ali moore BeMoore

Reconnect Your Life & Find Your Roar!

Meet Ali Moore!  One of the most inspiring women I know.  Ali is inspiring on so many levels – ali moore reconnect your life
what’s she’s achieved in her life to date personally and for her business. How many plates she spins and doesn’t manage to drop a single one!   She’s an empathetic and engaging public speaker, as well as a published author of Reconnect Your Life.

She’s passionate about clothes and her signature style.  Ali also describes herself as a compulsive shopper who doesn’t want to be cured!  But that’s enough from me, let’s hear Ali’s story.

Ali – Please introduce yourself

Hi – I am Ali Moore, founder of Bemoore which is a private therapy and coaching practice; specialising in the science of self- esteem.  Working with women to restore that self- esteem platform and feel fabulous about being them.

I am a community Celebrant  and author of Reconnect Your Life – more about those later!

I am married to my Alfie and between us we have 5 children. My girls are 22 and 19 my step children 13 and 11. We also have our joint venture who is 4.5 years old!

Tell us about your childhood and your teenage years

My early years were really quite normal – a good middle-class family. Just before my teenage years however I experienced an awful period of bullying which led not only to me being home schooled for a while but also developing social anxiety and controlling my eating. It wasn’t a great time, but the homeschooling actually was a real blessing and I am forever in debt to the teacher I had and the introduction to topics such as mindfulness and yoga.

You met your first husband at just 15 and soon had two amazing girls while juggling a corporate career.  How did you manage to keep all the plates spinning?

I was fortunate that both sets of grandparents were fully involved.

I had to go back to work financially.  We owned our first home by the time I was 18,  I was young when I had the girls, so in those early days there wasn’t an option to be a stay at home mum.

I think like many women you just get on with it and make it work. You get organised and I did actually love working alongside being a mum.  I think the girls gained from it in different ways.

ali moore radio presenter

Sadly, your first marriage ended after 21 years, what was the catalyst for this?

We got together, as you said,  at a very young age, we had grown up and become different people.

Our son was still born in 2007 having diagnosed with a life preventing condition and I strongly believe that there is no relationship which cannot be impacted by this loss.

We grieved very differently, and I was forever changed as a person. I made a decision about 18 months after that it was best all round we separated.  He has remained very close to the girls and very involved in their lives.

What was your coping mechanism after losing your baby?

Initially my coping mechanism was work.  I went back to work 2 weeks after the funeral. There was no support really offered.

The GP never visited or checked in.  A midwife did come and visit in the first few days – but she was very newly qualified and out of her depth.  I made her a cup of tea if I remember rightly!

I didn’t know about any type of therapy or counselling and it seemed as though we were expected to just ‘move on’ with life!  After a while I was prescribed anti -depressants but overall, I just got on with it. It was later that I realized I hadn’t dealt with it at all.

When your first marriage ended, how did you build the next stage of your life?

I had never been on my own.  I didn’t really even know who I was outside of the marriage and relationship.

But I will be honest and say I threw myself into this next phase. Learning to manage bank accounts and the house things which I had never done.

I persuaded my boss to give me a project in a new role in a brand-new location .  I wanted a fresh start. To not be ‘the women whose life was a car crash’.

I totally changed myself as well, joining a gym and changing my hair.  I qualified as a Life and Business Coach. It was full on in those early years.

I needed to be financially stable to keep the family home for the girls – that was my driver.

ali moore reconnect your life

arrival of the chimp

I am very comfortable now with telling this.  It’s part of who I am and there is no shame in mental health challenges.

Firstly I was very happy at this stage of my life.  Most of the drama was all done. I went out to feed the cats one morning and had a panic attack.  Firmly believing that a chimp had escaped from the nearby safari park !  Convinced this chimp would be in the area and would attack the girls on the way to school.

I knew this was crazy talk, but I also couldn’t step away from the panic.   This wasn’t an isolated incident – it kept happening.  I would have to pull over to check the boot of the car, look under beds in hotel rooms.

We talk about ‘the chimp’  in people’s heads the chattering monkey.  But for me there was a real chimp out there and he meant business.  It was my (now) second husband that helped to persuade me I needed to get some help.

BTW I do know how crazy this sounds but that was the point really wasn’t it! :0)

What steps did your recovery take?

