The Self-Love Journey

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Self-love has never come easy for me.

As somebody who was naturally shy and introverted, had a rough upbringing in a tense environment, was victim to the bullying and bitchiness at my all girls school, self confidence and self-esteem were never my strong points. And realising I was gay later in life didn’t help either.

So now, at this ripe old age of 28 and suffering chronic illness, naturally all of these feelings have come to the surface and created a need for me to address them with self-love. And the reading from a psychic recently has emphasised that requirement.

Last week, after months of uncertainty and curiosity over the future direction of my life following the break up and resignation of my job, I decided to consult with a psychic in the hope that would give me some kind of direction with my life.

And after much anticipation, the result was a little more comforting then what I thought it would be.

Firstly, and not by any coincidence I think, I found out that my psychic also suffered from Chronic Fatigue. What are the odds of that? I guess this illness is coming more prominent but cannot help but feel this was a sign from the universe!

Secondly, what she said about my current and not-to-distant future situation really helped me see some clarity. In a nutshell, this is what she said:

  1. The reason why I feel as though I am not making progress with my recovery is because my life is at a stand-still and the only thing that will move me forward is radical self love. I must learn to listen to my body more and praise it for what is doing to help me recovery instead of constantly criticising and putting myself down for the things I can’t do. If I am able to, with the help of Mother Mary and Archangel Isis learn to love myself immensely, then my chances of recovering by December 2017 will be greatly improved. I also need to focus on taking slow steps, not setting too bigger goals and enjoying complete rest days when required without feeling guilty.
  2. My relationship with my ex was not a loveless one. My ex did love me and care about me however realised that she had lost control of her life and of the relationship. The break up was her attempt to regain that control and to deal with the issues that had been holding her back. Apparently, she did have regrets about the ending of the relationship and within the next 18 months or so I will receive clarity around that.
  3. In the next 3 months I just need to focus on taking things easy and doing things that I enjoy and that make me happy. Reading, writing, getting out in nature, training, exploring, socialising, cooking, yoga and meditating. All of the things that make me the more grounded person that I am
  4. Between now and 6-8 months time I will surround myself with a network of positive, uplifting women that will help in the healing process. In the process I will meet or may have already met a person who could potentially be my soulmate, if I chose, or at least a friend and within a few months we will move in together. It is my call if this eventuates into anything more.
  5. Within the next 2 years, I will own and operate my own successful business. I will firstly get involved in digital marketing, combined with my marketing expertise, to generate some income, and then eventually will create a business in my own desired field. She also advised me that a job will come up in the next few months that will be a gift from the universe.
  6. She advised me not to stress about money as in a few months I will be offered some money as a gift and encouraged for me to take it. I will also find a way to conquer my financial woes but I just need to relax for now. There is plenty of money in the world and it will find it’s way back to me.

So I guess, from all of that, the most enlightening part was that I need to focus on loving myself and from there everything else will fall into place. Therefore I have made a vow to myself, from this moment forward I will focus on me, putting 100% into making myself the loving, healthy and healed person I was meant to be.

A lot of it will require retraining my thoughts and I intend to do that through meditation, positive affirmations, gratitude and self development books and podcasts. I vow to only surround myself with positive people that lift me higher and avoid those who attempt to bring me down or bring drama into my life. And I refuse to let any type of negative talk or criticism find it’s way into my mind. There is only space for love, kindness and positivity in this mind of mine.

I will avoid comparing myself to others, putting myself down or punishing myself for mistakes and avoiding dealing with my issues. I will stop feeling rushed, like I have to make up for all the time I lost being sick, and push myself to achieve goals that I am not ready to achieve. I will achieve great things in due time, I just need to be patient and believe in the power of the universe.

I must also learn that I cannot rely on anybody to fill my void, that only I can fill that with love and kindness for myself. I am the most important person in the world and nobody can love me until I learn to love myself and the beautiful person that I am, and I can feel that I am getting there. I do love myself to a degree, but the rough days where the depression emerges, I need to learn to conquer that. Once I overcome this, then when something eventuates into a more beautiful relationship with a girl that I meet, then I will be ready.

So right now my main focus is this: radical self love, beautiful friendships and exploring all of the things that I enjoy and make me who I am. I will immerse myself in nature, writing, training at the gym, yoga, meditation, personal development, reading and building great relationships with incredible people. And then will great things follow- love, happiness and abundance.

I am on the pursuit of happiness.

Don’t mind me while I learn to fly.

teaghanlee xxx

 

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Midnight Revelations

Last night, at midnight, in a club of hundreds of people, I had a revelation.

