Hi, I’m Carly.
And this is my blog and my online home I welcome you into. Much like entering any friend’s home I hope you love it all, I hope you feel the energy and the warmth of a good host, and that you align with the decor and style. I hope you look forward to visiting me, were we can curl up on the sofa with a cup of peppermint tea as we chat, giggle, share, love and inspire one another.
But, much like any home, there will always be changes to make as time evolves – as I evolve. Nothing is static here and I have watched this space shift and shape a lot over the past few years. For now, a sense of clarity is emerging -within my bones, within my work, within myself. However, this soul journey is bound to have a lot more to teach more and I am open to the mist which takes its time to settle now. I just know myself a little better now I think. But everything is a work in progress here – and for me – with health, healing, life and love. And this is that which I share — honest, raw truth, censored slightly of course (for this isn’t my private diary) and with hopefully a sprinkling of positivity and hope undermining the depth.
Because, let get real, life with a chronic long term illness (currently at year 21) is massive. When that said illness consumes every single second of your day, when it limits life quite this dramatically (and many people underestimate how much it really does in my case) and consistently, when dreams have remained just that, when normal life trajectories have not occurred, when the symptoms and exhaustion are beyond heavy, and mostly when the medical professional have nothing to offer, and you yourself become a phd worthy doctor who knows her stuff but still hasn’t made much of a dent, when you become in awe of the soul path and you do the work in every single way, but still the dent is minor – then this is HUGE.
That above statement took me a while to write… not literally ,,, but int eh sense of owning the truth of it.
Because I guess I had a notion and a vision that this space would be positive and I didn’t want to feel into any darkness for a long time. It was there of course, but I chose to look towards the light. I still do actually, but in a way which release and acknowledges the reality dn the fear, then owns it, then reframes and circles abck towards the sunshine – and the love, gratitude, hope, happiness & beauty of life. Because life is dark and light. Thats okay. Finally I see that this is okay. But also I say that life should be easier too. My circumstance makes it difficult and so I work harder with my attitude and outlook. I’m grateful for so much, but I am ready to be well. More than ready. I deserve to feel better. And I will. For now I continue, blindly, step by baby step, as I can, when I can, rolling with the waves in a storm which has not yet come close to passing.
My blog Is real. It is my truth, my musing, my conversations (often with myself) and my reactions. I see in words actually. The vibe is Hygee, My anchor is love. My passion is for creativity, writing, healing, beauty, development, sharing, support, connection and inspiration.
I’ll be honest and admit that I don’t think many blogs out there quite represent my unique situation. But such a lot of people are in this very same situation. I write for the brave souls who do the work, see the rainbow, but are still sick. I write for those who retain hope and share love despite this because they know what is important and they know how to make it count. I write to acknowledge their credentials, but also to provide a sapce where they can admit the fear and the difficulty too. Because often this is hard especially with an invisible illness where people only ever see you looking and feeling your best. Its an almost impossible task to weave it all together and present an accurate picture. Myself, I know that when I am lucky enough t et outside I want to put a dress on, some makeup and immerse in the pleasure of it all. If I see people I don’t want to beceom a spokes person fro illness. I want to dig into my soul and connect on that passionate level – the level of who I really am.
Writing and blogging has helped me access my soul. Helped me hear my voice and becoem brave at speaking my truth. There will always be frustration – in every way and in pretty much every occasion. for what I decline to say is still there. What I don’t share then may not be heard. There is no win win.
SO what can I do?
Let it go actually. And this is what I am currently working on. Letting go of the need to explain. To justify. Because judgement is still strong and people are quick to only see and gear the good stuff and dismiss the rest – which leaves you feel – incomplete.
Yet, there is no easy solution. Share the truth with the people who know you best. Share when it feels right. Never hide it, but don’t feel compelled that everyone must immediately try to understand. That will never happen, and I have to be okay with many people in my life barely knowing the surface scratch of a deep cut.
Again, writing has been the answer for me. If I use this space and my work to share, to tell it how it is, show all the dimensions of my situation; then actually I can let it go in general day to day life. There will laswyas be niggles of course, but if they remain then its a sign to chose (and release) friends wisely too.
Basically, my lesson has been to hear my soul’s voice, and to act upon its wisdom. To also choose love over fear, or at least acknowledge whichever feeling is present and which I am operating from. Clairtyis important and although I didn’t expect it I’ve found it (and growth) in thwriteten word, both priavtely and publicly, and within new and beautiful freidnships.
