The Reason for The Challenge
I thought it would be best to start from the beginning...
In October 2013, I got very sick and signed off work for what I thought would be a few weeks…it ended up being a year and a half! I continued getting more and more unwell. By the time I saw my neurologist in December 2013 the room was spinning on a daily basis, I was rarely able to eat as it made me feel worse, and my head felt like it was attached to an ejector seat! I was diagnosed with a rare condition called a Migraine Variant Balance Disorder. I had suffered with migraines for a few years, but stress had caused them to change into this crazy condition. Apparently my brain got so stressed that it has burnt out like a computer hard drive, which meant that it could only do the basics to keep me functioning. Reading and writing became very difficult, even my speech was slurred.
The best way to describe how I felt was like I was in a computer game, I felt like I wasn't really here, although I knew I was! I also suffered with head fog, a floating head, disorientation, exhaustion, memory loss, sickness and numb hands and feet to name the things I can remember! It’s so difficult because it’s not life threatening, but it is completely life altering. It’s also completely invisible, which makes it really hard for others to understand.
I had to make the tough decision to leave my career that I loved at a charity, to go in search of a stress free life (doctors orders!). I read so many books to try and guide me through such a difficult time, all of which helped me to find a way to cope with this crazy journey a little better. There was one particular book that inspired me to embark on the 100 job challenge - 'How to Find Fulfilling Work' by Roman Krznaric.
Which leads me to...
I set myself the challenge of trying 100 different jobs for a day or two each. I donate what I 'earn' from each job to charity, people have also been sponsoring me - which is amazing! If you would like to donate, simply click the button at the bottom of this page ;-). I write a blog about each job - sharing what I find interesting ad surprising about each one (hopefully you will too!), as well as sharing any insights to life that come up along the way! You can follow via the website or 100jobchallenge.blogspot.com.
As this whole search started because of my condition, it only seemed right that I should use it to raise money for The Meditation Trust and the Gupta Programme I have tried many treatments along the way...basically anything that I came across! Some have really helped, whilst others haven't worked for me. I will document them all one day, as I think its really important to raise awareness about the vast options available to people, not just traditional medicine. I would love to raise mone for them all, but I decided to raise money for two of the treaments that I felt would make the biggest diference. I decided to raise money for The Meditation Trust and the Gupta Programme. I would never have been able to do this challenge or to function again without the help of those two wonderful therapies...they really have given me my life back! To give you an idea of just how bad things had become, I was literally at the point where suicide was looking like the only option to get away from the turmoil of this debilitating condition. As well as helping these two causes, I hope this will help those of you who are also in the situation where you are looking for a career change, or who are too going through the difficult experience of a health condition. I'd love to make it seem like a less scary undertaking and to educate people on how dangerous stress can be. I have learnt the hard way to change my attitude towards work, and that taking it too seriously can ruin your health - which in my opinion isn't worth it! I would also like to point out that I have no qualifications in any of the jobs that I will be taking on, and a dodgy head...so if I can do it anyone can!
Where I'm At Now
MVBD still greatly impacts my life each and every day, but thanks to TM I have gained a different attitude which means that I am able to be happy in spite of the struggles. I am the most unhealthy I have ever been, have the least money, and have given up my career but I am also the happiest I have ever been...pretty amazing right! My memory is still pretty terrible, I get tired super easily, I usually have to have a nap for a few hours after any activity! I would certainly describe myself as having no common sense these days, which is a bizarre effect of the condition! Telling the time is also a challenge...at the age of 30 I have to get my mum to help me work out timings for appointments! I still experience migraines, dizziness and loss of balance but thankfully they are more sporadic than before. On the plus side I have now been working part time for three years, which is a huge achievement. The secret to getting back to work was that my boss had the same condition as me, so her and the staff completely understood the condition and its challenges. I am certain that it would have been impossible for me to hold down a job if it wasn't for that...no-one else would tolerate the numerous mistakes that I make on a daily basis! I am so grateful that my challenge led me to that job, I worked there for job 5! The world works in mysterious ways!
I am now studying at univerisy, something which again has been incredbly difficult with a brain that doesn't always work! But I am very proud that I have a few months left before I finish the course.
Migraine is something that over 8 million people in the UK suffer from, yet there appears to be hardly any knowledge of the condition, with most people thinking it's a bad headache - hopefully I can raise a bit of awareness to help people to understand just how debilitating this invisible illness can be.
As I have mentioned, I am still not completely fixed. My health is obviously the most important thing, which is why I have not set a deadline for this to be completed. I originally anticipated it would take me a year and a half, but it's been three years and I'm just over a quarter of the way through! My condition determines the speed of its completion, but that's ok - it's all part of this journey of learning that I am on!
I hope you will join me on my journey