Doubts happen, but don’t need to win.

I am coming towards the end of the teaching of the 1st semester of my masters which can only mean one thing – DEADLINES, and i’m struggling. I am not ashamed to admit that I am struggling because if this is not meant to be a walk in the park and part of me might have been more worried if i was finding it too easy because i would have been sure i was missing something!

The last two months have been amazing, I have made so many amazing friends at uni and have been totally supported by them. I am not afraid to admit I am struggling, whether that be academically or physically with pain and that is half the battle won before I’ve even got out of bed in the morning. Like last week we were on a site visit and I couldnt bend down easily to put the overshoes on my steel toe cap boots, so one of the guys did it for me. Before this would have made me feel ashamed I couldn’t do these things but i know my limitations now.

The problem is there are things that frustrate me that I can’t solve, that i can’t put right and i find myself getting stressed out. For example in one of the modules we haven’t been given our deadline date yet and I am the kind of person who needs to plan ahead, usually feels about 6 months ahead but I was getting worked up the other week because I didn’t feel like i could start it and one of my friends sat with me and we came up with “interim” dates for all my modules, none of which are any of the hand in dates (about a week before) and that way none of the dates I am working towards are the deadline dates and now i don’t feel so worked up about it.

The thing I’ve learnt is lack of experience doesn’t have to hold me back as long as i put my all into it there is opportunities out there for me that I can succeed in, and where before I would have hid in the shadows believing that because of fibro and dyslexia i didn’t deserve to take these opportunities I am going to give it my best shot. People have faith in me., and they are teaching me to have faith in myself. Its a journey but one I am loving every minute of, even when my pain is super bad because I am getting stressed over coursework. Mainly because there is always someone at the end of a phone, or a facebook convo willing to give me a motivational kick up the behind because I can DO this! Doubts happen but they don’t need to win!

Sorry I have been quiet on the blogging front, but i assure you I am still here and I have lots of ideas for the summer when things are a bit quieter uni wise 🙂

Becka

I love uni, but maybe not the early mornings!

Looking back at my first month of my masters

Thursday marks 4 weeks since I began my masters back at uwe and quite frankly I have had the best start to 2017 and I totally love my life at the moment. I feel like I’m alive finally building the life I deserve after hiding in the shadows for too long. Fibromyalgia isn’t the only reason I feel I lived in the shadows, anxiety made me believe I didn’t deserve success and happiness, like for some reason I got this chronic illness I’d had some shit times and that was the life I am destined for and all I could hope for.

Not to feel like that anymore is the most amazing thing. I promised myself the day before my 26th birthday I would make being 26 the best year of my life and 3 months in I think I’m doing a pretty good job. Fibro and pain and lack of confidence made me miss out on so much but since November 2nd I’ve spent way more times with my friends than I ever did and I truly believe they see me as friends now, not just the inconvenience I did for a very long time. They accept me as a person with chronic pain wanting to live as best as possible, maybe they always did… Maybe the problem was always me. Who knows, but now feel great and I feel I should celebrate that fact after being a miserable shit for so long.

In terms of managing fibro with uni it is no way easy. My timetable has one long week (3 long days) followed by a short week of one day. The long week really takes it out of me and by the Thursday evening I am not really feeling as tho I can manage to think straight let alone complete uni work but I am finding that on the shorter week I have a lot more energy so between the two it is pretty balanced. However the real difference I am finding is just how much I want this now. I’m not sure what was going through my head in the last few months of my undergraduate degree but it was certainly not to complete things as best as possible, I just wanted to finish and forget about it any grade would do until I actually got my grade and then I just wanted to forget it existed.

The next month is going to be super hard I have lots of assignments due and I will probably be surviving on coffee and painkillers and have celine dion CDs on repeat (her music relaxes me!) and then when they are done I have to start thinking about my dissertation. I have a topic choice in my mind and so far I have had great feedback about the route I want to take for it so that makes me super excited. Never thought I’d see the day where I am excited about writing 14000 words just because I think the topic choice gives me the opportunity to show exactly what I am capable of academically. I have never been so passionate about a topic, and I hope that shows when I write it. But that is all I am saying on that 😊.

My first few weeks caught in early morning (happy) selfies!

