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Cm journal: Lessons learnt in 2019

(cm journal entry 6)

Photography by

The photo above was taken at the very first professional cmdesigns photoshoot. I'd just launched our very first range of collars and bows. I was PUMPED! It has only taken me a few years to actually muster up the courage to start this journey in the first place. However around this time the universe decided I needed to learn some vitals lessons..which honestly I just was not getting until this year. Until the universe FORCED me to get it! It all started here when I was diagnosed with Vestibular Neuritis/vestibular migraine.

I was trying to grow cmdesigns and work in my part time job as a violin teacher. Being in charge of 60 students and organising performances. It was a real challenge without having health issues. I refused to acknowledge that perhaps I just needed to stop and take time to heal. I felt an overwhelming responsibility to keep the strings program running at 100% and didn't want to let my students down. All whilst putting incredible pressure on myself to make cmdesigns work. I did not give myself a chance to rest and recover just go, go go......and of course cue anxiety!

I thought I was managing until that anxiety turned into full blown panic attacks ( I won't go into the details but if you've ever experienced a true panic is one of the most terrifying things to experience). I made it to christmas break 2018 telling myself I would get my anxiety under control for next year. However new years day 2019 I ended up at the hospital with an ear and throat infection resulting in the WORST vestibular symptom flare up I had experienced since the initial diagnosis. I spent the entire Christmas holidays sick and dizzy and scared to go anywhere by myself. It's hard to describe the symptoms but it varied between feeling like I was rocking on a boat and also that strange feeling when the elevator stops 24/7 & feeling like you are about to faint. This was followed by 3 more colds and then the real deal Influenza A. Oh hello..lets go back to square one AGAIN! I don't think I have ever been so sick in my entire life. I was so disorientated by my one point I thought I was in Game of Thrones and my fitbit said I was in permanent fat burn mode. I ended up at the hospital multiple times for fluid and medication for my dizziness.

At this point I began to wonder "what was really wrong with me?" why can't I get better? Why am I getting sick all the time? The hospital even checked my immune system..which was fine.

I was in tears at my GP who has also just informed me my heart was doing strange things so was booked in to see a cardiologist. She suggested I take some time off work.

I didn't know when or how long it was going to take me to get better so I made the decision to resign from my violin teaching position at the school. Whilst I knew I needed to do this it emotionally crippled me. I felt like I had poured almost 3 years of my life building this program at the school that someone else was now going to just take over. Not to mention the crippling guilt I felt over leaving my students. "would they be ok?" "what if they don't like the new teacher?" "am I making the wrong decision?". crippling guilt.

At this point I had not put any work into the business for about 6 months. I felt like it was getting nowhere, I no longer had a job, I was sick, I couldn't be creative and was very depressed. I was sitting at home feeling like I had put all this work and effort into my job, the business, life for nothing. Now my body was like "nah, mate". What's worse is I felt like it was all my fault. The should have, would have, could have thoughts exploded. I experienced real depression (honestly I didn't realise how crippling it was, how much it distorts your thinking and view of the world). The intrusive thoughts were unbearable.

Suddenly everything that I had based my self worth on was gone and what was I left with? Who was I when I wasn't achieving? when I wasn't constantly doing? I honestly had no idea. My mind and body made me sit with that for 3 months and figure it out but for those 3 months I could not do a thing. I slept..I sat on the lounge, I cried. repeat. At times I walked into my cmdesigns work room to try and do something which resulted in me sitting there for 5 mins staring at the walls and then walking out. I had nothing. This scared me. What I had felt so passionate about I suddenly felt nothing for. Was this going to be my life now?

I resisted what was happening to me. I blamed myself. I berated myself that it was my fault and that I should "just get over it". I didn't understand what had happened to my brain.If only I had just have listened to my body and taken some time off to rest. One day I just got sick of fighting it and stopped resisting. Which is exactly what I needed to do. I just focused on relaxing and allowed myself to do absolutely nothing...for 3 months. Nothing. I slept, ate, went walking, played with Cas. But during those 3 months when I had nothing to distract me...nothing to distract me from myself I was forced to look at my wounds...from the past, the present, my thoughts, what I believed, what I based my self worth on...heck, did I even have self worth?It didn't feel like it. It really hurt. Whilst there were many things that happened to me that were not my fault and contributed to this I realised my biggest obstacle was myself. What I believed about myself to be true. What other people would think of me? Have I let people down?

This quote sums it up for me: "Fear can show up as a Perfectionist".

Being in a constant state of fight or flight makes you sick. Thinking you are not enough make you sick. Being a constant yes person makes you sick. Not being able to say no makes you sick. Working in a job that creates negative stress for you makes you sick. Not resting when you are sick makes you sicker. Not allowing yourself to make mistakes makes you sick. Things needed to change and I DID change.

I asked myself that if me in child form was standing in front of me right now, feeling what I was feeling what would I say to her? How would I treat her? Would I yell at her and say "this is all your fault?" I don't think so. My job, my success, my failure, my appearance, my mistakes don't define me.

During all this I also had to experience the Story Book Farm news which was devastating and had to say goodbye to one of my childhood furbabies Charlie Brown. It hasn't been great but I am grateful for the lessons.

It's not easy sharing this but I think it's necessary in this world. A world in which we are constantly shown highlights in the social media world. Sometimes it can feel like you are the only one struggling but believe me that is not the case.

I'm reserving the cmjournal section of this blog to speak truthfully about what is going on in my world. The behind the scenes not just what you see on social media. Perhaps it will help one other person and that is enough for me. I also want to highlight that even when shit is thrown at you in life you can still pursue your dreams. It just might take a little longer than expected.

So what's the current status: I am feeling much better..not 100% but I'm getting there. My health is improving. My vestibular symptoms are under control. I have my creative spark back and i'm even getting back into let's see what the next few months of 2019 brings. I have learnt that nothing comes before my health and wellbeing now.

Please remember that if you are going through a difficult time it's not forever. Sometimes you just have to surrender to whatever is happening and ride the wave until you end up back on shore.

Cm x

My child self...was also obsessed with dogs at that point! I loved 101 dalmatians.



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