Out of all places, who would of thought that on the dance floor of an Irish pub, in your sober state and surrounded by ruthless, intoxicated beings that you could have a moment. Well I confess, it happened to me.

Ever since the break up, I have been going through some major adjustments in the journey to try and find myself once again. Adjusting to being alone, finding my new routine and rediscovering my happiness. And boy, has it been an arduous and overwhelming process.

Naturally, when you emerge from a relatively long term relationship, in your state of bitterness and hurt, you kind of want to get out there and just have some random hookups to rub in your ex’s face. To show them that this is what they are missing out on, to make them jealous. Or to help mask the pain you are feeling with some other level of attachment. Not only did I feel I wanted to do this, despite the amicable breakup, but I put an imaginary sense of pressure on myself to do so. I did this, as the old, insecure and superficial me would once do. A person I thought had disappeared from my life forever.

After a few weeks, post break up (or maybe a week), I put myself on all the latest dating sites. Tinder, HER, Plenty of Fish, whatever I could find. I was just so clouded and keen to fill that void. And just quietly after 3 years of a relationship, was keen to get on the Tinder band wagon to see what all the hype was about. Now that I reflect, it’s a pretty stupid concept though, selecting girls and matching with them based on a picture. A true connection is centered around so much more then that. But admittedly, I did meet some cool people in the few weeks of my tinder/online dating journey.

In the whirlwind of emotion, I also felt it was essential to get myself back into the partying scene to try and get myself out there as much as possible (god knows why as I had had no success with this in the past). But after being in Melbourne for almost 3 years and having no idea of the latest lesbian night club hot spots, this was going to prove to be a bit of a challenge. And a scary one with the concept of not knowing any other lesbians in Melbourne. If I was back in Sydney, I would have been able to reconnect with all my gay friends and once again hit my fave lesbian pubs and clubs. But here, I was pretty alone.

In my journey’s on Tinder, I was lucky enough to meet some girls that kind of showed me the ropes when it comes to the Melbourne lesbian night life scene. However I knew my biggest challenge would not be finding cool places to hang out. The biggest challenge would be managing chronic fatigue with the required party lifestyle that I believed I needed to live out to meet girls. And learning to find a balance. Lets just say, late nights, drinking and lots of socialising don’t play out too well when you have limited energy levels. And managing that in between working, exercising and eating healthy was definitely going to be difficult. But if I wanted to meet new girls, this was the only way I could do it, wasn’t it? Well according to the old me, this was the case.

In the weeks, up until last night I focused on this mentality. As I scrolled through the profiles on Tinder and HER and the endless amounts of girls depicting drinking as a hobby or an essential in their pictures, I felt even more pressure to cave into the societal norms. Drinks, drinks and more drinks was the way it had to be if I wanted to find someone new. Or even just a new bunch of friends to hang out with. In hindsight, this was all probably a stupid idea.

On a few occasions, I ended up at some gay clubs where I bared witness to the new lifestyle I felt obligated to be a part of. I drank way too many shots, I danced way too much, perhaps even on a stage as well, and I made out with some pretty gorgeous girls. In those moments, I was happy and loving life. Was this what I really wanted though? To party all night to suffer the next day, even week after? To make an idiot of myself and make myself vulnerable after way too much alcohol? I guess I was just too clouded by my mission and hurt to think straight.

But last night, I finally realised something. This lifestyle, this so called obligation that I had pressured myself to give in to, it is not me.

For the past few years after getting chronic fatigue, I have battled so hard to change my thinking, my habits and my lifestyle. Instead of drinking shit loads of coffee to get through the day, keeping busy to the point where I never stopped, exercising like a machine and partying like crazy, I now preferred drinking tea, pacing my days, walks in the sunshine and Netflix and chilling as an alternative. My illness had come not to punish me or make me suffer, but as a blessing in disguise that allowed me to re-evaluate my life.

In that moment, while looking around the room at all the people making a mess of themselves, stumbling out of the toilet or dry humping in the corner, I came to the conclusion that I am not like this anymore. No longer did I feel like getting inebriated, hooking up with straight girls or dancing like I have had way to much vodka red bull. All I wanted to do was meet new people and have deep conversations about life. I had become a changed woman. And the changed woman was not having a bar of this orthodox lifestyle.

For weeks I had been fighting this inner me, the true me that I had become. Truth be told, I had probably been battling it for so much longer. Why? Because it seemed so different from the norm and nobody wants to feel different, even me. All I have ever wanted to do was fit in. But was it really worth sacrificing my newly invested values for? Probably not.

