Saturday, 2 April 2011


You know confidence is a very strange thing.
As I kid I was so sure I was right all the time which gave me the confidence to say what I thought even if it was wrong and upset people. I got told I was brutally honest and couldnt lie to make people feel better no matter how I tried.

I was brought up by parents who believed that listening to what children say is the right thing to do and then if you have to correct them you do it in a nice way without making them feel bad.
That meant that sure I said and did the wrong thing as a kid but unless it was really bad I was just told why it wasnt acceptable.

I was burnt as a kid and that destroyed a lot of my confidence. I went through secondary school feeling inferior but then realised that I was ME and who ever thought I wasnt good enough had faults and flaws of their own. Mine were physical but who knows where theirs were. I remember going swimming and basically staring out people that stared at my scars as if to say yeah so what????

I know thats not a 'normal' reaction and I went the complete opposite after a while. I was so self conscious I couldnt bear people looking at me in case they were judging me on how I looked..... scars, weight, whatever.

I re-built some of that confidence until I got glandular fever and never recovered. It made me realise people would always judge me on how I looked and acted. If I was fat I was just lazy, if I was confident and self assured I had a mental issue that meant I didnt want to deal with life. That made me retreat into myself so no one could judge me.

I became very depressed and self obsessed in a why on earth would anyone bother even talking to me because Im useless kind of way

Last year I did something called the expert patient program. My first meeting I went to feeling oh boy what now?? as I had done so many other things that were supposed to 'cure' me and hadnt. I went along feeling like a failure before I even got there.

It was an odd course really in that I thought it was going to teach me how to be a perfect patient.... the kind of person the doctor hates as you turn up with loads of literature they havent seen and immediately dismiss. I very soon realised that being an expert patient was different. It was about being in control of my illness rather than suffering from or letting my condition control me. Sure theres no cures but how I feel about things is the main thing.

Half way through the course I said I would be interested in volunteering to help with the course. At that point I kind of thought I was offering to help out while others delivered the course but somehow I found I had volunteered as a tutor!!

After the initial panic there was a period of amazement that someone had seen something within me that they thought I was capable of even if I wasnt sure. I did some training and very quickly realised I couldnt sit in the background letting others speak and saying nothing so the training was the right thing.

Ive only done 2 days of training and have to say they were totally exhausting BUT and there is a big BUT!!! Ive realised I can stand in front of a group of people and tell them what I believe. Theres no waffle like there was when I sold car insurance. No pressure I KNOW this can help and Im not forcing anyone to do it. I dont even care about people looking at my HUGE frame at the front.

Dont get me wrong its very scary and I dont think my heart has ever beaten so fast in my life but up to now Ive only had good comments and when you get good stuff from your peers and not just people who dont know any better thats a great feeling!

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