Last year, L leisure fitness advisor, class instructor and personal trainer, Laurence developed Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS); a very rare and serious disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Spending three months in hospital and learning to walk again were just the first steps on his road to recovery
Here’s Laurence’s story:
One of the most common questions I get asked, is how did you get through what you did? And it’s a tough question to answer.
Spending nearly three months in a wheelchair and then a further three months at home trying to re learn everything I used to do was tough. To become the Laurence I was is something I never thought I would be able to get through. But I did. I persevered and am now mentally stronger than ever. Physically I still have challenges to face but I promise myself and I am convinced if you believe it you will achieve it.
My condition was tough but I know many people sadly have chronic and life threatening illnesses that I simply can’t imagine how they must feel. I was told by the medics that 80% of GBS patients will return to an active life. We all have bills to pay, families to look after plus the day-to-day stresses we experience from being an adult, a parent, simply being human. When we experience challenging times through sickness, it’s often difficult to believe we are going to get through them. But you will! You have to believe small steps will turn into big steps and giant strides.
Here are some tips I use when going through my current difficult time:
- Write down the biggest thing that you are struggling with right now. Then brainstorm a list of possible any tiny things you could do that might improve the situation. They may not solve your problem but even small improvements can help. Without brainstorming, you may not even realize the options you have.
- Make a list of long term goals you think would improve your life.
- What do you want to achieve this year?
- What would you like to be doing?
- Think about what gives you purpose?
- List the things can you do every day to get you closer to those goals?
- Taking steps towards these goals will give you a sense of accomplishment. Every day, write down something you are grateful for. It can be as simple as having a house to live in, or finding a pound coin on the floor the day before. On hard days you may have to dig deep, but it’s a good reminder that there is always something to be grateful for.
- Make a list of the things that you love doing (that you are able to do) that set your soul on fire. They can be things that are done daily, like cooking or drawing, or things that can be done periodically; like going to see a play. Just make sure you are doing the hobbies that you love to do! On the flip side, is there anything you are able to remove/change from your life? Stop doing things you hate to do!
- Make a list of some of the hardest times in your life. Remind yourself that you made it through those times. You are so much stronger than you think you are. And you can get through this too. Say that to yourself as many times a day that you have to.
- At the end of your day, write down three things that you accomplished. On particularly bad days, small things like doing a set of weighted lifts (don’t worry about the size of the weight just do the lift), even having a shower or getting out of bed! Writing accomplishments down, no matter how small they are, reminds you that you are moving forward! Keep going!
- Make sure you surround yourself with friends and family that you love. Alone time is often needed, but isolating yourself can make you feel worse. Spend time with your favourite people and ASK for support!
- Get your body moving! Exercise is the most underused medication in the world! You have the ability to increase your dopamine levels (the feel-good chemicals inside us that make us happy) at any point in the day! If you struggle with finding the motivation or the time to get to the gym, then start small! It’s amazing how you can feel after just ten minutes of say yoga, Pilates or a brisk walk a few days a week.
- Pick a charity to get involved with or donate money to. Research shows that donating either your time or money to charity makes you feel good! And it’s good for society too J
- Watch online videos of inspiring people overcoming devastating tragedies. Not to see that there are others who have it worse than you (because what you are going through is hard too; don’t diminish that) but to remind yourself that there are so many people that have overcome the impossible — and you can too.
- As often as you can, try to change your view. Positivity goes a long way. Just once, trust that everything is happening for a reason. Trust that everything is going to work out the way you want it to. Remember, no one expects you to be cheery all the time, but just try to ditch the negative self-talk as much as you can. And no matter how bad of a day you have, no matter how negative you feel when you go to bed each night – start fresh with a positive attitude every day. If it doesn’t go to plan, it’s OK to try again tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to start over. You must just keep trying.
We are delighted that Laurence is returning back to work at our three leisure centres; Bramcote, Chilwell Olympia and Kimberley Leisure Centre. It is testament to Laurence’s positive spirit and previous physical fitness that he has made such a good recovery.
Our centres can help with your journey to fitness, so please contact us if you’d like to join us at the Lleisure centres.
Are you thinking about taking the first step to becoming active or recovering from illness or injury yourself?
Read More: A beginners guide to becoming active