I am now retired from my work with the NHS as a specialist speech and language therapist, working with children born with a cleft palate. As a mother of two children now grown up, I find myself with more time to spend on my lifelong interests: singing, sewing and gardening.
Two major events in my life led me to where I am now: qualified with a diploma in holistic aromatherapy at the Yorkshire School of Natural Healing, with now 6 years experience.
The first was in 2004, when I suffered a head and neck injury as a result of a car accident, with physical and psychological effects which lasted for several years afterwards. The second was the loss of my sister to brain cancer In 2010. These events taught me two really important things.
Firstly, that external stress can have a huge impact on the body, in terms of physical and mental health. The importance of taking time to care for yourself during difficult times cannot be underestimated.
The second really important thing is that it is impossible to go through these things alone: the support of caring friends and loved ones is essential to the healing process. The true kindness of strangers can also have a very profound effect, because some people are able to reach out to others with real empathy. A carer or loved one of someone going through a difficult time also needs care themselves! Whatever the cause may be, having people around you who empathize, who understand what you are going through makes a huge difference to how you cope with your stress. Then, having time to relax, even for short periods gives the body a chance to recover, recharge and heal.
When my sister was ill, she discovered that the effect of aromatherapy on reducing her anxiety about what was happening to her, and helping her to cope with her illness, was very powerful. She had regular professional aromatherapy sessions, but I also used some very basic massage using lavender oil, and when she became unable to speak any more, the language of touch and smell could communicate far more than any spoken words. It enabled me to care for her in the most profound way possible.
A few months after her death, I enrolled for the Aromatherapy course, first gaining a certificate in anatomy and physiology, before undertaking the year-long course in holistic aromatherapy and massage, and my diploma is dedicated to her memory.