ONE GIRL, TWO BLOGS, TWO TRANSPLANTS & THE SLIMMING WORLD PLAN THAT SAVED THEM ALL

I thought long and hard about whether to write this post because it’s going into realms of my life I’d always kept quite hidden from the online world (and from some people closest to me who might get a shock when they read this) but I felt I’d be doing an injustice to my blogs (and myself) if I didn’t share my story. My transplant updates have always been brutally honest and this is just another piece of that jigsaw; albeit an unexpected one I didn’t even see coming..

A few months ago, I had an emotional breakdown. I remember that night so vividly as I collapsed on my bathroom floor and cried so hard I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I can’t pinpoint as to why I was crying, it was everything in my life I couldn’t control and I’d gotten to the point I hated myself because I couldn’t control the uncontrollable. And I was tired: of my eyes, of my weight gain, of my life, of people around me who chose only to check in when they had an ulterior motive, of my blogs and just generally of myself. I couldn’t do anything right, nothing I did was of any value and I just wanted everything to stop. I was so, so tired.

I picked myself up and went to see my doctor the following day. Sitting there in his vibrant tartan trousers, all he did was listen and at that moment, it was all I needed. I needed someone who wasn’t close to me to listen and to allow me to talk without trying to make me feel better (which usually took the form of compliments and/or telling me about the shit going on in their lives as a comparison I could make no sense of). We talked about anti depressants and although I have nothing against them (some of the people closest to me in my life are on such medication), I decided it wasn’t for me. We spoke about counselling and I took away a few pamphlets he stuffed into my hand. To be honest, just telling someone I wasn’t okay made me realise I had nothing to be ashamed of.

Before my first transplant, I attended counselling sessions to try and come to terms with a condition that had literally developed overnight (you can read my transplant updates here if you like) which were beneficial to an extent, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go down this route (again, I’ve nothing against counselling but I wasn’t sure speaking to a counsellor was right for me this time). I remember my counsellor told me she’d never met anyone who was as hard on themselves as I was and it’s true; I’m known as the strong one in the family, the one who can handle anything thrown their way and as long and tough as my transplant journey has been, I guess I’ve taken most of it my stride. She told me I needed to treat it as a grieving process because whether my eyesight was ever fully restored or not, it’s a condition that would live with me (and potentially flare up again/require further surgery) for the rest of my life. So I did something I’ve never done in the five/six years since my diagnosis: I cried and let myself cry floods of tears without judgement, or telling myself to ‘pick myself up and get on with it’. I didn’t see so much as grieving because I’m a fighter but it was a release of emotion that’s been building up in me for all these years.

It wasn’t some sort of ‘miracle cure’ but over time it really helped. I realised a lot of my thoughts (especially those with regards to control) were a little irrational to say the least. I have no control over my condition, my transplants, my recovery, my medication (and just to let you know, my recovery is going well. I still have ten stitches in my right eye, I still have days my eye is sorer than others but overall, I’m doing great). The end result will still be glasses and whatever happens down the line vision wise, I’ll deal with it as it comes. Am I tired of it all? Absolutely. But I also know I deserve to live my life not being controlled my bloody eyes. So I made a list…

…a list of everything I could control at that very point and time. Can I control my medication? Nut. Can I control my weight gain? Yep. Since this was top of my list of things I could control, I stopped there and decided to tackle this issue head on which I knew deep down, was something I had struggled to come to terms with. As far as my thoughts about my blogs and I not being good enough, I could deal with that later. I knew how much I loved my blogs (and I do, I really do) but I knew I wasn’t in the right head space to fully immerse myself in the online world. So I more or less vanished from my blogs and social media.

My weight has been an issue for me since I was teenager and diagnosed with bulimia which I don’t really want to discuss right now, maybe another time. Anyway, since my first transplant I’ve seriously piled on the pounds and as I was already insecure about my weight, it didn’t help matters. I’ve spent the majority of the past five years living in leggings and baggy tops to hide my shape. Five bloody years. I ended up on the Slimming World website and found a local group, text the consultant and within an hour, she was on the phone to me. Before I knew it, the following Saturday I was at my very first class.

My first week on plan was okay, a bit tough as I worked out my healthy a, healthy b and calculated my syns for the day (sorry if you know nothing about Slimming World. I swear it’s not as complicated as it sounds!) and after what I thought had been a top notch week on plan I went to my second class – only to lose a god damn pound. A pound??!! Seriously, that’s all I could muster up?! Thoughts of being a failure and not being able to do anything right (hell I couldn’t even manage to write blog posts) went through my head and right there, in my seat in this half circle with everyone looking at me, I burst into tears.

I didn’t go back. I couldn’t. I’d embarrassed myself enough and whilst I know now they would have been understanding and supportive, it wasn’t for me. So I joined online at the end of January, and I’ve never looked back. To date I’ve lost 1 stone 2.5 pounds (in total I want to lose 2 stone 11 pounds to get to my target) and I’ve never felt better about myself. But the best thing I did, which surpasses becoming an online member, was setting up an Slimming World Instagram account (I’m @thingssaraheats, see what I did there? Haha) and sharing photos of my food online. It didn’t matter if my food looked like a dog’s dinner or it wasn’t perfectly in focus, it was just one click and people then started liking my photos, commenting on how well I was doing and sending me the nicest messages.

These are people I now regard as friends. People like @msreiddoesslimmingworld, @hannahrocksslimmingworld, @gingerslimmer, @trytrytryagainsw and @slim_with_tomf probably don’t think they’ve done much, but they’ve really kept me going. We might not message every day but along with many others (and there are people I’ve forget to mention) we support each other and it’s exactly what I needed. As time has gone on, I’ve wanted my photos to look nicer and take pride in my cooking (I’ve chosen to share some of my photos in this post – I felt was quite fitting, haha), which made me come to the conclusion: I miss my blogs.