I cannot describe it, but I have always felt like I have never fit in. Even since the days of high school where I much preferred keeping to myself then conversing with people.But especially these days, after finding my new self, in every day society I feel it even more. And this has been one of the biggest challenges in my recovery. Not only have I had to adjust to life with a chronic illness, but I have had to deal with the fact that I am definitely different and think a lot differently to many of those around me. Or maybe I am just associating myself with the wrong people?

Now, I am not trying to sound egotistical nor am I degrading the lives of others around me. Each life has tremendous value, but it is up to that person to discover it. And I truly feel as though I am discovering mine as I operate on this deeper level of consciousness.

I am engaging on a spiritual journey, a life-changing shift and in this quest have discovered so much more about life then I ever thought imaginable. And it has made the little things in life, the petty things, seem so much more trivial. Bitchiness, negativity, drama, hatred, who has time for that? Well when you have limited energy and are on a quest to restore it, you learn that you don’t need pointless, energy-draining things like these in your life to deter you from what is really important- living life. It is the deeper things in this world that provide the most meaning and happiness. The kindness of a stranger, the beauty of nature, the feeling of overcoming your deepest fears, the moment you fall in love. One your death bed, it is these things that you will remember, that will matter.

In all the hype of clubbing, partying and drinking, I found myself contemplating all of these things. Drinking lemon water, having a deep intellectual conversation about life and drowning out all the music and chatter around me, the discovery hits me smack bang in the face. I am made for bigger things then this. And if I keep giving in to these imaginary obligations and trying to fit in with people with different priorities to mine, I will definitely end up back on the path I was on before chronic fatigue came and changed my life course. And that I do not want! So its time for me to get back on track despite this small hiccup of a distraction.

With the help of yoga, meditation, tai chi and healthy eating, I have found that I can derive more happiness from life then I ever thought humanly possible. In transforming from this old excessively energetic, frantic individual to this new, deeper and more centered soul, I am more in love with myself and my life then ever before. No longer can I try and be like everybody else and give into these societal and cultural norms. No longer should I feel like a weirdo for being different. No longer should I be distracted from my life purpose. I must stay true to myself and continue this personal journey that I am on.

For once in my life, my future is clear. Despite the shake up of a break up sending me slightly off course, I now know that I have been redirected back onto the right course. And my god the future is looking bright! World, you better watch out. Dare I say, there may still be some obstacles, like the aforementioned, that I may need to overcome but with each victory, I become a stronger, more intuitive person. And for that I am completely grateful.

What I want now in life is completely separate from anything the old me ever desired. I WILL travel the world, writing and sharing my passions with the people I meet and the one person who makes me happier then I make myself (you know who you are). I WILL continue to meet like-minded people and immerse myself in cultures who share the same morals and drive for life as I do. I WILL continue to fill my body with amazing, healthy foods that fuel me with the energy I need to live life to the full. I WILL restore my life energy and recover from chronic fatigue using yoga, nutrition, meditation and tai chi to help fellow sufferers and inspire them to reclaim their lives. I WILL complete every single thing on my bucket list. I WILL be unstoppable, courageous and infuse positive energy into the lives of others and the world around me.

I do not have time to waste on not being the authentic me.

This is my life purpose. Ain’t no time for diversions now baby.

Get out and live yours!

teaghanlee xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth Behind Chronic Fatigue

I hear people say it all the time. I am tired. I am exhausted. I need more sleep. But what would you do if one day you no longer had the energy to do even the most simplest of things? Cooking dinner, showering, even thinking and all you wanted to do was just sleep.

Well this is what happened to me and after two and half years of suffering from this multi-faceted illness, I am still struggling to reclaim the life I once had.

Before I got sick, my life was fantastic. I had just moved to Newtown, the lesbian capital of NSW, and as a single lesbian was excited about the prospect of living life to the full and exploring my sexuality. I was working my dream gig at JB HI FI and was an avid gym-goer, training once, sometimes even twice every day to offset my weekend partying habits.

As an overachiever, I always had a habit of taking on to much. And because life was going so well and I was feeling on top of the world, I thought why not fulfil my passion of becoming a PT? So I decided to put my marketing degree on hold in the hope that I could become a fully qualified PT and combine my marketing expertise and fitness qualifications to start my own business. Typical Teaghan move.

I enrolled with the Australian Institute of Fitness, commencing studies around about the same time that I got another job working at Platypus Shoes. So now, not only was I partying, training and working at JB a couple of days a week, I was also studying and working a second job. Now that I look back, it’s no surprise I crashed and burned.

Slowly, I started to notice little things happening. As somebody who used to be really great at talking to people, I was finding trying to articulate myself was becoming increasingly difficult. New people I met, customers at work, whoever I communicated with I struggled to not only get the right words out, but found myself becoming exhausted just talking to them.

