“What? Disabled. You? No way! I don’t think you even know what it means!” That’s what I heard in someone’s voice when I was speaking to them about being what happened to me on Wednesday 14th September.

I get it. There are so many opinions about what ‘counts’ as a disability and what doesn’t. Some don’t accept the definition that’s used by the medical profession. Others, don’t know of this definition, but have created their own, which appears non-negotiable. There are some who won’t accept labels like disabled, and they have multiple reasons for this.

We are complex beings, so something which could be simple, often isn’t.
I don’t think understanding disability is simple, so if this post ruffles any feathers, that truly isn’t my intention. I just want to talk about what happened to me and explore it with you.

Disability defined

A physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.

What caused the disability?

I was about to pour some ‘Indian’ tea into a mug, when I dropped the sieve. No big deal. I went to pick it up and before I got to the floor, I felt an excruciating pain. It all happened so fast, I couldn’t even figure out where the pain was. All I remember is grabbing the worktop on my left, to try and stop myself from falling over.

I suddenly couldn’t move. No joke. I had to hold on to something to get from where I was to the closest chair, and even though it helped, it was still mega painful.

I soon discovered that I couldn’t put any weight on any part my right leg, so walking was out of the question

My local surgery and the NHS are amazing

I called the GP. I could sense that he really wanted to help but he was stuck himself. It was 1pm and he had two patients due in the next half an hour, after which he began another shift at 2pm. All the other GPs had gone, and he just couldn’t fit me in.

He asked me a few questions and booked me in for a home visit for the next day. He also said that taking Paracetamol wasn’t strong enough and he’d get some Cocodamol delivered to me. Amazing!

Well…this may not be music to your ears, but for me, it was amazing that the NHS, even in its current state, could offer all of this at such short notice. I hadn’t realised that pharmacists would deliver medication to me in this situation either. For some reason I’d obviously assumed that it would be for something worse, a long term condition, for the elderly, or perhaps only possible after filling out lots of paperwork, as opposed to, being arranged so quickly.

Thank goodness for neighbours who happen to be medics

Luckily for me, one of my neighbours is a GP. I sent her a message on the off chance that she was home. My message happened to reach her while she was home for a short while. Now my biggest challenge was working out how I’d let her in. How would I get to the door? I used a dining chair to help me get from the living room to the door and although it was painful, I was really grateful for the chair and the fact that I was able to move, with the its help.

I felt reassured to be physically seen by someone in the medical profession. She asked me where our medicines were, after which she got our Ibuprofen and some water, and helped me get to a chair. This was mainly because I didn’t know when the prescription would be delivered and she felt I needed to take something between now and then. She also put things like my phone and tablet within easy reach, so that I could use them if I wanted to.

The shock…

It’s very strange. I found myself calling a friend, who wasn’t a medic, because I wanted to share what had happened, along with how I felt. I was taken aback because I wanted to cry. Normal, you might think, so why was I surprised? It was because, the pain wasn’t making me want to cry. It was a feeling of shock. The realisation that things could, or rather have, changed drastically within a few moments. I was suddenly disabled. Whether it be temporary or permanent, or better or worse than someone else’s condition, didn’t matter at that point. What mattered was that I could barely move and when I did, I was pulling all sorts of faces and cringing in pain. Talking that through only took a minute or so, but it meant more than I realised. It helped me work out what I was feeling, accept it, be heard and then move on. It was empowering and helped me feel calmer.

Hubby to the rescue

I called Suraj and he came home soon after. He collected the prescription for me, so that I had stronger pain relief sooner. After that we both worked together to figure out how to do things that we normally wouldn’t give a second thought to. It felt good to have his support, logic and creativity around finding solutions or tools to help me rest whilst staying mobile. I’d been advised to rest but avoid ‘just sitting’  because that would cause stiffness and make it worse.

The diagnosis

Sciatica. I’d had this once before, but I don’t remember it being this painful. I’d been told that Sciatica can pass quickly or take weeks, and we wouldn’t be able to guess which category I would fall in to!


The simple yet effective support from the dining chair made me have an appreciation for zimmer frames, and for those who need them. I’m not sure what was going on in the back of my mind, but I felt positive and I wasn’t going to let this situation get the better of me. If it was going to last a number of weeks, I had no intention of being cooped up at home, feeling helpless, and depending on Suraj to do everything for me.

I knew the chair worked, but that would be a bit tricky to help me mobilise outside our home, so I thought about buying something that would enable me to go out! I thought of a zimmer frame and then decided to get as walking stick, because I only needed help with one side.

It arrived the next day and was invaluable when we went to the GP. We live across the road from the surgery, and Suraj worked from home so that he could help me. For these reasons, we cancelled the home visit that the GP had booked, and made an appointment to go in.


I don’t know if my mindset has helped, if it was going to be like this anyway, or if it’s all an illusion caused by the medication; but the pain reduced within 24 hours!

Today is Friday and although it’s only been two and a half days since it began, the pain is affecting less of my leg, I’m reducing the medication, and therefore feeling less groggy, I’m more mobile, feeling in less pain and looking forward to returning to work next week. I’m so so pleased!

It’s not the same for everyone

I understand that these experiences are different for everyone. This time, I’ve been lucky and it’s passed pretty quickly. However, I feel better knowing that if it happens again and lasts longer, or if something else ‘disabling’ happens, there are people, tools and strategies that can make things better. Some of the things that these aids can do is, prevent isolation and loneliness, reduce the amount of pain, and give some level of independence. It’s got to be worth a try hasn’t it?

If you remember something or think of something that you’d like to share, get in touch using this formFacebook or Twitter.

Resources about Sciatica



Why does productivity (or the lack of it) matter?