 

No more back, only forward now

I want to tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a little girl who looked at houses in awe, wanted to know how they were put together. Used to get pieces of paper and draw little squares, create streets and call them a village. That little girl then went on to do work experience in a surveyors in her summer holidayof year 9 into year 10, went back the following year, kept going back. That girls dream was to be a building surveyor from the age of 14 the first time she stepped into a loft and was amazed at the fact the surveyor was happy to have found an issue! From then on the only goal was to be a building surveyor. A-level teachers told her that she would never make it, set your sight a little lower. She had to retake a year of a levels and in the end only got enough points to make it onto a foundation course at the university. This was her stepping stone, and eventually the little girl that aged 11 has dreamed of designing buildings finally made it onto a building surveying degree on July1st 2011.

That little girl is me.

Tomorrow I go and start my masters in construction project management. To many I feel I look like the girl who graduated 2 and bit years ago, and has done nothing with her degree. The truth is for much of those years I didn’t even want to acknowledge I even had a degree. People would ask me when I was going to go and get a building surveying job and the idea made me sick. The way uni ended caused me to essentially have a breakdown. I am not going to go into much detail but i hated it and in the end hated everything to do with the construction industry. I couldn’t look at any books, any old work, anything… I hated it all and it all made feel a massive rage inside. I was even writing my dissertation and revising for the final exams hating it, but I knew I had to get the degree I couldn’t let myself fail even though I wanted to run away. I never even saw myself achieving anything in life. Everything was a big fat mess and the one thing I had loved since I was 11 I now hated. Then I got help, I had counselling, I had support from a domestic abuse charity, I learnt a lot and I was put on medication for my anxiety. The term Post traumatic stress was used a lot but I tried to ignore it because I always thought “I haven’t been to war”.

To even have the desire to complete this master’s degree is a million steps on from where I was just a couple of years ago,. I am not scared of failing anymore, I am not scared of having fibro and struggling with the fatigue. The memories of the past don’t haunt me like that used too, they dont keep me awake, if they did there is no way I would be able to go back there tomorrow.

I am so excited for what this year can bring for me, but i really do think that it is extremely important to acknowledge the impact the past has had. It is just the past now, and I am a much stronger, confident and determined individual because of it.

I am Rebecca, I have Fibro, hypermobility syndrome and Anxiety. I am proud of who I am and the end goal is to work out this year just where I want to work within the construction industry

Zumba – Kicking fibro and anxieties butt.

Tonight I went to my first ever ( and tbh before i went i really thought last ever!) zumba class with friends from work and it was quite frankly amazing. I mean right now i am knackered, and 99% sure I wont be moving out of bed until about mid-day tomorrow but I am so glad I went!

Getting a Fibro diagnosis, i felt like the opportunity to do these things went out of the window, and with anxiety i just wouldn’t have gone and done it just incase i couldnt do it and looked like a fool. I don’t think I could have managed to go alone so when my friends suggested it I jumped at the chance and it was the funniest (almost) enjoyable 45 minutes but boy am i unfit. Before you say “but you have fibro”.. that not why I am unfit.. I am unfit because I am 5 stone overweight and don’t do nearly enough exercise and eat way too much chocolate and crisps.

There was no pressure in the class to do anything that you couldnt do and there was a couple of moves I literally didn’t even try because i know my limitations. I can’t wait to go back next week and do it all again! 2017 is my year to go get Fit and more importantly make plenty of memories with my friends 🙂

My motto for 2017 is to not let fibro or anxiety stop me doing anything I want and 9 days in I am rocking this year! Bring it on 🙂

A Spoonie buddy is very important

The Spoonie community is by far the most understanding amazing community I have ever come across. I have many spoonies friends, people with fibro, people with other conditions just people who understand how chronic illness just sucks.

However I have one spoonie friend who I can literally just message
“Pain sucks”
“Noise arghhh”
“I wish people would stop eating so loudly”
“Sleep… please let me sleep”
“Why do people think my CHRONIC illness will disappear if i take a painkiller”

And they just understand it!
Equally I can also message them and say
“I managed 5km at the gym today”
“I haven’t taken many painkillers today and I am coping”
“I have worked 10 days in a row and I am still surviving”

And they WOULDN’T turn round and tell me I couldn’t possibly have fibro because I was managed to exercise or work or not take many painkillers!

I really think that one of the reasons I have learnt to cope with fibro over the last few months is because I have had someone to talk to about fibro who sees it from the same view as me. A Spoonie buddy is a very important and I am so happy to have found mine! My Fibro Spoonie buddy is the best! :). It also helps that we have equally good taste in tv, harry potter and taking the mick out of reality tv (Xfactor).

