30 Day Writing & Image Challenge, Psychology & Musings

Day 2: Overcoming Adversity

Today someone asked me why I write and it took me back to when I first put pen to paper…

When I was 20 I developed chronic fatigue syndrome. The illness meant I had to leave university, return home to live with my mum and leave my life behind. I was ill for three years. For 18 months of those, I couldn’t walk and had to use a wheelchair. The purpose of this post isn’t to share that story, but to share my journey since that point.

Surprisingly, when I was ill isn’t when I began to write, but it is a time in my life when I began to explore a different side of me. Being that ill with no sign of recovery teaches you to be either angry or self-reflective. Some days I chose to be angry, but mostly I reflected on the choices I’d made in my life thus far and worked hard to reshape how I saw the world. Most importantly, throughout my illness, I never gave up hope. I was determined every single day that I would get well. That determination has stayed with me to this day.

Convinced that I would recover and when I was beginning to see small improvements in my energy levels, I finished my degree from home and began applying for jobs.

Once I was fully well, I moved from Newcastle to London and started a job in accountancy. It was the only job I could get at the time, but I knew it wasn’t for me. Very soon after, and with the influence of my inward self-discovery, I took a course in psychology with the Open University. One course led to the next and the next and I finished with my MSc in Occupational (I/O) Psychology.

The first job I had after my MSc was a junior role where I had ideas aplenty, but little practical experience and a very young face. Naturally, no one wanted to listen to me so I turned to writing. I’d write wherever and whenever I could, not only to share my views but because the process of writing calmed me. I felt I had control and that I could express myself in whatever way I saw fit.

That first job was when I started my blogging journey.  Since then I’ve written three different blogs, two on psychology in the workplace and this personal one. I’ve guest posted on many others, written articles for magazines, gone to writing courses and spent hours and hours of my free time putting words on paper just because I can and because I love it. Now, I can’t imagine my life without writing.

However, it hasn’t always been so easy to write. A few years ago I received some negative feedback on my writing. I had no idea it would hit me so hard at the time, but after that review, I didn’t write for two years. I couldn’t find the words or the confidence to share anything. Since then I’ve had more time to reflect and now, since the birth of my son, I realize how important it is to show him that we must fight for our loves in life. Writing is one of my loves.

Today, when I was asked why I write, I realised how far I have come. Any of us can accomplish anything when we don’t allow adversity to stand in our way.

*The featured image of this post is one I stole from my dad. He sent me it from Portugal last week. I think it represents overcoming adversity pretty well.

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