Nicola Singleton

Habits & Health episode 61 - Nicola Singelton

Habits & Health episode 61 with Nicola Singleton. She appeared on BBC 1’s “Doctor In The House” 5 years ago with Dr Rangan Chatterjee and has gone from being housebound to recovering from ME/ CFS and Fibromyalgia. 

In this episode we discuss Nicola’s journey since that life-changing TV show, and how she recovered from chronic conditions that many people are told are irreversible.


Nicola was a guest on the podcast of Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Favourite Quote:

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."

"The definition of stupid is wasting your opportunity to be yourself because I think everybody has a uniqueness and everybody is good at something"

Jingle 0:00

habits and health episode 61. Welcome to the habits and health podcast, where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life. Here’s your host, Tony Winyard.

Tony Winyard 0:20

Welcome to another edition of habits and health the podcast where we help you with habits for to improve behaviour around certain areas of health that you’d like to improve. Today’s guest Nicola Singleton she appeared on BBC One’s, Doctor in the house five years ago, with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, and has gone from being house bound to recovering from ME, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. And we’re going to discuss a lot more about that whole journey and how it was being on that show with Dr. Chatterjee. And what she’s up to now. If you know anyone who would get some real value from this, maybe someone who is suffering from one of those issues, please do share the episode with them and hope you enjoy this episode. Habits and health. My guest today is Nicola Singleton. How you Nicola.

Nicola Singleton 1:11

Hi, I’m well, thank you. How are you?

Tony Winyard 1:13

I’m doing well. I know you’re in England where in England?

Nicola Singleton 1:18

North west. Chorley.

Tony Winyard 1:21

And is that where you’re from?

Nicola Singleton 1:23

No, I don’t come from very far away and primarily lived in Bolton. Most of my life that I moved into her age 20 years ago. Okay. And then last March, we moved into Chorley

Tony Winyard 1:35

Right? And how do you find Chorley?

Nicola Singleton 1:38

I love it. Where I am. It’s it’s it’s it is nice places to walk. There’s lots of parks, and lots of cafes, which would have enjoy. It’s a really nice place to be.

Tony Winyard 1:51

How would you describe what it is that you do? What do you how do you help people?

Nicola Singleton 2:00

Well, mainly, I medicate. So that’s my day to day thing. Now we’ve removed our youngest from school and in seventh 12 I do decide to do run a Facebook group called “To be a better me”, which really is just sharing with other people what helped me to get well from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Yeah, day to day, I’m just, I’m just a mom and help her to be an apparent governor of a college. And that keeps me busy.

Tony Winyard 2:30

And you touched upon just now about helping people with chronic fatigue syndrome and so on. So when, how did that come about? What’s your journey?

Nicola Singleton 2:40

Really quite by chance at being ill. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with Zachary, who is now 12. It was just almost like for a moment I forget I was pregnant, I just never woke up. It took two years for him being born to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue, because first thought it was their idea of a thyroid issue. But it became much more than just not just a thyroid issue. But it became more than that. And then, that was really, I think always through my 30s I kept saying I was retired, it felt like I was retired. Because I wasn’t really careful looking after my children because exhausted really sets it apart. And then one day I saw an email because my middle boy who’s now 18, he was very temporarily in a modelling agency. So an email came through sort of, which mentioned a TV programme called doctrine house. And I think for me at the time, I was walking up to where I lived at that point, and it was up a steep hill. And it was really, really difficult for me to even get home. So I paused just to kind of go breather. And I’d read the email and it was just it was written I thought it was the prospect of having a doctor to come into my house to actually, you know, listen to what I’ve been going wrong. And I knew I think I knew deep down inside that life had to be better than how I was living it. I just didn’t know how. So it wasn’t so much the prospect of being on TV it was more of a Turman adopted to spend actual some quality time with me to not just attend me as I used to get if you look at and then from though we was interviewed by the TV company, and they did like a mock situation. So they come to us with the cameras and see if we can follow instructions and such. They’ve asked it was the middle bar you swung that for us because he came out with a totally inappropriate joke, but that had everyone laughing and then from there we were chosen to appear on doctor in the house.