I contacted a local hypnotherapist who had advertised I the local paper for a number of years. I thought she could hypnotise it away!  But she didn’t, instead she made me talk about it.

My interest in therapy was starting to take shape.  I had explored counselling.  I was a trained mediator and of course coaching was now in my life.  But talking therapy and cognitive therapy was pivotal for me.

My next journey started as I decided I would look to train as a therapist.   That initial therapy helped me put the chimp away. But I have continued to explore therapy in different forms.  I  continue now to work on my sense of self.

2013 was a major year why?ali moore reconnect your life

It was a busy year!  The start of another new journey in my life.

My partner asked me to have a hand-fasting (pagan wedding) – I said yes.  A couple of months later we made a big decision.   We wanted a baby of our own.   Interestingly we’d not mentioned  living together neither were we planning our wedding.   But curiously  I felt very secure and it wasn’t even on my mind.

To have another baby was huge… to be able to trust someone that much, to risk allowing myself to be that vulnerable again.

Initially I wasn’t sure I could go through that again.  Or put my family through it again.  But when you trust someone and you are able to be really honest with them it is a wonderful feeling.

So, in 2013 I fell pregnant with our son who was born in the following May.

I also agreed to move my family into one house, sell my house that I’d fought so hard to keep.  I also accepted the change to my whole financial situation, by becoming a parent again after 16 years!

How did it feel to lose your financial independence?

Terrifying!

It was the biggest block for me.  It was the main reason I hesitated and didn’t launch my business initially.  I even took another employed role even after I had set everything up.

I need to be able to contribute.  It was also about feeling secure enough that I could trust this would work.

Previously I had been in a position to take on all the financial burden. If this relationship didn’t work out, then I would not be in the same place.

I like my independence and my own money.  I will not ever have a joint bank account again.

reconnection program

This actually started from a selfish point of view.

I had run a very early version of my FindYourRoar workshop, and the women mentioned about feeling like they wanted to stay together.

It got me thinking that I was really missing that community I had in my corporate life.  I wasn’t a coffee morning mum type of person, I loved networking but that was business.  I wanted someone where to meet new women and to have good conversation.

So, my women’s group open to women from all backgrounds started. It has been slow process to get set up.  This is probably because there is nothing else really out there like it in the evenings.

We pick a self-development topic every month. We chat, discuss, share book reviews and importantly make new connections. I now have an established group in Bedford and Milton Keynes and am considering the next steps to expand this community.

DESPITE A very BUSY LIFE, yOU STARTED A DEGREE in 2017!

I am always learning.  I always have a course going on!  But going to University was a real dream for me. I really wanted to have a Uni Campus experience.  It would be very 1960’s Cambridge in my head – but I didn’t have that option!

There was also the fact that I didn’t have A levels and was refused by a certain University!  Even though I had numerous higher diplomas and was running my own business.

So, I contacted the Open University and they were happy to support me so I’m now studying Clinical Psychology.   I want to do a massive shout out here for those that are learning in this way.

There is nothing easy about an Open University degree course. You are basically self-teaching, self-motivated and self-reliant. I do feel stressed as the schedule is tough.   But I am committed and I loving it!  The other major benefit is being able to help my clients through the additional learning.

celebrating life!

This has been another life changer actually. I have always had an interest in faith.  While I’m a   Pagan I’m hugely interested in other faiths and in the new form of spirituality that’s emerging.

I had attended a very dear friends funeral a couple of years ago and a Celebrant had conducted the service.  It felt really personal, but I was surprised that it contained religious pieces.  I thought it had to be Humanist and this would not be right for me. But I discovered you can be a multi-faith celebrant.   The primary benefit is to give your community a wonderful option of how to conduct those important life transitions.

I am now building up my business and my community, in which to practice.  Once agin I’m  connecting with some new and amazing individuals.

Reconnect your life

In December 2018 I became a published author as part of an amazing collaborative project.

Writing is something I love to do, so after being involved in a collaborative project,  I decided to write my own book; Reconnect Your Life, which has just been published.

I was discovering so many stories and bringing together some great material as I built out my Reconnection Programme it seemed like a wonderful way to share with a wider audience.

Determined not to write a book which just focused on my challenges, but to focus on  something that really gave something back in a useful way.

