In our lives, each one of us is faced with hardships and challenges that act to test us, teach us and set us on the right path.
For me, the biggest obstacle I faced, the one that absolutely transformed my life and set me on the journey I am on today came in the form of an debilitating illness called Chronic Fatigue.
Like a bolt of lightening, this illness struck me down approximately 3 years ago and from what it seemed, entirely out of the blue. After years of pushing myself to the limit, working multiple jobs, studying, socialising and training at the gym, the exhaustion and fatigue hit me like a tonne of bricks and turned my life upside down.
At the time when it happened, my life was going swimmingly. I had just completed my Personal Training course, was working at Vision Personal Training while building my own fitness business, working at a shoe store and trying to maintain my strict fitness regime.
Then, over the course of a few weeks I began to notice changes in my body. I became increasingly fatigued, unable to workout or work at my usual capacity and struggled to get through a typical day. My thoughts became cloudy and overwhelmed my mind, making it hard to communicate or articulate with others. I began to feel consistently bloated, unable to stomach my usual foods and my immune system just kept crashing, with a sore throat and flu coming on regularly. I was so tired, I craved sugar and carbohydrates all the time just to try and make it through whatever I was doing. My muscles ached and I felt depressed, anxious and just all round horrible.
At first I had no idea what was going on and the worst thoughts came to mind. I worried I had cancer or was dying, and endless doctors visits and blood tests with no avail did not help ease my concerns. Having suffered from depression previously, the Doctors and I began to fear that a bad episode of depression had come on. It didn’t make sense though when everything in my life had been going so fantastic.
After after a month or so, the mental and physical fatigue became so bad that I had to quit my job as a Personal Trainer, my job working in retail and put University studies on hold. I couldn’t train anymore, socialise or even work. I lost my financial independence, my zest for life and as a result, my will to live. In hindsight, the decision to move to away from my family to Melbourne with my then partner in the middle of it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I needed my family and support more than ever.
For 6 months following the onset, I was pretty much passed between Doctors and Specialists trying to figure out what was going on with my body. I was frustrated, even more worried and desperate for answers! So I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I began researching my symptoms, using Dr Google to try and diagnose myself in light of my Doctor’s being able to do so. Eventually I found something that seemed to line up with all of my symptoms- Adrenal and Chronic Fatigue. Unfortunately though there was no known cure or treatment.
I approached my doctor with my findings, hoping it would bring us closer to answers. I desperately wanted an outcome, but at the same time I hoped it would be something that was treatable, unlike the illnesses I had come across.
Surprisingly, my Doctor heard out my findings and decided to refer me to a Rheumatologist, particularly after a test result came back showing some kind of inflammation. Finally we were getting somewhere!
After three or four months of visiting the Rheumatologist, having a ridiculous amount of tests and blood tests and forking out huge amounts of money, I was finally given a ‘tentative’ diagnosis, Fibromyaligia. Through the process of elimination, this was the final outcome.
I thought I would be relieved after all of this, but in fact I became much more depressed. The Rheumatologist gave me a fact sheet on Fibromyalgia which pretty much outlined what was to be my future. I would not be able to work, barely be able to socialise and exercise, well you could count that out. I was told that as this condition was treatable and incurable, I would be stuck with this lack of mental and physical energy forever. The diagnosis was then confirmed as Chronic Fatigue by a head Professor of Immunology, which didn’t make matters any better.
From there, I spiralled out of control a bit. I swear, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had a loving partner and wonderful family, I would have just ended my life then and there. What was the point in living a life where I couldn’t even actually live? I began feeling sorry for myself and isolated myself even more from the world and those around me.
THE TURNING POINT
Then one day, something clicked inside me. I don’t know where it came from or what brought it on, but I decided that I could not let this illness dictate my life anymore. I had always been a strong, fighting personality who refused to give up, so why would I give up now? This girl was going to fight!
That began my mission to recover. I tried everything I could, read up on everything and essentially educated myself on healing and health remedies. I tried a nutritional program, a detox program, consulted two Naturopaths, a psychologist and an Exercise physiologist and enquired about various other programs to help. Everyone around me seemed to know someone who had had Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia that cured it from this and that and provided me with endless suggestions. I was overwhelmed with possibilities for a cure or treatment.