We all have a innate power we must try to tap into any which way we can. But we all must feel and release any emotios which surfaces too. I am trying. And we can say it how it is. We can admit we feel misundestood and undervalued. That our light doesn’t not shine as bright as it should. that our potential has been hidden for too long. We can say this. And then circle back to acceptance – for now- with a commitment to continuing the work – because health will always remain the ultimate priority.
ANd I want to stress that health is very different fro many peple, but that there is a line. A line upon which one needs to either reside upon or be able – in order to be anywhere close to the full version if themselves. Life without a level of health is not okay. And I know many of you live on or below that line, thesame as I do. We can only try to get better and be grateful when we rise a little.
And I have found a a space such as this lacking within the online world, and I hope therefore I can provide it, not by active intention, but more gently through sharing and exploring my own path. Because I come across health blogs and none of them quite fit – for me. They are very much advocates of one way and far too rigid. Or they are too, how can I say, patronising actually. Not because they intend to be, but because plattitudes are often just that and are not true. There is reality to factor in. we cannot all do exactly what we want to do if we try hard enough. But thats okay because we also have to realise that as writers write and share from excatly their own circumstances. If the vibe doesn’t sit right then leave it. ALwyas take from someone what feels right for you. I simply hope to merge things and bridge a gap wihtin my work. To offer hope and sentiment from someone who really knows what it is like. To be open to every way and get rid of the judgement and competition whihc does wage between opposing health advocates.. Because actually I believe health is a combination of everything and you weave in and out of methods at various points. I hate to se someone stuck on one modality. If there is something wrong then become the best researcher there is and look at it form every angle. Take what is offered and make your own mould too it you.
I truly never considered that my long term poor health could end up being the very catalyst from which I discover my unique alchemic path.
How the act of writing out my story (and journey) would be the tool required to insightfully reflect my own unique pearls of wisdom and golden gems back at me and enable me to gain clarity on how I can help others.
How utterly absurd that the tired cliche of some ‘good coming from bad’ should end up being true?
My ultimate desire will ALWAYS be to regain my health, but Passion and Purpose has snuck in too….. Let’s see where this all leads?
I now consider self-love and self care the beat approach alongside any medical (whether holistic or other way) my body needs.
I meditate. I do practice yoga. Food is my absolute medicine and I take it seriously. I also dabble with many treatments. I research continulsy and have a passion for health knowledge. I play, I create, I write. I cry, I laugh, I despair, I hope.
I am a great messy contrdiction in terms more often than not. I will continue until I find answers and solution, because life in bed or in the house is not enough quite simply. Even with all that I am beyond grateful for. I am learning more and more about myself and this all plays a part, but it is bigger than this. It is not just healing, it is health and a disabled body which needs raw ingredients to function. It (and I) am all.
This is where I have fallen agan of late. Right back down. No longer able to tolerate thyroid medication or even vitamins. Everything feels different. I am working with a homeopath and other practitioners, I support myself with dieta dn lifestyle as a priority, and I see what will happen…..
I see what I can create, in every way.
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+ A space to acknowledge chronic health conditions – and in particular those within them who work very hard on mind, body & soul, and who appreciate life and love.
+ A space to encourage baby steps, and make a start exactly where you are right now. For this is the best place to begin, and this is where your magic offering to the world lies.
+ A space to remember all that you are deep down, and what you love. To do more of what you love. To find purpose through the following of passion. To be open to where this all leads.
+ A space to encourage leaders and empower women – especially those within difficult circumstances, who may feel less than worthy, but do not realise ALL which they have to give and ALL which they are.
+ A space to find clarity, and work out feelings. To allow them to flow through and release. To cry if need be. And then to anchor back to the best version of yourself – regardless of circumstance.
+ A space to find connection, support and friendship.
+ A space to immerse in, and encourage creativity and writing as a way to grow, to heal, to express, and for the bliss and contentment of honouring the work your soul wants to do, and for the love of play.
+ To simple share my own stories through the written word as I continue to tread along this health, healing and development path. To open conversations and attract like-minded others to join me, as together we honour our strength, our determination, discover our passions and creativity, and hopefully our health.
