Getting Your Power Back

“Getting your power back” – what does that even mean?

I am sure many people will tell you a different story, you will no doubt have an idea yourself and through a series of blogs in the coming weeks, I am going to share with you what it means to me and before I do that I want to tell you a story about how I lost it in the first place.

You see, I have got my power back – I am now in complete control of how I feel, how I react and the impact other people and situations have on me – don’t get me wrong, I still have things that trigger negative emotions in my mind which have an effect on my whole being.

The difference now is that I recognise these triggers and can deal with them or deflect them depending on what is appropriate for me at the time. I know when I need to step away and take care of me.

You are as amazing as you let yourself be. Let me repeat that.

You are as amazing as you let yourself be.

Elizabeth Alraune

Hi everyone! I am FIona Dalziel, and I am a Holistic Therapist and skin specialist and I help women take their power back through holistic self-care for their mind, body and soul.

I recognise from my own experience how we can find it increasingly difficult to look after ourselves, due to our busy and stressful lifestyles and through having a sense of well-being, we can make better, more informed decisions about ourselves and how we live our lives.

This is what inspired me to set up my own practice as a Holistic Therapist and Mindfulness Coach in 2018 at The Hygge Clinic in Kirkwall on the beautiful Orkney islands, after a career in the corporate world. I am not an Orcadian however these islands and the people who live there had an incredible impact on me and my practice.

We moved to back to central Scotland in the summer of 2019 for my husband's work & my therapy room came too! My treatment room is based in my lovely home in Alloa and my new Facebook community "Your Sense of Wellbeing" will be open to women everywhere.

Getting my power back, being completely in control of me, didn’t just happen overnight, it was a long process!

For me I took the first baby steps one morning in 2005 - let’s just say the realisation that I needed to do something more occurred around that time!

Walking out the office door on that cold January day, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders – I was unemployed! After 18 years climbing the corporate ladder to a senior leadership position, it felt amazing to know I did not need to go back tomorrow and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do! I got in my car and cried, sobbed in fact, this time though it was tears of sheer relief.

Those of you reading this who know me will not be in the slightest bit surprised that this was my reaction to this monumental occasion – and those of you who are still getting to know me will learn that tears are my way to release emotion of all kinds, from sheer delight to frustration and to pain and sadness – it’s me and I don’t apologise for it!

Here are some of the reasons why I cry!

Does this resonate with you at all? Let me know!

After a period of illness due to workplace anxiety earlier the previous year I had returned to work in what I would only describe as an incredibly hostile environment.

My colleague had been promoted in my absence and was now the director in charge of our department. A whole host of unethical carry on that will not actually add value to this story so we will move along!

Work became an even greater trigger of serious discomfort for me and travelling to work in our London offices was a dreadful experience. Every time I visited I was more and more anxious and the environment became more toxic and yet I still refused to quit!

I didn’t have the guts to raise a grievance and at the same time I didn’t want to give up – I was better than this I kept telling myself and anyone else who would listen. Especially Mark, my husband, I told him this so many times he gave up trying to convince me otherwise. I know now how difficult this must have been for him to witness me becoming more and more anxious and stressed and refusing to accept help from him or others – this was all part of the vicious circle I found myself in.

I was kidding myself that everything would resolve itself – I was great at my job and I would get through this and the Wing Commander (my name for my boss) would not win!

He was 5 years younger than me and called me “dear” – he wore an airforce blue suit and called everyone “old boy”. Just made my hair stand on end!!

During a social gathering, I over-heard Wing Commander tell one of my colleagues that he had a hit list, and I was right at the top. I had spent my whole career working towards the role I was in and my promotion to the role he had been “handed” when I was off with work related anxiety. I felt like my whole career was crashing around my feet. I reacted badly.

I went to my bed in the hotel in tears, phoning my husband at home to relay the story – he wanted me to quit, give up and come home and I was just too stubborn. I think that night if I had said I would come home he would have driven to London to get me.

This event sparked a whole host of insecurities in me about my manager and what people thought about me, when in fact in reflection, his actions were all about his behaviour and his insecurities around me.

If only I had been as wise then to realise that, I could have saved myself a great deal of pain.

A fortnight in Lanzarote in November was just what the doctor ordered, in fact at that point it was Mark, my husband who ordered it! It was a three-line whip!