Reconnect Your Life isn’t meant to be aimed at an academic audience but at real people.  It is not designed to replace true therapy support, but it does give a great start to some of the cognitive practices people can do to improve their sense of self.

ali moore published author reconnect your life

Running A business Networking Group

Running two reconnection groups with everything else on your plate would be enough for most women, but you’ve also found time to take on running a business networking group too!  What is this about and what motivated you to get involved with this project?

I seem to just keep adding to my plate, but actually I see this a lot with business women.  We are used to juggling and we like to have lots of diversity in our days.

I was keen to take the word about my business further towards London. I love the Busy Women Networking groups I attended and love collaborating with the owner Aruna Rao.  So rather than join another new group it suited us both for me to open a St Albans based branch.

ali moore empowerment day

How do you maintain any level of self-care?

It’s a hectic life! But I thrive on this, ensuring I get time to myself during the day. Clearing my diary if needed and recognising the signs that mean I am feeling overwhelmed. I eat healthily and practise yoga most mornings.

I surround myself with people who are of a positive nature.

Plus, my husband is super supportive.  He enjoys cooking and I love eating so that’ s a winning partnership!  We share the home responsibilities … and sometimes nothing is better than a glass of bubbly in the bath!

If you had the opportunity to advise your 15-year-old self what would that be?

Gosh that is a big question! I would say … life is going to be an adventure- there will be wonderful moments and there are going to be times you feel you are drinking the bitterest of lemon juice … but you will rise, and you will shine … stay strong!

WHAT’S NEXT?

My overall dream for the business is to establish the Bemoore Foundation. A place for women of all ages and backgrounds to feel comfortable coming to, for support.   With teenage programmes and funding available alongside the private practice.

We are just launching our first Roaring4Life teenage programme in a local Milton Keynes school, so the future is already starting to emerge.

reconnect your life and connect with ali

As I said at the beginning Ali is one of the most inspiring women I know.   If you’d like to find our more about   Ali’s work then follow her at the BeMoore foundation

 

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women in business

Women In Business: Be Seen And Be Heard

This week I want to focus about women in business and in particular about being visible.

The UK has one of the strongest entrepreneurial economies in the world and a huge proportion of that being Micro Businesses run by women – source UK Govt*

  • There are 5.4M Small businesses in the UK
  • 95% of these businesses is defined as a micro business (less than 4 employees)
  • 20% of micro businesses are run by women – that’s 1.08M

Women In Business We Share Values

Many of the women in business that I meet and talk to share very similar values with regard to running a business:

  1. A burning desire to make a difference
  2. Passion for what they do which enables them to lead a fulfilled life
  3. Wanting to add value to their clients
  4. Freedom that a thriving business brings
  5. Flexibility that enables them to juggle business and family commitments

Women are more likely to have an innate desire to nurture and support others. This leads to many of them setting up a service-based business.    There are other factors too, which include lower start up costs and an increasing trend towards self-awareness and personal development.

When you run a small business, you are the business. There’s no shirking behind a corporate veil.   We, as business owners, are our brand and we need to own that.   How else can we run an authentic credible business that ticks the boxes for our values?

I Am My Brand

Let me use my business as an example. When I ran Want Her Dress, an online boutique, which I bought in 2013, I hid behind the concept that I had a ‘store’.

women in business

 

At first I would talk about ‘we’ and ‘us’ in terms of my business.  It was as if I was not an important ingredient in the marketing. That was wrong, but selling products I managed to get away with it, at least for a while!

When I trained as a personal stylist and launched Want Her Outfit two years ago, I had nowhere to hide.

People weren’t attracted to me because I could determine which colours to wear, help them to dress for their body shape or detox their wardrobe. They saw something in me that they liked.

Equally I know other women will not be attracted to me and will seek help elsewhere.

But until I showed up and was really visible how would anyone be able to decide?

 

Time to Stand Under The Spotlight …

Oh boy that was a big stomach churning moment.

So in true Carol fashion I ditched the water wings, held my nose and leapt into the deep end of the swimming pool!

Within a month of completing my styling course I was running my own webinar.

Volunteers needed talk at networking events and expos – I was there!  BTW it was cringingly awful at first but I knew that I’d never get better unless I practised (sorry to my early audiences!)

I was asked to present on stage (twice) at Pure London, the largest fashion trade show in the UK.

