About

I started this blog with bold ambitions of reinventing myself into something amaaaazing. I had turned 40 and come through the other side of a chronic illness. I was ready to get back out there (wherever there is), and after several years of not being able to work, I was ready to create a new and exciting life for myself. The plan was ambitious, and perhaps a little crazy: to stroll into the writing world and find myself a space; I was going to be a successful writer.

But there was a small problem: the chronic illness, I was so confident about being over, was not that easy to shake off, and it keeps annoyingly popping up, getting in my way.

Twelve years ago life took an unexpected turn for me when I became ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I went from the super speedy lane – with my fancy corporate job, MBA, and personal trainer – to the sofa lane.

It has certainly been a challenging few – twelve! – years (you can read more about my recovery journey here), but there has been some wonderful respite along the way, which I have always made the most of. I have learnt to appreciate life in a different way, and I have had many experiences that I know the other me would not have had (whoops, too self-help aisle?) – one of these has been to develop a love affair with writing.

As my health continues to challenge me, the bold plans may be less bold, but I still dream of being a writer. And in the times when I feel well, I pick myself up and carry on earning my writing stripes. (It’s okay to be sixty for your first article in Grazia, right?)

If you want to join me, you can subscribe now on RSS or Email.  I write about all kinds of stuff. CFS may attempt to get in the way of my life, but I like to give my attention to other important topics too, like the harsh lighting in Marks and Spencer’s changing rooms, or whether wearing a Slanket is bad for a relationship, or how come at the age of 42 I still don’t feel like a grown-up?

And I am also partial to chatting on Facebook and Twitter if that’s your thing.

More about me

I live in a city centre apartment with my gorgeous, sexy, loving, husband (too much?).

I love: my beautiful new and sparkly niece, my shoe cupboard, Pema Chodron, fancy dark chocolates from Hotel Chocolat, Shetland ponies, lunching with friends, reading, super chilled Sauvignon Blanc, the ballet, jumping around in my trainers, learning, the theatre, my hair guru, meditation, watching the swans, random conversations with total strangers, laughing, my slightly mad family, and most of all, I LOVE ENERGY.

The Bastard is back

Unfortunately, my health is in a bad way again and writing is not possible right now, well, most things are not possible right now. But soon, soon I will be back in my trainers, running round the apartment and writing – maybe even at the same time. Yeah, now that would be good…

Karen

28 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Karen,
    I had only just discovered Sofa and the City when it was time for you to move on. I am still suffering from severe CFS/Fibromyalgia but I am still looking forward to reading all about your reinvention tour.
    K

    • Hi Katie. Yes, I remember ‘meeting’ you on the post about having children.

      I am so sorry to here your CFS/Fibromyalgia is severe – that must be really tough for you.

      I hope things get easier for you very soon. Thank you for coming by, it’s lovely to have you here.

      Love and energy…xx

  2. Hi Karen, I also was a successful Professor of Nursing. I was energetic, pretty and ambitious. I am a single mom and was always able to provide for my daughter and me. In December 2007, after a flu shot, I developed my first symptoms and was in bed with severe pain.. I tried to work …don’t ask me how…until my body just collapsed on May 2010. I have not been able to work since then. I just was approved disability. My life is just so sad. I am always alone, always in bed, and I don’t look like I used too. I have lost it all. I do have the support of my family. My husband left me when I was not able to work anymore. I find myself having lots of pity parties. I read your blog and see your pictures and I wish I can wear your pink shoes, and go out to do my hair. I have never openly shared my story Karen. What are your thoughts? I live in Miami, Florida…

    Ivette Morris

  3. Hi Karen,

    What is it that’s made such a difference to your health over the last 12 months? I’ve had CFS for 7 years and am getting worse despite trying lots of strategies (both nutritional and mind-based) and I am really interested to know what has made the difference for you.

    All the best

    Dawn

    • Hi Dawn

      I’m so sorry to hear that your health is getting worse – that must be heartbreaking for you. And I know what it is like to try lots of strategies without anything working – my recovery road has been very bumpy at times too!

