Believe & Achieve

I am aware this is a very late post but it one I have to do before making a decision. It is one that is going test my memory for sure. In 2018 Meningitis Now set up a scheme named BELIEVE & ACHIEVE and I was emailed about the it and asked if I would like to attend the weekend away with others who have gone through Meningitis the same as I have, to reflect with other how its has impacted on us as individuals. I remember at first being very reluctant to even open up the link as I really didn’t feel I could deal with something that was quite social overall, there would be allot of interaction I knew that so I avoided the idea for few days. I then discussed this with my mother who thought it would be a great chance to experience meeting others who have gone through the same thing. In the end I decided to sign up and take a chance in hope this experience would some how change me, give me more hope. I decided to take a friend along with me for support and encouragement. So I made contact and set up all the arrangements online and booked a place on the weekend away.

First things first, was getting up there I took the chance to improve my driving and decided be brave and drive up there. When we arrived at the at the. centre parks it was being held at I was quite shocked at how nice the place was. I had never been to centre parks so was quite lucky to get away for two days at this great resort. When It comes to meeting people for the first time it’s always difficult but I kept in mind we was all there in that room for the same reason we already had base topic to discuss, that made it extreamly much easier to cope with. I remember the first person I saw had a Cochlear Implant like me and I’ve never been quite so emotional, like she was just a female version of me. I took the chance instantly to talk with her as much as I could to find out how she dealt with her hearing loss. It’s almost like any deaf person I meet I ask them how they cope with it because I don’t deal with min very well so finding new strategies to deal with it through others is a great way to tackle something.

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On the weekend there was lots of activities that you had the option to take part in one of the first activities was two truths and one lie to break the ice, so to say. I chose not to take part at this point as I was kinda overwhelmed by anxiety. Next was to open up about your story with meningitis and how it has impacted on you. I left myself till last as I always do which probably makes it 10x harder to actually speak because the anxiety builds as other people take their turn to talk. Mine was simple, contracted a rare case of meningitis, unidentified cause, resulted in hearing loss . I explained how I felt very misunderstood and that I was lazy and not doing enough. Other people in the group agreed and organisers of the group explained that fatigue was a very misunderstood impact of Meningitis and the allot of people feel the same way about it. I feel this I one of the opportunities you need to take part in opening up about your story gives you a chance to truly face what happened to you, what Meningitis took away from you in an environment that is completely non judgemental. I felt good to be able to say it out loud. This one activity is what bonded and brought the group closer.

Next day was more about confidence building, acceptance and moving on. First we discussed about confidence and comfort zones. I remember us all standing and we would be asked how comfortable we would be in certain situations and would have to move in and out of zones labeled comfortable, slightly comfortable, not comfortable. This was to prove a point that if we wasn’t to allow ourselves to leave our comfort zones we would never progress and be able to face new opportunities. I now remember one of the questions, how comfortable was you about coming to this weekend away, I stood straight into the not comfortable. Take note this is outside so dress appropriately for the weather. Indoors we did another activity based on how self-esteem affects our ability to accept compliments. You soon discover that you try to brush it off. The way we see ourselves is just another reason we choose accept or not accept compliments. You would dish out compliments to everyone. I still have my box of compliments. In the afternoon you do your chosen activity some of us did cannoning, some was climbing in trees.

Next day you reflect on what you have done on the weekend and discover you’ve become a better version of yourself and you feel confident and empowered because of it.

I would really recommend this weekend away to anyone who is just starting to come to terms with the impact of Meningitis there a right time for everything and if you feel like its not the right time there always be another event. Be Kind to yourself.

Right so what was that decision, I’m going to look into becoming a peer mentor for those who have suffered Meningitis and have had a similar impact to myself, who are at the early stages of recovery.

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