most of all being able to connect with so many other beautiful people who are also on healing journeys.
The one thing I have learned by life constantly transforming for better and for worse, is that there are some choices we do have the luxury of having. As I say I have had the luxury of having experienced some massive hurdles in life to help me to appreciate the golden moments. I certainly wouldn’t have wished certain things, but there is some positive to be taken out of everything.
There are also always elements we can take some control to anchor ourselves, even if they be minuscule in comparison to the thing which feels/is out of our control.
The first choice being is whether we take control negatively or positively. Granted, we are only human so sometimes when things change in our lives dramatically it takes some adjustment but we can choose to reflect on all the things we are grateful for or all the things we feel we are lacking in our lives.
So even in nightmare-is times when I was sat anxiously waiting in the hospital waiting room awaiting the fate of my baby. I was so grateful that there had been a passer-by who helped me to resuscitate her, there had been a volunteer first responder who tended to her, there had been paramedics and now she was getting world class healthcare and we weren’t having to worry about affording any of it.
Even in ever changing times, like we are all experiencing in different ways at the moment, there are positive things you can find to control such as how we treat one another. I’d love to see a lot less judgement of one another, and more focus on how we can all be as accepting as possible and just focus on what we can do. That said, I myself am working on not judging the judgers so much!
Like many, there are drastic changes in our lives when we revert back to old coping mechanisms… some may be positive and others not so. But the beauty of resilience isn’t that we never get knocked down but it’s how quickly we stand up again.
I admit that as someone who has an addictive personality, when lockdown happened, I returned to unhelpful ways to control my situation. I found myself trapped in a pity party for a couple of weeks. Until I realised that actually I am one of the lucky ones who Isn’t “stuck at home” but I am (relatively) “safe at home.”
“I’m glad that I do not know what tomorrow will bring”
I am also fortunate how incidents in my journey such as nearly losing my baby and then my own life, that actually the fact that I have a home, a life and some of the basics like food and clean water, give me a privileged grounding to choose to fill myself with positive influences (such as motivational podcasts, holistic therapies, mindset videos on YouTube and dare I say it but I find funny content to escape to on Tiktok… whatever floats your boat).
I blog and vlog a lot about mental health, wellbeing and feel good fitness and I am a big advocate of self-care but even I at the start of the pandemic I found myself feeling hypocritical as I was barely allowing myself to sleep because of the pressure I was putting on myself. But again I knew that I needed to start somewhere and put in mini goals such as having a bath or “allowing” myself to have a breaks from working or even filling my life as much as possible with positive influences such as reducing time watching the news, focusing on anything that I still have in my life that brings me joy and also challenging myself each day to do something out of my comfort zone. Those tiny adjustments inevitably gave me some sense of control.
In life there are always things beyond our control but in any situation there are usually choices we can make, no matter how minuscule.
I am grateful to have experienced what I have in order to have built up my own resilience to dealing with whatever is around the corner. I am also grateful that I cannot know for sure what my life will look like because sometimes there are things we cannot predict.
There’s certain things I wouldn’t wish for, far from it, but I do have choices in each moment.
I am actually glad these days that I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.