The University of Hertfordshire invited me to come in talk to students I virtually hugged the lecturer on the spot!

I’ve done two pre-recorded radio interviews and on 21st February I will be doing my first live radio on Radio Verulam as part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

I also run events, workshops and retreats.

Last year I took my first baby steps into vlogging and FB Live.

 

So why am I telling you all of this?

It’s certainly not so that I can brag about my list of achievements. But it is to show you how I have shown up and let the world find out who I am.

There’s a very personal journey involved too as I have grown in confidence and have got much clearer on my big WHY.

I would be the first to admit that mine has been a very scattergun approach. It’s not a coincidence that I struggle to say no! I’m very good at seeing what potential benefits an activity might bring. Oh and I’m up for a challenge!

With so many small businesses wanting to reach an audience, it’s easy to see why video marketing is becoming so big.

Here are some compelling reasons why small businesses cannot ignore the impact:

  1. By 2019 74% of all internet traffic will be video (KBCP)
  2. Including a video in an email improves click through rate by 200-300% (Forrester)
  3. Video builds trust. 64% of people are more likely to buy online after watching a video. (ComScore)

 

So What’s Stopping Us?

It’s a 4-letter word beginning with F – fear!

woman hiding behind iPad

The most common objections that we put up for not putting ourselves on screen are:

  1. I don’t like the sound of my voice – guess what you’re not alone. You’d be in a very small minority if you did.
  2. I hate the way I look in photos let alone video and seeing myself on screen
  3. I’ll ‘fluff my lines’ and never be able to remember what I’m going to say
  4. I haven’t got time to learn something else
  5. I don’t understand enough about the technology to do it myself and don’t want to pay for it

The concerns are very real. But the good news is that with the right help and support you can start to produce your own videos. This will not only help your business but will benefit you personally!

 

The C-word…

Confidence is the big one here:

  1. Understanding how to look fabulous on screen will help your self-confidence way beyond making videos
  2. Getting clear on your message and what you want to say to the world will help you to communicate more effectively and hone your message.
  3. Communicating more effectively will help you speak to your ideal client and more importantly for your ideal client to hear you.
  4. Learning how easy it is to use the technology will help your self -confidence and broaden your knowledge.

Last year when I met Karen Witchalls-Plunkett I fell in love with the initiative she’d started of Teens on Screen.

I was like an excited puppy over the concept of giving teenagers the opportunity to present. Icing on the cake was doing this in a studio environment. I adored the fact that it would help their self-confidence, teach them how to present and give them an insight into what was involved with being on screen.

Karen Witchalls-Plunkett

Lunch And Coffee

Over lunch in a pub garden and several coffee dates we conceived the idea of offering training for women in business.

Our aim is to help women become more visible, grow in confidence and overcome the barriers.  We will be doing this as an online training course, supported by weekly calls and a private Facebook group.

But before we get too carried away with our ideas we want to ensure that what we plan to offer is beneficial to women in business.

This is where we’d like your help. We are preparing an online survey and would love to get your input.

We’re not quite there with the final survey! But we would love to know if you’re up for taking part.

We would love to hear from you if you are:

 

  1. A woman in business
  2. Plan to grow your business
  3. Want to reach more clients
  4. Would love to feel more confident about being visible

 

Please complete the form below to register your interest and we’ll be in touch very soon.

source UK Govt* Department Of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy- Business Population Estimates For UK and Regions 2016

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Philippa Taylor Simple Ways To Feel Fab

Philippa Taylor: Simple Ways To Feel Fab

This week I’m delighted to welcome Philippa Taylor as my guest blogger.  Philippa is one of the happiest most cheerful women I know.  She genuinely has a great big grin on her face every time I see her! I asked if she would share her secrets!  Philippa told me that there were no secrets just a few simple ways to feel fab!

Philippa Taylor Simple Ways To Feel Fab

Have You Binned Your Resolutions Yet?

Traditionally January is the month to make resolutions (most of which will be binned by the end of the month).  We are also deluged with endless ‘new year new you’ articles in the media.

Personal development is something which should, in my opinion, be part of your everyday life and not just for January.  Do you want to boost your wellbeing in the long term?  Then follow some simple ways to feel fab rather than making wholesale changes to your lifestyle.

