Well I cannot believe it is mid September already! I really do not know where this year is going, I wish it would slow down!
So this month I have decided to participate in a link up with A Chronic Voice – a monthly get together for anyone with a chronic condition. This involves writing around 5 topics, designed to get the creative juices flowing! This month’s prompts are below, so let’s give this a go! I’ll try and link my thoughts around these words to my year so far and my scoliosis.
At the back end of last year, my relationship of 13 years suddenly ended. As a result, this year has been a huge year for me, of change and personal transformation. I used the first part of this year to reconnect with my friends, but also to reconnect with myself. I think sometimes if you are in the wrong or an unhappy relationship for some time, you risk losing yourself and I think this is what happened to me over recent years.
As I relied on my ex partner a lot, I lost my independence and confidence when I was suddenly left on my own.
Fast forward to now and I’m in a really good place. I have my own flat, I have done some amazing things so far this year, both on my own and with friends and I have met lots of new friends through doing what I love – running. In fact, I think I have met and connected with more new people in the last year than I did in the previous 13 years of my relationship, which says a lot really!
As a result, the year of re-connecting with myself and connecting with new, like minded people has made me more confident, happier and also more comfortable doing things on my own again. I am now happy to cook a meal for myself, for example, go places on my own or drive on my own to new places. These things may not sound like big things but for me, they are huge steps forward and things I really did struggle with at the start of the year.
My confession is that I’m often too hard on myself, in life and with my running/fitness. I compare myself to others a lot – with running it’s my race and Park Run times – and sometimes it makes me feel bad. For example, there are some really fast runners in my run club and I know some incredibly fit people and it’s sometimes easy to feel like what you are doing is not good enough, or you are unfit. But what I’ve realised recently is, it’s all relative. There are people I know who don’t do any running/exercise and tell me I’m the fittest person they know, and yet I feel really unfit compared to the fast runners at my run club. These fast runners probably also feel like they are not good enough and probably compare themselves against even quicker runners or elite athletes.
What I have been trying to do is to compare myself to MYSELF and against where I used to be, as I really have improved so much. For example I now run a 5K over 10 minutes quicker than I used to and have shaved a good minute off my 5K time this year alone. It’s so easy to forget that sometimes and be too hard on yourself.
The added factor for me, is that I do have a chronic back condition and while I don’t let it stop me, it does give me certain limitations and means, although I don’t like to admit it, I do find it difficult sometimes to keep up with and train as hard as others.
Running is a great stress relief for me, as when I’m doing it I don’t think about much else. It sounds crazy but I find taking part in running events such as Park Run and running with my run club incredibly therapeutic and it helps me to relax and manage my anxiety. Running is known for helping with mental health and it’s certainly helped me to get through a very difficult year.
However, I do need to learn to relax more and be proud of and happy with everything I have achieved – in life and with my running. They say the grass is always greener and I’m always stressing about everything in life, worrying about my decisions and if I’ve done/am doing the right thing. I also tend to constantly stress about the things I haven’t done, instead of all the amazing things I HAVE done.
I’m not sure if it’s my personality type but I am constantly romanticising about the future. I think because of my change of circumstance last year, I’m wondering what is next? I’m not tied down at the moment and there are so many options and directions I could go in. It can get a bit overwhelming sometimes. I romanticise a lot about travel and possibly moving away somewhere abroad in the future to escape the “rat race.”
I love sharing my journey with scoliosis online via my Instagram and of course, my blog. I think it is very important for others with scoliosis to be able to connect with others with the condition, as it can feel quite isolating. I know I felt isolated and alone when I was diagnosed as a teenager and as I didn’t know what the future held for me, it was quite a scary time. I now make it my mission to share my story and hopefully everything I have achieved post surgery will inspire those who have had or may be facing scoliosis surgery.