Tony Winyard 4:48

And for those I mean, we have quite a few listeners in other countries in the States and many other countries, wasn’t that on BBC?

Nicola Singleton 4:55

It was on BBC One, but it has been aired in gosh, I think about At least 50 countries worldwide.

Tony Winyard 5:02

And for those who aren’t familiar who have never heard about the programme, could you explain more about the concept and how it all works?

Nicola Singleton 5:09

Yes, Doctor in the house and the second series, which differed slightly from the first series, it compared two families of a series of four weeks, where there was lots of commonalities. So in my situation, it was fatigue. And basically, the doctor comes into your house spends a lot of time with you, and tries to improve your health. And it’s just that’s recorded over a period of about six to seven weeks, to see whether getting to the root cause of the problem called other, obviously, positive impact. You know, with the help further down the line, I was a very difficult customer.

Tony Winyard 5:47

Well, and also the, the doctor in question is many of our listeners, even if they’re not familiar with that programme, they’ll have probably heard the name of the doctor because he’s pretty well known now with all the books he’s written and the podcast that he releases is Dr. Rangan Chatterjee

Nicola Singleton 6:07

It is Dr Rangan Chatterjee.

Tony Winyard 6:10

Were you familiar with him before you were in this TV show?

Nicola Singleton 6:15

No, not at all. I did Google him once I accepted the TV programme. So kind of added an inkling, but I didn’t know what functional medicine was. And I certainly didn’t know what lifestyle medicine was. Right? It was illustrating meeting him. And sort of listening to what he was saying, I kind of began to understood what he was

Tony Winyard 6:34

about. And so how was the experience?

Nicola Singleton 6:37

It was, oh, my gosh, it was the most toughest and exciting and nerve wracking and scary time ever. But I would relive it over and over again. Because it is not often you get the chance to really be pushed out your comfort zone, and really examine yourself as well. And he taught me so much in that short space of time, that he didn’t always understand or appreciate at that time. But is a lovely guy.

Tony Winyard 7:10

I get the impression from what you’re saying, you were the main focus to he was trying to help, or were there other people in the house that have also had issues that he was trying to help as well.

Nicola Singleton 7:21

It was mainly me, right. But it was it was more, it was more focused on me there was my eldest son too, as and drugs with DeRuyter was looking at helping him with that. But it was mainly really just to try and improve my health. And with every episode he did he usually focused on one or two members of the family.

Tony Winyard 7:45

Was the main issue chronic fatigue syndrome? …your thoughts about that at the beginning, before he came and lived with you. And after he left you, how different was your thinking around that whole thing?

Nicola Singleton 7:58

To be fair, it took a long time to really understand more, because I’d had obviously the exhaustion that comes with chronic fatigue. And then I had fibromyalgia which is very, very painful. But on top of that I had anxiety and depression and a whole host of things that had been going wrong or for a long period of time. By the time Rongan left, which was about seven weeks into it, the fibromyalgia was gone, which was phenomenal in itself. Because I’ve got issue, which was the diagnosis and then treated. But I didn’t really feel a benefit of that until the fatigue lifted. And actually, when he left the fatigue was much more of it was much worse. So it took time. But in fact, when he did he created like a little snowball that then you know, got bigger and bigger and bigger all the time to full recovery. So it wasn’t immediate. The Fibromyalgia thing was great. But as daft as it sounds, looking back at that time, I didn’t really appreciate being pain free, because the exhaustion was worse. But it was just because my body had been going through such an upheaval.

Tony Winyard 9:07

Right? And so how much longer did it take after after he was no longer involved?