Simple Ways To Feel Fab Starts With Self-Care

Part of personal development is recognising that you need to look after yourself properly first.  It’s no accident that you’re advised to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others on a plane!

Put together a range of simple ways to feel fab.  You’ll create your own wellbeing routine made up of easy-to-follow healthy habits.  These might include:  daily exercise, spending time with good friends, eating well and sleeping enough.

As a working mum  I don’t have the headspace or the time to follow elaborate wellbeing plans.  I look for simple life hacks  which will have a significant impact on my daily life.  These hacks must enable me to get as much out of life as I used to decades ago!

For those of us who are of a certain vintage, we may find our levels of wellbeing have declined over time.  If your to-do list doesn’t shrink at the rate it once did, chances are your wellbeing levels need a boost. A recent survey says that Brits believe that you stop being young at 35 and start being old at 58.  This is not a huge window of time to be middle-aged! We all age at vastly different rates.  Some people are much older or younger than their biological age.

Wherever you are on this spectrum, there are a number of simple ways to feel fab which you can put in place now:

1. Sleep

According to research by the Sleep Council, nearly half of us are getting just six hours sleep or less a night. Jason Ellis, Professor in Psychology at Northumbria University and Director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research has these simple tips for better sleep:

  • Check that your pillow hasn’t reached its sell-by date and still gives your head and neck the support you need.
  • Test your pillow by holding it out longways in front of you. If you’ve got pillow droop, buy a new one!
  • If you can’t sleep, try a taxing task such as counting backwards from 1,000 rather than counting sheep
  • Turn off all your electronics so there isn’t any blue light in the room.
  • Don’t have a clock facing you when you’re in bed or you’re likely to clock watch
  • Leave at least two hours between exercising or having a bath and going to bed so that you have a chance to cool down which will aid sleeping
  • Regulate your liquid intake before bedtime so that you avoid nocturnal bathroom visits
  • Choose your mattress carefully – you spend a third of your life in bed so take care and time when selecting a new one

simple ways to feel fab

2. Exercise

Find the activity that you love and you’ll never exercise a day in your life.

Take a moment and think about the things you love. Are you sociable and enjoy being amongst people? Activities with a strong social element like Nordic walking, running clubs and Bootcamp would likely appeal to you.

Prefer something a bit more dance-related? Zumba, Jazzercise, Ceroc, Ballroom or Hip-Hop classes would be straight up your street. Fancy something quieter? Pilates, yoga or stretch classes would fit the bill.

exercise improves self-esteem

3. Treats

Simple ways to feel fab when you want to treat yourself include a bath with your favourite book, a glass of wine and some candles.  Or why not enjoy a long walk in the countryside?  Invite good friends over for a nutritious and healthy supper.

There’s no need to spend lots of money on pampering or expensive evenings out when small treats will give you the life-affirming lift you need.

4. Health

Private healthcare companies offer pricey medical assessments.  But most of the time the lifestyle and diet advice you end up with is just common sense.

Keep up to date with important medical appointments.  Do not skip appointments for: a smear test, breast screening, eye test or dental hygienist appointment.  Speaking to your doctor if you feel run down, are simple ways to feel fab and stay healthy.

5. Your Body 

Stop yo-yo dieting by taking control of what you eat. Keep an honest food diary for a week, writing down everything that you eat and drink. By the end of it you should be able to see where you’re wasting those calories. A study shows that the ages at which we are most susceptible to putting on weight start at 38 for women and 44 for men so it makes sense to monitor your calorie intake to still enjoy a little, not a lot, of what you fancy!

Simple Ways To Feel Fab

6. Anti-Ageing

Have you ever cut open an apple and seen it go brown? The apple’s oxidised after being exposed to oxygen in the air, causing a rapid increase in its ageing process. Oxidative stress occurs in humans with every breath we take.  When we breathe we take in oxygen which creates free radicals (unstable molecules that can damage the cells in your body).

Antioxidants are chemicals that help protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. In modern times it is argued that the effects of oxidative stress have never been greater as we live in increasingly polluted environments, live stressful lifestyles and medicines/prescription drugs are widely used.

