Monday, 24 April 2017

My Scoliosis journey

I decided to do this post because I realised its been about 11 years since I had major surgery. I have Scoliosis. For anyone who doesn't know it is a curvature of the spine. Scoliosis is something you are born with, that usually progresses as you grow. Some people will only have it mildly, whilst others are much more severe. I found out I had it when I was 13 due to collapsing on a day trip to Nottingham (fun day out that turned out to be). One year and many X-rays, appointments and poking and prodding later, it was decided my spine was serious enough to require surgery. At its worst my spine was 75 degrees (away from the centre).

It didn't really sink in until the morning of the surgery when I was showering pre-operation. I remember bits and pieces before surgery, like having to lay watching Big Brother and that a cannula hurts to be put in! Approximately 7 hours later surgery was over and I was woken up in HDU, again memories a little hazy but I was told the couldn't straighten it as much as they wanted to but managed to go from 75 to around 55. They also had to do a bone graft from my hip and put it in my neck bone to prevent my neck from breaking. This was down to the wearing down of my skull into my spine. The surgery itself involves screwing screws and a rod onto the spine to straighten it. The rods and screws were fused from T2 to T12 (no idea, but its about half my spine from the bottom of my neck).
This is me about 5 days after surgery. I stayed in hospital just over a week. About 3 or 4 days I was sitting up and had to remember how to walk again. Which after laying down for that long, not being able to move on my own and now having a metal rod in my spine. It took a little while to get my balance back! I was told I couldn't do any physical activity for a year, so no bungee jumping for me (oh no..)

I had to miss the first month of year 10, which was hard because I had to begin my GCSEs at home and was starting mock exams pretty much as soon as I got back to school again. But I managed with the help from the school and friends. 

Fast forward to today. I still have aches and pains. But without the surgery my quality of life would be so much different. I don't regret having surgery. 

Things I have learnt:

- Scoliosis isn't just back pain. 
- Surgery makes you realise your strength
- It doesn't hold you back
- You will be in pain for the rest of your life the alternative would have meant my life would have
been very different. 
-You have cool scars and a story to tell

My scar is still only just visible. It took me a long time to get comfortable with my scars and now I'm proud of them.  

Any questions just ask :)


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Anxiety in the workplace

Most days I look forward to work, and I'm pretty much doing what I've always wanted to. Not only work in a school, but work with children with special educational needs. But there are some days where I'd rather stay in bed. It could be because I know I'll have a really busy day or worry when things change after getting used to a timetable and meeting a new class. 

You shouldn't be ashamed to have anxiety and be at work. Because for the most part, we can work, we know our triggers. As odd as it may sound, working in a school has been good for my anxiety. It may be because you spend all day busy and have little time for the thoughts to creep in.

Panic attacks are terrifying anywhere, but experiencing one at work was another thing entirely. In the few months I've worked at the job I'm in now I've only had one panic attack at work. Now considering the last public one I had was about 5 years ago in college, I reckon that's good going. 

What I thought was going to happen compared to what actually happened:
-I thought I would be told to suck it up and get back to work
-I thought I'd get judged
-I thought no one would understand

-What actually happened was everyone was extremely supportive and let me have some time just to cool down and relax quietly. 
-Everyone made sure I was okay even a few days after. 

A couple things I do to keep anxiety at bay everyday at work:

Inside my planner I have this quote. It sits right next to my timetable so I see it every time I open it. As little as it is, it is a nice pick me up. 

Scentered and essential oils are great for a quick fix. Scentered are a roll on balm which go on your pulse points. These give almost instant relief and smell amazing. 

Weekends are important to rest, as difficult as it may be you need at least one day to switch off and relax. 

I hope my rambling has helped in some way to show that you can work and have anxiety. Your employers will be more okay with it than you think. 


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Self-hate and why we should break the cycle

I've struggled to write any post for a while so sorry for it being such a long time. I've struggled for a few reasons, firstly actually settling on a topic, two being tired from work and three I just didn't know how to put into words how I was feeling.

So this time I decided to write about self-hate. Having been bullied all my life by various people, whether it was peers or previous boyfriends. I occasionally get stuck in these 'holes' of self-hate. No matter that right now my life is actually pretty good, one thing at work, home or even just walking down a street can trigger those tiny words in your head that eventually get too much to bear. It's almost like being stuck in a crowded room where everyone talking at the same time, there are no windows so you feel like you can't breathe. Noisy right? That's what anxiety feels like. It's a constant battle of positives and negatives.

There are days I really dislike myself to the point of hate and other days where I feel I look alright. Logically I know it shouldn't matter what I look like on the outside, but sometimes walking past someone on the street you just think, wow I wish I could look different. But the truth is, everyone feels the same.

So here's how we all should break the cycle together because no one should do this alone. Tell your friends and family they are beautiful in their own crazy way. I wouldn't go far as to shout it to random people in the street, but a smile goes a long way. I feel like I've written a similar post before but at the minute this is just what I can manage.