In early 2012, shortly before the biggest event of my working year, I was struck down by a flu-like virus. A business analyst of some 20 years’ standing, I grudgingly took to my bed, expecting to be back at my desk within days. Instead, a week later I found myself in a state of total physical and emotional collapse, barely able to function and spending up to 23 hours a day in bed. Almost five decades of low-level anxiety, stress and insecurity had finally taken their toll.

I was lucky; my condition, diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also known as ME/CFS), was not life-threatening. It was, however, life-changing. My previous life – long hours at my desk, daily dog walks, weekly Zumba and yoga classes, riding a friend’s horse, regular travel for work and holidays – was a distant memory. My body was drained of all energy, like a spent battery. My limbs felt strangely disconnected from my torso. Taking a shower or negotiating the stairs was a major undertaking that required prior planning and rest afterwards. A life-long bookworm, I could barely concentrate on the radio, let alone read. With my resilience at rock-bottom, the slightest thing reduced me to tears. As the weeks turned into months and I began to spend more time out of bed, the realisation slowly dawned that I was not going to be back at work any time soon.

Photo: Nuria George

Finding my own healing path

Over the next five years, with the love and support of family and friends, a wonderful GP and a network of complementary practitioners, I gradually found the strength to make the changes needed to heal myself both emotionally and physically. Today, my life has changed beyond recognition, not only externally but – much more importantly – internally. My physical energy levels are improving all the time and I’ve become an expert at pacing myself, but what really matters is that I have at last found an inner strength that had previously eluded me.

Despite how it felt at the time, my illness did not come out of the blue. The warning signs had been around for a long time. The migraines that had started in my early 20s had become chronic, leading to overuse of symptom-controlling drugs. I suffered regular throat infections, requiring antibiotics and bed rest. Emotionally too I had become increasingly fragile, unable to cope with criticism or confrontation at home or at work. Because I worked mainly from home it was possible to hide the symptoms from colleagues; at home it was not so easy and my marriage was suffering.

Redesigning my life from the ground up

I retrained in the two practices that had proved key to restoring my own health and wellbeing – hypnotherapy and yoga – despite not being sure how the two could work together. I became single again, moved to the beautiful market town of Petersfield close to the Hampshire/West Sussex border and started making new friends. And in early 2017 I finally walked away from my old career for good to found Blended Therapy.

Throughout this process of upheaval and renewal I gradually came to understand a fundamental truth: we create our own reality through our thoughts, our words and our actions. I also realised that gratitude is the key to creating the life that we want to live. For 40-odd years, my default attitude was “hope for the best; be prepared for the worse”. I genuinely believed that this approach reduced the risk of disappointment. In fact, I now realise, constantly preparing for disappointment is the best way to ensure that that’s exactly what you get!

Photo: Sue Tupper

Discovering a new way of being

Gradually I started to realise that the new friends I was making, the books I was reading, the practices I was exploring all agreed on a few key principles. I took my first baby steps in testing these new theories: imagining an empty parking space waiting for me each time I drove to the car park – and saying ‘thank you’ when I found one, as I invariably did. I began extending the approach to other areas of my life, with increasingly positive results, until eventually I found that I was creating a life for myself that I hadn’t even dared imagine was possible. And as the daily miracles unfolded, so my gratitude increased, until it became completely natural for “Thank you!” to be my first thought in the morning and my last at night. And so, almost surreptitiously, a feeling of gratitude and positivity began to permeate my thoughts until one day I realised, to my own surprise, that I had learnt how to be happy.

So that’s why I’m here. Blended Therapy is here to help you make the changes you need to make to live the life you want to live. To find your path back to your true self. Back to the joy, freedom and peace that are your birthright. And, whether our work together centres on the yoga mat, the hypnotherapy chair or both, when we find that path together the over-riding feeling you will experience will be one of gratitude – gratitude for your life, for your breath, for your body and eventually for each moment and even for the challenges that brought you to this point!

I look forward to hearing from you soon so we can start the journey together.

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