Refusing the drugs to let nature do the healing

I hadn’t realised how long it had been since my last post until someone contacted me last week and asked if I had given up my blog!  I haven’t given it up and neither do I intend to, I’d  just let time run away with me over the summer and hadn’t noticed that it was months rather than weeks since I’d posted!  I was obviously having too much fun!

And that’s the truth, despite it being a tumultuous year for me, a year of trying to discover who I am, what I want and where I’m going – well I never said the bankrupt’s route to recovery was going to be easy! – I spent much of the summer, particularly August, getting back in touch with the girl I was when life was carefree and full of fun.

I’ve always been an outdoors girl and it wasn’t until we went camping for 2 weeks that I remembered how much I love and need to get outdoors regularly.  Despite living in a lovely flat with fantastic views, I don’t have a garden so I rarely sit outside and work because having a communal garden means that every time I want to go inside for something I need to pack up the laptop, the papers, the phone and move everything. So for the best part of the last couple of years I’ve been cocooned in the 4 walls of my home slowly withering away. I just hadn’t noticed it.

Earlier this year, in my desperate need to work out who I was, I made a really stupid business mistake.  I ignored my gut instinct and some months, a few thousand pounds and oceans of tears later it all ended horribly.  In fact my body took over and I had a breakdown.  I knew I was doing the wrong thing but I ignored all those little niggles because I’d decided I needed to do something to define me.  I’d hoped that almost 4 years since my previous business became insolvent I would have worked out what to do by now!  Obviously I hadn’t.

I’ve spent the best part of 4 years trying things out.  Much as you try a new dress or new shoes for size, I’ve been trying new businesses for size.  I’ve dabbled in them, started them and walked away or in the case of the one above, totally freaked out, broke down and realised it was so far removed from the way I do business that I was acting without integrity or authenticity.  I’ve beaten myself up over it that’s for sure and have spent more hours crying in the GPs office than I care to remember, refusing to take the drugs he was desperate to prescribe to help me cope because I knew deep down that drugs weren’t the answer.

It’s all part of my personal and unique route along the Bankrupt’s Route to Recovery.  Some days, most days thankfully, I take the right turning, sometimes I take the wrong turning and make a slight detour and it’s only this one occasion that has seen me take a turning so wrong that I seriously thought I’d end up right back where I started.  Certainly my confidence and self-esteem were back there.  For a number of months I wouldn’t leave the flat, having panic-attacks each time I went out and for a short while I couldn’t even talk to or see friends or family.  How Mark, my other half, managed me I have no idea but him and one or two other friends who ignored my selfishness and refused to go away pulled me through.  In fact, one friend said to me “We’re like your armbands. And whether you like it or not we’re not going to let you drown. You can either work with us or we’ll just drag you through”!  Tough words at the time but I’m glad that I have a friend who can be as blunt and direct as that.  And believe me, there were times where she did drag me through, pushing me into situations she knew I would and could handle but left to my own devices I’d have walked away and disappeared.

So, I was still in this semi-fragile state when we went away on holiday.  We had planned on driving to St Tropez but cancelled that when I didn’t feel as if I could cope with a strange place and a strange language.  So we went camping instead, for 2 weeks to St Ives in Cornwall.  We put the tent up in the rain and some nights we were woken up by the wind and the rain threatening to uproot the tent.  But the days for the most part were warm and sunny and we had fun.

Being back outside in all weathers was precisely what I needed, I only wish I’d done it sooner.  My body and mind reconnected and got back in sync with the natural rhythm of things.  We were waking up when the sun came up and was bright enough to infiltrate the darkness of the tent and we went to bed around 10/10.30pm when we were exhausted from a full day in the fresh air, walking around.  We ate simple food and drank a lot less than we would at home.

We actually arrived home feeling so much better that we’ve continued the same rhythm.  The hardest thing about being back home has been reconnecting with technology.  I can honestly say that in those 2 weeks of getting back to nature I didn’t miss the ipad, blackberry or computer one little bit. Although I did fall in love with the kindle!

And whilst adopting the same routine I’ve made sure that I get outside every day for a minimum of 20 minutes. If I have a letter to post or need to pick something up from the shop I walk rather than take the car or ask Mark to drop it off or pick it up on his way to and from the office. And the best side effect is the weight I’ve lost. Without even trying I lost half a stone in 10 days!  That’s when I know I’m doing the right things.

And in adopting this routine I’ve inadvertently stumbled upon another business.  The last month or so has seen me remember what it is I need to feel alive and to feel like me and now I’m doing just that.

I’ve managed to create a lifestyle for myself that many years ago (I’m talking 10/20/30 years) seemed just a pipe dream.  Now my week sees me working on any one of a number of TV productions or films as an extra, I spend time in the kitchen developing new products for Deb’s Kitchen and I get out and about speaking to various groups and coaching people in how to present themselves on a public platform. I do the occasional bit of PA work but for someone who at 16 said “I’m never ever going to work in an office or on a computer and I’m certainly not going to be a secretary” I think it’s about time I gave that up.  I know I was good at it and for many years it earned me a very good salary but 20 years is a long time to spend doing a job you don’t enjoy.

That chapter of the book has closed now.  The new chapter has started and this time I expect the last leg of the Bankrupt’s Route to Recovery to be more of a straight line with fewer detours.

I hope that your route to recover has fewer detours than mine but equally that it’s leading you to a better place.  I’d love to know how you’re getting on.

Planning for Phenomenal Success!

