More than 4.5 years have now passed since I was lying in an induced coma in Intensive Care. Just 13 months later I was technically dead for 2 minutes and life seemed pretty bleak as I struggled to get through each day. My ‘get up and go’ had surely got up and gone.
When I started blogging, it was comfy; just me with my laptop and music in the background. No worrying about leaks and incontinence or my stoma doing a pop-pop when it felt like it. Like many new ostomates, I wouldn’t leave the house until I could put on a fresh bag and hope for a reprieve for an hour or 2. Would I ever feel my old confident self and be able to walk with a hop, skip and a jump? I really didn’t think so.
As time has gone on I have used coaching techniques we call 'chunking' and 'goal setting' to help me move forward.
The first time I used these techniques I decided to walk to my local beauty salon to say hi to the girls. After that I was to get rid of my walking stick …and so it went on.
My first public speaking event post-op was at a school, hundreds of miles from home. I was beyond nervous but a friend and fellow ostomate was there to support me. Since then I have given talks at other schools and at public events, and I work with ClinMed regularly –most recently filming a Hernia Prevention video.
How can YOU use ‘chunking’ and ‘goal setting’ techniques?
1. Write your goals down on a piece of paper and look at it every day, create a collage or an illustration of what you want to achieve and place it somewhere visible to motivate you.
2. Break any large goals into small chunks that allow you to take small steps towards them, so you never feel like something is out of reach.
3. Plan! You’ll need a plan of action to achieve your goals so take time to consider what needs to be done and dedicate the necessary time to make them happen.
4. Work on fighting off negative emotions - keep focused on your end result and remind yourself of any progress you make, no matter how small. Imagine the positive emotions you’ll soon experience and visualise yourself in those moments reflecting on how far you’ll have come.
5. How will your life change once you achieve your goals? Why are you working towards them? Knowing why you want to attain your goals and imagining the outcomes will add weight to your goals, spurring you on.
6. Task a friend or family member who can hold you accountable for your actions. This person should offer support and encouragement but should also be able to challenge you IF you need it!
Life has gone from bleak to blooming and I now feel better than I have in years.
When my bowel exploded I thought my life was over, when my heart stopped it was for a couple of minutes. How wrong I was! Sometimes we have an opportunity to take the gold from trauma and use it to do good and help others.
I’m not sure what the next chapter in my life will bring – let’s see! Whatever it is, I’m grateful to still be here, for the old life I have left behind, and for the new friends and adventures that have come my way.
So next time you are feeling down remember: a rose bush looks bare in winter but once the sun shines again in spring, new buds and new blooms always appear, and they are always beautiful.
Be a rose bush….