Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Lightning Process


I've been meaning to write for a while about how I got better from ME/CFS. Those of you who have met me face to face will know that I had several really bad years with CFS; I was mostly housebound and completely unable to work. Any time I did something really tiring, like meeting friends in London, I'd pay for it with days or weeks of pain and exhaustion.

Weekly Vitamin B12 injections helped by relieving the brain fog. I also did daily meditation, as recommended by the NHS, and paced myself. I did try to gradually increase the amount I was doing but without any noticeable progress. So I resigned myself to feeling like an eighty-year old woman although I was in my mid-fifties, and to a life where the internet was my main contact with the outside world. I had my lovely family around me and I told myself that I was happy.

Then a friend sent me a press cutting about the Lightning Process and I was desperate enough to try it.

The first day of the three-day course, I set off fearfully. I had a half hour's drive to get there, which was more than I was sure I could manage. All the way there I was turning over in my mind how I'd get back. Would I be able to drive? Would I need a taxi? Or maybe find somewhere to stay near the training venue?

That afternoon after four hours or so of training, I drove back home happily. I drove to a local wool shop to get wool. I cooked dinner. I drove my son and daughter-in-law to Slimming World and back. The change was amazing.

At first I kept very quiet about it. The Lightning Process sometimes has a bad press because of people apparently making extreme claims about it and I didn't think anyone would take me seriously until I'd been better for a while. And to be honest it felt like early days and I wasn't sure how I was going to be next month or next year.

Five months after the course, I was looking for work and found a part-time job at an after-school club. I was nervous about taking it; would my energy hold up? Well, it did and I felt happier than I had in a long while. No more state benefits for me I was getting paid, and getting paid to do a job I loved.

In April it will be two years since I did the Lightning Process. I'm working, I'm cycling, I'm learning Spanish and I'm happy. At the moment I'm trying to get fit enough to go on a skiing holiday.

I think we can call that a success.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Don't give up the day job?

From Bo's Cafe Life

I've just been reading You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing and it made me think about what it's like to be a professional writer.

Scalzi has an interesting history. He's known since he was around fourteen that he wanted to write for a living because it was easy for him compared to say, maths. He's making a good living at writing but not mainly based on writing novels (or not at the time he wrote You're Not Fooling...) He's written a lot of non-fiction including articles for various publications and he's willing to take on most commissions if they pay well enough.

It clarified for me why I don't want to be a professional writer. If you're a writer you have to write whether you want to or not. Now I've done my fair share of writing for a job and quite enjoyed it. I had five years in the Civil Service mostly drafting documents, and I had regular reports to write in my last job for The Place2Be. That was fine but it's not what comes easiest to me. If I had to choose a job based on making a living at things that I'd want to do anyway, I'd choose to work with children.

And I do! (And what's even better is that we'll soon be getting a cook at our after-school club so I won't have to do the one bit of the job that I don't really care for.)

You know you're doing a job you like when you don't keep having to remind yourself "Well, at least I'm getting paid for this."

According to Scalzi, most fiction writers earn their living at something else. For him it's non-fiction writing; for me it's working with children. I'm not ready to give up my day job and I'm not sure I ever will be. What about you?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Pictures I Found On My Phone

I was going to call this post something posh like "2012 Retrospective" but then I decided to go with honesty: these are the pictures I found on my phone. They remind me of some of the good times I had last year.

Probaby Denbies Vineyard, probably summer 2012

Bonnie enjoying the summer sun

Walking near the New Inn at Send

Rufus in his hammock

Where I work, sans children (because of issues with photographing other people's children and putting their pictures online)

Geek get-together during NaNoWriMo (note the amazing camera work and I wasn't even drunk)

Christmas Reindeer at Covent Garden

Skating at Somerset House

Flooding upriver of Hampton Court Palace

After-Christmas Cats with their new cat tree
Somewhere I also have pictures of the family over Christmas and New Year but you've been spared those. The photos of Box Hill today are still on my phone. Be grateful for small mercies!

Next week it's back to work but until then I'm enjoying the holidays. I hope you are too.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Year Family Fun

Here is Bonnie winning herself some gems in the Hobbit game; sadly the whole party of dwarves got eaten but she had the most gems, so she was the richest, dead dwarf of us all.
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