Monday, 30 April 2012

Guest diva: depression

guest diva depression

When I tell you that I have a full time bookkeeping business, that I am one of 3 people who voluntarily runs a charitable organisation (Blurt) for those affected by depression, and I write, it’s not because I’m arrogant in any way, shape or form but because I often can’t believe it myself.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Running and riding for endo

Ok endo warriors, my fellow sisters in pain and suffering, this is for you.

I am taking part in 2 events to raise money for endometriosis - the Nike Run to the Beat in September, and Cycletta 40km bike ride in Brighton in November. This is a big deal for a mum of two with extreme pain and fatigue who is on a mission.

I may have to walk the courses on the day, I may crawl it, but I will do it.

I would like to thank Freya lingerie for supporting me during my training and for sponsoring me to attend the Cycletta event.

If you would like to help me, you can donate to my JustGiving page here,.  Contact me for info on how your brand can get involved. If you want to join me and take part with me, let me know, and above all else please spread the word and donate.

Let's do this.


Monday, 23 April 2012

Guest Diva: life, work and chronic illness

guest divalife, work and chronic illnessMy name is Sam Cleasby and I run Timm Cleasby Photography with my husband Timm. I have Ulcerative Colitis and it is quite literally, shit.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the colon causing inflammation and ulceration of the lining due to an abnormal response by the body's immune system. It’s an embarrassing illness that causes bleeding, diarrhoea and pain and massive tiredness.

When I discovered Dexterous Diva blog and in particular an article called Building A Career With A Chronic Illness, it struck a chord. Though we have two different illnesses, I felt the experiences were very similar.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Frankie and Bennys visit for Divas

frankie and bennys

This week the Mini Divas, Miles and I paid a visit to our local Frankie and Bennys in Huntingdon to check out the new menu; as huge fan of American diners (am still nostalgic of my recent NYC trip with Chelley),  I was more than happy to oblige.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Guest Diva Sam on achieving it all with endo

having it all with endometriosis

Earlier this week I wrote a post on building a career with a chronic illness, a subject that is huge in my life. It had an enormous response, and inspired my to pen an e-book which is currently in the making, and also to contact other ladies willing to share their stories and coping techniques. I am thrilled to introduce you today to the  lovely Sam Sparrow - we met last year at one of my Cherry Sorbet workshops and is part of the amazing crew I am proud to call my friends. Beautiful, ambitious, clever, stylish and like a whirlwind of creativity, Sam too has some demons to grapple with. Over to you, hun...

sam sparrow

On the face of it, I’m a healthy happy 29 year old with a 9-5 job. Peel away what you see on the surface, and what you actually get is a 29 year old with a busy job, a myriad of outside of work interests and a chronic illness known as endometriosis. It is the condition that no one knows about on the outside – and that makes functioning that little bit tougher.

Monday, 16 April 2012

building a career with a chronic illness


As regular readers know, I have endometriosis. I also have chronic fatigue associated with the condition, and I am a lot of painkillers a lot of the time.

I also have 2 young twin daughters who are the lights of my life, and my own business Cherry Sorbet.

So, life can be busy, as you can imagine.

Holding down a job, or even a career with a chronic illness like mine can be problematic. I know of many endo sisters who are out of work, or who have never been able to hold down a job as their pain and endless hospital appointments make it very difficult.

I am very often in pain, tired, fuzzy headed, under pain medication and get tired very easily.

I am lucky enough these days to be my own boss, but even then obviously running a business requires a lot of input and I am often too exhausted or in too much pain to function on a normal level.

So here are my tips for coping, and for anyone out there also feeling frustrated and down about coping with an illness, please know you aren't alone.

1. Be realistic
I am all for positive thinking (more on that in a moment), but there is a lot to be said for changing your expectations. My reality of a lot of pain, medication and two young children means that I am often not able to make meetings, speak to clients or do the work if it is urgent. I have made plan B's now for all these scenarios to help the flow of things. I have mini me's for meetings, a team of amazing designers and writers, and a great workflow to help things go as smoothly as possible.

2. Be honest
With yourself, your partner, your co-workers, your boss if you have one. This reality is not your fault, and you should not feel guilty about what you have to deal with.

3. Build a great support team
I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who "get it" - friends, family and co-workers who know the score, who know that I am often extremely tired, sore, occasionally grumpy, and that I often have to change meetings and dates at the last minute if my pain flares up.  Oh, and people that don't get it? Let them go...

3. Don't say sorry
Feeling guilty is a negative emotion; be grateful for the amazing people around you, and accept they understand how things are.

4. Do all you can to educate yourself and improve
Be always on the lookout for how to help yourself through nutrition, complementary therapies, whatever you can. By taking control where you can the chaotic nature of a chronic illness is lessened. This really helps me deal with the frustration of illness.

5. Reframe it
Re-framing is a brilliant part of NLP practise that is so, SO useful in dealing with chronic pain. I have been reading a lot about NLP recently and have worked with the lovely Jo James from Amber Life on using it in my life. Rather than seeing a day or afternoon spent in bed as a waste, I try to re-frame it as an opportunity to rest, a day to write and blog if I have mental energy to do so, or a day to recoup if I don't. The sooner I accept the need to rest, the sooner I get back to doing things.

6. Be flexible
Plans can change in an instant. I can go from feeling 5/10 to going downhill fast and I need to be able to cope in those situations. Have plans, a, b and c if needs be -  often the case when childcare is needed or work has to be done. I can find being flexible very difficulty, luckily I have a partner who is much better at thinking this way than me!

7. Don't push too hard, just hard enough
Much of my fatigue is attributed to adrenal burnout, as well as the associated fatigue with endometriosis. I have often fought it, tried to carry on as "normal", when I have a different body to the people I compare myself too. Equally, knowing when to push hard enough is essential; depression is really common in chronic pain conditions as life is affected so much, and knowing when to get out and about versus resting is a fine balance to strike but the essential lesson to learn. Instinct is usually best...follow your heart and listen to your body too.

8. Concentrate on what is working
Identify if you can the areas that are working well, or things you can do that aren't time reliant or too demanding. For me, writing and blogging is perfect as it's flexible enough to fit around the kids and my health, creative, fulfilling, non location specific and self-produced.

Do you combine work, children and chronic health? Let me know in the comments how you do it. Or, do you struggle to stop making yourself feel bad for not being "perfect"?