Day 4 - Achievements / Lessons

Day 4 - Things I have achieved a lessons I have learnt.

Since both of these categories could go on forever, since it's day 4, I've chosen my top 4 achievements and 4 most valued lessons learnt.

Top 4 Achievements
Here, I wanted to list the best achievements I've had since having ME. Since I got ill with ME back in 2008, I thought I'd better keep the list short ;)

1) Volunteering

I cannot fathom enough how much volunteering has changed my life. I became a leader for Vinspired and then made it onto their mentoring scheme. I continue to volunteer as often as I can and think its a very rewarding process. I thoroughly encourage people to volunteer. You can even do it, like I did, from my bed and at hours to suit you. Make a difference today!I have completed 1720h of credited volunteering which is a huge achievement for me. 

2) Awareness Raising

Whether I'm zip wiring off the Tyne Bridge, skydiving, doing the GNR or doing bake sales, I've raised a lot of awareness (and money!) for ME charities in-particular.I've raised £1635 just online so combined with the amount raised off line this will be a decent amount. One of my proudest moments was  doing an interview on ITV, you can find it here. I also did another interview about online learning which became a top hit on the guardian website. My ME Awareness Week challenge for this year will be revealed on Sunday, so keep an eye out!

3) Getting my dance teaching qualification

This will still be one of my proudest moments to date, and one I worked my hardest on. I had to go from being virtually bedbound to being able to do a 1.5h dance exam on teaching. I got a job teaching, I got a distinction in my exam and I had the strength to start a little bit of physical activity. Unfortunately, it didn't last very long, but I'm still managing to teach for 30mins a week.

4) Setting up my own community organisation

This is my most recent achievement, and after receiving a grant of £2,000, Project Parent is on the move. It's crazy to think about how one little idea turned into such a big thing. Huge credit to Alex who helped me pursue this!

Top 4 lessons I've learnt

4 lessons which I have learnt from having an illness

1) Who are your true friends

This is a major one for me. Being stuck in the house a lot you realise who will call. A bit of freedom will reveal jealousies. It doesn't matter how big your circle of friends are, just as long as they are there for you through thick and thin. Special shout-outs go to... My family, Andrew, Alex, Victoria, Cat, Becca S, Becca F, Brooke, Katie, Hannah, Jen & new lovely people like Jasmine :) You guys are amazing. There are a lot more out there who are good to me too, you rock!

2) Enjoy the little things

Whether its being able to enjoy fresh air for the first time in months or seeing a friend, there is so much to be grateful for.

3) Acceptance and hope

These are two words which don't usually go together, but need to with anyone who suffers from a chronic illness. I learnt I had to accept my limitations, accept I was poorly and accept that I am most likely to have this illness for a long time. But that doesn't mean you give up hope. I know that I need to hold on to something, even if it's just little, in the hope of getting better or improving. A positive, but realistic, mind frame is key.

4) Work with what you've got

This is linked to acceptance, but it's learning to know what is laid out in front of you on the table and knowing how to use it. Yes, I don't think I'll manage to put on all my make-up to look glamorous for going out today, but maybe I can use my highly attractive decorated crutch ;) It's about knowing what you've got and how to work it. I still model occasionally despite being disabled, you just have to adapt to the situations. 

Hope this is helpful, can't wait til Sunday to reveal my ME Awareness Week challenge!

Kate x

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