A Big Decision

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted”.

At the end of November, after an unrelenting month of vertigo attacks and dizziness, I was curled up in a ball on my bed recovering from the latest attack when I let out an involuntary, guttural howl. I didn’t recognise myself.

Someone said to me during that time “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t cope with what you are going through”. To which, of course, there is no answer other than. What else am I supposed to do?

I was reminded of this conversation at the weekend, when I was listening to an interview with Josie Bevan on Woman’s Hour. Her husband is serving 9 years in prison for fraud and she is raising their two kids alone. Asked how she copes, she replied: “In an extreme situation like this you have a very stark choice … because the price you pay for not digging deep, is really really high. The consequences of not coping are just too big”.

Our situations are completely different, but I understood exactly what she meant. I’d lost my independence. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t trust my body anymore and I was frankly scared. I didn’t know how much further this disease would push me before I cracked.

That day in November, I came close to the edge.

Today, the 13 January 2019 the world feels very different. I have hope again and a fat load of lovely normality back in my life. I’m not permanently dizzy. I can walk in a reasonably straight line again. It’s been exactly a month since my last vertigo attack. I’m not out of the woods, but I have a cautious feeling of optimism.

And quotes like the one at the top of this post, fuel this optimism. I have been planted. I’ve come out of the last eight months with a different set of priorities and goals for mine and my family’s life, than the ones I entered with.

Writing this blog, thinking about how I think and forcing myself to challenge what I think has been a massive part of that. This blog has been a better doctor than any of the medical experts I’ve seen.

I’ve realised that I used to be so swamped in reacting to everything around me, to other people’s opinions, to what I thought I was meant to achieve, that I had no clue what I actually wanted, for me.

Being ill was shit, but it did afford me one massive luxury. Time.

Between the attacks, I had time to think about the future. Fuelled by all the ideas that flooded in from my first post, I pondered everything and I tried different things out for size. At one point, I was so hooked on Holly Tucker’s Conversations of Inspiration podcast series that I was convinced I wanted to set up my own business as a creative entrepreneur. Later I decided I wanted to be an art teacher. And then, as writing this blog turned into an addiction, I became convinced I wanted to write for a living.

But gradually I realised that none of those things were right.

Every podcast I listened to emphasised the endless hours of commitment involved in becoming a small business owner. I don’t want a job that takes over my life. I appreciate my freedom too much. And besides, who was I kidding? I’ve never been interested in selling things, however beautiful or creative they are.

I know I’d love being an art teacher but my ear and more specifically my hearing aid would drive me crazy in a noisy school. Hearing aids, background noise and lots of screeching just don’t go together.

And writing. Yes. I love it, but I couldn’t do it full-time. It takes me so long to craft these blogs. I can’t imagine turning something around to a deadline. I want to write for pleasure and maybe, one day, try to sell articles, but it feels too risky chucking all my eggs in that basket. I want a more reliable way of earning a living.

And that’s when a new possibility started to float into my awareness.

It’s a job that enables, better still, demands that I return to studying and that I embrace learning again, not just whilst I study, but consistently, as part of the job. It’s a role that’s as close as possible to another dream job – counselling, but without the five year degree and the emotional exhaustion of dealing with clients with mental health problems. It’s a job where I get to work closely with other people and hopefully help transform their lives.

I’ve started training to be a coach. I have no idea yet what type of coach I’m going to be. I might work in maternity coaching or in the media or freelance industries or in corporate coaching or I’d love to coach people with Menieres.

I had my first training day yesterday. It was exhausting, motivating and exciting.

Finding where I want to be has bought me back to a quote I discovered months ago that intrigued me, but which I couldn’t, at the time, relate to. At that point I was writing in this blog about trying not to let the green eyed monster consume me, as I saw my friends developing their careers, whilst I was stuck in reverse.

“The more you know what you want, the more your concern about others fades away”. Alain de Botton

It’s true. Finding what I want to do and being absorbed by the urge to learn and put what I learn into practice has helped me massively. It also reassures me. I don’t know what Menieres has in store. It might throw a truck load more vertigo at me, but if I’m happy and excited and engaged and motivated, I’ll be in a much better position to cope than I was last time around.

Post note:

If you have a friend or work colleague who you think might be interested in a series of one-to-one coaching sessions, please ask them to contact me. I’m offering free coaching sessions whilst I train.


4 thoughts on “A Big Decision

Add yours

  1. Another brilliantly written piece. It reminded me of a book I read a few years ago called Option B by Cheryl Sandberg. It’s a book about mourning and resilience. Her husband had died very unexpectedly and she was talking to close friend about how she didn’t want this life without him. And he said something like ‘Option A isn’t available so we’re just going to have to kick the sh*t out of option B’. Sounds like you’re on your way to doing the same. Happy to lend you my copy too.


  2. I’ve come to your blog via the latest edition of the spin. I am not a merieres suffer but my husband is and I can empathise totally with how you feel. Your enthusiasm for your new beginnings is contagious! Good luck!


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