Nicola Singleton 9:13

I think for the fatigue to go I think I knew I was fully recovered by the August so they came and filmed in September, October. And the Fibromyalgia had gone within possibly within the first four or five weeks because it almost like it disappeared overnight. And then after that the exhaustion was still there. But then I started to look at the more lifestyle medicine approaches of meditation and the breathing techniques and to be less stressed. And so I think I realised by August because it’s you know, as we just mentioned, I live in the northwest of England. We were watching a musical that was in London. We decided to go on the bus because as far as bus it was cheaper. And it was a 24 hour trip. And I thought coming back I’d really pay for it. I’ve been paid back with a chronic fatigue. And actually, I was no worse than anybody else in my family. And I think it’s really at that point, I thought, oh, you know, I don’t feel any worse than anybody else. Right. So that was that was a timeline?

Tony Winyard 10:17

And has it stayed like that since then? how do you feel now?

Nicola Singleton 10:20

Yeah, I don’t have any fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue symptoms that go from living day to day.

Tony Winyard 10:29

And yet, aren’t people often told that when you have some of those conditions? That’s it. You have them forever?

Nicola Singleton 10:35

Yes. Which I find so frustrating. But yes.

Tony Winyard 10:40

And so all the different lifestyle changes to help you with, you know, you mentioned the breathing and meditation and so on. Were whatever any of them’s those that you found the most difficult to change?

Nicola Singleton 10:54

Oh, good question. And I think really, it was learning to be kinder to myself, as daft as that may sound. I was always a perfectionist, I have very high standards, I still have high standards. But I didn’t like myself. And I think I didn’t look after myself, because I really didn’t value me. So I think the biggest thing really was learning that, you know, comparison really is the thief of joy, vision is the same goals. And I realised, you know, it’s, I didn’t need to keep comparing myself. And it was both learning how to let go of things on a phone stressful, not always holding on to it, or not being crutches and things like that. So I think really, it was more learning how to relax and relax, relaxing well, because I thought it’d be relaxing for years on the couch with when it you might have the chronic fatigue. But actually, I wasn’t I was lying there, but I wasn’t actually rested. So I think the biggest turnoff for me was learning how to relax, and learning how to deal with stress better than how I’ve been

Tony Winyard 12:00

good. I’d love to dig into that a bit more what you just said about you thought you were relaxing when you were just lying on the sofa. But that wasn’t really it wasn’t the same thing as what he taught you. So could you expand on that? What does that mean? What why was it that you weren’t relaxing when you were lying on the sofa?

Nicola Singleton 12:18

Because lying on the sofa didn’t stop me from feeling guilt that I couldn’t, you know, couldn’t be a decent mum at that point. You know, my, my youngest was two. And luckily a friend. He was also a child minder, so she helped out a lot. But I wasn’t actually careful looking after him. And I wasn’t really capable to do much at all. So I would be lying on the couch, but feeling guilty because obviously my husband was at work. And you do really long day at work. And then come on and after do everything at night as well. You know, including, you know, in order to get up during the night when Zachary was born, you need to feed him for example. So you can lie on the couch and you can able to look as if you arrest him, but inside I think the guilt was just huge.

Tony Winyard 13:02

And so when he was teaching, you know meditation and self compassion and so on, did you find it quite easy to adapt to doing things? Or was it quite foreign?

Nicola Singleton 13:13

Absolutely not. We went to an amazing place actually in Manchester Breathworks place and it just totally freaked me out. Because it was so alien do in effect a guided meditation. I don’t like closing my eyes in front of people for some weird reason I came this blind to this day, I still don’t like that. And I just I was like how and it was promoted as it would help fibromyalgia. I just couldn’t figure that out. And if it doesn’t make sense to me, straightaway, I put a block in front of it mentally. So no, meditation did not come naturally.

Tony Winyard 13:50

And when you was it was meditation, the only type of breath work you were doing. Are you doing other types of breath work as well?

Nicola Singleton 13:56

No, I was mainly just, outward breath be longer than your inward breath. That was it. I’m doing a different techniques.

Tony Winyard 14:04

How long do you think it took you to really feel like you you’re accomplishing something that it was really helping you?

