In 2007 aged 26, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME. I was a full-time primary school teacher.
After falling ill with flu like symptoms, I just couldn’t seem to get well again. It got to the point where one morning, I woke up and simply couldn’t gather the energy to even sit up in bed.
It was scary. What on earth was happening to me?
Over the next couple of years, I really struggled with come to terms with my illness. At my worst, I ended up moving back in with my parents. Some days I could barely walk to the bathroom.
Thankfully, gradually over time I started to get a little better. I managed to get well enough to go back to work part-time, as a teaching assistant.
But then, things started going downhill again. I was getting terrible pain in my abdomen too now. Eventually, I was diagnosed with endometriosis.
To cut a long story short, to date I’ve now had several operations on my abdomen.
For nearly a decade, I was in and out of work due to my health conditions. I was very unhappy. At points, I felt like there was no escape, so what was the point in living?
I felt useless and worthless. I felt like no-one could ever truly love me when I was ‘ill all the time’. I didn’t know if I could have children.
I was also in a toxic relationship. He told me no-one else would have me. I believed him. I didn’t love myself, I doubted myself.
Life had hit rock bottom.
One night, he came home drunk and angry in the early hours of the morning again. He woke me up and threatened my dog.
When I saw the fear in my dog’s eyes as he cowered in the corner, I realised that I could not allow this man to be the father of my children.
He never raised a hand to me physically, but I felt it was coming. He was abusive with his words and his actions. He would throw things across the room, kick doors and punch walls. I didn’t feel safe anymore.
He was a very angry person, especially when fuelled by alcohol. Yet it took him threatening my dog, for me to decide enough was enough! Why? Because I didn’t love myself enough, to leave for me.
I didn’t believe in myself enough to see what I had to offer the world. I didn’t recognise that I deserved to be loved.
But when I made the finally decision to leave… my world started to change!
Something inside me got just that little bit stronger.
I moved away and the distance gave me strength and perspective. I felt free. I started to discover who I was again. I started to realise that I was so much stronger than I thought.
Then, I met a wonderful man who is now my husband.
Something inside me continued to get a little bit stronger, even though my physical condition started to get worse again.
However, the big change came when I crossed paths with a life coach, in 2016. He introduced me to the world of ‘self-development’. He gave me hope and showed me that life could be different. That we can decide how we think and choose our thoughts and feelings.
He introduced the term ‘victim mindset’ to me. Over time, I developed the confidence and self belief to have a champion mindset instead. I started to focus on what I CAN do, rather than what I can’t do.
As I continued on my journey of self discovery, I gradually changed the story I was telling myself in my head. I started to believe in myself. I started being kinder to myself, with self care and acceptance.
I stopped beating myself up with my negative self talk. I let go of my frustration linked to my physical illness. I learned how to keep the physical symptoms I feel, separate from my mental well being.
After a difficult birth in 2017 when I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, I also developed Fibromyalgia. However, I got myself back on track much faster this time. I was so very grateful to become a mother.
I have learned that learning to love yourself is not vein or arrogant.
Learning to love yourself opens so many doors.
Loving yourself allows you to reach your true potential, which can only be released when we truly believe in ourselves.
Loving yourself allows to you to dream bigger and live your best life.
Loving yourself allows you to respect yourself enough, to only share your life with those who respect and love you equally.