And I do, I really do. I miss this blog, I miss my craft blog, I miss the online community. I don’t regret taking the time I needed away from them because my health and well being comes before anything else but I’m starting to feel like myself again and my blogs make up a huge part of who I am. I’ve had ideas for posts/projects and I’m excited about these so it’s definitely the right time to return to my blogs. I’m sorry if you’ve emailed, messaged on one of the platforms and I’ve not gotten back to you, but I hope you understand why. At times I tried to force myself to blog which never works and I now realise I’ve nothing to be embarrassed or apologetic about. My blogs would still be there when I was ready. And I’m ready – finally!

Oh, and you know how I was living my life in leggings? I wore denims the other week so it’s no wonder I’m grinning ear to ear, haha. I’ll be starting to include some Slimming World posts on this blog too. 

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21 Comments

  1. April 30th, 2018 / 4:34 pm

    You go girl you are awesome! I honestly don’t think you know how amazing you are and how much you have helped me. I am glad you have some amazingly supportive people around helping you out too!

  2. April 30th, 2018 / 4:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, it’s brave to put yourself out there. I’m so glad slimming world is working for you.

  3. Susie Rodgers
    April 30th, 2018 / 5:44 pm

    Sarah you’re an inspiration. It’s lovely to see you back online (I missed you). Anxiety and depression is a complete b of an illness and I hope you find coping strategies that work for you. I go through squeezy stress toys at an alarming rate (they manage to distract my brain when I feel an attack coming on!)

    Take care my lovely x x

  4. April 30th, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    Sarah, this is such a fantastic blog!

    Good on you for taking the time you needed to make yourself feel better. It’s really inspirational that you were able to not only identify the issues but also take them head on. I’m very proud of you!

    Sending you tons of love!

  5. April 30th, 2018 / 11:52 pm

    It is so lovely to see you back online and I do hope that slowly but surely your recovery will get you to the place that you need to be. Well done for taking the time to go see your doctor and seek counselling. You will show others that it is ok to ask for help.

  6. May 1st, 2018 / 12:10 am

    Congrats on your slimming world lose, I go to a group and I am struggling to get my mind back into it but the support can be incredible x

  7. May 1st, 2018 / 9:06 am

    Sorry to hear about what you’ve been going through, Sarah. Sounds like everything got on top of you and you were trying to stay strong. I’m so glad you admitted to yourself that there was a problem and took positive steps to turn things around rather than just letting it build up more and more. You’re such an inspirational person and I’m proud to call you my friend (even though we’ve never met IRL). Sometimes we just need to take time away from blogging and social media to concentrate on ourselves and deal with things going on in our lives. Your physical health and mental wellbeing are the most important things. If you ever want to talk just send me a message!
    Nic x

  8. May 1st, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    It sounds like you have had a great deal to cope with and the pressure of this was clearly very hard to cope with. I’m so pleased that slimming world has been working so well for you. Keep it up t works well. My friend lost over 7.5 stone with them xxx

  9. May 1st, 2018 / 2:06 pm

    Its wonderful to have supportive friends who understand you especially when you don’t want to be judged. I hope you have recharged and feeling ready to get back to blogging and sharing again. Have missed reading your posts.

  10. Jem
    May 1st, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    So great to see that you’re back online! A supportive network of friends and family can make all the difference.

  11. Kelly
    May 1st, 2018 / 2:20 pm

    Great story that you’ve shared so honestly and good to hear you’re in a better place now than you were.

  12. May 1st, 2018 / 2:35 pm

    This is amazing and has inspired me to take charge as well!
    Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing!

  13. May 1st, 2018 / 3:11 pm

    well done you- that sounds so patronising I know but honestly I mean it. It’s hard to hit that rock bottom point and realise you need to go and get help. I’m so glad things are looking up for you again.

  14. May 1st, 2018 / 4:07 pm

    What a wonderful, honest post. I hope it helped you to get your feelings down on paper so to speak, I find it can be really cathartic. I’m so so proud of you for coming through everything you have and reading this post? Just makes me even prouder. And guilty – because I haven’t been there for you as much as I should have. I wish I was there when you were having that breakdown, and could have helped you through it. I know I’ve not been the best of friends recently, but please know I am here for you and only a message away if ever you want to chat – about anything!! So proud of you, and pleased you’ve managed to turn things around. xx

  15. May 1st, 2018 / 7:07 pm

    We all often only share parts of our lives online and no one would have been the wiser of what you were experiencing but like you somethings I like a good cry and speaking to a stranger who just listens.

  16. Jane Ryan (Badge Ink)
    May 1st, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    Glad to hear things are on the up for you, Sarah. And I tell you what, Twinings Salted Caramel tea does it for me every time…I drink gallons of the stuff!🤓

  17. May 1st, 2018 / 10:34 pm

    Great to see you back online and my mummy had a blip last year when she had 3 lung collapses and surgeries and felt so down, demotivated and depressed. Great that you picked yourself up and did something positive – you should be proud x

  18. May 2nd, 2018 / 8:37 am

    A good cry is sometimes necessary to release all the worries and all the bad energy we have raised inside us over time. Your weight loss journey sounds like it’s definitely on the right track! The results are amazing so far!

  19. Danielle
    May 2nd, 2018 / 11:46 am

    You are doing awesome! It’s so good when you find something that works for you, it’s like everything clicks in to place.

  20. May 2nd, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    I’m glad slimming world is working for you so well, I have always had success myself on it x

  21. May 3rd, 2018 / 4:33 pm

    Ahh I love this, I think it’s great to have supportive friends, it makes the world of difference in our lives! Great that you are doing so well!

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