Yesterday was a good “friends’ day” for me, no real work despite my long list of to do things, just a catch up with a few online friends, clients, new ideas, profound chats, a few laughs, it was a good day. And so it’s inspired me to write this.
I remember me a year ago, completely depressed, panic attacks, recovering from all my operations and of course struggling to come to terms with infertility, no hope, no confidence and a handful of Cuties on Etsy which no one was interested in.
Very very few friends around and overwhelming feelings of isolation and abandonment, being excluded from the world. I wasn’t in a good way.
So what’s changed you say, I’m still battling depression, my anxiety hasn’t really improved much and I’m still infertile but with a glimpse of hope that we will try IVF. This glimpse by the way is HUGE!
What’s also changed is that somehow, through one of the hardest times in my life, I persevered through the bad and I have managed to achieve something, madebysteffie, but there is so much more to it than that.
A few months ago I was sent a book called “the art of asking” sadly I didn’t get a chance to read it but I watched a Ted talk about it and I got the idea. Being quirky, not moaning all the time, being nice to people, finding new ways, finding my way, it made a lot of sense to me and a lot of it was also common sense but the main thing I took from it was; be different, be yourself.
So I applied the gist of it to my business, cups of kindness, spoonfuls of giving, a whole slice of loving, and of course a huge drizzle of comedy.
A year on I have made enough friends to spend a day online talking to some of them and still run out of time to contact them all.
Friends from all ages, backgrounds, situations. clients, sharers, supporters of my blog, the list is longer than I had realised.
Yes, my main focus is to have a business to get IVF but really, all these extra bits makes it so much more enjoyable and it saves my life on a daily basis. In fact I’d go as far as saying that without all that, I wouldn’t have a business!
When I say that you save my life, I mean it.
The biggest joy about madebysteffieb is that I get to be kind back to people who have been kind to me. I get to support them back, I get to laugh with them, sometimes we cry together, it feels to me like these are some of the best friendships I’ve had in a long time. We give, and we take and because it’s balanced, it works.
I get support, consideration, encouragement, love and even surprises and I try to give it all back. I love giving hence why I would never make a good saleswoman but the point is that it makes me feel good too! Small acts of kindness are the best medicine to more illnesses than we think.
Sure it all takes time and a lot of work but I have the luxury of working from home and so I spend a lot of my time doing just that. Little Karma points that warm my heart and in turn make my days better.
Just in terms of the 2 issues I suffer and am familiar with, infertility and mental health, 1 in 6 of us is affected by infertility and 1 in 4 of us struggles with mental health, look around you, the chances are some of your friends are there too. Not to mention of course other things that people struggle with. We all have our problems as they say.
So today I want to thank my new friends.
The girls who struggle with infertility but can’t speak up, I hear you and I think about you every day.
The people who suffer with mental health, I know sometimes you have a bad day and it’s ok to say it. It’s ok to message me and vent because you feel so low you don’t know what else to do. I do the same to you remember?
Little Audrey who doesn’t read my blog but who always makes me smile despite her own health issues, I pray (in my own way) for a cure for you everyday and I help out every time I can.
Other children who I know are having a hard time too, I make stories for you and I do my best to make you smile.
Poorly people who chat to me online and help me, I help you back and we have a chat and a laugh.
People who aren’t poorly but just care for me, you mean the world to me. I have some real comedians on my list and our laughs do me the world of good, please know that.
Anyone who has ever been in touch and showed me respect and complimented me on my work, one little kind word makes such a difference to my day.
And of course all the people who have Cuties that I don’t know, you’ve helped us along the way, your acts of kindness have made me smile on days where I’d lost all hope.
Let’s not forget everyone who has taken the time to blog about me, everyone who uses their Cuties online to help me grow, the Cutie addicts out there and of course everyone who’s donated, I am humbled.
All of you, you know who you are, and you know what I think of you, there are so many of you that even in a whole day I didn’t manage to contact everyone but please know you are all in my heart.
You have filled my empty shrinking heart with love, kindness, hope and I know that no matter what time or day, there is always one of you around to help if I need, just like I hope you know I’m never far away.
A few weeks ago the postman delivered a really heavy heavy parcel, a big jar of handmade jam from my lovely friend Jacqueline…. How kind?
And last week I received a parcel filled with fresh handmade Welsh cakes from my gorgeous friend Martina, just because.
At Christmas we received more cards than ever before and even a few gifts, Nina and Katrina to name a few… Even Dotty was spoiled, thanks Louise!
How can all this love not help me? These memories we are building is where I try to go to when I can’t cope anymore.
I know the internet is a scary place and there are some bad people out there, but for every bad person on there, there are 10 good ones, you just have to be careful and selective. And if you think someone is genuinely there supporting you, let it grown naturally, be good back and a year later, you might just end up with a group of friends who sometimes do more for you then non internet friends have ever done.
Internet friendships are hard to maintain but that’s a good thing, because if it’s worth it then you make the effort and it becomes a joy. Treasured moments I will hold in my heart for the rest of my life.
And finally while I’m talking about all the positive relationships in my life, I would like to announce that last week Shaun and I got engaged, I finally took the plunge and asked him… you know how reluctant I was. He said yes!
We have no plans yet but interestingly enough it has given me a new lease of life, another bit of happiness to help with the hard days. To know that my best friend will be by my side forever.
And I’ll be revealing a new very special collaboration in the next newsletter, our new recruit here at H.Q so don’t miss it.
I know it sounds silly but to everyone I mentioned above, I really do love you.