Thank you Spoonie buddy for coming into my life! You cope with your conditions AMAZINGLY and support me so much! 🙂

Heres to kicking Fibros butt in 2017!

 

Pre University Anxieties

I am back to university next week to begin my masters degree and I have a number of anxieties about it, and I don’t want them to consume me before I have even started.

My main concerns are as follows

  • Being dyslexic will hold me back
  • My pain will get in the way and make things hard
  • I just won’t cope, a bit like i barely coped in the final year of my undergraduate degree.

All of these are genuine concerns and even tho I am talking about them I am not expecting them to go away, but I am hoping to manage them in a positive way. Lets look at each one and think about it…

  • Being dyslexic will hold me back

I am dyslexic, I can’t change that. I was reading through my assessment report the other day and realised that i have achieved so much academically and i should be happy about that. Being dyslexic didn’t hold me back at undergraduate level, and I made full use of the services available to people with dyslexia. As long as I stay organised it is not impossible for me to cope.

  • My pain will get in the way

It might, I can manage my pain as best as possible but the thing with chronic pain is there is always an uncertainty that chronic pain will rear its head. Who says I won’t have days where I struggle to get out of bed, or I am too tired to concentrate. I can’t be sure that these days will NEVER happen, they might. But the best thing I can do is make the university aware of the conditions, and manage my pain properly. Stay on top of my painkillers, eat well, drink well and get a good sleep routine.

  • I just won’t cope

I think my anxiety is quite well managed, but i know too much stress could easily make things really difficult again. My medication helps, and I think that as long as I reach out to people if i feel that I am not coping. I have learnt to trust a number of people in the last few months and its nice to know I have people i can reach out too if I am struggling. Unlike my final year at uni, where I very much felt i was coping with things alone this time I will do my best to ask for help should I need it and not let anything get on top of me.

No learning difficulty, mental health issue or physical pain will get in my way. I will smash this masters degree, I will get the ending to university I know I deserve.

BRING IT ON.

 

2017 Goals

It is the end of 2016, just wow.. where exactly has this year gone? I feel like I blinked and missed May through to October! This year has been full of ups and downs, I passed my driving test, applied to go back to uni, my Nan was diagnosed with dementia and i took a big role in looking after her. I have made some amazing friends this year, a lot through having this blog and I have gained so much confidence, I mean at times I might even say too much. ;)!

I am so excited for the next year, in a few weeks I go back to university to start my masters in construction project management and focusing on this is my biggest goal of 2017. The end of my undergraduate degree wasn’t the easiest of times, in fact I would say it was the worst but I don’t want to dwell on that because I came out the other side and without it I probably wouldn’t have my fibro and anxiety diagnosis and maybe onceuponafibrotime would never have been born… so every cloud as they say. Going back to uni feels like my second chance at ending things the way they should have ended, I lost all my confidence at the end of Uni and I just hope that by furthering my education in a topic I have been passionate about for as long as i can remember I can get some of that confidence back. The prospect of writing essays I am not so looking forward to!

I could easily add losing weight onto my goals for the up and coming year and I might but quite frankly its been my goal since about 2012 and I yo-yo so much that I won’t even set the goal. Not because I think I’ll fail, more so because I don’t want to bore you and also as long as I keep trying, the slip ups, the fails, the pizza and crisps won’t bother me too much because for the next year its really not my priority. I am a comfort eater and I think (or maybe hope) that if I focus in 2017 on doing well at uni, smashing blog goals, continuing to overcome my anxiety I actually think I might comfort eat less and in turn that might have a positive impact on my weight. Failing that I’ll win the lottery and pay for a personal trainer and a personal chef (A girl can dream)

Health wise, I want to get my wrist better this year. I have had a recurring wrist issue for 2 years + now and one way of another over the next year I want to get it better (for good). I go through phases where it feels a lot better,i probably overuse it and then it flares and bam back at square one. I am lucky to have a brilliant doctor who takes my pain seriously.

All in all 2016 hasnt totally sucked (not totally…)

BUT BRING ON 2017!
Happy New Year 🙂

Using disabled parking spaces…

OMG YOU ARE TOO YOUNG
OMG YOU CAN WALK YOU DONT NEED THEM
OMG YOU DONT LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE ANYTHING WRONG WITH YOU, YOU MUST BE FAKING….

