Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Recovery from spinal injury...whilst running a business

My looong journey of physical recovery has concluded..I think.

Seven long years in the making since my spinal injury occurred in 2009 as a result of a drunken driver with two children in the car, smashing into my car's rear end whilst I was stationary. Chronic fatigue, chronic pain, financial stress, situational depression...I experienced this for a looong time.  Wrong medication, inadequate medication...finally after some years tolerating chronic pain that I assumed the GP prescribed the correct dose of medication for, I discovered different medication and a stronger dose of existing medication was needed. I was a practising Occupational Therapist then in the public service, so I guess I just 'toughed it out' because of my occupation too.
Bottom line: Get another medical opinion and/or a medication review urgently, and don't suffer ongoing, chronic pain unnecessarily.

It's now 2016/17 and I feel almost physically 'normal' now. Almost. I'm not superhuman any more but I'm happy with that. I just don't clean the house as thoroughly any more...Pre accident I dusted weekly, mopped twice weekly, vacuumed weekly and cleaned the house windows every month, inside and out. Not any more. The 4 kids tell me they didn't really appreciate being yelled at for not cleaning their rooms every week. They like the new 'lived in messy look' of our house. It's an 'Artists' Den', aka very messy house. Now when I call myself an artist, husband Daz calls me a bullshit type of artist, but that's ok too. Basic things are cleaned such as beds, clothes, people and things we eat from. If I have time I mop the kitchen/toilet weekly and vacuum, but I don't clean all the bedrooms weekly. I now work full time again, so I'm doing well. I now run a small, humble post office.

Once I started to physically and emotionally recover, I could see the world with open eyes again. I realised that the simple things that started this business - with me spending my spare time carving soap and wax positives, making silicone moulds and selling soap base that helped my son's eczema - were the things that gave me satisfaction. I posted pictures of all my new moulds that I made, shared messages from my friends in China and shared photos of my family history with the world. People wanted 'reality based' online interaction, and soon the little original Southern Skies Soap Supplies' 'Moonfruit' hosted mini website became very, very busy with online visitors. I made mistakes though. When I first started this business, I had soooo many followers and daily emails with requests for new products and I became too obsessive with selling online, tried to sell everything to everyone, started to sell goods in larger sizes and then learnt that I could not do that effectively with spinal injury. I had decided to dive head first into online selling full time, since working from home was easier than working for an employer, with 4 young children. Selling soap supplies became my livelihood and it meant that I survived for quite a few years financially - all thanks to soap.

In the meantime, I had lost any motivation to participate in any hobby, due to pain. I started to wonder where the 'real me' had disappeared to, for the last seven years. I did a lot of soul searching. I questioned every decision I had ever made, throughout my whole life. I looked for answers in deep, dark, faraway places. I questioned my spirituality - am I a Pagan, a Buddhist or a Christian? (I'm just a 'non conforming Christian' actually, with 'multi dimensional' spiritual beliefs omg). I had to make a conscious, very determined effort to find myself again, and recover my hidden hobbies and umm artistic 'talents', if you could call them that! It's actually a LOT harder than you may think. Did I still want to be an Occupational Therapist? Did I want to be a full time online soap seller or was that a stupid idea? Why did I go to Uni if all I do is sell soap online? The truth is, as long as I'm around people and helping them, then I'm pretty happy. My life is a big learning curve on an enormous, unpredictable ride - and I've learnt now that I like it that way. I valued my 'old life' which was secure and predictable as an Occupational Therapist...but have now realised that personal growth and new experiences, (as bad as they are!) is what makes us develop and progress as individuals, on many different levels. Oh and I discovered in 2015 that I love selling soap at local markets. I will try to participate in some more markets in the future - people like to engage with other like minded people (instead of an online only interface) and I like to talk, so that works well.

During this journey, I have also learnt that I would like to 'recover' my original focus for my business - soap base and soap moulds. So whilst some of you may look at my website for the first time and not notice anything new, others have been shopping with me since the beginning...and there have been many, many changes on the website lately, due to me refocusing my motivation and business ideas.

Yay, it's summer time, which means wax carving and moulding time. Oooh the beeswax is melting outside on the stove top and the scouts are buzzing around looking for a new camp for their Queen. Hello bee friends! you really wouldn't believe just how glad I am to see you guys again...for this year anyway, I am very, very relieved to see bees buzzing around the wax pot.
Ooohh nooooo,  don't nose dive into the pot again, you did that 7 years ago and we both know how that ended...I have to dig your body parts out when my wax cools. Welcome to my world.

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