Sometimes you just want to talk to someone who gets it. Someone who has sat in the same chair as you and someone who has a similar lived expereince to you. In some models of psychology lived experience is encouraged and research is starting to provide a solid foundation to suggest that shared expereince is beneficial to therapy.
For me, it was when I had to face something I did not want to - a cancer diagnosis - that I learnt about what I valued. It was through adversity and trauma that I carved out a life that I love. It was through learning how to survive that I taught myself to thrive. Through my experience of life-threatening illness - being diagnosed with breast cancer - I learnt more about myself, others, the world, life and how to live it. And it is through my experiences, my own self-belief, vulnerability and self-awareness in combination with my knowledge of psychology, that I gained tools for success that I want to pass on to others.
I have my own lived experience of how hard change is, how hard it can be to live with a chronic illness, and because I know what it is like to be in the patient role, I have a unique perspective to offer. I’m here to help you survive, and even better, I’ll help show you how to thrive.
For me, in my life, in my training, in my experience, the mind has always been my most powerful asset. It is the key to shaping all behaviours and guiding our expereinces.
Somehow, after a life-altering diagnosis, I came out the other side with clear scans and I turned my life around in the process. I am the happiest, healthiest version of myself I’ve ever been. In a weird way, I have a complex illness to thank for it. That’s where post-traumatic growth comes in.
The thing was that I was better than I had been before my diagnosis; I had learnt how to thrive. I had become the best version of myself. I had achieved a level of self-development and self-awareness that I had never known existed. I had developed the skills of a survivor, I had gained strength, resilience and confidence. I was, for myself, experiencing Posttraumatic Growth. I had not just recovered, but found benefit and gained something from the experience. Traditional models of psychology encourage a return to previous levels of functioning following a stress or trauma. Posttraumatic Growth explores a whole new field, finding benefits that occur in one’s ability to adapt to sets of circumstances that typically engender high levels of psychological distress.
This is something that I want everyone to be able to experience. Through overcoming hardship, you can rebuild and recreate yourself and your life. Maybe even for the better. This is my story and I believe there is power in sharing it with you. There is connection to be made through similar lived experiences, and there is power in being vulnerable and articulating our experiences. Through being vulnerable, through bearing my soul to myself and others, I was able to break down who I was and to build myself up again. Through being vulnerable I learned I was not weak, but that I was strong. It gave me the ability to break my life down into what really mattered, so that I could build it back up again. We can all live a more meaningful life, one where we are connected to ourselves, where we identify our values and live with more intent.