I created this blog after using my instagram platform (hadoolxoxo) to document my work, fitness and life musings. A suprising number people suggested that I should set up a blog (don't ask why..).So I finally decided to give it ago.!
I was born in the North of England to middle-eastern parents. At the ripe old age of 1 my parents noticed I could not walk properly. Cue referral to a paediatrician and a diagnosis of cerebral palsy (or right-sided hemiplegia). Around the time I was born, part of my brain was deprived of oxygen. As a consequence, this part was damaged and therefore my brain is unable to communicate properly with the muscles on the right side of my body. This has made the muscles and nerves much weaker than that left side. It is essentially having a stroke but around the time of birth rather than an older age.
Anyway, I mostly ignored it growing up choosing to focus on education. I loved studying and learning about the human body. When I was 13 years old I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I studied hard (albeit obsessively), managed to get good grades, and started studying medicine at Manchester University aged 18.
I LOVED my time during university, I made some amazing life long friends. I also met a guy and got married aged 20. I discovered early on that he had a temper. I didn't know what to do about it, but figured he would stop at some point or that he would 'grow out of it'. Despite being unhappy about this, I mostly ignored it and decided to focus on other things- such as my career.
I passed finals (yeay), graduated, and started working as a doctor. I loved all of it, but decided early on that I wanted to pursue a career in paediatrics (and sub-specialise in oncology). I threw myself into work and focused on what I needed to do to achieve this goal. I continued to mostly ignore the problems with my marriage. Yes, there were some good times but a LOT of horrible times. The bad times started to engulf the happy times and I used work as my escapism to distract myself. I focused on doing my post graduate paediatric exams (MRCPCH) completing them a year earlier than required and secured a paediatric research post called an academic clinical fellowship. I worked as a trainee children's doctor whilst having protected time to do research and complete an MSc.
The horrible times got worse. I became miserable. I hated my life, I used to dream about what I would have do if I had never got married and bitterly regretted making this decision.
After some years, I disclosed the abuse to my parents. Coming from a different generation and culture, they encouraged me to try work on the 'issues' and 'save my marriage'. There was the assumption from both families that if my husband was getting 'angry' and 'lashing out', I must have provoked him excessively and unnecessarily. I was told I should be a more 'understanding and tolerant wife'. Even though I disagreed, I tried. Mostly out of guilt for not wanting to upset my dad. Despite us having very different views on life I love him dearly and know he cares about me. To this day it is something that upsets me; that my dad wanted me to stay in an abusive marriage. He now agrees that the marriage was never going to work, but at least 'I gave it a 150%'. I disagree with him, and wish I left the first time it happened. However, I've finally moved on from the bitterness.
As time progressed, I acknowledged to myself that I wasn't happy or in love and decided to instead focus on my career, accepting that this is what my life is because of a decision I made.
My marriage became unbearable and after 7 difficult years, I finally plucked up the courage to walk away irrespective of what my parents felt.
It was an extremely stressful time. I was bullied by my ex and his family during the separation and divorce. I was dealing with this, whilst finishing a 30,000 word thesis, starting my first job as a middle grade (paediatric registrar) and securing funding to start a PhD. When I look back I wonder how I managed to do this without taking one day off. However, I somehow got through it and thought that it was a chapter of my life that ended.
About 6 months into the PhD, depression and anxiety hit me like a bus. Everything felt black, I couldn't sleep, and it affected how I was functioning, I lost all confidence and had no self esteem. Reflecting on this, I never really processed what happened during the marriage. I think the depression and anxiety was my minds way of trying to 'reboot' and go back to processing emotions normally because I had become numb to feelings. When an 'episode' happened, it got to a point I didn't even bat an eyelid and would go to work that evening or the next day like nothing had happened. Crazy, looking back at it.
Anyway, I tried counselling and it helped a bit, but I had very black times. I continued as best as I could with the PhD and during this difficult time my supervisors highlighted ongoing issues with my writing, planning, speech etc and suggested I get checked for 'dyslexia'. Cue my surprise at my diagnosis of dyslexia AND dyspraxia.
This tipped me over the edge. I couldn't cope anymore and reluctantly decided to start antidepressants. After a good 4-5 months of struggling, I have finally got to a point where I feel I can function somewhat adequately.
The only thing that really kept me going through all of this is my love of fitness.
I started running short distances about 3 years ago, and set myself little goals. This ended with me completing my first marathon in April 2017 (4 hrs 15 mins!).
As my distances increased, I had to improve my nutrition and started incooperate strength training to reduce injuries. I became obsessed with weightlifting and it is just as important to me as PhD/doctoring and running.
I love how doing fitness is something I do for myself, and is time for dedicated to my mind and body. It helped me become more confident, manage my mood, stress AND it has taught me a lot about dealing with life and looking after my body.
Currently, I am training for my second marathon in April 2018, and doing the 5x5stronglift with a target of deadlifting and squatting 75kg.
I have no idea where life will take me..but for now Im enjoying (struggling.!) doing my PhD, doctoring, my fitness and trying to better myself.!