Hi and thanks for stopping by,
This is to try and give you a bit of an idea of who I am and how I ended up here. It was going to be a relatively short intro, but once I got started I realised that for me at least, I needed to give a bit more detail. Something happened to me in December 1998, I didn’t realise it at the time but it was a profound moment that was to completely redefine me.
I never know quite what to say in introductions, there is always the temptation to go into to great a depth whilst you’re trying to explain everything, but I’ll try to resist temptation and instead hone in on the point that although I didn’t realise it at the time, was to change my life for ever.
My formative years were spent in an armed forces environment and by the time the family got a posting that landed us into the real world, at the grand old age of almost 12 I had seen and experienced too much to make the transition to a normal life. Although I didn’t admit it to myself until fairly recently I would have also had depression at that point, and that made adjusting to what was essentially an alien world, a character building experience.
By the time that I left for college I was an introvert, although for those of you who’ve ever played hockey an introverted goalkeeper was possibly a first. College changed me, I became more confident, I helped to steer the college student union into the National Union of Students, I was on some college committee’s, I even stood for President of the NUS, not bad for a one time introvert. I wanted to do things that could help change peoples lives, but at that point I didn’t know how that could be achieved. I can’t remember if I’d heard of the internet back then, all that I knew were the conventional structures for affecting change, and they were light years away from where I was.
Like everyone leaving college I was secure in the knowledge that it wouldn’t be long before I would get a job and I could start making my way in the world. I think that it might have been possible that I was just a wee bit naive in my expectations. I once worked out how many job interviews I’d had, I can’t remember the figure, but I know that it was well over 500. I was over experienced, under experienced, over qualified under qualified, I filled disability quotas and I even got called for interview because people wanted to meet me.
Fortunately or unfortunately I found my way into sales. I think that it was around the 20th of November 1998 at around 4.20 am…ish that I crashed my car.
Why was I out at such an unsociable hour? Quite simply I’d let problems at work get to me, I started working some seriously stupid hours so a crash was inevitable, I’m just relieved that I didn’t hurt anyone else! Since the previous day I had been on the go for around 21 hours and traveled I don’t know how many hundreds of miles. I can remember that I had dozed off, I opened my eyes to see that I was heading towards a rather solid roadside light, I slammed my foot down on what I thought was the brake but turned out to be the accelerator, I remember shouting NO, I crashed and then I went flying over an embankment. One of these days I need to go back to the crash site because I would love to see how far I’d traveled, I can remember that it was a long walk back to the road.
I was lucky that a passing motorist saw what had happened and called me an ambulance. They kept me in hospital for a few hours and then released me to a long and very painful train journey back to where I was living. I eventually got back and had to go straight to my doctors for some painkillers as I was in absolute agony. There began I think it was just over 2 weeks of nothing but pain where all I had to look forward to was my next lot of painkillers, and as I was by myself that was a bad time.
Eventually I decided to go back to work, I was working on behalf of a drinks company and as it was the Christmas season I was feeling guilty about not being out there. I had started bringing up a lot of dark, clotted clumps of blood, not something to be recommended, and given the state that I was in I thought that it was just some kind of bug. The day before I was due to drive back to my parents for Christmas I had an appointment with a physio, she took one look at my somewhat distended right leg and suggested that I see my doctor as a matter of some urgency. It was the 23rd of December, I went and saw my Doctor, he sent me to hospital for a check up, just to be on the safe side, I eventually got out on the 4th of January. Had I tried to travel to my parents then I would have died.
It turns out that I had a text book perfect deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. I had been in hospital for a bit over a week when I woke up with pain on the right side of my chest, I was given some paracetamol but it didn’t do anything. I think that it was the early afternoon a nurse was taking my obs when another came in with a phone, it was my parents making their daily call, I turned to take the phone and pain like I hope to God that I never experience again slammed into my chest, it was so bad that even to just think was mind blowing agony. I can remember the nurse saying to my parents that, “Michael’s not feeling well at the moment he’ll talk to you later,” I remember finding that comment absolutely hilarious and I was desperate to come up with a reply, to my continuing annoyance I never did, and then I lost consciousness. Unfortunately for my parents the next thing that they heard was someone calling for the crash trolley.
Whilst all this kerfuffle was going on I had woke up somewhere in my mind. I was aware of being in a beautiful forest glade, I had a moment to take in my surroundings and then I was drawn along a path. When I stopped moving it was as if I was at the base of some great waterfall, I could feel trees around me, I could see a strangely calm pool in front of me, and looking up I could see the great cliffs of the waterfall. Then I became aware that up there was my heart and lungs, I could see that nothing was moving and I can remember thinking in a somewhat bemused fashion, “that’s not right.”
