Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the pilot presentation entitled the “50 Shades of Women” put on jointly by Kate Nash Associates and EDIT Development. The workshop is “designed for disabled women from all backgrounds, ages and stages of their lives and designed specifically for women in management grades.”
The overarching goal is to help disabled women “deliver work more effectively as disabled women” and we can expect to :
- “….overcome self-limiting beliefs and behaviours…”
- “…start to find new solutions to old problems”
- “Gain some insight into our strengths and development areas in the workplace…..” and
- have some practical ideas to start using immediately”
The workshop was amazing and I came away inspired, motivated, hopeful, happy in my skin and thrilled to have met 30 women who I can add to my “tribe.” We all related to each others stories and health conditions and disabilities. We supported each other and we understood exactly what makes us tick. To be in an environment like that it a privilege and an occasion to celebrate. The positivity has stayed with me all day and nothing could have spoilt what was shaping up to be a typical 9-5 work experience.
I took time to share some of my experiences with a colleague at work, with whom I collaborate on disabled matters, and it cheered him up too! There’s nothing like a bit of positive encouragement and acknowledgement that although we have our additional “difficulties”, this should be no barrier to FABULOUSNESS.
In many ways I had let myself forget what I am good at; what I enjoy and actually, what I am excellent at. Although my perception of me is somewhat tempered by self-criticism and doubt, the feedback I get from others is overwhelmingly the opposite and I am, apparently, an amazing role model and inspirational person. Hey, I need to develop this idea and start to believe it otherwise I could lose the opportunity to help others overcome their barriers and fulfill their potential. Nothing would make me more fulfilled than taking on that role.
Of course I have a day job which I love. I need to find a way to combine the two without jeopardising my mental health. This will be challenging but as I discovered yesterday, far from impossible.
I learned so much yesterday that I cannot possible share it all in one post, but share it I will over a number of articles. For today, have faith and believe that you can achieve, you can be an equal and certainly the world is starting to take a more positive approach to people with mental health conditions.
We know that we are just as capable, loyal, creative, determined, resilient and have a lot to give. Thankfully at last I see others believing that too!
Fighting negativity takes a lot of hard work, discipline and energy. I don’t want to be negative and I chastise people who are. I talk them through the reasons why they feel that way, challenge them to find the evidence to prove their opinion is well-founded and try to motivate and encourage them to think differently.
So why can’t I follow my own advice and lead by example? Who knows but it must have something to do with a low self esteem coupled with the expectation that I should be Wonder Woman and be able to cope on my own with anything and everything that life throws at me.
I am getting better at asking for help but that makes me feel worse not better. I am starting to come to terms with my limitations brought about by my constant fatigue and lack of mental and physical energy but this in itself is very depressing for me. Compromise, moderation and “second” have never been in the dictionary but they are highlighted in my latest version.
It is an especially difficult time for me at work at the moment. Not just because we are working up against set deadlines but because there is so much I would have done better had I known what to focus on. The trouble is, until I experienced this cycle I wouldn’t have known and therein lies the frustration.
Until I look at it in a more evidence-based way and realise that, overall it hasn’t been so bad. Yes, it could have been a lot better and I would have loved to have been at the top of my game but realistically, taking everything into consideration I got through and next year I have an amazing opportunity to show a dramatic improvement. I will know what is expected, I will change my ways (many of which are dictated by my illness but need to be challenged) and I will feel much more comfortable when I am back in control.
Easy to say, not so easy to carry out but I will. There is nothing to stop me and if I manage my illness properly, I will stay the course.
A very steep learning curve can be demoralising and depressing when you feel out of control but analysed in light of realistic evidence, it can be beneficial and help you develop both as a person and professional.
I need to accept my limitations and plan accordingly. Turn negativity into positivity and learn from my experience.
Isn’t this what life’s all about?
The last few months have been hectic to say the least and the shortage of time and energy has meant that I haven’t felt much like writing before collapsing in a heap snoring away merrily at the end of the day.
So what’s made life so hectic?…. in no particular order;
- I started a new job in December
- I turned 50 a few weeks ago
- I have started ice-skating lessons
- I am now the proud owner of a kindle
- I have lost 2 stones in weight
and that’s just a few of the things going on day-to-day which have had more than a minor impact on my routine.
A few brave choices have meant that whilst in the short term I am busy and under quite a bit of stress, the mid and long-term benefits will be worth the effort.
My only concern amongst all this positivity is that I have a relapse due to a reaction to all this excess activity which has plagued me in the past. I am trying to eat sensibly, get enough sleep and not get too stressed about “stuff”. My depression has a pattern which I discovered during a series of therapy sessions with my psychologist. We had been working for a long time on cause and effect and after looking at a number of possible triggers we found the answer. My most severe depressive episodes have arrived after a period of prolonged stress-either physical or mental-which suggests that a good proportion of my mental reaction to stress is physical. Chemicals have a lot to answer for and if they are not happy and balanced, neither am I! I guess this is why anti-depressants worked so well for me even though there were also underlying issues that I needed to deal with along the way.
Depression is so complex!
Anyway-suffice to say that I am feeling much much better and life is good again. I’m not taking anything for granted but neither am I being too negative…that’s easy to do.
As and when I get the chance I will write about my experiences in the hope that some will gain hope and assurance that life can and will get better if you stay strong and stay positive.
Sometimes however you have to be brave and take a chance to put things right. Follow your heart. Trust your instinct.
It worked for me.