Well….this is one of the scariest things I have ever written and where to begin!?!?!?
I suppose my healing journey as a women began when I was 13 years of age. I started my periods really young at the age of 10 and they nocked my brain, body and being out of sink with….well just about everything! My cycle would last 2 weeks, and leave me drained, fatigued and warn out from the high levels of pain and heavy flow. And at such a young age my introduction to women hood began.
I ballooned in weight, with I think my heaviest being 14.5st at the age of 12 ish and at only 5.2” in height there wasn’t too many places it could hide.
I developed such a low self esteem at all these changes, and a deep anxiety surrounding my cycle that I became a very quiet and withdrawn young women in the early teens.
Then came Yoga!
One day my mum decided to take me to her Yoga class (it was Ashtanga Yoga). I was 13, really nervous and praying that their was no CHANTING!! I remember walking into this cold community hall in Weymouth (Dorset, UK), picking up a mat and sitting on it, thinking ‘ now what?’. Then the teacher floated in, in her ocra linen fisherman’s pants, white tank top and no bra!(you notice these things when you are a young women-especially as I was so embarrassed my my blossoming busums!). We started with nose breathing and then into two versions of sun salutation which we repeated for the rest of the class. At the end I was so worn out but thrilled that I had made it through, shoulder stands and all! I felt victorious, grown up and proud of my body. These were all new feelings for me and I will forever be thankful to my mum for taking me to Yoga that day.
Then came body & mind connection
I cant remember how long we attended Debbie’s Ashtanga Yoga class, but over that time it allowed me to discover that big girls can do yoga and can be flexible. Big girls can be strong and subtle all at the same time. And most importantly that my size was not what defined me. It taught me that I was ‘me’ and that I was anything I wanted to be. I learnt that by letting go of what others on the schools bus or in the corridors between class thought of me or would say, that it didn’t matter, as I knew who I was, and I was great! I no longer wanted to change and I embraced me! I remember making my own clothes, painting every day, playing the piano loud at night, even homeschooling myself at one time. I really was aligned and it was Yoga which opened the door to myself.
And then I lost my way…
Yoga stopped, self loathing took over, depression and hating on myself to such an extreme that if it was an Olympic game I would of won gold every day.
In simple terms I lost my breathe, body and brain connection.
I dropped out of school , dropped out of collage, withdrew my university application (I was accepted to study Anthropology at the University of Durham) and just hit rock bottom all before hitting 19 years of age. My weight ballooned again, my self love and care went out the window. I spent a good few years in the head space.
The light began to shine again
I moved away at the age of 22 and went to university and I started attending yoga before class which felt like I had come home every time I stepped inside the studio and rolled out my mat. I would walk every day, traveled south east Asia and lost 4 stone without even trying, I was just happy. I never missed a class and graduated with a First Class Degree and went onto study my Masters and graduate with a Distinction. In short, I was in love with life and Yoga had helped me reconnect with me.
My Gyne health took its toll!
One thing I forgot to mention, often as its so personal, and more because I am never sure about how to find the correct words to share this side of my life. But I know in doing so I am helping myself and others on this or a similar journey. So…..I was diagnosed at 15 with severe and extensive Endometriosis. Its funny as I always knew right from the age of 10 that…
‘something just wasn’t right down there.’
But bless my mum she was the only one who listened and believed me. My mum would support my instinct by taking me to doctors appointments and tell them to listen to me, over the years but 5 years later finally they did and they investigated which resulted in my diagnoses. It was a weird day when I came round from my first op to hear the surgeon say
‘yes you do have Endometriosis’ (but more on that day another time).
5 operations later, 1 trip in an ambulance, 18 months on morpheme, 6 months of sick leave, 3 years of fighting to keep my womb, 1 lost carrier, 1 burn out, and 1 start again and we find ourselves at the beginning of 2018.
And my skin went nuts!