After 2.5 years of struggling with the mental and physical exhaustion and periods of up’s and down’s, it wasn’t until 6 months ago in October last year I really started to see myself progress. Other people and myself had given me the hope I needed to recover and I knew that it was a possibility, but it wasn’t until the resignation of another job and a break up from my partner of 3 years I realised what the answer was: me.
All this time, I had been depending on others and their infinite wisdom to help me get better but little did I realise that the only person who could heal me was me. I was giving all the power to others when instead I should have been giving the power to myself to make things better.
After all the work I had done, this was the point I decided that I would be accountable for my fatigue. I had caused it so why couldn’t I allow myself the power to eliminate it? The answer was that I could.
I began listening to self-development podcasts, something I had done in the past without purpose, but now with a drive to heal myself, they became even more crucial. I started reading every self development book I could get my hands on, listened to as many Youtube videos as possible and began to set intentions, practice gratitude and retrain my thoughts through the power of positive affirmations. If I was going to embark on this process of self development and healing, I was going to give it my all.
Now, 6 months on from making this decision and 3 years after the onset of Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue (whatever fatigue I have), I am feeling more optimistic, happier and healthier than ever. My energy has been restored to approximately 80%, in comparison to the 20% or so I had at the beginning, my thoughts are clearer and my muscle pain, depression and anxiety are almost obsolete.
In the process of my recovery, I decided that while my main focus was healing, working a ‘traditional’ job was not going to be a good fit for me. I wanted to focus as much energy on getting better as possible and if I was going to earn some kind of income, wanted it to be in a manner that could correspond with this goal. This was the moment I decided to embark on the journey of creating my own job, a job that fit in with my recovery.
These days, in between working out at the gym 3-4 days a week, yoga and bike riding, my main focus is working on several opportunities that will enable me to build a career that I love and can travel the world doing and help others do the same.
This whole experience has completely transformed my philosophy on life and if there is one take-away from all of it, it is that life is the greatest gift and should be enjoyed to the full. Sure I didn’t have a deadly or life-threatening illness, but it was one that really limited my capacity to enjoy the life I had.
By almost losing that and being exposed to the potential life I could have had if I had refused to give up, I have completely reformulated my whole perspective. No longer do I want to let other’s dictate my life, my health or wealth, only I am capable of making that decision.
Therefore, I choose to live a life where my days are filled with gratitude, happiness and adventure. I strive to learn new things and teach myself in order to better my life, my business opportunities and in time that of others. My goal is to create and invest in multiple businesses so that I can focus on self development and travelling the world. My biggest ambition however is to help others live the life of their dreams so they avoid burning themselves into the ground, trying to keep up with the current way of life like I did. I wouldn’t wish this illness upon anyone and if I can help prevent that in anyway, my mission on earth would be accomplished.
We were not born to work a 9-5 highly stressful job where our value is exchanged for a petty salary nor were were made to live a life of unhappiness. Depression and anxiety levels are increasing and we are becoming a sicker, more miserable society. So let’s work together to make a change.
We were only given one life, so let us choose how we live it. If you don’t like your job, quit it. If you want to travel the world, do it. If you love someone, tell the them. Whatever you want, you can make it happen. Think it, visualise it and send it out to the Universe for it to take care of.
We are only limited by our own beliefs. The possibilities of this world are endless if we just believe in ourselves and our own capabilities.
I had a bad experience, one that came from limiting beliefs and lack of self- love and I turned it completely on it’s head to make it the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Believe me when I say this- YOU CAN DO IT TOO!
You are a leader in your life, not the victim. You are accountable and in control so stand strong and make a change.
I will be here for you to guide you through it and to provide you with self-development, health and fitness advice that I have used on my own journey but ultimately it is you who decides how you use it.
I hope my story is a testament of what we as humans can achieve in this world and inspires you to take action to do the same. Trust me though, this is only the beginning for me. The first chapter of my novel.
Make this your first chapter to. It all begins right here, right now. You are the driving force.
Look forward to inspiring, motivating and working with you all.
Together we can take on the world. Alone, we are unstoppable.
– the Soulful Wanderer