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

What can seem like an uphill struggle suddenly peters out and you find yourself walking along a lovely plateau, giving you chance to catch your breath and gather your thoughts.

It feels as if I’ve hit that stage.  Although I’ve spent just over 3 years Bouncing Back, those of you who know me or follow this blog will know that it’s been far from easy. There have been plenty of times where I’ve felt like I was wading through treacle, taking 3 steps foward and 2 steps back and even more times where I’ve just wanted to jack it all in.

Yes, even the Bounce Back Queen has her off days!

This last month has been yet another turning point, my new website is well on its way to becoming live, my new Bounce Back Programmes are ready to be launched and I’ve got a host of speaking engagements lined up.  Success is one thing, Phenomenal Success something totally different – and everyone’s idea of Phenomenal Success is different.  For some it’s a big house, lots of money, a fast car and exotic holidays for others, it can be a safe and secure home environment knowing that there’s plenty of money left over after paying the bills to lavish treats on the family.

Create your own vision of Phenomenal Success then take the steps you need to take to get there.  It’s your life and your vision – enjoy every second of it.

So, if you’re still struggling to Bounce Back from bankruptcy, business failure, divorce or any one of a myriad of life’s challenges remember, it’s not easy, I never promised it would be, but if you keep on putting one foot in front of the other you will be successful and once you’ve tasted that success, continue putting one foot in front of the other to achieve Phenomenal Success.

That’s what I’ve done.

And now I’m off out to dodge showers with the roof down on my new car and look forward to my summer holiday to St Tropez (12 months ago you might as well have told me I’d be booking a holiday to the moon it seemed that unachievable)!

Goals & dreams – from the sublime to the delivered!

It’s incredible isn’t it?  Those of you that follow me on twitter @debjmeredith will know that I believe in the power of the Universe. It’s power became obvious to me when I met my other half.

Every year and every month I write down goals.  My ex-husband always used to laugh at this ‘fruitless exercise’.  Usually my monthly goals are stepping stones  to help me achieve my annual goals and sometimes you just have to leave things to fate as my mother would say.

Even when I was bankrupt I wrote goals, when I was in the depths of despair last Christmas (more about that some other time) I was still writing goals.  It seemed ludicrous to me last Christmas.  I didn’t even think I’d be here right now let alone achieving some of the goals I’d written down but I’m the sort of person who just has to believe that something good will come out of something bad.  It’s up to you whether you put that down to blind faith, stupidity or something else!

Anyway, last Christmas, one of the things I really hoped to achieve this year was finding a decent partner to love me just as I am.  At 39 with 2 failed marriages behind me and more failed relationships than I care to remember this was a big ask.  I’d become cynical about relationships and to be honest really didn’t think there were any decent men out there.  It seemed to me that they were prepared to wine and dine me until they got what they wanted and then that was it, they were never to be seen again.  For years I went through this cycle, meet a ‘nice’ man, go on a couple of dates, spend the night together, don’t hear from him, I call him, he feels guilty, we date some more, don’t hear from him, I call him, he feels guilty, we date some more.  That was the pattern of my relationships – pretty healthy huh?!

So last year I wrote down exactly what I wanted in a man, here’s what I said “By 15.04.11 I am dating a professional man who adores me and supports me whole-heartedly and unequivocally.  He loves [my son] and we are planning holidays, outings and dates.  He is also able to afford to keep me and is my absolute equal on all levels.”

Now that may seem pretty materialistic but I had been the bread-winner in both of my marriages and even through the majority of my other relationships I didn’t know what it was like to be spoiled or treated unconditionally.  I must point out that I’ve never expected a man to keep me, but I knew I couldn’t go into another relationship where I was expected to be the main bread-winner. I just wasn’t in that place financially, being bankrupt and all!  And, when I wrote this I’d just as well have been asking to win millions on the lottery that’s how achievable it seemed!  But I just knew, with a supportive partner by my side, that I could achieve anything (I’m just one of those people who functions better in a relationship, I’m sure I could have achieved it on my own but self-doubt would have made it take longer).

On 31st March, I met my Mark.  I was only just over my lowest point but I still wasn’t in a great place.  I have to be honest it was instant attraction both ways but I really didn’t think he’d be interested in me.  He works for a major bank (yes really, but I don’t hold that against him), he absolutely adores me and more to the point he totally adores and accepts my son.

So, that’s great, but what’s even more surprising about those goals is that we had a wonderful ‘family’ holiday in July and he’s gone out this morning telling me to book a week away next week so that I can relax properly after what we’ve been through this last month.

Now, I’m not saying I could have done any of that on my own, although I had already booked to take my son camping.  Mark came too and we had a whale of a time.  But there’s no way I could have afforded 2 holidays within a couple of months of each other.

The point I’m trying to make here is sometimes, no matter how ludicrous your goals and dreams, if you believe in them hard enough and want them badly enough, they will manifest.

I currently have significantly more material things than I had when I was bankrupt, not quite so many as I had prior to that but most importantly I’m happier now that I have been for very many years.

Happiness isn’t always down to money (I talk about that in my e-book – The 8 Lessons I Learned from Bankruptcy).  The emotional support I get from Mark is worth it’s weight in Gold.  And if I had to trade next week’s break for more of his support, then I’d do it in a heartbeat.  Without his support at home there’s no way I’d have launched The Bankrupt’s Route to Recovery or done any of the things I’ve done and planned in the past couple of weeks.

What goals and dreams do you have that you think are ludicrous?  They may just be the ones that happen and when they do, who knows what else you can achieve?