Nicola Singleton 14:12

Well, that was sent to the optimum health clinic in London. And again, it was obviously it was it was I don’t know if it was the optimum health clinic but it is it is there for chronic fatigue and things like you know this, they’re specialists. And I remember going to have all these expectations that this is, you know, this is the place to be. But one thing they taught me is they taught me why it was important to meditate. Whereas I hadn’t really understood that before. Because obviously the negative side of having a camera there is you’re on a very strict criteria in terms of time. So we were trying to you know, I didn’t always see Rongan, it wasn’t there every time that Filming took place. So it was like this is what we’re doing. But not always why. So I didn’t understand why was going doing some breath work at that point. And also, to be fair, I was still drugged up at that point on medication. So he could have explained it. But that didn’t sink in at that point. You know, so it was just, it was a little bit went against my health clinic. And that was in the April. So I kind of understood why meditations report and then I thought, well, I’ve got to lose.

Tony Winyard 15:24

But it sounds like from what you just described that the some of that process of them actually filming you was stressful in itself.

Nicola Singleton 15:33

Oh, yeah. And I don’t regret it, obviously. And they were really respectful way. There were things I said that I do not want to be shown on TV. And they were very respectful of that. You know, so it’s not critical of them being there. But obviously, is pressure because you’re aware that there’s a camera there.

Tony Winyard 15:49

Yeah, of course. Yeah. So what now for people listening who may have some people listening who do have chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia, etc. What would you say to them? Or why is it that meditation is so helpful?

Nicola Singleton 16:03

I think it’s one part of a whole thing, a whole spectrum of things that you can try. And I think for me, what helped me is I didn’t realise that my body has been constantly stuck in the fight or flight mode. So my ns, my NS was always risen. I didn’t understand that at that time. But that had been that way for about 20 years. So what breathing did for me, was to actually make me realise that my body was always tense. So it taught me how to actually relax my body. And I think you know, your body, from everything that I’ve learned is your body cannot heal, or even begin to heal, if it’s still really, really stressed. So I think it’s vital that people learn how to relax themselves in whatever way you know they can to even then begin to do everything else, to help your body to heal potential, or at least potentially heal.

Jingle 17:00

We hope you enjoy this episode of the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you are looking for deep support to create the health and life you want, we invite you to consider one on one coaching sessions with Tony. coaching sessions give you personalised guidance to fit your unique goals and life situation. Only a limited number of spots are available. But you can easily get started by booking a free introductory call at Now back to the show.

Tony Winyard 17:32

Yeah. Do you think that’s an area that people who do have those conditions struggle with to take on something like meditation and breath work?

Nicola Singleton 17:42

Quite possibly. I mean, I was really dismissive of it when I was ill, because you have all these symptoms, and all these, you know, issues? I think, why would breathing make a difference? Is it about understanding the you know, the philosophy behind it and know, powerful breathing actually is, you know, it’s so I think it’s also it’s kind of when you are exhausted, it almost feels like it’s something else to do, or you’ve got enough to do just trying to get through day by day. So I think sometimes you’re wrong, and silly in my situation, my own mental attitude towards it was quite dismissive.

Tony Winyard 18:18

And eventually, you mentioned about how important the self compassion was for helping you look at that differently. And was that was that difficult to get over the negative self talk? How long did that take?

Nicola Singleton 18:33

I think it took about six months for me to begin to understand, you know, what is the purpose of feeling so negative about yourself? And what does it actually achieve? You know, the more clear thought that I’ve got, you know, it took because obviously, initially, I was withdrawing from medication and things like that. So it took it took a while. So yeah, it took about, I think about six to eight months, to sort of understand that more.

Tony Winyard 19:03

And I would imagine that, that probably, eliminating that negative self talk has given you a completely different perspective on life in general. Yeah. I mean, how has that changed your life?