My mum has a blue badge and we park in the disabled parking spaces. I get sick and tired of the amount of looks and stares we get for being parked in them. Ok so the comments above are not what people have said to us BUT i can see them saying it in their heads, you know you just know when people are looking down their noses at you!

I fully believe that the ignorance surrounding invisible illnesses really helps fuel the stigma when it comes to seeing “well” people using disabled parking spaces. I believe that if you need to use disabled parking spaces then you are well entitled to use disabled parking spaces. Just because you don’t necessarily look like you need to it doesn’t mean that you don’t need it.

I just wish the world felt the same, you never know the story behind the person. Even if for some reason i believed someone didn’t need the disabled space i saw them parking in (I never would) i wouldn’t think of saying anything to them because its frankly none of my business. If they have a badge/permit that means they can park there then they can park there and that should be the end of it.

I will defend me, my family and my friends need to help their disabilities to the end of the earth and the use of disabled parking spaces is just one small aspect that we receive ignorance and it has to stop!

I turn 26 – (review of goals from last year)

So Wednesday is my 26th birthday and last year before I turned 25 I set myself a number of goals to achieve in the year. The goals i set myself were as follow;

  • Pass my driving test
  • Buy a car
  • Start my masters
  • Hit my target weight
  • Keep blogging (obviously!)

Well if you have been following my twitter you will know that some of those goals have been smashed! I have passed my driving test and I have bought a car and if you had told me 12 months ago that would be the case I would have nervously laughed, I couldn’t even book my theory test!! Now I just jump in the car no worries!

In terms of the other goals, well kinda! I haven’t started my masters BUT i am starting it in January so i basically have approached completing that one! Weight was never going to happen, i like crisps too much and blogging well its been hit and miss. Some months I have done better than others, but i keep ploughing on and i have started talking to some lovely people online thanks to blogging!

This year I want to focus on building up my savings as once I start my masters my savings account will take a battering! I want to actually lose the weight this year and just keep ticking off the anxieties I have, build confidence, get stronger, work on improving my mental health. When I look back on the last 12 months if i just look back at it in a whole I don’t really feel like I’ve achieved much and then I look out of my window, see my car and think yes rebecca..

You smashed 25.

Bring on 26!

Happy birthday to me!

10 facts about me not many people know

10 Facts about me not many people know!

  1. Despite being a massive steps fan my favourite song is actually Right in front of you – Celine Dion.
  2. Although I am known as a big doctor who fan when it returned in 2005 I actually walked up the stairs whilst the rest of the family watched saying “I’m not watching this load of rubbish” – Oh how things changed QUICKLY!
  3. When I was 15 probably until I was 19 I made doctor who fan videos and put them on youtube under the name drwhonerd. I used it as a coping mechanism when I was stressed, it was my way of getting my feelings out there! I am TEMPTED to make videos again for this reason… but probably not put them anywhere!
  4. I made my first internet friend when I was 13 through a mutual love of bad harry in love actually (Alan Rickman, still can’t believe hes gone! 🙁 ). Despite never having met we are still in contact now and she played an important part in life a few years ago and was a massive support 🙂
  5. I have no wisdom teeth. No I am not being daft, I literally have none. Once upon a time I had xrays at the dentist and she was like your wisdom teeth dont exist. #Winning
  6. I had a lump removed from my left eye when I was about 2/3. If it had been left there by the time I started school it would have been the size of an egg.
  7. I wanted to be a architect/ work in the construction industry since i was about 11. When I was 14 I got in contact with a local architects/surveyors and they let me do two weeks work experience shadowing them to learn more about it during my summer holidays. It was then that I decided that a building surveying degree was the route I wanted to take. I stayed in contact with one of the surveyors and went back regularly, checked in with them during my degree and even asked for him to be my reference for my masters application. I am very lucky to have had his support in a world where I have been told i’d never make it to university its meant the world!
  8. I have never missed missed an episode of the apprentice and actually have a personalised signed  photo of lord sugar on the wall by my desk.
  9. I am dyslexic but wasn’t diagnosed until I was 19 so very nearly 7 years ago!
  10. My favourite film is hard to choose, it is either Die Hard or Love Actually. (Can’t choose, common connection – Alan Rickman!). Die hard is just awesome and Love Actually I have easily watched 300+ times. I went through a period of time when I was about 13/14 where I watched it 3-4 times a day (Most days!).

 

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