I think my unhappiness and pain had just begun to bubble over inside of me and no longer could I hide it and it was just erupting and making its self known to everyone via my skin. My face broke out in blisters and malasma, my eyes swelled and my face puffed out. My body was so swollen and I had constant mysterious bruises appearing all over my body.
Blisters, Swelling and Malasma before & afters
Yoga, plant based living, reducing stress, living on purpose and chemical free living really is the best skin care routine a girl can have!
The start of the blisters. They really really hurt! Its painful to look at this picture. I look so sad 🙁
The beginning of the swelling of my eye lids, it even made my left eyebrow go higher than the other. My face looks a completely different shape. I was soo swollen!
I dont look happy here! This was my malasma in 2017 just before it fully took over! Working FT, stressed out of my eye balls and starting my morpheme journey.
This is just 5 months plant based and yoga everyday, no make up & no blisters = glowing face! 🙂
Just 1 month different! Its amazing
what quitting your job and flying to the other side of the world can do for your skin! I literally felt my body de-swelling!
This is 1 year ish on. Just back from Bali in 2018. No make up. Practicing yoga 1 hour a day, fully plant based & chemical free living, & HAPPY!
A ‘dark night of the soul’
Its January 2018 and I am feeling like I am having my ‘dark night of the soul’ as they say, aka rock ass bottom! But the only way is up right? I was pressured into handing in my notice at my full time job (which I had worked 6 years for, climbing the career ladder within an organisation). My employer would not implement my part time working hours as recommended by Occupational health and my Doctor on a permanent basis. They ‘trialed it’ for 6 months, then said that I had to be full time as I should be better by then (they really didnt understand or didnt want to understand how an auto immune disorder worked). My boss told me that I really needed to think about my future at the organisation and if I was a right fit for them any more and what I wanted my life to look like. So with no other option on the table, I quit! I was so sick that I was passing out daily from pain, in a morpheme haze, or so burnt out from the stress of questioning things like…
- How am I going to pay my mortgage?
- How am I going to pay my bills?
- How am I going to afford my car?
- How am I going to buy food?
- How am I going to start again?
- Who is going to employee me with an auto immune disorder? (I also had been diagnosed with Adenomyosis and Fibromyalgia in recent years)
- What are my family going to think?
- Was university all for nothing?
- Am I unemployable?
- What are my friends going to think?
- Am I a disappointment?
- What am I going to do with my life now?
The only way is back up right?
So I spent my notice signed off sick by my doctor, high on pain killers, face wet from tears (tears really do work wonders for your complication-always look on the bright side!). And the only thing I could think to do was to escape and learn Yoga!
It went round and round in my head and the island of Bali had been calling my since I was a teenager. I knew that to get out of this ‘rock bottom’ of pain, self loathing, self doubt, self questioning and to rune back into myself, that I needed to escape it all. And I mean get on a plain, and go far far far away and dont look back.
So I used my last of my savings, booked a flight to Bali and booked onto a Somatic Yoga Teacher Training course. I sat on that plane, and literally looked out the window, ordered a beer (how classy), took a deep breathe in and smiled inward to myself and started to feel the cells in my body smile back to me (I know it sounds nuts, but I literally felt them smiling and glowing back at me).
Eyes open and breathe again
I stepped out the plane in Bali, I had the biggest grin on my face, and I felt free!!!!!!! I had made a conscious design to leave my pain killers at home (as they are just that: Killers!!! killers of your brain, cells and soul). I carried a small bag of nessecities (mainly: denim shorts, flip flops and sports bras!).
I will forever be grateful to the people on the yoga teacher training course. They were all perfect and we made such a beautifully balanced circle of souls. I met a women called Dima, who was my Endometriosis Angel. She had healed her Endometriosis and was now living pain and inflammation free and held my hand when even I didn’t know it needed holding (thank you Dima).
Yoga not only reconnected me with me, just like it did when I was 13. But it connected me with mother nature, my soul and these special and rare circles of like minded souls which rarely come our way in life, but are so important to hold onto.
