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Growing up I was always a poorly child, getting sent home from school weekly and being in and out of hospital with pain and sickness. It was always brushed off as growing pains and that everyone gets them. And then they told me it was in fact anxiety and depression that was the root cause, but then told me you’re just a little sad, find a hobby and that will help with the pain.
Then at the age of 15, a doctor finally sent me to get tests done, and low and behold, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and an iron deficiency. I was over the moon that they had finally found the root of the problem. It wasn’t all in my head as the had previously said or so I thought… after being put on a gluten free diet, and given iron and calcium tablets the pain was still there and it wasn’t getting better, if anything it was getting worse.
Years went by of going back to the doctor's again and again, but this time all of my problems we’re based on the Celiac and that it will pass if I just stick to my diet… guess what, it didn’t. Five years went by and after seeing different doctors, one finally gave me an answer—not one I wanted, but an answer nonetheless. I was diagnosed with chronic pain, M.E (chronic fatigue syndrome), Anxiety, Depression, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
I was shocked. After all this time and finally they give me answers, but with answers came mountains of pills. Some made me sick, some made me crazy, some made me sleep for three days straight, and others made me sleep for 15 minutes for weeks on end.
I was at a loss. How was I to get on with my life? How was I to get a job? How was I to make a living? None of the pills were helping and I knew exactly what the doctors would tell me. So I took matters into my own hand. I was sick and tired of being... well sick and tired. I took a stand and made a change. I volunteered more with my local YMCA at clubs, events, and more. I went to the gym, did home studies to keep my brain active, and focused on anything other than my pain. I then traveled the world with the YMCA, being a change agent and an advocate for young people around the world. I became a mental health ambassador for YMCA Scotland and met people high in the government to tell them what needs to be done for young people, and how they can better support their communities and maybe even the world.
Despite my pain, scrapping the pills, and only taking pain killers, I’ve done so much.
What I want to to take away from this is that despite what pain you’re in, or whatever anxieties you have, please don’t lay down to your illnesses... the mind can do incredible things but don’t be scared to ask for help from time to time. Not even Superman can do everything by himself. Don’t over do it, take you’re time, people love you and will understand that sometimes sitting in your PJs all day with a good cuppa tea and Disney movies on repeat is just your way of recharging your batteries.
Take time for yourself and love yourself because my god, you are amazingly strong whether you know it or not!
Chin up buttercup!