You Aren’t Alone; Making Our Struggles Worthwhile.

 You Aren’t Alone.

Making Our Struggles Count.

Never a truer word. Don't stop believing.
Never a truer word. Don’t stop believing.

You aren’t alone. Everyone struggles, everyone has adversity at some point in their life and the truth is some of us need it more than others so we can grow to the heights we need to be.
After years of agoraphobia and anxiety, I made some bad choices and spent time sleeping on the cold floor of my gym because I was an asshole to my wife by abusing alcohol due to emotional stress. My fear was at an all time high as I had no idea where I should go from here, both physically (a place to stay) and mentally (how do I get out of this mess and move forward).
I am a lucky man as Julie forgave me and took me back into the warm heart of our home. Her belief in me, her own desires for us to move forward and her love for our family was far stronger than any fears, doubts and mis-givings I had. My latest fall was as a result of my business failing despite many hours put in and sacrifices made. So called friends and colleagues stabbed me in the back, people close to me bore false witness, staff stole from under my nose. Anything I tried to do failed epically.

This was on the back of threats by IRA members to kidnap and murder me prompting a physiatrist to say “No wonder you drink Simon,” before horrendously retracting her words, hand on mouth stuttering “No, no, forget I said that!” It was all good, I have a sense of humour and laughed at her gaff. No harm, no foul. I took care of the IRA business before anyone could get hurt but could I have handled the aftermath better? Sure but he who is without sin gets to hurl the first rock, correct?
Slowly but surely I steadied our ship and we headed for calmer waters.

As difficult as it may be, never give up hope.
As difficult as it may be, never give up hope.

We put everything into our new business, sacrificed much and slowly but slowly we began to flourish.
After much time working our backsides off and spending many an hour writing the book An Everyday Warrior (a true story) we needed some respite and so we headed for the sunshine state, the place our heart calls home…Orlando.
Relieved, excited and ready to de-stress we prepared for a fortnight of fun only to not even make it past the second day let alone the two weeks.Bang! Blue lighted in the night to hospital by emergency services, my biggest memory is of the incredible pain I was in. I’ve never felt anything like it and I’ve fought professional heavyweight boxers.
After being tested for everything from kidney stones to cancer I was eventually diagnosed with acute pneumonia and operated on.
Much to the horror of my tearful wife the operation failed and after horrific hallucinations I was placed on life support.
Thank God the doctor didn’t give up and I was operated on again and this time they were successful but I was far from out of the woods, spending many days in Intensive Care. My wife sat with me every step of the way with our 10 year old son Billy, an ocean away from home but she held it together. Strong is her middle name…or it should be.
After days unconscious I woke up one morning with no clue what had happened or where I was.A nurse was monitoring my machines when I came around and she quickly saw the absolute fear written all over my face. She soothed me and reassured me that I wasn’t alone and sure enough, seconds later Julie entered the room followed by her little duck Billy. (Note, the lovely nurse Meleny Resario is now a firm family friend for life).
I thought Julie had left me alone there to die. In my haze I heard she had returned to the UK taking our son with us. It turned out she had just gone to get a cup of tea.
Upon my release from hospital we were stranded in the States for a total of almost seven weeks as my lung was still collapsed and I was not allowed to board a plane. Even when I finally got the go ahead we still couldn’t fly home as the insurance company scoured our policy looking for a way out of paying us.
Eventually we boarded a flight home and I fought back tears as we landed in rainy Manchester. Man I have never been so happy to see the gray skies of the North of England.

Finally given the all clear, we made our way to Orlando International Airport pretty pronto!
Finally given the all clear, we made our way to Orlando International Airport pretty pronto!

Now home my recovery started in earnest. That was three years ago this month and getting better took it’s toll.
I had dropped to nine stone and couldn’t do one minute on the bag without slumping to my knees, gasping for breath.
Today I weigh in at a healthy thirteen stone, train myself at least five times a week and teach for over 15 hours a week plus seminars.
About to publish my sixth book, (I,Bully) our belief in From Bullied to Black Belt is at an all time high as Hollywood film companies and producers are taking it serious enough to read it.

It’s a long way from a cold, concrete floor of the gym that was, at one time my bed.
So if you are in the thick of adversity, gripped by anxiety or your place seems so dark you are lost then please don’t give up. Be it a test, financial hardship, a challenging moving up your path in life, don’t give up.
There were many times on our journey that Julie and I could have done just that but we didn’t. We just battled on as best we could. I don’t know what is around the corner but I get the feeling it is bright and so can your future be.
Straighten your back walk tall and face your fears. They may well be there for the beating you will give them and the rewards will all be yours.
Julie and I wish you all the very best with your endeavours.

If we stick at it, the good times roll again!
If we stick at it, the good times roll again!

Martial Arts Public Speaker

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