As we age, our bodies naturally produce fewer antioxidants to neutralise the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals damage cells so, over time, whatever organ those cells belong to isn’t going to function quite as well as it should. For example, collagen gets weaker and as a result, your skin gets more wrinkles. A simple way to feel fab is to lower your oxidative stress levels by taking take one Protandim tablet every day, which is clinically proven to trigger the cells in your body to naturally increase the production of antioxidants. Better sleep, better energy levels and better recovery are the most commonly reported benefits of taking Protandim.

simple ways to feel fab

7. Wellbeing Review

I’d like to share an exercise with you that may help you evaluate which areas of your wellbeing would benefit from a 2017 reboot. I’d like you to choose a year which, with 20:20 hindsight, saw you
at being at your wellbeing peak: perhaps it was the year you got married, went travelling or were successful in something you enjoyed doing?

Got one? Good. Mine is 1999 when I was 38. I was representing GB in dragon boating so was as fit as a butcher’s dog, working in a PR agency in a role I loved, and looking forward to getting married the following year. Or I could have chosen 1983 when I was 22. I was in my second year at Uni and was enjoying reading for most of the day (I did an English degree!), rowing for my college and partying more than I ever had before, or since come to think of it!

Take a few minutes and jot down some notes on how you felt then. Leave the list and go back to it another time and complete the Now column.

The simple ways to feel fab which you can put in place now to boost your wellbeing may jump off the page at you or you may want to ask a friend/wellbeing expert for some advice. The most important thing is that you recognise which areas of your life need a boost and then action the simple ways to feel fab on a daily/weekly basis.

wellbeing review

Summary Simple Ways To Feel Fab

Finally although I can’t turn the clock back for you, I hope that this simple exercise has highlighted some areas of your life which you can revisit. Furthermore if you keep it simple you stand a chance of sticking with it.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to check out more simple ways to feel fab, please visit my blog with guest posts from a great selection of experts (including Carol of course!) and my website.  You can also find me on social media:

 

Twitter: @feelfabdirect

Facebook: @ProtandimGlobalFeelFabDirect

 

 

 

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Scout Movement Helped Me Ruth Randall

How The Scouts Saved Me

Welcome to part 2 of my interview with Ruth Randall where we explore how the Scout Movement pushed Ruth out of her comfort zone but offered Ruth an incredible amount of love and support. We will look at how you can’t say no to abseiling in front of six year olds. Life then took a cruel and tragic turn in 2012.

Scout Movement Helped Me Ruth Randall

Letting Go

I started to spend more time with people who were positive influences on my life.

There was never a big falling out but I gradually spent less and less time with this friend who had caused me so much distress.  But she tried to set my friends against me by making remarks such as ‘we don’t see Ruth anymore. Since she’s started seeing Rob, she’s neglecting her friends’

By that time I was ready to let it go.

I’d been involved in the Scout Movement since my youngest had joined beavers.   I started volunteering and found myself offering to take on the role of a cub leader.   From there I moved on to become a scout leader.  The  Scout Movement offers a really supportive atmosphere and this was just what I need.  Everyone involved in the Scout Movement has a very similar outlook on life.  The movement is full of caring and compassionate people.

scout movement

Way Beyond My Comfort Zone 

I draw the line at going down holes in the ground. But it didn’t stop me from being pushed into doing many things that were right out of my comfort zone!

It’s very difficult to say no to abseiling when you have a group of eager six year olds wanting to do it.

I wasn’t planning on taking part, but my eldest son got to the top of the tower and froze with fear.  So I asked if it would help if I did the abseiling with him.  My fingers were crossed that he’d say no but to my dismay he nodded!  So with a crowd of 6-10 year old eager onlookers I could hardly turn round and retract my offer!

At the top of the training tower the instructor hooked us each into the safety harness, which is attached to a rail.   You are then told that in your own time you should go under the rail and start to lower yourself down.

Life is like abseiling

The abseiling adventure reminded me so much of life.

The feeling that it was quite nice being on the safe side of the rail, knowing I was safe and being able to see, touch and feel my surroundings – being grounded.

But going under that rail represented uncertainty and risk (although not in the case of the training tower) but the analogy still feels the same.

Equally the Scout Movement can show us how to play to our strengths.  We had one boy in our pack who was particularly disruptive in weekly meetings.  Each week we would have to call his dad into a meeting to discuss his son’s behaviour.

That went on until we did a night hike round Hemel Hempstead. A lot of the children were flagging and struggling with the fact we were out late. But he was the one encouraging and motivating them to complete the exercise.  We saw a totally different side to his character that night!