My attention was drawn to a clot in my chest area and I knew that I had to get rid of it, I forcing the clot to move but I felt that something was still not quite right. I spent a moment contemplating the scene and then I realised what I needed to do, BREATHE!!! I can remember getting my left lung working bu no matter what I did I couldn’t get the right one to work, and it was while I was thinking on that, that I regained consciousness. It was until a couple of months later when I was talking to my consultant that I discovered why I couldn’t get the right lung to work. I’d had a VQ scan which had come up with a remarkable picture, it clearly showed a left lung but at point I didn’t have a right one.
I don’t think that I’ll ever know what happened at that point especially as my medical notes were a bit confused, but given what had happened and the quantity of clotted blood that I brought up subsequently, there is no doubt in my mind that I’d survived a massive pulmonary embolism that should have killed me. The thought occurs that possibly having a sense of humour might have helped me, because instead of my panicking with what was happening, all I wanted to do was to laugh at what the nurse had said.
When I came to I was sent off for an x-ray, I wanted to tell them that the clot had gone but it was as if I had entered some kind of twilight zone and was unable to talk about it, in fact it was months before I started to think about what had happened.
THE JOURNEY ON
In 1999 I had another D.V.T and spent another Christmas in hospital with a D.V.T and P.E. I’ve always loved Christmas but after 2 consecutive Christmas’s in hospital it’s become my favourite time of the year.
Despite all of my problems I kept pushing on, although that largely considered growing my huge collection of job interviews, and until 2006 whilst I knew that there had to be something more, my mind was still set in conventional mode.
In 2006 I discovered that it was possible to make money on the internet and that began a journey of exploration that has brought me to where I’m typing this article. Like the vast majority of people who start, I knew absolutely nothing but based on a product that I’d bought I knew that it was easy money and that I would be rich, ahh, if only. Eventually I conceded that success might take a bit longer than I’d anticipated but I could see the potential and that motivated me to keep moving on.
The most embarrassing thing was that I knew that I needed too set up sites, but being not what you could call the most technically gifted of people I thought that it would be way to difficult, and for far too long I wasted time by steadfastly holding on to that belief until I finally thought, why not give it a go and I discovered that you can set up a WordPress site in minutes. That fun experience brought home to me with hurricane force the fact that until you try to do something, how do you know if it’s impossible or not!
Eventually I came across this thing called personal development, and having twigged that’s what I been doing to myself for more years than I can remember. I found and I still find personal development fascinating, and I love the fact that it has the power to change lives for the better. I got myself a site which had loads of great content on, but which I made a complete mess off, still, at least it helped me to develop my thoughts.
I discovered Kindle and I discovered that people were prepared to buy my books. Apart from an adaptation of the Christmas Carol, it’s all been non-fiction so far, but I have some fiction ideas that I’ll be pursuing. The royalties from my Kindle books paid for this app, my first edition was published in March 2014 and whilst there have been more than a few headaches along the way, here I am.
The journey on is perhaps a wee bit understated given that every step forward has been hard work. Back in 2012 I finally and fortunately admitted to myself that I had a problem had I not it’s debatable whether I would be currently typing this out. I was diagnosed as being clinically depressed, something that I suspect has been with me since the grand old age of 10. I’ve got into the irritating habit over the last few years of adding something new every year to what I call my decrepity list. I have problems with the wonderfully named (at least I think so) pernicious anaemia, I’ve also got peripheral neuropathy which bizzarely is a blessing because it means that it doesn’t hurt as much when I walk.
I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t matter what happens to you because you can still carry on. What happens is what happens and there is nothing that you can do to change that, except be as positive and as forward thinking as you can. Whether you like it or not we are all infinitely more capable than our minds allow us to believe, but you have to believe that it applies to you and you have to do something about it.
Do you remember as a child the dreams that you used to dream? Age tended to water those dreams down as you learnt what was possible and what was not, and for a while I fell into that trap. After the event I learnt to dream again, not the dreams that are constricted by the hand that life has dealt you, but GREAT, BIG, GLORIOUS DREAMS.
Anything is possible if you only try, and I will keep trying, I will keep learning and pushing my boundaries, and I hope that somewhere along the way, I will be able to do something to help you to achieve your dreams.