A Hug for the Body
Life Rebalanced Chronicles Season 3, Episode 5
When Emma got dizzy she went from a joyful, energetic person to feeling like a shell of who she once was. Then, yoga and meditation changed everything. As her vestibular journey continued, yoga was the one thing that gave her control over her body and mind. Now, Emma has found a new career as a yoga teacher focusing on movements that are suitable for people with chronic illness like her.
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When I started, be a school teacher, you work constantly kind of you don’t, what’s the phrase, you don’t work to live, you live to work. So I would be surviving off, you know, five or six hours of sleep a night, I would be going work all day, I’d go straight to the gym,
do a really heavy workout, you know, sort of aerobic style running, jumping around crazy, crazy stuff, I’d whiz home, shovel some food in my mouth, be working all night. And then I go to sleep and do it all again. And then at the weekends, I would be seeing friends, you know, drinking socializing. So I was just like whizzing around whizzing around this life. And I was just running my body further and further and further into the ground physically and mentally. And I didn’t have any coping strategies at all. So I had a two week Easter holiday from school. And I was like, I bet I can fit in a full holiday to Australia. And I went and had like the trip of a lifetime, it was unbelievable. I loved every second of it. But in true Emma style, I did everything I was running around here, there and everywhere, getting all the things ticked off the bucket list. And I had a couple of wobbles on the trip where I remember being like, I feel fine. I feel like I’m gonna pass out. I then came back to England. I think I had came back on the Saturday I was back into work on the Monday. I always kind of describe the exact moment that it happened because I can remember it so vividly. And I was sat at my desk. And I had my teaching assistant who was like to the right of me. And I remember just like turning my head. And in that moment, I just had that like, wobble of like, everything just kind of went on. I was like, Whoa, something really, really weird just happened. And it was like this dark shadow just came down over me in that moment. And in my head. I was like, I’m just tired. I’ll go to sleep. I’ll get to the weekend. And I’ll be back to normal. But that never came. I was really lucky in that. I had a really amazing family doctor. And I think at the start it was just a lot of backwards and forwards because there were so many things it could have been. So I was absolutely beside myself for that first few weeks because I was just like, nobody knows what’s going on with me. And you have that moment where you’re like, Am I losing my mind a little bit here? Am I dreaming? Like is this is this real? am I actually going through this? So I did all the holistic routes. So I did chiropractor osteopath, physiotherapist, acupuncture, Reiki, I think my parents were just so so so concerned for me like physically or mentally because they could see me spiraling. And I’d gone from being this bubbly, positive, like, you know, very quiet confident. And all of a sudden, I was this like, tiny shell of a person that couldn’t even leave the house. So yeah, I ended up handing my notice in and then I left by the Christmas.
That was hard. It was really hard. I couldn’t see how I’d be able to work again. I was like, how, what job can I do? Where I’m like, Hey, do you want to employ me? I can’t really walk in a straight line I can’t really see properly at the moment. I was like, What am I going to do? I remember being at my parents house and just doing doing laps of the garden. My dad would come home from work on his lunch and I’d just be doing circles in the garden. I just used to think he’d be looking at me going. But it was the only thing that I felt safe doing because I thought if I left the front door, I’m out into the big world wide wheel and I don’t feel safe. Least if I’m in my back garden, I can do my laps, and I’ll be okay. And then I thought about I need to be doing all this stuff. I need to be trying to find something that I can move my body with. And that’s when the yoga and meditation came in. I remember there was one day I was in such a that mentally in such a bad place. And I remember just sobbing and sobbing and sobbing and just all of a sudden I got the energy to be like, Okay, get on to the meditation app that I was using. Do a meditation, even if you even if I’m sat crying doing it. I’m going to try and do it and I did it and it massively helped And I think that was when, even though I didn’t really truly realize it, then that was so, so important for for my progress and for kind of moving me along because I was like, I’ve now got something that I can control. That helps me a little bit that I can do anywhere. And then I connected with Amy shacket. She does a lot of stuff on social media. She’s a personal trainer. She’s in the UK, she’s similar age to me. And she was describing the exact same symptoms as me, but she had her diagnosis. So she had mentioned about a hospital in London, called the Royal National Yente hospital. So I asked my GP for a referral for that hospital. And I eventually got that appointment. Went down to London, which in itself is difficult with a vestibular disorder, because it’s crazy busy city, had all of the tests done here and tests, Balanced tests, putting me on a chair with the goggles, let me round doing all that. And I finally sat down with a consultant at the end who said, I am 99.9% Sure this is vestibular migraine. And the relief was like someone sat there confidently telling me something that I feel is the case. But it took a year took a year to get that diagnosis.