‘Thank you Yoga’
Now its 2019. I am full time self employed as a yoga teacher working across many communities and circles. I am morpheme free, I have kept my womb (even though the surgeons wanted to remove it), I manage my diary to manage my auto immune disorders and so far it is successful (I still have days where I spend it all in bed or the bath). I am hopeful for a family one day and I feel like I am working on purpose and inline with my soul (I know that sounds hippy, but its true).
And now I am in a position where I can share this journey (even though its really scary writing this) with you all, in a bid to connect, support and go on this crazy journey of life together. I am soooooo passionate that…
- Everyone is in control of her own destiny (regardless of her age).
- Everyone is in charge of their own reproductive organs.
- We all have the right to a carrier regardless of illness.
- We all have the right to a safe and supportive working environment and education.
- We all have the right to heal.
- We all have the right to breathe.
- We all have the right to express our bodies.
- We all have the right to live on purpose.
And now its 2019
I am sat here writing this story to you all at my kitchen table, listening to the BBC 6 music Funk and Soul Show, having a glass of Vegan vino. I am amazed at the journey, in fact I look back at where I was a year ago and I cant believe the person I had become, she was so far removed from what made her feel good that she was unrecognizable.
If you are reading this, I want you to know that you really can be that person you know you are, live a life on purpose and flow through life to the beat of your heart. I fully believe in you. And I want you to know that that mean voice in your head that says all these ‘what if’ questions, like, what if I cant pay my bills, what if I loose everything? Well this is what happened to me and I wish I had a time machine to go back and tell scared, anxious, in extreme pain Bridie in January 2018 the answers to her questions…
- How am I going to pay my mortgage? You rented your flat out on Air BnB and paid your mortgage while travelling to Bali and staying with family when back in the UK.
- How am I going to pay my bills? See above and you still have enough money left over to have a cheeky coffee out!
- How am I going to afford my car? You sell your posh new car and buy an old banger, which now means you can get a dog without worrying about it getting muddy and full of dog hair.
- How am I going to buy food? You start shopping at local markets instead of posh Waitrose. Did you know you can get 3 avocados for £1!!!!
- How am I going to start again? Meditation and law of attraction journal help you tune into how you are going to start again. You took a leap of faith and trusted that you already knew how to start again.
- Who is going to employee me with an auto immune disorder? (I also had been diagnosed with Adenomyosis and Fibromyalgia in recent years). You employ yourself and now earn the same salary as before working 3 days a week and being able to manage your health.
- What are my family going to think? They were shocked, but equally supportive and excited for your journey.
- Was university all for nothing? No it was not! You now use your two education degrees more than ever and now have the time to study for your Phd!
- Am I unemployable? No you are not! You will be offered lots of jobs by employees who know about your health situation and offered part time or flexible (and I mean truly flexible working hours) positions, which you turn them all down to follow your dreams.
- What are my friends going to think? They fully support you, and were amazing!
- Am I a disappointment? No! You inspire others to do their own version and make a new start.
- What am I going to do with my life now? Anything you want and its AMAZING!!!!! You can pay your bills, have time to heal, teach yoga, help others, have a dog, travel, spend more time with people you love and live a life on purpose.
So…….whats next? (now listening to classical music it feels more apt!). I am now able to help other women on their gyne and women hood journey through yoga classes, writing, safe online community spaces and group get together and it feels so amazing, that every time I finish a yoga session, meet up or article I feel a little tear of happiness.
I am proud to say that in March 2019 I will be launching my online womens yoga membership platform, which really does feel like I am sharing a piece of my soul with the amazing online community. We will be flowing together for an hour a week via live stream, and the thought of women (and I mean all women: L,G,B,T) from all over the world, from different communities, stages of life and each with their own unique story coming together to practice yoga and flow gives me the shivers! Ow man I am getting teary writing this! But this really does mean the world to me. I think that the more we create soul connections and communities the more we as individuals can grow, flourish and flow from love.
Best wishes Bridie xx