The need for rest and reflection

Happy new year everyone! I cannot believe how fast January is moving. My little sister is also 23 today – Happy Birthday Claire Bear 🙂

Following on from my last post about the drastic changes I made in 2011 and my general hopes for 2012; it is fair to say I hit a brick wall. Many people say that when you have been pushing yourself for a long time that it can be a bad idea to stop. My body certainly has told me off and I have been suffering as a result, but this was a good thing nonetheless.

I decided from Friday 23rd December to take a couple of weeks out. I realised every thought process I had was on evaluating my projects, trying to plan new ones and grafting through all of the tasks still to be completed. It was time to shut down and switch off. Of course being Christmas I was not able to just rest and sleep. As mum and dad are divorced we spent Christmas day with dad, step family and also saw my grandparents for grandpa’s 80th birthday! Boxing day me and my sister were at mums and hung out with the step family on this side of the big tree. With my 2 nieces (5 years and the other 6 months old) Christmas was extra special.

On the 27th I went with my sisters boyfriend, Justin, to watch Spurs. This was great as getting a home ticket at White Hart Lane is almost impossible. So, with Norwich nearby mums house (ish) I drove us up. Plus my step dad and brothers were in the box there too. A good lads day out. You can see some of the pitch side footage of the great view we had below. By all means get in touch if you want to know how disability tickets work at football matches.

After the football and before New Years, the exhaustion really hit me. I felt tired as soon as I was hoisted in my chair in the morning and just sat there whilst various friends popped in for tea. I hate this lack of energy but it does seem typical for me in the colder/darker winter months. By New years eve I felt a bit stronger and mum, step dad, sister, Justin and a friend called Gio came back to London with me. We headed to my favourite local part of London called Stoke Newington. We had Mexican food, cocktails and saw the New year in with random people, music and good times.

As my girlfriend Claire was coming down on the Monday and she was happy to help with my care too; the gang stayed until Claire arrived. New years day mum treated us all to theatre tickets for Shrek which was surprisingly cool. Overall it was just so nice to not think of work, to see everyone, have quality time with family and rest a bit too.

Claire arrived after her 6 hour journey and we had plans for museums, theatres, bar, restaurants, parks – the whole lot. Soon after she arrived I got a touch of flu with temperatures and all of that jazz. I think as I had my flu jab in November that kicked in and lessened the effect soon after, but man I felt rough. This again was a sign I had been overdoing it. So Claire and I stayed in, ate great food, talked loads and still managed to make the best of an unfortunate situation. She really is an amazing girl and I’m hopeful to go and see her next week in Scotland. As you read on you will see why it is in doubt.

On Friday 6th January Claire was due to go home. She hoisted me into my wheelchair with plenty of time for me to drive her in the car to Kings Cross. Here I was to also collect my PA who was starting their shift at the same time. I turned my wheelchair on and of all unfortunate incidents it would not work. Claire did her best to ‘fix’ it but it was an electronics problem beyond us. So, I said if she could push me to the car, she could make the train and my PA and I would sort the chair later. After some struggling (my chairs bloody heavy) we made it to the car. We enlisted the help of a neighbour to secure the chair into the lockdown system. As I hit the relevant buttons the car would not start either! Time was getting tight. I double checked my PA was on route and then took the decision to send Claire for a taxi. After no cabs would stop I said she should walk to the tube and do her best for the train, otherwise she wouldn’t get back home for her work. Of all crazy situations, she had to lug big bags across London whilst I sat in my car like a lemon for an hour (still bunged up) and waited for my PA to arrive.

All is well that ends well, but talk about drama and trauma. I have had to stall getting back on with work because of all the arrangements required to fix everything. My car had its battery replaced by the RAC on the day. My wheelchair is still broken now. In the end I drove to Mill Hills Independent Living company (before going to Amnesty International to chair this event) and they have sent my control box away whilst I am still being pushed in this lump of metal. It is so frustrating, especially when I cannot turn my head, to not be able to get from A to B and position myself. Charing the event was very hard as a result of this.

Nonetheless I know if I hadn’t of rested I worry how ill I might of been. Also I had the inner strength after a rest to deal with these dramas. I would say that I have learnt to be very resilient, find an inner strength when I want to give up, I worry about the things I can change and ignore the things I can’t.

Having seen the most important people in my life, got my health back up nearer 100% (for January) and slowly getting my foundations solidified; I am turning my attentions back to work. The clarity I now hold is huge. In taking a step back I can see what last year meant, can see what I want and need to do this year, and feel energised to deliver. My next post will share these plans: both the projects I will run about disability issues and the personal activities I hope to do.

In the meantime I urge you to always rest when your body is struggling, allow your brain time away from problems to find the solutions easier, and never ever ever let the bastards get you down.

You can and will get where you want to go to, just believe!


  1. Martin,
    Work, Rest and Play? Getting it right is o hard when you have to juggle your kind of schedule with an urgent desire to “get on with it” despite constraints. During a thirty five plus year career I often had to be shouted at to ease up but in truth I’ve never subscribed to that saying “your a long time dead”, even though it’s true I guess ! REST is a vital skill to learn, without it you deliver at less than 100% and your own high standards suffer. Add a few technical hitches and no rest can be a pain but sounds like your getting there mate. Take care,
    Mark Wilson

    1. Wise words Mark. I know I give that advice readily but its hard to implement yourself. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Mate, when we next speak I’ll tell you the story about the motor boat and the sail boat, which is so apt to your blog 😉

  3. I can picture it now, I’ve had a very similar situation when all electrics let me down and Pa’s on their way!! Difference was mine didn’t turn up!!!
    I’ve never Ever had flu jab, we must have a chat sometime about supplements and nutrition , I’ve been treating SMA with it for 15yrs. Love ya blogs, your like a male version of me In Every way! Oh apart from flu jab;)

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