• Anna Mae

Adapting to Survive

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

A key theme in my Spirt of series is adaptation. The main character and sometimes those around them must adapt to changes in their lives, and sometimes against their will.

I guess in a way this has been drawn from my own experiences. My working life is drastically different to where I found myself 6 years ago. I have become the master of reinvention but not by choice.

In 2006 I made the decision to leave my career in Customer Services management at a local council and retrain to be a teacher. Having two small children at the time, I had to do this whilst working. I got a job as a teaching assistant, as I considered this would be invaluable experience. My energy levels were flying high, I worked in the day, looked after a home and children, studied for my degree and passed a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant qualification within the first year at school.

However, that was fairly normal for me, I was a whirling dervish and it suited me.

Following my marriage break down just 2 years later, I started to feel really tired. I had a lot of pain, and many other strange symptoms. It was put down to stress by my doctor and I happily agreed with that diagnosis, believing I would soon return to full strength.

I didn’t. If anything, I got worse.

A long story of tests and hospitals later, and I was delivered the news that I had severe arthritis in my hips and fibromyalgia and possibly MS. No cure. This was now how it would always be. My life changed for ever.

Initially I felt like someone had just pushed me out of a plane. I was falling with no idea how to stop or what to do to make it better. My health forced me out of work. My degree was put on hold. Sympathetic people all over the place reassured me. But I was lost.

Thankfully I had my epiphany moment and realised I needed to evolve and adapt. My brain still worked - thankfully. My arms and hands were fine. I just had problems with standing and rushing around. So, I started writing. I wrote for anyone that wanted me to. I worked for peanuts! But as my reputation started to grow I realised I was actually good at something, and it became a new living.

I work from home on full time basis now, my entrepreneurial streak has kicked in, and I can find umpteen ways to keep food on the table. I learnt one very important skill - how to adapt. Actually, I love my new life. The chronic illness is a pain - pardon the pun - but the rest of it is awesome!

Caragh finds herself faced with a massive need to adapt, and my experience gave me the skills to help her do this brilliantly. Her life changes beyond recognition but with a few wobbles along the way, she finds ways to adapt, and lands up a very happy lady.

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