Surviving Life’s Hurdles; it’s my 1st blogiversary!

Yay, I did it!  It’s been 1 whole year since I plucked up the courage to hit publish on my first blog post for Surviving Life’s Hurdles and I’ve not looked back since!  

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts!  Your support goes a long way in helping me feel less alone in my daily struggles with MS and I appreciate it so much!

1st blogiversary

Where I am right now

Looking back, I realise how much has changed for me over the last year.  My MS is still the same but at least it’s not worse.  I do have less brain fog on the whole although that still comes and goes and my fatigue is as limiting as ever.

However, I’m in a very different place now to where I was even just a year ago.  I feel more positive about life and a lot less alone.  

Last year, when I started my blog, I was losing my job and our main source of income as I was unfit to work.  I never imagined that I’d be looked after by my pension and it’s really taken a weight off my mind since.

I’m also sleeping regularly, driving a little more, eating a healthier diet and managing to do more with my son.  So, yes, life is definitely better right now!

On the downside, since my son started nursery, I’m catching loads of colds and other nasty illnesses due to my MS treatment (which is an immunosuppressant) so I still have plenty of hurdles to survive too!

Your favourite posts from my blog

brain fog and fatigue

  1. My MS hurdles: Living with brain fog and fatigue
  2. 9 ways to help manage your fatigue (part 2)
  3. How to survive being diagnosed with a life-changing illness
  4. How to live well with a chronic illness
  5. 9 ways to help manage your fatigue (part 1)

Wow, I guess many of you can identify with what it’s like to live with chronic fatigue and I’m sorry that you have to go through this too!  I really hope that reading some of my personal experiences and advice has helped you as much as it could.  

Expect plenty more chronic illness articles in the year ahead and updates on what I’m doing to try to manage my fatigue.

My favourite blog post

parenting with a chronic illness

  1. My MS hurdles: Parenting with a chronic illness

Probably the hardest post to write as my emotions were so raw!  My heart goes out to anyone else out there who is trying to juggle parenting with a chronic illness.  It is so tough but so very, very worth it!

I truly believe that the most difficult subject matter to write about is often the most important so be prepared for more parenting with a chronic illness themed posts over the coming year.

What I’ve learnt from 1 year of blogging

Who knew that blogging would be such a learning curve?  I certainly didn’t when I first started out!  The technical side of blogging still continues to stump me most of the time and I struggle to write consistently due to my health.  However, I love being able to express myself and it’s opened up a whole new world to me. So it’s totally worth it!

Things that surprised me;

It’s ok to put myself out there

I’m quite shy and guarded in real life so I was really nervous about starting a blog.  It took a lot for me to start sharing my vulnerabilities with others.  At the time I was still struggling to get my head around the fact I had MS.  I had a real need to express what I was going through with the world.  My life had been completely turned upside down and I just felt so lonely.  

I was scared I wouldn’t be able to deal with loads of negativity and a lack of understanding but the reality is that everyone is really positive and supportive.  As usual, I was worrying unnecessarily!

I’ve met some amazing people

I can’t stress enough just how lucky I feel to have met such a fantastic group of people!  This never would have happened without putting myself out there and starting this blog.  I would have missed out on so much friendship and support.

I’ve met so many amazing people it would be impossible to do them all justice here but I just wanted to quickly mention a few fellow bloggers who have quickly become my online besties.  I can’t help but get excited when I spot they’ve just published another post as I know it’s going to be so good!

I love their articles and can relate to them all so well.  I feel like we are in it together!

Caz from Invisibly Me who has been an amazing source of inspiration from the very beginning.

Emma from Not Just Tired who fully understands the reality of parenting a toddler with a chronic illness, it’s great to find someone who knows!

Jen from Tripping Through Treacle who gives me real hope for parenting kids who are just a little bit older whilst managing MS.

Hannah from An Ordinary Girl With MS who is so lovely and had the brilliant idea of setting up a friendly Facebook group to give support to young people with MS/the newly diagnosed.

What I love;

Doing it my own way

When I first started blogging I was scared I’d do everything wrong.  The more I read about blogging, the more I believed there was a set formula I needed to follow if I wanted anyone to actually read my blog.

Once I’d found my feet a little, I quickly realised that just being myself and writing about what really mattered to me was more important than trying to replicate a format that didn’t reflect all my interests.  That’s why you’ll find all my main passions regularly celebrated on my blog from health and wellbeing to creativity and crafts, regardless of whether they fit into an overall niche.