      There hasn’t been one thing that has made a difference to me, it seems to be the cumulative effect of a variety of strategies and treatments. Like you I have tried LOTS of things and somewhere along the line about 18 months ago my health started improving.

      I started having regular hypnotherapy sessions which had a really powerful impact on me. I think because – understandably – over time I had developed ‘sick’ thinking patterns, was struggling to maintain belief in recovery and was fearful about returning to normal life. Hypnotherapy has helped me stay open to recovery and it is hard to quantify just how powerful that can be. I think that influences the choices I make and how I view my world.

      Then in January I started The Chrysalis Effect Recovery Programme (a holistic programme which looks at the physical, psychological and emotional) and this just seems to have brought everything together for me. Some of the things on the programme aren’t new to me but I seem to be in a different place so they are having a different impact on me. Also, it has been a good way of really pushing myself to look at what else I can be doing to achieve full recovery.

      I am not 100 % well but I am significantly better than 18 months ago and I am well enough to enjoy a nice quality of life – which as you can imagine is wonderful. I am also continuing on my quest for full recovery.

      So currently, I find that if I take really good care of myself: pacing, regular exercise, daily meditation or relaxation, yoga, good diet, affirmations, limit the stress in my life (I know, not always easy!), regular hypnotherapy, have balance, nurture my belief in full recovery and focus on moving forward that I am in pretty good shape.

      You can read more about what I have done on the programme here: http://www.getyourlifebackfromme.com/blog/

      I hope I have helped in some way! Please just say if you would like to know more. I wish you all the best on your recovery journey…xx

  4. Reading your story its great to hear how you’ve embraced the challenge to change. I always find it extraordinary how the really big and often traumatic events have a way of opening up our lives again. I’ve experienced this with various kinds of loss, physical pain and depression. It sometimes takes a little while, or longer, to realise it, but in every case I’ve been given a chance to correct my course, to pursue my life with more authenticity and integrity with my deepest values. Coming through these tests has also given me much greater sense of what I’m capable of enduring. The toughest was when our newborn son was seriously ill. We were confronted with the the most terrible fear of losing him, but through this we discovered incredible strength. It’s not there every day, and sometimes the ups and downs of ordinary life really get me down, but I just have to remember that we’ve gotten through much harder days with love.
    I wish you every success and great happiness on your reinvention. It is indeed the journey of the hero!

  5. Hi James

    Wow – what a lovely, heartfelt comment. Thank you.

    I can’t begin to imagine how harrowing it must have been when your son was so poorly (I do hope he is okay now).

    And I agree with everything you have said about what we get from difficult times – it’s a shame us humans seem to need these challenges to appreciate what we have!

    I am so touched by your comment; the blogging world can be a truly amazing place.

    Take care…

    Karen

    Xx

  6. Wow, you have such an amazing life! I have just started the Chrysalis Effect course and really believe this will be what pulls it all together for me. I know everyone’s level of illness is different to start with but your story brings me hope that I can make a full recovery and lead a life that I will truly find fulfilling. Thanks for posting. 🙂

  7. Hi Karen,

    I just came across your blog when researching The Optimum Health Clinic, i’ve had CFS for 10yrs (officially diagnosed 1yr ago), I am now 27. I’ve tried a few things in my quest pacing, resting, yoga, meditation, diet – so far yoga & meditation seems to work with the achy joints & meditation for the positive mind. I’ve been having a tough time lately, i started to see improvements in February of this year then did too much and relapsed, so ive been quite down lately. Reading your blog and seeing you go from how i feel now to nearly recovered (& starting your new reinvention blog!) really is fantastic you are a true inspiration and have given me hope! I am currently also researching The Chrysalis Effect, so hoping i can find something that works for me soon.

    Thank you for your blog, i love the way you write, i shall continue to read & enjoy!

    All the best,

    Jodi x

    • Hi Jodi

      What a lovely message – thank you.

      I really feel for you, ten years is a long time and at such a young age. Not fair. Not fair.