So my life started to improve quite a bit, I’d made quite a lot of progress, and started running that started getting back into my fitness quite a lot. And I was still very, very up and down. And I was still having a really difficult time with my health and then locked down happened COVID happened. I was like, oh, yeah, it was really good when I was stuck at home last time. So then I picked up the yoga again and started doing the classes online that the other teachers were offering and doing YouTube videos again, I was starting to see this pattern of like, oh, yoga seems to be helping me when I’m having difficult times. And then I had one of those to the court like a sliding doors moment where I was about to apply to do a master’s in speech and language therapy. And one of my really, really good friends, he kind of sent that my heart wasn’t in it. And then he said, Well, if you could do anything, he said, Forget what anybody else thinks, what would you do? And he was like, Do you know I’d love to be a yoga teacher. Anyway, right? Okay. And I went, I can’t do that. I’ve got all these. I’ve got my degree, I’ve got my post said can’t throw all that away. And he was like me, Your happiness is so important. If that’s something that you want to do. Don’t worry about what other people think those that matter will still love and support you no matter what you do. Literally think the following week, I found some what I wanted to do the course I applied. And yeah, here we are, there we are now and it’s one of the best thing. I mean, it’s yeah, one of the best things, if not the best thing that I’ve ever that I’ve ever done. I knew when I started my training, it was going to be slow, gentle, nurturing, suitable for people with chronic illness, you know, with mental health struggles, and I wanted it to feel like a big hug for the body and for the you know, for the nervous system. And when I’m teaching my classes, I often start off by letting people take a body scan for the for the physical body and the mind and saying to them, we’re not looking to change anything, we’re just going, Hey, this is how I’m feeling today. I’m okay with that I accept it. And, you know, tomorrow’s a new day, and we’ll deal with that when it comes. And it wasn’t until I did my training and I started to understand the science behind it. And why it is so amazing and why actually doing something like that, which probably is one of the last thing you’d ever want to do if you’re feeling dizzy, and you know all of those balance issues and stuff you wouldn’t think I want to do some yoga and practice my balance and you know, do something that’s gonna make me feel uncomfortable potentially. But I think when you understand like say the science behind it and how it affects your nervous system, it makes sense that it does it brings everything down and your body just goes massage was one of the things you know when I mentioned earlier about all the different things that I tried holistic routes and otherwise, massage was one of the things that when I did that, I was like, Oh, I actually felt a difference when I came out of that appointment like a significant difference where I thought I would do that more regularly. So I was like, you know Same with the Yoga I was like my Okay, let’s research it. How can I qualify as a massage therapist? How can I integrate this with my yoga. So I started just a few weeks ago, if I rent like a little therapy room, which is kind of really close to where I teach my yoga, what I love about massage is it has a very similar effect on the body as yoga meditation does. It’s all for me, it’s all aimed around switching our fight and flight relaxation. Like, I’m genuinely so sort of proud of myself for getting to this point, and, and every single thing that’s happened, I’m able to look at it and go, okay, it led me to this place that I’m in now. And I didn’t think that happiness like this would ever be possible, even though I’m still struggling with symptoms every day is, you know, it’s emotional to think about it because I didn’t think I’d have this quality of life and this, you know, fulfillment in my career and you know, helping other people. I just didn’t think it was possible. So, if someone says to me at the end of a yoga class or a massage, oh my gosh, I feel so much better. I’m like, That’s all that’s it. That’s all I want. That’s all I want.