I found that studying and learning new information became almost impossible. No matter what it was I just couldn’t remember things, or even worse found that information was getting confused in my head making it even more difficult when trying to communicate that same information back to others. For the first time in my life, I felt stupid and unintelligent.

Then came the more obvious signs of exhaustion. I no longer had the stamina to work out at the gym, get through a whole day at work or even read a chapter of a book. Even the simplest things like blow drying my hair, cooking dinner or showering had become the biggest effort. All I wanted to do was just shut off from the world and sleep. But adult life doesn’t really let you do that. Especially when you got bills to pay.

As I tend to do, I pushed through just thinking it was just me feeling depressed or just being plain lazy. I had always been very hard on myself and as somebody who refused to give up, definitely wasn’t going to let my body crash on me. I just kept drinking my double shot macchiatos and pumped myself full of supplements and pre-workout to keep me going.

Despite all of this going on, I still maintained my avid party lifestyle going out to all the latest lesbian clubs with my group of gay friends and meeting girls. While I enjoyed it for a bit, it wasn’t until I met a girl that I decided that I needed to take a break from this lifestyle for a bit and just settle down.

With much struggle, I finally finished my PT course and after resigning from JB HI FI, got a job at Vision PT. I was absolutely ecstatic and finally felt like all my goals were starting to align, even despite the 4am wake ups and 6am starts as a personal trainer. Despite feeling mentally and physically exhausted, I still continued to build my business all while training clients and myself and working at Platypus Shoes.

But a few months of early starts, my body finally gave in. I found myself being unable to train at all, consistently unable to get out of bed and taking a shit load of sick days to try and get some rest. But no matter how much rest I had, I still felt exhausted. I kept drinking coffee and eating loads of sugar to try and increase my energy but that just ended up making me feel worse.

24/7 I felt like crap. I was consistently getting sick. My muscles ached. I felt sick in the stomach and bloated all the time. I craved endless amount of carbs to try and increase my energy. I was running out of breath walking 100 metres. As somebody who was used to having control over their life, I became increasingly frustrated, depressed and anxious as that control began slipping through my finger tips. I was becoming somebody I no longer knew or even liked.

But I put on a brave face. After beginning to date the new girl I had met, I couldn’t show my vulnerabilities and weakness to her could I? Especially not this girl as she was something special and I feared if I did I would lose her.

I had never been one to show anyone my vulnerable side or ask for help, even from my family, so I continued to suck it up. But deep down, I was struggling so badly.

I began to come increasingly scared of what was happening. And Dr. Google wasn’t much help. My endless searches of trying to match my symptoms with a cause resulted in several possible outcomes: cancer, severe mental illness or an incurable autoimmune disease, among others. As stupid as this sounds, I began to think that I was dying. And endless Doctor visits didn’t ease my concerns.

In the space of six months, I had more Doctor’s visits then I had ever had in my life time trying to get to the bottom of what was going on. Blood test after blood test, every result came back normal with no answers. The Doctor’s began to believe it was psychological, and quite frankly so did I. But this illness whatever it was was making me depressed as I was no longer able to work, train or do things I used to once enjoy.

Then, in the cloudiness of everything, I made a big decision. After a less then 6 months of being together, my then girlfriend and I decided to pack up and move from Sydney to Melbourne. With all my family back on the Central Coast, and my friends scattered between the Coast and Sydney, I knew absolutely nobody in Melbourne. However her family were there and wanted us to move to be closer to them. So I thought why not? I could see a future with this girl and at the time, it didn’t seem like such a stupid idea.

After quitting my job at Vision PT, we moved to Melbourne and while I enjoyed the sea change, things continued to get worse for me. I ended up having to quit my job at Platypus Shoes despite getting a transfer to one of the Melbourne stores and found myself struggling to get through the days. I could no longer keep up with anyone else and found myself getting so stressed and exhausted from normal everyday tasks.

My search for what was going on continued. More blood tests, more tests and no answers. After more Doctor’s visits with no avail, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I continued to research my symptoms, and finally found something that correlated with everything I was going through, Chronic Fatigue.

After months of frustration and no answers, I went to my Doctor with my findings whereby she agreed that Chronic Fatigue could be a possible cause for my symptoms. Finally, I was getting somewhere. I was referred to a Rheumatologist where after the process of elimination I was given a diagnosis. Fibromyalgia and later Chronic Fatigue.

