Looking back over the last 26 years in the Health, Fitness and Wellness industries, it all started with my desire to help others through an experience I had had.
In fact each time I have begun study, continued study, become involved with a project has been on the back of an experience I first had myself. After I found myself to be able to heal or manage well with that health challenge I had a desire to help others to do the same, so I studied to be able to do that.
Once you have experienced chronic illness or chronic pain, I believe there is an innate human part of us that wishes for no one else to have to experience that.
I was involved in a very serious car accident in my late teens, early 20’s. This meant I was in the spinal unit, was in rehab and spent years finding a way to manage chronic back pain.
What I remembered most at the time, was the way in which the nurses and rehab people made me feel, how they helped me, how they gave me hope when I was down and they kept me going when I’d had enough.
I decided to become a Personal Trainer and to specialise in back pain so I could help others as I had been helped.
Many years passed and I had the privilege of helping hundreds of people to feel better about themselves, help their pain and have a better quality of life.
After many years, I spent some time in the Corporate World. I was still involved in fitness part time, but the majority of my time was spent in a corporate office, for approximately 4 years. I became burnt out and because I was young and fit, I really thought I could put my body through anything and it would simply recover. Ignorance and arrogance rolled into one.
I started to get symptoms. A cough, exhaustion, rashes, sleep disturbances and chronic headaches. I ignored it. I got more symptoms, constant fatigue, pain in my chest and a foggy head, unable to function at any substantial level. Eventually I became very unwell, which is what usually happens when you don’t listen to your body.
Even as I was admitted to emergency after a night of falling in and out of consciousness, a cough that wouldn’t quit and pain that I thought was a broken rib, because I was coughing so much ( Something my housemate had to tell me the next day.).
I had a very serious bout of pneumonia and pleurisy yet I was still fighting against being admitted. I didn’t want to be there and had responsibilities to take care of.
The very kind Dr promised it would only be overnight, but I stayed for 11 days. Upon release, I thought great, I’m fixed, no problem. I changed nothing, I went back to exactly the same lifestyle, behaviours and habits and not long after, of course, I became unwell again.
This is of course what happens when we act in a passive manner towards our health and let others take charge, instead of taking complete responsibility for ourselves and our health while making informed decisions with the help of experts.
This time though, I didn’t recover as I would expect. Though after release from another hospital stay, I felt better, I wasn’t recovering as I would have liked.
I still had many symptoms and more were on their way. Fatigue, headaches, insomnia, foggy head, digestive issues, joint and muscle pain, breathing difficulties, rashes, anxiety, depression, a constant need for sleep, migraines, lack of focus….you name it I had it. Eventually I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. For those who have experienced this, this was even more misunderstood than it is now.
I went to specialist after specialist, each with their own suggestions, treatments and ideas. As the system works, each system in our body has its own specialist. My problem was, I had far too many symptoms working off each other. Our body works as a whole, so while some treatments helped more than others, I wasn’t getting back to myself as I wanted.
I remember driving to yet another specialist appointment, feeling incredibly despondent. As I drove down the freeway, a voice entered my head and said “you aren’t meant to live this way, you are meant to be happy and healthy” I kept driving and the voice got louder “you are meant to be happy and healthy”. Eventually it became so loud that I turned my car around, went home, cancelled my appointment and started looking for natural health practitioners.
My journey back to health had started. I saw a number of therapists before I found one that really helped. They helped so much that I started to see glimpses of my old self and finally I became well again. It took some time, but it worked. All I could think was that I had to study to I could help other people do the same. I had to help others who have experienced what I had. I just knew that was not how we were meant to live.
My study of course continues today, it never stops and over the last 26 years I have had the honour of helping thousands of people to better the quality of their lives. Not only in fitness, but in health and wellness, and while they are integrated, they are not the same.
The illness, the accident, the pain I experienced became my way of helping others. To me that is the best way of helping someone, to have the knowledge and experience, not just in helping others, but a personal experience and an understanding of knowing how that feels.