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The face of silent illnesses

This is the face of illness ……

Silent Illnesses


It doesn’t look particularly ill does it?

Honestly I don’t mind.  If I looked like I felt, it would be pretty catastrophic, and at least I don’t have that to worry about.  I don’t need lots of sympathy all the time either.  Although, I suppose it might be a helpful reminder to people that I’m not up to scratch.

I also have a big habit of ‘putting a good face on’ – one of my weaknesses/strengths who knows!

To those who know me well, there are dark rings under my eyes, a slight tightness to them due to the pain, I look a bit drawn, and my skin on my hands and feet is a mess – no sores or injuries are healing.  (Good news though, the hair on my legs isn’t growing either, so no need to shave – result!).

So what’s the matter?  Some form of Fibromyalgia flare up, brought on by a shock at work last summer, a years worth of stress, a lot of changes at Espiritu, a significant shock and concern over one of my children, and over work.  Apparently I then got an ear infection at the end of June and my whole body went haywire.  It’s the worst ‘flare’ I’ve ever had, with totally different symptoms from what I’m used to.

I knew I’d worked too hard.  So as soon as the project was finished, I took some time out and had a pamper at work.  But it was too late.  It started with feeling really tired for a couple of days – the kind of tired when there is nothing left in the tank.  Then I had some pain in my upper back.  Then it went into my head, down my arms and 111 had me rushing off to hospital with a suspected heart attack/stroke (I was shitting myself).  I was bedridden for 3 weeks, half of that pretty comatose.  The rest of the time I was in so much pain I couldn’t lift my head off the mattress.


I haven’t been able to wear Jeans all summer – that would hurt too much on my skin.  It’s either maxi-skirts, or leggings; thank goodness for the Big Hairy Northern one’s new business Wildbangarang – at least the leggings weren’t boring!  I can’t wear a watch or my normal heavy, sparkly jewellery because it would hurt too much (not a big deal I know, but it’s like a part of me has gone).  There are days when a bra is a big no no.  Glasses can be really heavy too – so for the first couple of months I was very limited as to how long I could wear mine.  I couldn’t even hold a phone to use Facebook – tragedy!

It’s amazing the difference between lying flat, lying leaning on a pillow, sitting with your legs up, sitting, standing and walking – I never understood that there was such a difference in how much energy it takes to do these things.  I love the ‘Spoon Theory‘ as a description of how forward thinking us Fibro-Peeps have to be – but seriously, to have to consider how long I can sit/stand is bizarre!

Did you know it’s tiring to watch TV or a film?  Although less tiring than Facebook, which I had a good break from.  And reading – wow it was a big day when I was well enough to read a book!
The Dr’s have been pretty pants tbh.  Eventually I was persuaded to go back on some pills (a light Nortriptyline dose, as I hated Amytriptyline last time) to give me a deeper level of sleep.  But when I went back for help, they just want me to wait to see the specialist.  In November.  Thanks for that – I couldn’t work, play with my kids or do anything.

Pilates and Fibromyalgia

The best help I had was from Teejay and Susan at Applied Pilates.  Teejay did some Osteolates on me and explained that I had some form of physical post-traumatic stress reaction.  Basically my body had shut down, there was no circulation in it, and the cells just had no energy whatsoever.  The remedy – no stress (slightly tricky as a new business owner!), lots of rest, and gentle sessions with himself or my girls at work to try to get the circulation and lymph system going.  It was a big relief to talk to someone who had so much experience of these sorts of weird physical reactions.  I think that what we always need is a plan – some form of hope is the first step to getting better.  Susan has been a constant source of support every week in the Pilates classes (using Stott Pilates machines, not mat work).  I’m not really ‘doing Pilates’, I’m just going through the motions to keep my body moving – it’s been more being there that has helped.

