Tag Archives: happiness

249/365 – Opting out of cycle

Yesterday Elaine and I made the tough decision to not take part in the 60 mile cycle to Eastbourne today. While we had been preparing for it for a few months, we hadn’t done anywhere close to the 60 mile distance and didn’t feel confident we could complete it. Not to mention it started in Croydon, about an hour and a half from our house, at 9am, neither of us had slept well this week and it was forecast to rain all day. From the few hours we were out cycling in the rain a fortnight ago, to think of that misery all day stripped it of any fun. 
In the spirit of finding time to do what makes you happy, this week I decided to question anything that I felt obliged to do in my spare time. I was dreading the cycle, but not in a nervous anticipation kind of way. In an even if I make it in to Eastbourne, I’m going to be too exhausted to care. 

So instead I had a long lie, watched Jimmy Fallon vs Ellen DeGeneres lip sync battle (Jimmy’s Whip nae nae is outstanding), played tennis, ate some tasty lunch and went to see Legend in the same time it would have taken me to cycle to Eastbourne.  

 
All the training has been really fun and before it gets too cold I’m going to try to get out for another long cycle. But the right choice was made today…nae nae. 

247/365 – Remembering what makes you happy and finding time to do it

When you have a condition like myasthenia, it can feel all consuming. There’s so much to think about that often you’re left with little room for anything else. It’s no wonder then that people with MG can be left feeling low and anxious. 

I’ve found to have a good quality of life with MG, it’s important to remember what it is that makes me happy. When I feel like I don’t know what that is, I try something new. If that’s not ‘the thing’ then I try something else. Sometimes it can be difficult to motivate myself and that’s ok. Each time I do though, I’m always left feeling more positive about everything including the myasthenia. 

Last night, I made time for a walk with the good company of my friend Kate down by the river – one of my favourite things to do in London – getting a bargain burrito and an episode of a TV series I’m enjoying, Peaky Blinders. The picture above is on the bank of the Thameside with some scupltures that are part of a festival being hosted there. All simple pleasures but effective in making me feel happy. Even if it’s just half an hour every couple of days to do things that make you happy, I find allowing myself that short amount of positive time makes a big difference to how able I feel to cope with the myasthenia. 

Some other things that have the same impact on me: Going to the cinema, salsa dancing (and so many other things) with Elaine, any kind of catch up with any/all of my best friends, Gemma, Steph and Sarah, reading in bed on weekend mornings, having open conversations with anyone, the endless possibilities of a Friday night train up to Edinburgh, the feeling of infinite options during Friday night drinks, having a glass of wine while speaking politics with my parents, getting out into the middle of nowhere for a walk or cycle, exploring somewhere new, long baths, the first sip of a good cup of coffee….I could go on and on.

Even just writing out this list made me happy. 

15/365 – The Theory of Everything

If you are having a woe is me day over the next few weeks, I’d recommend going to see The Theory of Everything at the cinema.

In case you haven’t heard, it’s about Stephen Hawking and is truly inspiring. We’re all familiar with Mr Hawking as he is today, but the film shows his journey, together with his first wife Jane, from being diagnosed with motor neurone disease as a 21-year-old post graduate student in Cambridge.

Motor neurone disease, like myasthenia, is a rare condition where parts of the nervous system become damaged. Unlike myasthenia where antibodies attack the muscle and nerve junctions, MND affects motor neurons which control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, swallowing, and general movement of the body. So similar muscle activities are affected but usually the muscles waste away with MND which leads to disability and eventually death.

Stephen was given two years to live when first diagnosed but rose to every challenge with courage. At 73, he is still working and has no plans to retire.

While the film does show the psychological challenges of having such a condition, and the strain it puts on relationships, what shone through for me was his determination to find happiness and the fact that he never lost his sense of humour.

Some people think being happy is something that is out of their control but I have long disagreed. It’s about attitude – deciding that you are going to work hard at being happy by being content with what life offers and, most importantly, not comparing your circumstances to others. I cannot know what goes on in someone else’s life – I’m lucky to have people who love me, to have had opportunities in life and to have the excellent NHS staff to help keep me healthy.

Today’s image was me cycling to get blood tests before going to see the film. My doctors make sure I get them regularly to monitor the immunosuppressants.

I leave you with this quote from Stephen in the film when describing his theory about life:

‘However bad life may seem there is always something you can do and succeed at. Where there is life, there is hope.’

For more inspiring quotes from him, follow him on twitter @stephenhawking_