I have been experiencing a huge dip in productivity recently, and I ended up feeling very negative about the things that I needed, and wanted, to do. This made me feel like a failure. I was overwhelmed with ‘the list’, and that made me not want to add any ‘newer’ things to it, because I didn’t want it to get any bigger. I also resisted looking at it, because it was just too huge for me to process!

This is my most recent reminder about why the lack of productivity matters to me. However, I don’t live on an island and how I feel will have an impact on anyone I interact with, if I’m with them for long enough for the initial distraction to go away, and for me to be reminded about the weight I’m carrying.

In addition to all this, the jobs that I’m not getting done may disrupt someone else’s plan, it may create a bottleneck and with that, feelings, such as, frustration, resentment, anger and helplessness usually follow, in those who are dependent on me getting my bit done.

Where does productivity matter?

Recently, I’ve been discussing productivity with friends and family, after which I completed a course by Fizzle. These events reminded that productivity isn’t limited to work. It is part of our social life, harmony in the family, spiritual well-being, good health and more.

That makes it even more important right?
That realisation, initially, made it bigger, more important and therefore a little scary. However, I was reminded that it doesn’t need to be feared.
There are many ways to bring about calm, regularity, organisation and smiles.

Are you aware of the main roles in productivity? 

The two roles are:

  • Planning, thinking, strategizing 
  • Doing 

The strategy I recommend, is to separate the two. It’s easy to flit between doing and planning but it would be beneficial to avoid that. If you know that you’re more creative and think better in the evening, schedule some time to do just that. If you’re more likely to get things ticked off the list on a Monday morning, carve out some time to go into ‘do’ mode. Try keeping the two separate and see if it works for you. I think you’ll that find you can get into the zone and remain within it, if you cordon yourself off from e.g. doing when you’re planning.


When you are planning, find a way to note down your ideas. If you are you a digital person, you might want to use Google Docs or Evernote. If not, you could have a notepad that’s divided up into different areas, or separate sheets that are kept in a folder perhaps.

Actioning tasks

Make sure that the list of tasks is clear, specific and concrete. This is important because you want to avoid thinking about how to do the task or having to work out what the actual task is. Make it clear without writing lots of notes, so that the doing part is quick and painless.

This may sound unnecessary, but be ruthless with your list. Make sure that it only has tasks for the next two weeks on it. If that is too much for you to see in one go, change it to suit you. There’s no harm in creating weekly or daily lists.

Review your list and update it by doing the following:

  • removing tasks that you’ve done
  • add new ‘immediate’ items
  • move items that need to be postponed back to the planning sheet
  • add other longer term ideas to the planning sheet

Goals and a clear vision 

This may seem obvious, but make sure you know what you want to achieve. Take a few minutes to think about the desired outcome and write it near the top of the document so it’s easily visible.

Why bother? It will help you focus.
It will help you easily identify the thoughts that are taking you off task, so that you can return to what you’re meant to be doing.

Make sure you have clarity, because ambiguity will slow you down, let doubts arise, and resistance will follow.

Your plan for the next one or two years

Make a list of 25 things that you want to achieve in the next one to two years. These things can be about anything! Work, family, travel, social, spiritual, health, income etc.


Use this list to prioritise your top five goals and then focus on attaining them. Create weekly tasks lists to make them possible. The rest of the list can wait. 

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Back to where we began…

The huge dip in productivity I was feeling was caused by my chronic back issues playing up, which caused tiredness, pain, frustration and a feeling of being out of control. But there were many other things too. I won’t go into them here, but they involved family, work, identity and more.

Looking back, I should have realised that it was temporary. I should have focused on that and let it pass, instead of letting it bother me so much. I guess life doesn’t stop, and I struggle to do the same.

Seeing the light and running towards it

Something changed. I woke up one day with a little more energy, a little more motivation and I grabbed it and ran! I didn’t go to ‘the list.’ I just started with one thing that was on my mind. I completed it and then did another. That was the beginning of my productivity coming back. I felt lighter and successful.

I wish I could share more about the light, but I can’t. I think one of the things that was effecting me changed, and therefore, had less power of me. That bit of relief enabled me to see the light. Ironically, it was probably there all along. I just felt so weighed down, that my head was stooped too low, and I couldn’t spot it!

Being realisitic

Planning and writing things down will  help, BUT there may be days when the list that you can usually cope with, is too long. It’s OK. Change it. Make it shorte. Instead of looking at it, putting things off and feeling bad, make a new list with just two items on it. Tackle it and then do more if you can. If not, it will have to wait. Easier said than done at times, but we can try.

If we try and change the way we look at these situations when we’re feeling strong, there’s more chance of it helping us when we’re feeling weak.

Unexpected events

I know a lot of parents who say that there are lots of things to do, but unexpected tasks come up frequently, and that in itself, is something that can’t be escaped.

When this happens, be flexible, be realistic and decide if anything on the list can be done. If not, and if they’re pre-school aged children, it might have to wait until they start nursery or school! If it can’t wait until then, you may need to reach out for help, to try and get it done before.

I’m sure you’ll have the headspace to think of a way to get the essentials done, when you’re not distracted by a list that’s full of things that can wait.

Self motivation

Some of us aren’t great self-motivators, and falling into laziness is easy. This is why having a bite-size, manageable and realistic list of tasks is helpful.

How to to avoid feeling out of control and negative about yourself

Identify what you want to achieve, create a plan, break this plan into short term tasks, then action them, review the list, amend the plan/list and repeat

Clarity is the key to speed, confidence and feeling light

If you have a bad day, try to remember that it will pass, have a look at what must be done, break it down further, and trust that you’ll get through the blip

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