The Scout Movement has been very instrumental in helping many troubled teenagers  but for me it helped me so much with some really tough times in my life.

life is like abseiling

Dealing with Dyslexia 

My eldest is dyslexic but we only found out when he went to senior school.

The primary school that my boys attended had so much in place for children with special educational needs. The school offered a different style of learning that enabled him to do really well.

However the move to secondary school and the method of learning didn’t suit him.

We got him a tutor for a while but that didn’t really help and he found his own way.

Jamie simply wouldn’t accept any help that made him stand out as different, such as having a laptop in class.

He scraped into sixth form and had always been determined that he would go to university and do something with computers.  But an incident with a teacher at a parents evening changed all of that!

You Can’t Do A Levels 

Jamie was really struggling in the sixth form. He couldn’t cope with the A level syllabus.

We went along to a parents’ evening and one of his teachers told him bluntly ‘You need a reality check Jamie, you can’t do A Levels’.  With that my son stormed out of the school.

Jamie did a lot of research and found a computer programming course, which he did for a year before going to college to do a further course to get the necessary UCAS points to go to university.    He’s now at Newcastle University.

While it might have been a harsh comment from the teacher it was probably what Jamie needed and the timing was perfect.  He was extremely  motivated to prove his teacher wrong.

So he worked really hard to get the qualifications he needed to achieve his dream to reach university.

computer programming

Your Personal Development Journey 

One of my work colleagues developed my interest in personal development.

At the time I was struggling with my toxic friendship; my marriage break down and all that was making me feel particularly vulnerable.

I read lots of books and she taught me a lot and I became a bit hooked!

My job was about empowering people. It fascinated me how much people can achieve with the right support or changes to their mindset.

Initially I did a foundation in counselling but felt it wasn’t quite me. I went on to study NLP Practitioners Course and Coaching Course, which really inspired me.

Finally last year I did a Personal Transformation Diploma Course you go in one end and come out the other a completely different person.

I remember saying to Rob that even if I don’t become a Life Coach it’s been worth the investment just for what I’ve got out of the course.

personal development reading

Trying For A Baby

We began 2012 trying for a baby. We weren’t sure if we’d succeed.  But imagine our delight when I fell pregnant.

I had a friend who was also pregnant, having been through a miscarriage the previous year, another friend at work was undergoing fertility treatment. So it all became pretty intense.

In September we went for the 3-month scan and I knew something wasn’t right when we looked at the screen.

The sonographer told us that the baby had died in the womb at around eight weeks.

There hadn’t been any signs, no bleeding and everything felt fine.  It may sound funny but I was just so aware that I was pregnant.  Consequently the news was totally overwhelming.

My world had suddenly been turned upside down in the most cruel and inexplicable way.  I experienced both grief and shock. I’m also very good at beating myself up so I felt that I’d let Rob down and he’ll never have a baby

The hospital did not offer an abortion but instead told me that it should happen naturally!  I was totally overwhelmed…

 

In Part 3 we will look at what impact losing her baby this way had on Ruth.  We’ll discover how the Scout Movement became a saviour for Ruth once again.

If you missed part 1 we explored how Ruth’s first marriage broke down and how a friendship became toxic and almost caused Ruth to give up her chance of happiness with her new relationship.

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Emma Jaynes

KD Lang Inspired Me To Stop Drinking

If I thought that my jaw had reached floor level as I wrote up Emma’s story, that was nothing compared to the shock I felt when Emma shared a photo of herself pre-recovery.  In Part 3 of Emma’s story we talk about how KD Lang, the Canadian singer, songwriter and actress inspired Emma to become sober.

Emma Jaynes Pre-Recovery

I was just going to drink until I died

I’d just been sitting on the sofa for weeks drinking.

I’d been to see my psychiatrist who’d asked if I wanted help coming off alcohol.   I said no I’d wean myself off.

I walked out of his office with no intention of stopping. I’d made a decision to just carry on drinking until I die.

I didn’t have the strength to stop. The cycle was that I’d stop then I’d start again and I knew I couldn’t keep doing it.

Emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally it was killing me both to stop and start. I’d got to the point where I couldn’t live with alcohol and I couldn’t live without it.

It was a terrifying thought that I’d live in a state of permanent fear both with and without alcohol.