Most of the summer holidays was a massive juggle – rather than the normal holiday juggle of mine and the hairy one’s work, we also had to fit in my resting, or find things I could do with the kids whilst horizontal.  I am getting better.  But it is slow.  Oh so bloody slow – I’m not the most patient person in the world 😉

But it’s not all bad news:Hair Beauty Salon & Spa

It’s was a very busy 6 months at Espiritu, but we achieved a mammoth load of change, and it is definitely on the right track now.  It wasn’t a bad thing for us to have a quiet 3 months with little change.  It’s definitely taught me how to slow down and plan ahead to make the changes more manageable in future.

The girls have been incredible.  To be able to be sick for this period of time and only manage a couple of hours a week is amazing.  I can’t thank them enough.  If it had been last year, we just wouldn’t have survived.  I know that I’m really, really lucky to have a team like them behind me.

Every now and again I do something a bit daft, that I know I’m not really up to, but feel that if I can’t then what’s the point.  So we had a couple of trips into London to see some shows.  I pay for these moments of madness, but do love the memories they give.

Par Sands Beach

We had a lovely week in Cornwall thanks to my brothers cabin, which was wonderful – can’t beat a British beach – and I’m sure that all the sea air through the sinuses and freezing cold sea (it’s good for pain) really helped.  I can’t wait to go back there next year!

Curly Headed Boy initially reacted pretty badly – it had been a tough 6 months with me working loads, and he was there when 111 told me to go to hospital.  He got scared.  He got angry.  He wasn’t really pleasant.  But over time he has calmed, and we have spent much more time together.  He has learnt to not be quite as scared of weakness, and we have had some much needed chats and cuddles.  Although there are some things coming up this year that he is worried about, I feel that we are on a much even keel; cross fingers.

Little Dimples is still a little spooked by it all and clingy at times.  Also angry at times.  And being only 5, she isn’t managing to process it as easily as CHB.  So she is my next focus.  But she has learnt to cycle without her stabilisers, yay!

I don’t have the excruciating pain any more.  I can manage a couple of hours at work, and am OK in meetings now, as they are sitting down.  I’m not good at standing up – I still get pressure in my head, neck, shoulders and arms, and I feel generally ‘wrong’.  I’ve got constant heart palpitations, but apparently it’s not dangerous.  My brain isn’t working quite right, but my sleep has improved.  And I get tired real fast.  There are not a lot of spoons left in my drawer!

And I have a plan ……  I’ll tell you more about it over the next couple of weeks.

I’ll try to keep my blog posts short and sweet, so that they don’t overload me.  But writing is an important ‘coming back to me’ thing and if the ideas I’m trying work, then it’s important I share them.  Sadly I’ve had to step down from my Radio Verulam gig though – it’s just not possible at the moment.  It kept me posting through these last 2 years, and I loved every minute of it.

How to invest in yourself!

So back at Radio Verulam today with the Gorgeous Danny Smith and I was inspired to chat about ‘investments’ by Curly Headed Boy.

It’s spring time, maybe you need a fresh look at your life and a bit of an overhaul?

The question is how to invest in yourself?

Money Saving.


We are quite strict that even from pocket money, our kids have to put something aside. It’s just so that it becomes second nature to them and eventually when they start to earn money, they naturally expect to be putting a minimum of 10% away. Otherwise, his head will be automatically . . . → Read More: How to invest in yourself!

How, why and what on earth is ‘Loving yourself’?

Is it possible to have romance and kids?

I was on the radio tonight with the ‘Gorgeous Danny Smith’ on his Drivetime show on Radio Verulam (you can listen again for a week here – monday 5.30-6pm), talking about ‘Self Love’. It’s a bit cliched maybe, but also really important, and something I’ve been thinking about and wishing a few of my friends would practice more this month. Why Bother?

A hug

First off, I need to explain to you why it is so important to you and to the ones you care for, and your success that you love yourself. 1) Healthy relationships – when you don’t love . . . → Read More: How, why and what on earth is ‘Loving yourself’?