Nicola Singleton 19:18

Well, it’s, it’s so difficult to have, I think. I think really, in essence, I just value myself more. Right? You know, it’s, I don’t work. And if you think majority people, the first thing I say is, well, what do you do? You know, everything’s, you know, what do you do usually means what should work? You know, you’re defined by the job you do. And I don’t work, I raise my family and I don’t medicate and I’m proud of that. You know, as you know, before I would look at it’s like, my friends are professional jobs, my husband’s professional job, and I was feel so inadequate. But now I’d frankly I really don’t care. And I don’t think that’s free.

Tony Winyard 20:02

But you but you’re also an inspiration for many people with your Facebook group, because it was, it was one person from your Facebook group who suggested that I speak to you in the first place… she said, Nicola is so helpful. This particular person has chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. And she was saying about how helpful you are and how inspirational you are. And that was one of the reasons I reached out to you in the first place.

Nicola Singleton 20:24

I was really flattered that so I did, I did mention that in my, in my group, so the lady came forward, and I was just all along, my whole thing was, if I got help, I wanted to be able to pay that forward. And if I could just help one more person, then that would really make me feel good. And when I realised, you know, cos ,she commented that it was her, and I was just incredibly touched that just sharing my experiences helped someone else. I am not an inspiration. I must admit, I do hate that word with a passion. There is nothing inspirational about me in in that way. It’s just, I got lucky, and I’m stubborn. And I think having a bit of luck, and then put in a tonne of work in because it did take work and still takes work. And I’m not perfect. I’m here for one thing, oh, yes, I have also lost, because I really don’t. And I do make mistakes quite frequently. But it’s learning from those. And it is, you know, cushioning yourself with that compassion. So yeah, it was that just really touched me as like that the fact that that lady, you know, spoke to you, and then you reached out to me, it was incredibly flattering.

Tony Winyard 21:38

But it also shows how helpful so many people are finding what you do. And the suggestions. And the example that you’re sending to so many people today are, is helping people clearly,

Nicola Singleton 21:50

I wanted to create a safe space because one thing that happened with me after doing the yoga programme doctor in the house, is I got a tonne of criticism. Because people, I don’t understand it to a point around him was way more compassionate about the people who gave me a bad time than I am to be fair. You know, when I was ill, and I used to hear about recovery stories, I just didn’t read them because I wasn’t in that place to read them. But I never negated them. And I never doubted them. I never questioned them because it wasn’t my story to do that with. But every time I tried to reach out, and after the show before I started my own Facebook group, there’s a lot of there are things that you could do to try and help yourself. In effect, I was called a charlatan and I was trying to sell something. And I’ve never never tried to sell anything. You know, there’s lifestyle medicines freely given. It’s not. It’s not something you pay for. But people don’t understand that. And as much as I tried to reach out and say, you can be helpless things you could try and may not work, it might work. So I got to be honest, I got fed up of being criticised and told that I must never been in the first place. Because at that time, the place I was in I found, that to be really, really hurtful because I knew I’d been ill I didn’t need somebody else to tell me that I must have been ill. And then not only does it negate my experience, it also like negates my entire family’s experience. And obviously, my illness didn’t just affect me. So really there’s my husband who set up the To be a better me group, because I wanted a safe space where, you know, my whole focus in that group is recovery. So it’s not about talking about how you feel on a day to day basis. Because everybody in that group knows how, who it is on a day to day basis. But they can reach out if they’re having a particularly tough time with more about sharing things I’ve helped them you know, from a lifestyle medicine perspective. So I’ve tried to and I work really hard actually to try and keep it as safe space and, you know, a fun space we do, you know, we’d really like it to be fun as well. But it’s just, you know, I don’t want people to because again, I don’t know whether you’re aware of but even in the chronic fatigue community if you’re it’s like there’s two separate groups, you’ve got the severe when you’ve got the mild and the severe are always saying well, at least you can do such and such thing to the mild group and then the mild group is well, your bed bound so you don’t have to worry about doing anything else because you can’t do anything else. But actually each place on that spectrum is aware of the chronic fatigue has its own limitations. So, in my group there’s never any one upmanship if you’re mild, or classes mild and you can still work but you’re still struggling. You’re as welcome as somebody who’s bed bound. You know, and it’s just about sharing those experiences and trying to sort of help each other without feeling like well I’m I was in you and because some people like to wear the relevance is like a badge of honour and I hate all that. So that’s not allowed.