We had a lovely break in the sunshine, talked lots and I cried a lot too - I had finally made the decision that I was being crushed and I needed to get out. I was going to look for another job and when I returned to work from annual leave, I was surprised that I was asked to work on another project with one of our senior directors - we were putting plans in place for the restructuring our own department.

My mind went into overdrive – could this be an “out” for me?

The only thing on my mind that January morning was, I made it – this is a new start, I was given voluntary redundancy, I had played the system – I am going to leave this all behind and be happy ever after – how incredibly naïve of me …..

What I didn’t take into consideration then was that all that stress, anxiety and insecurity had left lasting damage, something that wasn’t going to go away without work, serious work and a great deal of conversation.

You see, this wasn’t the first time I had been bothered with stress and anxiety in the workplace and the so the wounds were deep.

Now that I can look back to think about what sparked this all off, I need to go all the way back to 1997.

Here I was at 30 years old, living the dream, with a successful career, multiple award winner with my employer, a large global organisation, a mover and shaker among my peers. Sounds the perfect career and it was, from the outside.

In reality, I was working more than 70 hours a week, living out of a suitcase, being a less than committed part-time wife and mum when I was home on the weekend and barely holding it together, yet I continued to smile to the world and convince myself that everything was fine and the situation would change – just give it a little more time and I would be working 35 hours a week!

We had a dress code at work in those days – companies would never get away with that now however it was a skirt suit, nude tights, heels and a full face of make up – nothing less! Can you just imagine? Anyway, this is relevant I promise!

I was meeting a colleague and friend in Edinburgh this particular morning and I had slept in because I had been up half the night compiling yet another last minute report that had to be submitted that morning!

I have no idea how I got to the hotel next to the Zoo in Edinburgh that morning – like every day, my car phone rang constantly the whole way and I talked through issues and problems with staff and colleagues for the entire 70 mile journey, just a blur!

Just before I left Sharon to drive home she asked me if I was ok?

“Of course” was my reply, and then she said “are you sure?” and I was adamant that everything was ok and off I went towards my car. When I sat in my car, I noticed that she had followed me over so I rolled down the window.

She said “Fiona, I am worried about you. Are you really ok?” – I smiled and said “Of course, I absolutely am”, gave her a wave and drove off.

This without a doubt was the trigger for what was going to happen next!

I was driving through the city and all along I was thinking to myself, "of course i'm fine" and I had just crossed the Forth Bridge when I had a good look at myself in the rear view mirror, my make up was dodgy at best and my hair was greasy – I was a mess. I am closing my eyes now and it is still so vivid, that feeling of shock that I had really thought I looked groomed when I left the house that morning and that feeling of emotions welling up inside me when I realised I didn’t have it all together and the cat was out of the bag.

The tears started and I just couldn’t stop crying, I was crying so much that I pulled over in a layby just outside of Perth and was crying unconsolably, I had no idea what for – my phone was ringing and ringing and I couldn’t answer! I must have been there for hours.

I was immediately signed off work with stress by my doctor – you can imagine how well that went down with a company with a dress policy for women!

I didn’t really do anything to “heal the wounds” just sat around, baked cakes, took some time to breath and generally felt numb, oh and put on a brave face to everyone that I was on the mend and feeling better, I was offered counselling and turned it down.

Eventually after four weeks my doctor convinced me that Prozac was the way to go. I was prepared to do anything to get rid of this numb feeling and so I agreed to take the pills – this was to become a 23 year relationship with anti-depressants, and that’s a whole other blog to itself.

Four months later, armed with my new “Brave pills” I started back at work – was I prepared? Was I healed? Sadly no, and I received very little assistance from my GP at this time, or did I? Maybe I just wasn't receptive to it and this would be why it would continue to raise it's head until I took the "bull by the horns" 8 years later.

My journey to get my power back started with baby steps in 2005 and it wasn’t until 2013 that I really began to fully understand why I could never find peace and that was when I realised that what was missing in my life, in my career was an ability to truly help people and make a difference in their lives – that is when my holistic journey began, I am still travelling that path with a whole new power. The road is smooth and the outlook is clear.

Next week I am going to continue this story with "Starting to Find Peace" - my CBT journey.

I hope you will join me then!

If you would like to join my "Your Sense of Wellbeing" community on Facebook, you can do that here

Until then,

Much love, Fiona xx

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