New Life Resolutions

By now most of you guys will have started and stopped your New Year Resolutions. Never fear; that’s perfectly normal!

January is a time for reflection. March and September are the time for new resolutions.

But I was thinking after seeing a funny YouTube video, getting a bit down about the state of the world, and after a team meeting at Espiritu, what 3 resolutions would make the biggest difference to this world of ours or more importantly mine 😉

So I thought I’d chat about it with the ‘Gorgeous Danny Smith’ on his Drivetime show on Radio Verulam this month. (You can . . . → Read More: New Life Resolutions

Why Pampering Is The Best Present You Can Give

Pampering – it’s one of the best presents you can give YOURSELF or your loved ones!

It might sound a bit ridiculous for the owner of a Hair & Beauty Salon and Spa to say this: But I hadn’t understand HOW important it is until recently.

Now Danny Smith at Radio Verulam is a big fan of a pamper, so I thought I’d chat with him about it, about how under-estimated it is. People think of it as a treat – whereas, I’m beginning to understand that it’s essential.

If you missed us, you can listen again for a . . . → Read More: Why Pampering Is The Best Present You Can Give

What to do if your job or business don’t seem to be doing well?

Fur Monster

So I’m back with the gorgeous Danny Smith on Radio Verulam – thank goodness he keeps asking me in, otherwise I’d never get around to blogging.

Check out all my previous posts in the run up to Christmas if you need tips on what to buy, how to afford it or how to deal with the stress of it.

This time I thought I’d look at a slightly different side to Christmas; the stress of someone in a job that isn’t going well, or a business that needs a big improvement, especially when you know that ‘Christmas is coming’, along with a pile . . . → Read More: What to do if your job or business don’t seem to be doing well?

Top Tips For Getting A Job Or Keeping A Job

Look at things

Last month I chatted through top tips for starting a business or finding a business, so this month the the gorgeous Danny Smith on Radio Verulam I thought I’d talk through jobs for those that I put off starting a business 😉 I know that with Christmas coming up there will be lots of job opportunities, and then afterwards, some lucky people will get the chance to stay, so I thought that tips put together from 13 years of working in IT, 15 years as a therapist and a year as an employer might help!

(Please do let me know if they help – I’d . . . → Read More: Top Tips For Getting A Job Or Keeping A Job

How to start your own business?

Wow it’s been a while! Sorry about that – this business malarky is taking up a lot of my time. But as I’m popping back in to speak to Danny Smith on his Drivetime show for Radio Verulam, I thought ‘maybe I should start blogging about what I’m doing’?

I saw a mum on Facebook the other day asking for advice on starting a business, so I thought that having worked for myself for the past 15years, I’d give some tips on starting your own business.

There are lots of different types of business. For some reason I feel that Espiritu . . . → Read More: How to start your own business?

Do you feel unappreciated?

I’ve come across a few people feeling unappreciated recently, so I thought I’d give some tips on how to deal with it. As poor old Danny Smith on Radio Verulam is considered one of St Albans’ hidden treasures, I thought I’d go through them on his Drive time show.

Fancy listening to our dulcet tones? You can listen again here.

Do you feel unappreciated? Is it at work, at home with the kids or with your friends/partner?

The good news about feeling unappreciated is that it can be dealt with pretty easily ……


Tip 1: Have you told anyone?

To . . . → Read More: Do you feel unappreciated?

Anger – what the hell is it all about?

Frustration and anger

I was chatting with Curly headed boy the other day, as he’d been giving us some serious attitude for a few weeks. He was clearly angry with me, but I couldn’t work out what on earth was the matter.

So I picked one of those evenings – you know the ones when they want to chat lots, and talked him through anger and explained what it is.

The problem with anger, is that most often it comes from us not actually knowing how we are feeling and what has triggered us. So it often doesn’t achieve what we really need. By understanding it a . . . → Read More: Anger – what the hell is it all about?