I’m a Wellbeing+ Health blogger/writer hoping to inspire you to Heal, Nourish and Create through my words, projects and holistic lifestyle. I am a passionate believer in the genuine magic of the written word, and the magnificent power of sharing stories. I warmly welcome you into my online home and haven and sincerely hope it is a space in which you feel both at ease and inspired. A chance to connect with like-minded spirited and authentic others, and to hold hands on this beautiful journey towards health, healing, and a beautiful Life. I invite you to get comfy on the sofa, grab a warm mint tea and prepare for a sweet chat to get to know one another more..
My Writing and Blogging Story
I am genuinely so honoured and grateful that that you have joined me here, and that you are even reading my words. For so long I kept them internal but eventually the need to share (and connect) became too strong. My soul was madly screaming out at me to free the letters and allow them to dance upon the screen in their own merry way, and one day I took notice. I am beyond glad that I did for nothing feels better than realising and pursuing your soul’s desire. I have been beyond amazed at just how clearly it now speaks to me, or perhaps more accurately, how clearly I now hear it.
Through the powerful and cathartic act of writing I feel, see and hear more.
This Blog was born from a desire to be of value and service in the world after years of living with poor health which has severely restricted and limited me. I craved a creative release and a real world presence. Hence Living Brightly was birthed.
Whilst I lovingly and wholeheartedly immerse myself in a world full of organic real food, natural beauty and home products, meditation, yoga and inspiration in my ultimate healing quest, yet, something was still missing and I couldn’t rid myself of my sense of worthlessness and lack of purpose which was growing stronger with each year that passed…..I was particularly unaware of just how important self-love was and it took blogging (and a devotion to writing in general) to ignite further missing elements of my healing tool-kit. Through writing (and sharing) and (much) growing, I now have a chance to stand up, show up and put myself out there. To accept myself (and my life) as it is, and to invite you to see the real me.
I was nervous and scared but the fear and all consuming feelings of desperation, frustration and low self-esteem weighed more heavy in my heart. I felt like I was losing myself with each day that passed. I knew I had a light within me (and perhaps a smidge of intelligence and talent) but I desperately needed a viable outlet for it for shine once again.
What I astonishingly didn’t anticipate was that sometimes all it takes is the simple act of making a start (even when you are in the dark) in order to change your life (in some small way.)
I think mine just needed a little fuel to ignite the spark. I required power, and when your physical energy is depleted you have to change perspective and access that power from another angle.
To find another way. Making your life (and circumstances) work best for you.
My Health Story
I used to shy away from sharing my health story out of fear of judgement or looking weak. Now, It is a little more neutral so to speak. I still worry and I often feel inadequate when people enquire what I do, and I have to explain my unusual situation, but there is more peace. My illness happened to me and I deal with it as best I can. In fact I deal with it really well – despite constant feelings of guilt, shame and difficult emotions which sit alongside the physical aliments and drenching fatigue. For long-term illness is a complex issue with far reaching consequences for the both the sufferer and their family/friends – impossible to comprehend unless you’ve had first hand experience.
Nonetheless, I am much more than an illness. Yes it would be naive to say that it hasn’t influence my entire life for almost 2 decades, but at heart it is not who I am in any way. It is a large part of my story and it has shaped my path, but I am still me regardless. More and more I try to connect with my true essence and soul to remind myself of this. Through any practice which grounds me and in seeking joy in the little things constantly.
In some ways I believe that we are the ones who truly do really appreciate life and its beauty….. But of course we have a deep longing to feel well once again. It will always and absolutely be the ultimate priority, for as much as we smile there is little glory within sickness. However, even as I write this I feel humbled in knowing that there are always people worse off than myself and that I have so much to be grateful for.
To cut a long story short (although you can read the full length version here) I came down with the flu overnight at age 16 and was transformed from a completely fit and healthy girl into some for whom sickness took over. About 5 years into it (after finishing Uni) I crashed completely and became bed-bound and very poorly for a couple of years needing almost full care. Since then things probably progressed in roughly 5 year increments (with a lot of work) but I spent my 20’s pretty much housebound (and mostly in bed), and even now I am still unable to get out much, or for long, or make a plan whichI know i can commit to. It’s all very unreliable and inconsistent and there has yet to be a stable phase for me, or a day without symptoms.
I will get better though! You betta believe it.
