I had to get my life back!
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
As I was venturing through the Royal palaces of South Korea and while playing fun games in Tokyo Tower, I was more and more grateful that I was getting my life and health back. What do I mean by that? Well, story goes like this:
About five years ago I lost my mentor after he battled with leukaemia. He changed forever the way I see theatre and acting and I will forever be grateful. It came as a shock to me and at the time I didn't really have enough tools to deal with that reality.
A year after, I lost one of my very good friends, he was part of the same theatre group, with the same mentor. He was in his thirties, from what we all knew in very good health and he died in his sleep. It turns out they missed something at all the health-checks he was going to. Again, I didn't have the tools to cope, so I did what I knew best: I buried myself in work. It seemed to work for a while, at least it was keeping me busy, but what happens when you're on your feet for many hours, many days? Well... your hips start to hurt, your knees start to overcompensate and your feet decide not to function any more.
For about a year and a half I couldn't walk without being in severe pain, I couldn't exercise as I've always done and I ended up gaining a bit of weight. Something between 15 and 20 kg is what I mean by a bit. My poor legs were already struggling to function because I overworked them, so gaining weight was the last thing they needed. I can honestly say that every step I took for quite a few months (more like a year) was like walking on needles and broken glass. The first time I put one of my feet down in the morning was the worst, the pain continued but as the day went on, I got used to it in a way. Plantar fasciitis tends to be like this: It starts horrible and it doesn't get any better. I kept taking painkillers, I tried all sorts of exercises, padded shoes and gel-socks and it took quite a long time to recover.
While I was doing all that, one day I took a good look at myself in the bathroom mirror after I just struggled to go up the stairs. It was shocking to look at this person whom I did not know. I had numbed myself for such a long time that I had lost contact with who I really was.
I made the decision then to get my life back. I started using an app to keep track of my daily calorie intake and whatever exercises I could manage to do. I wasn't eating that much so the true issue was that I just wasn't exercising enough. I didn't give up, I couldn't keep giving up. Day in day out, I went to work, I did my exercises for recovery and I tried to eat only as much as I actually needed. Work involved me being on my feet for more than 12-14 hours a day, four days a week. I was lucky to be surrounded with nice co-workers who lightened up my day, because my feet felt like they were breaking apart with every step I took.
Every day I had to remind myself of who I am and what I want to do in this life. I had to remind myself that if I don't get better, I can't achieve any of my goals and dreams. I had to give myself pep talk every once in a while because it's normal to just want to sit down and hope that the pain goes away. I couldn't let that happen. I pushed myself and when I started booking my trip to South Korea I had an even bigger motive to want to fix myself: you can't enjoy walking through the streets of Seoul if you can't walk, it's that simple.
By the time we landed on Incheon, I had already lost about 10 kg and I wasn't about to let the trip stop me from getting myself back to what I once knew was normal. My plantar fasciitis was getting better and I stopped taking any painkillers for the first time since it all started. Every day while we were there I exercised. I was doing whatever I could in the small space of our guest-house room in Seoul and sometimes I preferred walking for a few more minutes rather than taking the subway. We walked a lot on our ventures and I was very grateful to be able to do that.
I love Korean and Japanese food and had pretty much everything I wanted while I was there (could have done with more udon noodles – there's always room for more udon noodles) and I think everyone can, as long as they keep active and don't exaggerate with too many snacks and sweets everyday. In the following months, after returning to the UK, I lost whatever was left from my 'dark ages'.
I still have to do some of my recovery exercises even now, years after, because I work in the same sort of environment and I'm on my feet for most of the day. I've always eaten healthy but I do have some junk food every once in a while. Most of the time I don't crave it and I love cooking and baking too much to let myself order a greasy takeaway.
The fun part is that it took me quite some time to fully understand what had happen over the past few years. There's more to the story than what I've just said and it all adds up eventually.
I have so many things I want to achieve in this life, so many dreams to follow and I need my body to be in great condition so I'm able to pursue what I want.
Now that I have my life back, I can't lose it again.
Please take good care of yourselves