This week I have achieved something really important to me, I have finally passed my driving test! It has taken 5 attempts, but I have finally done it! This is a really big deal for me because having M.E. makes driving really difficult. M.E. is a neurological disease so it affects the messages from my brain to my muscles, which makes my reactions slow. It causes brain fog so I can find it hard to concentrate and make decisions. I also get stressed and overwhelmed really easily. I have a lot of pain in all of my muscles and my left side is particularly weak and useless. It is nearly 2 years since I first started learning, with lots of breaks for periods of relapse and lots of house moves and changes of cars and instructors, but my perseverance has paid off just before my theory test expired! I celebrated by driving to Stratford Upon Avon to see a play and eat scones in the sunshine. It was perfect. Straight after my test I went for a calming walk in nature and it was beautiful (see above photo). I felt so blessed. It feels like things are finally falling into place with my internship coming up at Easter and my energy and pain levels improving.
It has been a year since I went for treatment for M.E. at The Optimum Health Clinic in London. They taught me how to manage my condition with psychological techniques and good nutrition. Within the last year I have improved massively. My physical symptoms such as muscle pain, headaches, dizziness and muscle spasms have all improved. My stamina has improved too. The most dramatic change has been to my attitude and mental health. I have become more confident and assertive. I feel less afraid and more excited about life. I have battled a lot of demons but I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.
In the past year I have:
- Travelled on a plane on my own
- Gone to a festival
- Gone dancing
- Stayed out all night
- Gone to gigs
- Gone jogging and on proper walks
- Gone to London for a weekend on my own
- Been a Project Officer, a Social Media Manager and a Classroom Assistant
- Passed level 2 of my degree and started level 3
- Completed a work placement at National Museum Wales
- Worked on a sensory trail for disabled children
- Gained an internship with the National Trust
- Made loads of new friends and contacts
- Asserted my needs and let go of people who were doing me more harm than good
- Started learning Italian
- Written this blog
- Passed my driving test
And probably more things that I can’t remember now!
These past few days of achievement and celebration have come after a really difficult weekend. Something bad happened and it was a turning point. It scared me. I had to let go of someone and something important to me. It outlined how important it is to assert my needs, because I deserve better. All of these achievements in the past year have finally made me realise that I am enough, I deserve respect and my voice should be heard. I want to thank the person who I had to let go of for their respect and understanding. I also want to thank the friend who I called on when I was scared, who talked me through my fear and checked up on me.
Take a minute to stop and think about your achievements, not matter how small or insignificant they may seem, because they are all important steps on your journey. We all need to praise ourselves more rather than wait for praise from others. We need to be our own cheerleaders, our own coach.