Along the way I have become my own researcher and doctor and have gradually peeled back the layers to try to unearth what is wrong with me. I had initial diagnosis’s of CFS, Autoimmune Thyroid and Adrenal Insufficiency, and very recently, Parvo Virus (with an immune disfunction causing an inability to fight it) and Lyme Disease. I am gaining more clues and simultaneously trying to work on the accumulated damage to my system. In theory progress should have been better but I don’t react well to many treatments and I always knew I was dealing with a much bigger picture than anyone could find…..It was a relief to finally discover more concrete explanations….
I can pinpoint the exact date my catastrophic downward health spiral and hence my journey living with Autoimmune Disease began. You do tend to remember with crystal clarity when (overnight) you transform from being a healthy fit 16 year old to someone plunged deep into the midst of illness and fear.
I was thrown into the all consuming chaos on New Year’s Eve 1995 to be exact, just a few months after we had relocated 200 miles to Kent. A year of massive change climaxing in to something far greater than anyone could ever anticipate.
And not in a good way.
My friend Emma had come down to stay with me and we celebrated at a pub with a group of people we barely knew, feeling the (heightened) self-consciousness of being teenagers wildly out of our comfort zones. To be honest whilst we were determined we would be out as the dongs chimed Midnight, the dressing up and giggles getting ready together were a millions times more fun, and secretly we were both relieved to get back home as soon as we could – our reputations in tact at least.
I remember the night so clearly. A sense of unease and apprehension mingled with excitement. Wanting to fit in and build up my social life in this new place. I wore a short black dress with a shiny silver T-shirt. My Denim jacket in no way sufficient for the freezing cold 20 minute walk we took.
In hindsight I’ve often wondered if something so simple as switching that jacket for a cozy fleece parka could have saved me? If I had never caught the Flu that night would I have never developed a Chronic Disease?
Crazy harrowing thoughts?
……Besides I already felt slightly overdressed amongst these new alien people brazenly wearing their mum’s bright red shift dresses and high heels. At least Emma and I had tights on!…. Click here to continue the story.
I want to Inspire
I fretted so much over how I could possibly be a mentor or authority of any kind and inspire other people to create health when I was still sick and not seeing results. In the end I realised and accepted (somewhat grudgingly) that whilst my chosen desire would have been to lead from a place of example and glowing results, as so many other wellbeing bloggers do, that the universe had other plans for me. Something a bit different. And harder. It took a long while to accept that if I didn’t want to waste any more years I was going to have to start writing from the place I was at right now. Raw and Authentic and Messy and Real.
A renewed deeper and fuller commitment and personal voyage to Health and Happiness.
It isn’t easy at times.
But perhaps I could still inspire after all?
To support those on a similar path to me, and encourage them to follow and trust their own intuition and wisdom. To stay committed to healing, and accept where they are right now (for now) and begin to take baby steps towards creating the best version of life possible – within their circumstances.
Thus my message was born.
Teaching from my own experiences were the only credentials required.
By living the same emotions quite possibly I am the only mentor who can understand?
But please don’t ever think that I underestimate your challenges. I sincerely don’t. I know and appreciate that being sick (especially when you feel as though you have tried everything and it has been forever) is incredible tough and that most of the people around you have no idea. That is has the ability to destroy you if you let it.
Yet, somehow, amazingly, our own inner light radiates bigger and brighter that the illness. This is who you are.
You are that light.
But how do you even seek Purpose?
Honestly, I had no idea either. Just a desperate longing for it to find me one day. In the end I have discovered that purpose often appears once you access passion and creativity. Once you immerse yourself in a project or play – just for the sake of it – a vision occurs and dream begins to manifest. Do that which you love. Anything. Photography, Cooking, Walking, Writing, Playing, Painting, Shopping. It all counts when it ignites a flare of inspiration. Just have fun, see the beauty in the world, and let go of any need to see a bigger picture. Your heart (and smile) will guide you here. Have faith.
Additionally, consider the magic and power of sharing your own story to kickstart your healing, creative, purpose, and self-development process. Of writing it out in all its glory. Freeing the words from your mind and soul and letting them spill and crash haphazardly onto the beautiful clean fresh white page. Creating a ripple effect.
Could sharing and writing become the catalyst for your next chapter too?
Lets connect on Facebook here too. And feel free to contact me – I always love to hear from you.