I love this so much and I hope my enthusiasm is reflected in all my (varied!) articles.

Finding different ways to be creative and exploring a new purpose

Prior to my diagnosis, my life was all about creativity and having a purpose.  I loved teaching art to teenagers and seeing them gain the confidence to express themselves visually.  I felt I’d lost a huge part of me when I had a relapse which left me unable to work but blogging this last year has really helped to fill the void.

It’s fantastic how much creative freedom I’ve gained through writing about my chronic illness.  But it’s become even more than that since I started to introduce craft tutorials into the mix.  

I feel like I’ve reclaimed part of the old me as I’m able to use all those years of art knowledge and skills to help others again. Plus there’s no endless marking or excessive paperwork either which is such a bonus!

My favourite photographs

Having a blog has definitely reminded me to take more photographs of our family life as well as capturing creative crafts and activities too.  I’ve really enjoyed exploring photography this year (although trying to photograph a toddler isn’t always the easiest!).

The #makememories challenge for December, that Emma from Not Just Tired started was such a lovely idea and I have some great photographs and memories I can now look back on.

December make memories challenge

And here are a few of my favourite crafty and creative pics from the year too;

2017 crafts

What you’ll see more of in 2018

I love reading when other bloggers give away little snippets of what’s to come so I thought with it being my blogiversary as well as the start of a New Year what a great time to share my plans!

Living with MS

I’ve decided to move away from monthly goals and focus more on sharing my life with MS more flexibly so I’m not tied to an overly specific format.  I still have goals I’m working towards but I’ll share them more as part of my more general life updates.  This will mean it’s much easier for me to work around my unpredictable health!

Health, diet and lifestyle changes

Over the course of the last year my lifestyle has changed so much since I started to focus more on the key things I could do to improve my life with MS.  Starting with a desire to reduce inflammation in my body (due to it potentially worsening my MS), I quickly made the decision follow the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS) program.  So, over the last 6 months, I’ve completely overhauled my diet and introduced new exercises and stress management techniques into my life.

I haven’t shared much about the exact steps I’ve taken to improve my health/the impact it’s having so far as I was only starting out (and in all honesty I didn’t believe I could make it work!).  However, now that I’ve established a few routines which are working well for me there are lots of great tips and advice I can share and new discoveries I’m making along the way!

Of course, I love writing about parenting and creativity and crafts so there will be lots more on these subjects too!

Thank you so much for support over the last year and for sharing my journey.  I’m really excited about blogging in the year ahead and can’t wait to get started!

 

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12 thoughts on “Surviving Life’s Hurdles; it’s my 1st blogiversary!”

  • Well done on your accomplishments & for putting yourself out there. Not easy I know but you’ve done a great job. I hope things will keep looking up for you x

  • Aw big congratulations on your blogiversary Natalie So lovely to celebrate all you’ve achieved this year, and you have a fantastic blog. It really is a learning curve starting a blog isn’t it, and yet when you allow yourself to open up and be “you” it really does bring so many rewards. Thank you so much for the lovely mention. It’s been so nice to meet you too, and like you say having someone else who understands the challenges of parenting with a chronic illness helps so much. You’ve been a big inspiration to me, and just hearing about your experiences helps me know I’m not alone. Love all your photos and what a lovely collection from your #makememories challenge too! Looking forward to reading your posts to come this year xx

  • I love this post Natalie! Huge congrats on the one year blogiversary, it is so lovely to read about your achievements over the past year. I love hearing that things are even better for you than they were a year ago – it gives me a lot of hope for my year ahead when I see myself giving up work too due to ill health. Thank you so much for the mention and I can’t wait to read more over the coming year 🙂 xxx

    • Thank you Jen! Since I took ill health retirement I can focus on my family and my health so much more and I’ve definitely become less anxious too; every cloud has a silver lining! Wishing you all the best for the year ahead xx

  • Woohoo, congrats lovely! You have done an amazing job with the blog, and it’s so brilliant to hear how positive the experience has been for you and how things have changed for your health over the year too (so sorry though about the colds and such, immunosuppressant meds have a lot to answer for). Thank you so much for the shout out, but I think you’ll find you are a huge inspiration and source of positivity for a lot of your readers too, myself included! 🙂
    Caz x

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