      And I know all about the bumps in the recovery road, and the tears and frustration that go with that. But people do get better (there are lots of inspiring recovery stories on the OHC website), so keep the faith Jodi – even when it’s really tough.

      The OHC have a fantastic reputation, and Chrysalis have a similar ethos. I truly hope you find something that helps you – for me it wasn’t one thing but a combination of things, and it sounds like you already have some good tools to support you.

      Good luck Jodi, and thank you for coming by… Xxx

  8. I am not reinventing myself, at the age of 38, as much as I am discovering myself. I became a wife and mother in my early 20’s and put me aside, as my whole purpose was to be wife and mother. I am learning new things about myself ever day,and I have a renewed sense of purpose, meaning, and energy. I love to hear of other woman transforming their lives. Congratulations on your re-birth! Good wishes for finding the job of your dreams!

  9. i am thrilled to read you are better and must follow your link to “here”.
    i’ve had it for a decade now and it’s not better just different. in fact it’s led me to all sorts of other weird maladies of the autoimmune kind-such fun are our bodies human. anyway i am a painter and that makes life better (wishing i could sell a few but anyway… if wishes were fishes,etc…) and i too love my family especially now there’s a few little ones i don’t see nearly enough but enough when they come. if you know what i mean….
    i do hope you find what you are looking for in terms of writing… how nice that would be and how difficult to find i imagine…putting out good thoughts for you.

    blessings xox

    • Hi Linda

      So when I came across your blog, I had no idea you had your own experiences of the M.E. kind (I was drawn in by the hot-air balloons!) – what a spooky coincidence…

      It sounds like painting is a wonderful escape for you – but I guess like writing, hard to make it pay. Maybe we will both find a way to do this 🙂

      Blessings right back at ya lovely Linda… Xx

  10. Hi Karen, your journey sounds like an interesting one! I love your positivity even (especially) in the face of ‘dark ‘n’ twisty’… those moments when it seems work to embrace what’s right because everything feels so not-right. BTW, if you are looking for another “my life is wonderful by comparison,” check out The Diving Bell And the Butterfly — a fantastic and intense movie directed by Julian Schnabel. One of my favorites for the portrayal of courage and perseverence in the face of utter calamity. Thanks for stopping by my blog an for the Likes! I look forward to checking in on your progress– xLoveHaunt

    • Hi Haunt

      Oh yes, it has been an interesting journey!

      I loved The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – maybe I should watch it again for some extra inspiration…

      Thank you so much for coming by, and I wish you lots of luck on your ‘Love Journey’! Xx

  11. Hi Karen – thanks for liking my post about “Success!” Your journey from Sofa and the City to The Reinvention Tour is a wonderful success, even with all the bumps in the road, setbacks, etc. All the best as you continue your journey!

  12. Hi Karen
    I found this blog whilst searching ‘chronic fatigue recovery’ into google after making the mistake of searching ‘chronic fatigue’ which led me to the very bleak outlook that I will never recover. I’m glad there are people out there that have recovered!

    It’s early days for me as I caught glandular fever last summer and i haven’t been able to shake off the post-viral fatigue so the doctor says its into Cfs territory now. I’m 25 and I had (luckily) just finished my undergraduate before I got glandular fever but a doctor failed to tell me of the importance of rest after the virus so I spent five very busy months trying to get on with life and I started a masters degree but unfortunately had to drop out as I was too ill.

    I had planned to go back this September but as recovery is slower than I hoped, I now plan to do a part-time masters instead. Although there is still a lot of recovering to do but i want so much to be able to do this.

    I have already been on an emotional/recovery journey before as I had two gap years before I started my undergrad to tackle anxiety/anorexia and I really felt like I had got my life back but now this. I feel CFS is even harder because it feels even more out of my control. I have radically changed my diet and I’m seeing a herbalist, I may look into hypnotherapy seeing as you recommend it.

    Your blog is really inspirational, so thankyou for putting out there. I was interested in reading the blog you wrote when you tackling CFS is there somewhere I can find this? X

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