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  • Cheryl


Cheryl bravely shares her experience with starting over, in a society that tells us "It's too late". This is not intended to be the “right way”, simply a perspective to generate conversations and reduce stigma.

A good friend of mine and ex colleague asked to write a piece for his blog, because he thought I'd be an inspiration and that touched me because in my eyes, I'm nothing special. I wasn’t really sure what to write, but I promised I would give it to go and hope I do it justice. So, here goes...

Growing up I had a normal childhood until the age of seven and things changed, I changed; being taken away from my family so young, I thought I'd done something wrong. I'm not going to go on about it, but from then into my teens, things went on, bullying, not belonging anywhere. Home wasn't home because I hadn't been part of it for years.

Moving forward, I was working, had my first serious boyfriend, seven years together and married with a child at 21. It didn't last, and at 22 with a daughter in tow I was divorced and a single mom.

Moving forward five years, I met my son's dad and had 18 years together. During this time, I had cancer scares, surgery, family losses and a young family, stepson in tow. Life wasn't easy, and it didn't get any easier. All through my life, I felt lost, no sense of belonging, the odd one out; scared, lost, and lonely. But I had my kids, these were my reason to carry on. Going forward, having dealt with the loss of all my grandparents, both my parents (I'm only 47 at this point), two failed relationships behind me, losing my mum, I was broken. My kids at this point were 25 and 19 and I left them to move to Germany. I couldn't take any more.

My life had always been me running away from my problems. After losing my mom I had no one else to run to: two relationships had failed because I wasn't happy with myself. I wanted to make everyone else happy, but I didn’t think I deserved to be happy.

Moving forward, when I was 49, I had angina and I couldn't walk too far without being short of breath. I thought that's it! Even with everything that came before this, it was this time I believed my life was over. I had just started believing in myself and then life throws another spanner in the works. BUT I went through the surgery, the rehab, and from when I recovered, I felt like I got a second chance. Support at work was amazing. Even from my patients. They were great. I decided I didn't know what time I had left and decided to focus on me. I accepted myself. I no longer saw a stranger in the mirror, I was getting to know who I was and wanted to be.

Fast forward to now and in August last year I climbed Mount Snowdon with colleagues from work raising money for charity. If you'd have told me I've been doing that over the years, I'd have laughed. I told all my patients to think about their situation like climbing a mountain and told them they could climb their mountain one day at a time, just like I did and will continue to do.

I've never looked back and although I know that life isn't going to be easy, I know that I can and will get through it.

No matter how lost you get, as long as you believe in yourself, accept yourself for who you are, and allow yourself the opportunity to find yourself then you can be truly happy and deal with the stresses of this thing we call life!

A colleague once said, you're only in a situation because you allow it to happen. I listened and I never looked back. It’s never too late…

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