I thought I would be relieved after this, but I found myself reigned with disappointment and heartache after what the specialist told me and what I read about the illness. According to both sources, my life was never going to be the same. I would probably never be able to work, study or socialise again as my limited energy levels were not likely to ever improve. I was heartbroken. In that minute, all my future hopes and dreams were crushed.

I already knew I was depressed. But this just took me to the next level. I would often have suicidal moments where I thought that to continue living would just be a pointless feat. I felt like I was just a waste of life and without being able to fulfil my passions and ambitions, my purpose in this world was invalid. I cried and grieved for my old life, the old me.

I tried so hard to remain positive. Not only for myself, but for my girlfriend. I feared that if I showed her how much I was hurting or what I was going through she would no longer love me anymore. I mean who would want to be with a depressed, exhausted girl with no future right? To be honest, I didn’t blame her if she ran away. She had her whole life to live and I was just holding her back.

So I took a few months off from work to try and sort things out. I refused to let this illness get the better of me and take hold of my life. I spent my days resting, researching chronic fatigue recovery and putting into practice some of my teachings. I joined some groups with people going through similar illnesses, but quite frankly just found them more depressing then uplifting me up so decided to continue the journey on my own.

That was when my entire recovery journey began. And I tried everything in my power to try and get better. A specialised health program, high fat diet, Graded Exercise Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, detox, meditation, vegetarian diet, eliminating Gluten and Dairy, fasting, juicing, Psychology, naturopathy, vegan diet and endless amounts of different supplements including glutamine, magnesium, b vitamins, ginseng, astragalus, fish oil, flax seed oil, maca powder, vitamin d, coq10, gama, acetyl l-carnitine, curcumin and medications such as anti-depressants, steroids and pain killers. Some of it has worked. Some worked for a little bit and the benefits have subsided. And the rest have just had no affect whatsoever or the adverse effects whereby making me feel worse.

The most success I have had so far is with the help of an Exercise Physiologist in learning to balance my energy levels and disperse energy effectively. After implementing meditation to break up the days, alternating between physical and cognitive tasks and building a graded exercise plan, there has definitely been some progress. Regular meditation and yoga has been particularly helpful.

The switch to a healthy, wholefood vegetarian diet has also seen a huge increase in energy levels. Starting the day with a green smoothie, a salad for lunch and a stir fry for dinner, as well as consistent meal breaks, I have found that my energy levels can remain relatively consistent. However if I eat dairy, gluten or too much sugar, that is when I can see the rough effects of fatigue, pain and stomach issues beginning to emerge.

And by far more then anything the most significant thing that has helped me get to this point is personal development. I have had to completely restructure my thinking, trying to divert my negative, depressed mind to think more positively. I have had to completely transform my weaknesses to become my strengths. Anything that was holding me back from succeeding with my recovering I have had to challenge myself and work through. And I have had to teach myself to be grateful for the simple things in life in lieu of the bigger things that I used to require to secure my happiness.

Its still difficult learning to grasp the fact that I am still not up to a normal capacity and am not my old self. I still have days where I am unable to get out of bed because I am just so fatigued. Some days I just can’t even talk to others because I am so cloudy and confused and the things I say will make me sound like a weirdo. And then there are days where I am just so depressed and stressed as I grieve my old life. But I am strong and these days will not last forever.

Its safe to say, the recovery process from Chronic Fatigue has been very much trial and error. In between all of this, I have attempted to work two jobs, one at an Insurance Company and currently with a bank, and while I have seen short term success, the long term outcome is still the same. I am still struggling with this illness but my future is looking brighter. Chronic fatigue was just the world’s way of rerouting my life purpose.

The reason why I share this story is not for sympathy for what I have been through or to gain greater respect. I share this because I want to raise awareness of  invisible illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue and other auto-immune diseases and teach people to understand that you don’t always have to look sick to be suffering. Not only that, but I want people to know that pushing through stress, illness and suffering is not the answer. It only makes things worse for you, your loved ones and anyone else that bares interest in your life and well being. And invisible illnesses do not discriminate. It can reap havoc on anyone’s life in a heartbeat.

Through this illness I have learned so much. But by far the most significant thing that I have learned is the importance of health.

Health is the most important thing in this world. If you have it the world is your oyster. The moment you lose sight of that, problems start to emerge and your life becomes a whirlwind of challenges, for the most part of which we have control over. And a healthy life constitutes a magnitude of happiness.

Now I am no Buddha or Gandhi, but my advice to you is simple. Look after yourself. Eat healthy, wholesome foods. Avoid stress and toxic relationships. Get out in nature. And practice gratitude for the even the smallest pleasures in life.

Your health and happiness define not only who you are but your life and how you live it.

So why not make it count!

teaghanlee xxx