Tony Winyard 24:55

So how many people are in the group?

Nicola Singleton 24:59

1,600 Plus now. So it’s not a huge group, but it’s this one we use. I’ve been at the moment with a lovely guy. He’s also is he’s brilliant. He helps me. So it’s it does keep me busy, but I enjoy it. It’s it can be tough as well sometimes because you’re always reminded of the illness. Some of these people become friends. And I genuinely care about them. And I’m not as involved as much as I wish I could be. But I think after five years, I keep saying the same things. But then they also will remind us, it’s fine. And I moved him

Tony Winyard 25:34

over the five years that you’ve had that group, there’s probably been quite a few success stories in the group, people have really improved themselves?

Nicola Singleton 25:43

I think so. Yeah. Because what tends to happen is those who are doing well then go quiet. Right? Which is good, because they’re going on with their lives. And that’s, you know, that’s how it should be thinking, are they going on with their lives? I know people have improved. And I know some people haven’t, you know, it’s, but it’s, I think, just being aware of all the things you can do to help yourself with whatever success that may bring, you know, is better than having nothing.

Tony Winyard 26:13

You mentioned before, when you were talking about the negative, yeah, the criticism you were receiving, and the way you worded it was it used to hurt you, as if it now maybe do you look at it differently, and it doesn’t hurt you so much. Now?

Nicola Singleton 26:27

It doesn’t hurt me? No, but it’s sounds awful, but I really don’t care. Right, you know, about what other people’s strangers think in terms of whether I was alone? Not, you know, it’s, I can’t control what they’re thinking. It’s all it’s meant is, and I think it is a shame, if you just stopped reaching out. So I have, I’ve stopped reaching out the main Fibromyalgia group on Facebook, I don’t know if related to that particular. But they were really, really mean. And it was really quite cruel. And that was allowed. And I just thought, you know, no, I don’t need that. didn’t appreciate that at the time. But now, it’s like I said, you know, I do feel for people, I know how it feels to have fibromyalgia, I still remember it. You know, and I do have all the sympathy and empathy in the world for what was going through. But there’s no need for meanness.

Tony Winyard 27:25

But also it shows how far you’ve come with your own self compassion that no longer you don’t allow it to get to you probably the way you would have a few years ago.

Nicola Singleton 27:36

Before I used to feel like I had to justify it. But now I don’t feel like I need to justify anything. You know, I’m not trying to live on myself as somebody who’s amazing. And, you know, I’ve got it all sussed and I’m great. And that’s not what I’m about. You know, so they can think whether like, I’m, you know, I’m enjoying life. I’m looking. And I’m so grateful for that. Yeah.

Tony Winyard 28:01

And so for people listening again, who may be afflicted with these conditions, and from what I understand is, there’s there’s no one treatment to solve these things. And there’s so many different things that contribute to it as well. And so every person will have a different treatment plan. I’m presuming.

Nicola Singleton 28:26

Absolutely. And I think, you know, it’s very difficult as well, because it’s really, it’s trying to find out what that root cause is. So for me, it was a good tissue, and it was chronic stress. For some people, it could be more dietary. For some people, it could be something else going on, you know, there’s, you know, the things that you promote, obviously, in your podcast, and what you talk about are the same things that can help everybody I think, you know, looking at, because obviously, Rongans books …, the four pillar plan, looking at, you know, what you’re eating, how you sleep, how you move, know, your rest, I think no matter where you’re at, if you can sort of look at those four areas, you can help yourself to whatever extent, you know, and that’s really what, you know, I think he’s really good about lifestyle medicine.

