31 October 2014

I'm Off To The World Championships

Most people might probably assume that in my sport fighting for a world title is just literally getting on the mat and fighting at the tournament. Others who are involved or give it a little more consideration might probably determine that the fight starts in training - in getting fit, sharpening techniques, eating the right food, physically preparing yourself to do it , mentally preparing yourself. They might be right but my world title fight has been going on a lot longer than that. 

It's no secret that I have had a really tough year, my lack of usual communication on social media and blogs are huge clues. But this post isn't to tell you about that nor is it to outline all the things that are an obstacle. Some might often wonder why I am so open about my difficulties but the reason is that if I don't speak up about them then how will anyone know? Why should people know? Because there are lots of people in the world like me but who might struggle to speak up when they need to - I speak up so they see how to or possibly don't need to because a little consideration of another's differences can go a long long way. 

The reason for this post is so that I can say thank you to those who have helped me get to this point. Who have supported me to get through each struggle life has thrown at me this year. There have been so many points this year where I thought I would not be able to attend for various reasons even up to recently, some of these were practical reasons such as money, others have been internal battles with my anxiety levels. Nevertheless I am here and as ready as I can be so here are my shout outs:

First off my sponsors - SEN Magazine and Tough Furniture Ltd. I would not be competing without these. I have been incredibly lucky to find sponsors, funding competitions has always been difficult for me as I require a lot of support to travel and cope with being away which means paying for another person to accompany me. That creates a lot of stress when it is already a stretch to cover your own costs. So thank you to SEN Magazine and Tough Furniture Ltd for your contribution, also thank you to everybody who donated to my fund page and my parents for their support. Every contribution has helped so much and I am really grateful.

Next I want to thank my team at BCKA and my coach Alex Barrowman. I have not always been easy to have around this year. It might have been confusing to see my change in behaviour. I couldn't get to every training session. There has been so much happening for me outside of training and a big injury to deal with, my anxiety levels and stress have been intense and escalated with matching behaviour. I haven't always engaged with you. I know it can seem strange and difficult to understand so thank you for your patience with me. Thank you Alex for helping to make things as easy as possible for me at training and making sure I am safe during meltdown. 

Thank you to Christian Baker for kindly giving me your time over the last two weeks. Chris is a talented hypnotherapist and performance coach. With all the ongoing stresses in my life currently regarding my ADHD diagnosis and treatment and getting more support in place for autism, my anxiety and stress have been at an all time high. I have difficulty switching my mind to what it needs to focus on and Chris has helped me with strategies to manage my anxiety. Through this year and all the stress I have forgotten who I am and Chris has gone some way in helping me to remember and feel like myself again. I feel as though Chris gets me where specialists seem to fail.

I also suffered a severe injury earlier this year which put me out of full training and sparring for four months. In order to get myself ready physically for this event and rehab my ankle effectively I have had the support of Sharon Morrow of New Dimensions Fitness. Sharon has had to endure my mood swings, frustration and reluctance to complete exercises but we have got there as much as possible. I do not have the concentration to do exercises on my own currently so her help has been invaluable in getting the ankle as good as it can be. Sharon has been very good to me and I am really grateful for all her support with my weight loss too. I am also grateful to all the medical professionals who have helped with my ankle rehab (except the NHS physio who just discharged me with no instruction) there are too many to list.

Coming to the end now where it is more personal I guess. Adam and Oscar. Unless you live with a person who has autism and ADHD you will not understand what it is like for Adam. My behaviour has been erratic, my moods have been difficult to understand and decipher. Half of the time he's not sure what's going on, the other half he has no idea. If I decide something has to be done then it has to be done. My anxiety has been so intense and my behaviour so unpredictable that Adam has had to take me to every training session, he is tired and stressed and probably at breaking point a lot but he still does it. If you are a parent you don't have a lot of choice when it comes to supporting your child but as a partner there is choice and that is what makes Adam special. Thank you Adam for helping me get to training, helping me plan out going away, helping me communicate what I need and supporting me through the processes. I would not be without my Oscar now, he has been witness to a lot of anxiety, meltdowns and volatile behaviour. He has begun to understand it now and he really does look after me. Having Oscar around makes me feel calm and loved. He is the best puppy I could ever wish for.

Lastly I want to thank my friend Vicky. I am so lucky to have a friend like you. You have supported me through everything this year and made sure people listen. You still think it is nothing but to me it could never be nothing. Thank you for everything. Thank you for your help this week with my medical appointments, for making sure I got my ankle looked at and explaining and supporting me through the process, for the lengths you went to in arranging the assistance and support I need at the airport and that I understood what would happen. Thank you for your support with my social worker, with chasing up the ADHD team, chasing up the doctors, with the ADHD diagnosis, for listening to me and explaining things that I find confusing. Thank you for looking after Oscar when I am away, it makes me feel more relaxed knowing that he will get lots of cuddles and have lots of fun with your family. There is so much more to add but more than I could possibly fit. Mostly though thank you for being you and for being my friend.

I travel to the World Championships in the early hours of tomorrow morning. Who knows what will happen there but I have fought so hard to get to this point now that regardless of that I am a winner. After the year I have had to just be standing means I have won. I am a fighter and I know what it takes to be a champion - I never give up and I will give nothing less than everything I have.

SEN Magazine - www.senmagazine.co.uk
Tough Furniture - www.toughfurniture.com
BCKA - www.bckakickboxing.com
Christian Baker - www.christianbaker.net
New Dimensions Fitness - www.newdimensionsfitness.co.uk