KD Lang inspired me to sobriety

St Patricks Day 2010 my sobriety birthday!

I’d have my first drink at 4am.

I would get up and down a few drinks before sitting on the sofa sophisticatedly sipping a drink while watching TV.

I’d watch the funny channels to try to cheer myself up.

On March 17th 2010 the TV was on a different channel.

KD Lang was singing in St Lukes Chapel in London there was something about her.

KD Lang was no airbrushed celebrity but a woman who was beautiful on her own terms.

The fog cleared. It was like an out of body experience.

I could see the person I used to be, who I’d become and my potential all in the same moment. At 33 years old I realised, for the first time, that I had a choice.

 

AA was my Saviour!

The rest of the day was spent in a flurry of phone calls. Statutory Alcohol Services couldn’t help me for another 2 months! I decided to called AA.

In the next 24 hours I received more support than I’d received in the previous 5 years. It literally changed my life.

I learnt the power of feeling loved by room full of strangers, from the first meeting.

I chose to do the 12-step program*. The 12-step program is the SUGGESTED programme of recovery, though quite frankly, I wouldn’t be her without it.

The program facilitates the building of a relationship with yourself. It’s not about giving your power away. It is about taking responsibility and being honest with yourself.

I’d rejected the idea of God but I still had a spiritual understanding and this helped me with the 12-step program.

My faith in a higher power is very strong today. I’ve seen it in action, dozens and dozens of times!

divine-light

You were asked to speak about your journey

Mental Health Services (MHS) saw me transform overnight and that it had nothing to do with the pills and little to do with services though there were some amazing and supportive individuals along the journey.

It was my passion to tell everyone about my journey. I wanted to be able to tell everyone that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and start thinking about what you want for your life.

I was asked to speak at Mental Health Conferences.  My first talk was at a Multi-Faith Mental Health & Spirituality Project.

I was asked to submit my speech in advance and include what MHS had done for me.  My response was that I’d be honest and tell it as it was.

My recovery was about my inner resources and things I’d found out, the spiritual faith I’d acquired with some help from MHS.

conference

I was only an instruction away from being locked up

I was on a very high dose of medication. One drug in particular was extremely toxic.

I’d been discharged by MHS in 2011 and at the time had said to my psychiatrist that I don’t want to stay on the drugs.

His response was you are on medication for the rest of your life. If you plan to stop taking them I may need to reconsider the discharge. At which point I shut up. I realised that it was simply he was constrained by Law.

The law states you can be locked up if you are a danger to yourself or others.   It was extremely frightening when I realised that I was only an instruction away from being locked up at any time.

drugs

Another milestone in December 2012…

I started weaning myself off the medication, as I wanted to see what would happen.

By this time I was studying for my third degree this time in Psychology with the OU and I pinned down professors of biological psychology and asked about my theory of the drugs and effect on my brain.

The scariest answers that came back from learned professors is that we simply don’t know!!

When I shared my theory about Dopamine – I was told you might be right but we cannot be sure. The drugs affect our entire nervous system not targeted to a particular part of the body.

I took the last dose of my medication on 21.12.12. Then the real work started.

studying

How did you cope with the withdrawal?

Quite apart from the fact that I had flu, which lasted about 8 weeks, I was totally unprepared for how I would feel when I got my emotions back.

As I was going through withdrawal I felt so awful and had to keep it all to myself. I was frightened I’d be made to go back on the medication or would be locked up!

Never one to do anything by halves at this point I separated from Martin. I had to follow my instinct and being the person that I was to avoid moving backwards.

Martin is fabulous and goes to Al-Anon the support for friends and family of alcoholics. Our relationship is brilliant and we are good friends.  The boys don’t really think of us as separated.

Emma Jaynes Family

 

Finally …

In the final part of Emma’s story we will share how she got through the withdrawal from medication and the amazing work Emma is doing now to help others.

If you missed part 1 of Emma’s journey where we looked at what it was like to be bullied at school or part 2 which described how Emma juggled having three young children and studying for a Masters Degree, you can read them here:

Part 1 – School Was Terrifying

Part 2 – Three Babies And  A Masters Degree

*There is a common misconception that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the 12 step program.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other. Their aim is to solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.

For more information visit Alcoholics Anonymous

 

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