Hello Everyone! I truly hope that you, your friends, and your family all are safe and healthy in these unusual times. At this time, health and wellbeing are foremost in all our thoughts. Shielding ourselves and our loved ones from this terrible pandemic is our goal. We are all doing our bit to make sure this happens as quickly and effectively as possible, while we applaud our frontline NHS staff and others who out their lives at risk on a daily basis in order to keep the country moving. Sadly, many people struck down by this virus will have a long road ahead of them on the path to recovery, so with that in mind, and with April also being Stress Awareness month, I wanted to share my own journey to wellness. Although not from this pandemic, I too have struggled with my health.
As many of you may know I was honoured and privileged to have held the post of Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales from 2007 to 2011. During this time I performed over 180 times for Royalty including one to one for Her Majesty The Queen, concertos with some of the World’s leading orchestras, for 75,000 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and for the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But shortly after this role ended, I found myself suffering ailments such as migraines, muscular pain all over my body, extreme fatigue, flu symptoms and extreme anxiety. This led to me being admitted to hospital in 2013, where I suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue.
Much like an athlete, musicians need to train and practice for hours on our instrument every day, but during 2007 to 2013 I was travelling the World, launching my solo career as an international harpist, riding the rollercoaster and ignoring any nagging symptoms I was experiencing - I was young, living the dream, I wasn't going to get ill!! However, on the 22nd of May 2013, the ‘crash' happened and my life changed dramatically. It is inevitable that when you push yourself to the limits there comes a point where the body can only take so much.
After a couple of months of being bedbound, I was left with zero energy, unable to do anything without the help of my mum or my husband, including washing and eating. My family researched ME/Chronic fatigue and found two clinicians who had helped other people in my condition - Dr Ben Mathew a registered chiropractor who also specialises in alternative bio hack treatments such as red light therapy and oxygen therapy, and Dr Jacobs who specialises in herbal medicine. The Optimum Health Clinic based in London were also a great help on my road to recovery, they are a specialist clinic in ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia.
A mixture of both these treatments helped me on an 18-month long journey to wellness that led to me realising I was not super-human and gave me a newfound respect for my body. By 2015 I was ready to pick up my professional life again, but by this time my priorities had changed. I knew that in order to continue, my physical wellbeing and happiness of mind and spirit were the tools I needed to maintain the health of my body.
My Journey to Wellness
I have no doubts that this experience has made me a stronger person. The mindset I now have is hugely positive and has made me realise that health, both mental and physical, are my priority. Every day I do several sessions of yoga, meditation, stretches, and strengthening. These activities keep me prepared to not only do the job that I love, but to also enjoy day to day life with my enormously supportive life partner Chris and to care for my little 3-year-old daughter who have kept me going through this whole experience, as has music.
There was a lot of music that I listened to over this period of healing and I knew that when the time was right I would share it with my fans… and that is why we created the album Journey, the soundtrack of my journey to wellness. If you are in a situation where you need healing; mental or physical, I hope my music can help you on your own road to recovery.
Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones during these unprecedented times!