My first post

So what’s this blogging all about then?

I have recently been reading all kinds of blogs from ‘professional’ bloggers who write about weird and wonderful subjects, which are great, especially in areas of shared interests (or obsessions!). But I think the ones I have read and enjoyed the most, are a bit more personal.

It was earlier this year that I also first dipped my toes into the sea of twitter, and found to my amazement that I really enjoyed it! I have always been a bit of an introvert, hiding from people, too awkward to strike up conversations and always avoiding crowds. Twitter gave me an opportunity to get to know people from a bit of a distance. And I quite liked that. It amazed me how open and trusting people were about their lives, their joys and their sorrows, saying things that I have only said to the closest of friends. Then they may post a blog and invite their followers to read…..

Even though these windows into people’s lives are not always about life changing experiences and thoughts, they are generally open hearted and they seem to take great joy in sharing (shocking!). They maybe about beautiful food they have cooked (for some reason I am especially drawn to these) or crafts and works of art they have created. And then someone talks about their allotment and I think yes, and I have had a hopeless year, my beetroot are tiny, the weeds have overtaken, oh and the slugs…….I have the national collection! So maybe I do have something to say?

Others, I have to confess have made me cry buckets. Several come to mind of people who have shared their adversity. A diagnosis of cancer, losing a loved one or coping with mental illness. Even if I never meet these people I feel close to them and I feel empathy. None of us lead lives without some pain so we can all relate to these things at different times. And at times we need to admit it’s rubbish and we are not coping and why did it happen to me? And sharing that……. well it really does make a difference when others say they understand and they have been there.

So why does this really resonate with me now? Being a bit a of a geeky scientist I have always been a bit too logical and maybe a little insensitive. So when I changed my career from research scientist to remedial (physical) therapist I felt I knew how it was all going to work out. I had trained in two areas that would give me the tools to help and ‘mend’ people with physical conditions, albeit it in an holistic way. Strange really, as the stimulus for my career change was meeting people in NHS clinics being recruited to clinical trials for cancer therapies. All of them were being treated wonderfully well by their oncologists and surgeons. But the treatment was so limited in other ways. They were all also given anti-depressants along with their other therapies. Personal, emotional and spiritual support were largely outside the remit of the NHS. Observing this first hand was a powerful motivation for me to want to be a part of changing things.

So, I knew there was a need, and what kind of need, but when I started working as a therapist after a while I found I was focussing on fixing the physical! Ok, so these things take time to sink in, after all this was a whole new ball game to me! So now my therapy sessions may only need half an hour to deliver, but I always allow time to listen. I am not a trained counsellor and I don’t pretend to be, but I know this has value. At home, if you are ‘the strong one’ or ‘the carer’ or you ‘just don’t want to burden those around you’, then you may never be heard. And it is often easier to speak to someone who isn’t involved emotionally. The physical and emotional/mental sides of us cannot be separated. We all know we can feel so much happier on a sunny day and that our aches and pains are much worse if we are sad or upset. When I spend time with people I think their trust in me is a really big part of how they respond to treatment. Listening and just giving a little time and attention is as valuable as the physical ‘hands on’ part of what I do. And it may sound really corny but I have met so many wonderful, funny, resourceful, lovely people since I have been doing this job. It was such a good move for me!

So, I think what I am trying to say is that for me tweeting (and blogging if I get past this first one!) have shown me the power of sharing and mutual support. Something I never dreamed I would find through this kind of medium. And outside of this I honestly don’t think I could have communicated with and met so many different and amazing people. So bring it on!!!!

Well if I had followed the advice on writing my first blog (which I did ask for), then it would probably be shorter, funnier, have lots of photos, and be more engaging. But hey I think this is me…..

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