Tony Winyard 29:14

So when people first come into the group, are they I’m just wondering, Is it ever a situation where they do believe that by joining your group, Everything is going to be right, they’re going to find out all the information that … there’s some people that don’t realise that it is different for every single person that joins or every single person that has that condition?

Nicola Singleton 29:42

Well, I think what the group has done is I think it gives hope to people. There’s a lady who’s just joined very recently, and she said for the first time in two years, she feels like she has permission to rest. You know, I like I said, I don’t ever set the group up to that. I know all the answers because I really don’t know all the answers. But I am a strong believer and I’m passionate about lifestyle medicine. So, you know, I do talk about that often in a way that we can all try and help ourselves. But that lady, you know, she had been going to the doctors, and she’d been really struggling. And she’d been told to exercise. And although I’m not at all negative about exercising, you know, I do enjoy it myself. And I did try to do it when I was ill, sometimes actually a body can’t cope with that, and it does need a rest. But that isn’t promoted, so this lady, was trying to do the exercise that she was advised by the GP, she also used to walk a lot, you know, and what she found that she was walking, she found that mobility was actually decreasing by exercising, which is exactly what happened with me. So she read some of the things that were in the group who said, you’ve actually given me some hope, that for the first time in two years, because you’ve all been diagnosed, not only but have been diagnosed two years ago, and it’s things like that as anything I don’t really think of, but actually, for her, just been in a group, and she’s very flattering with a group. And it’s, it’s nice, because that’s what it’s there for, you know, and it’s something I’d like to think it you know, it’s it’s, people don’t think all the join the group and they have all the answers for maybe they can, they can read something that they’ve never thought of before and can try.

Tony Winyard 31:22

With the experience you’ve gained over the last five years, and getting yourself through those conditions as well. Can you ever see yourself doing something like writing a book yourself?

Nicola Singleton 31:32

I feel well, my husband keeps saying I should do but I think it’d be the most boring book on the planet. I’m not very exciting. So it’s just that I think there’s a need out there far in our book about, I suppose something like similar to my story, but I just, it always seems very…I’m squirming. This is very uncomfortable.

Tony Winyard 31:58

I can see you physically squirming, literally, as soon as I asked you the question; your body language. But you’re putting yourself down in a way, but your experience is so unusual, maybe because you’re not coming at it from a doctor’s perspective. You had that fortune to be treated with, you know, one of the best doctors in the UK for a period of weeks. But also, not only did you get through it yourself, but the amount of people that you’ve helped in the last five years, you’ve got such a different story to most people on Earth, I think the book will be far better than you are portraying.

Nicola Singleton 32:39

And that’s really nice to hear. I suppose I don’t really, you take the credit for granted, I’m there. It’s what I do. So it’s not something that I think of from that perspective. But like I said, for me, it was always a passion. I always thought you know, if I was looking to get some help, then I know what it feels like because I didn’t know anyone when I was in. And that was isolating itself. And then usually a family you know, if you look email, a couple of people who understand and I was lucky because my husband understood. Like my dad, for example, he just thought I was bored. He thought I needed a job. He had no concept that I wasn’t able to work at that point.

Tony Winyard 33:12

Some of those things you’ve just said Nicola are the reason you need to write the book, because so many people don’t understand it. And, and there are so many people who don’t know where to turn. There the reasons why you do need to write the book, I think, Okay. Well, on that word, let’s stay on the subject of books. There’s a question I always ask all my guests. And we were discussing this before we started recording and you love books generally. So is there a book or maybe a couple of books that come to mind that have really moved you for any reason at any any time in your life?

Nicola Singleton 33:50

I think about when I was at uni, so a very long time ago though. I used to love it. I can’t remember the full name and it was Isobel Allende. I think it’s the House of the spirits. But it was very different to anything else that I was reading was pretty magical realism. So I think that what has stuck in my mind, albeit quite vague, I need to read it again. But I just I’ve always loved the classics I’ve always loved the Bronte sisters, I’ve always loved. You know, you can’t beat a good romance story. Although in my house with four fellas, it’s like, really mum, really? And, but like for now for example, I’m rereading Alice in Wonderland with my 12 year-old, I love that and some of those things in other quotes in there like we’re all mad here. I think you know, all the best people are I think it’s just fab, so it’s it’s kind of nice with him because I’m re familiarising myself with some really good books. But yeah, not one in particular. Really. Other than that the you know, the magical realism one was very different. So what I tried to do All right, but I think I do have other books. You know, I always like to read in the bath. So I always have my bathroom reading. And then I’ve got a nice bookcase with the ones that you know look good, but I’ve not read in a long time.

Tony Winyard 35:16

So Nicola, if people want to find out more about you, your social media, if someone wants to join your group, so where would they look?

Nicola Singleton 35:24

Really, it’s just on Facebook. And it’s called To be a better me, which is obviously a play on words of me and chronic fatigue. So as I keep a very low profile elsewhere I’m quite old fashioned, I need to get more modern.

Tony Winyard 35:41

And to finish do you have a quotation that you particularly like?

Nicola Singleton 35:45

there’s a few. And it was actually the one that was in my kitchen, which, when that’s just it came in TV problem came in, it was like on the back wall. And that, well, I’ve got it in front of me, so I can remember it correctly. And it was just like, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain”. I think when I was ill, that really resonated with me, beyond that particular quote, I think there’s always going to be things that happen, there’s always going to be stressful events, there’s always going to be something, but life is beautiful. And I think we can get so bogged down in the misery of some of the things that are going on, that we forget that so that quote, for me, kind of several things might be not great, you know, because my health hasn’t been linear the whole way through growing up, there’s been other issues that are going in between, you know, and it’s taken a lot of perseverance, but I just think that quote, particularly is just a massive fan of. And then the other one is, I’m a huge fan of pink, the singer Pink, I absolutely love her, there’s two things there, and one of them is, the definition of stupid is wasting your opportunity to be yourself. Because I think everybody has a uniqueness and everybody’s good at something. And I think for me, now, it’s, I have stopped comparing myself to other people. And I’m happy with who I am. And I’m not always trying to strive to be better than what I am, you know, to do more of whatever it is, I’m really content in and I think that’s made a massive difference to our look at things. Then the other one is, you know, I’m learning to be brave in my beautiful mistakes, which is from Assam crystal ball. Because, again, you know, life is about making mistakes. But I think the difference is, you know, if you can learn from those mistakes, rather than repeating the same mistakes, not going anywhere. There’s so much value to that. So I like, those are the ones that really resonate with me.

Tony Winyard 35:56

Well, Nicola, it’s been a real pleasure. So thank you for for the last half an hour or just over 35 minutes. It’s been a real pleasure. And I think a lot of people are going to really, really benefit from this episode. Thank you.

Nicola Singleton 38:02

Thank you for the invite. I was very touched. Thank you.

Tony Winyard 38:08

Next week is episode 62. And it is with a guy called Arthur Taniyelyan that’s a name that’s not easy to roll off the tongue. He’s a breathwork instructor, he’s an instructor in a few different breathing methods. So there’s a method called Buteyko method, the oxygen advantage Wim Hof many people are familiar with, Breathology, and he’s combined the knowledge that he’s gained from all these different breathing methodologies. And there’s a couple of others that he does as well. And he helps people and depending on what problems the people that he’s working with have, he uses aspects of these different breathing methods, methodologies to help the clients that he’s working with. He’s based in Switzerland. This is a fascinating conversation. So that’s next week’s episode with Arthur Taniyelyan. If you got some value from the information that Nicola shared with us, anyone who’s got ME or chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, please do share the episode with them. And I hope you have a great week.

Jingle 39:18

Thanks for tuning in to the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at Tony See you next time on the habits and health podcast.

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