Hello! I’m Sarah Fish…
Where to begin?
At the start I guess? I wasn’t Sarah Fish to begin with. There’s nothing particularly interesting about my childhood – I grew up with my Mum & Dad and little brother Steve, having a normal, Stokie, family life.
I was very imaginative and loved to play make believe. To me, fairies were real (maybe they are?). I was often caught either daydreaming, gazing out of the window or talking animatedly to my friends in class (Sarah Bailey, is that you talking again?!)
Even though I didn’t pay much attention, once my friend explained what we were doing, I quickly caught up.
Easily embarrassed, I hated to be put on the spot. I never raised my hand (even though I knew the answer). The moment my name was mentioned in a room, I’d go bright red!
The thought of being on stage made me sick, as did sports day – another event where everyone would be looking at me.
I now know that poorly tummy was a sign of anxiety.
I didn’t sleep well either – I just couldn’t get to sleep! Worries would take over my mind while my family slept. Silly little worries that, to me, felt like the end of the world.
When I was 9, my parents split up. It devastated me. My whole world was turned upside down because my routine was pulled out from under me like a rug.
What followed was some very turbulent years, living with what I called an ‘evil stepfather’.
Of course, most teenagers go through the ‘what is the point of existence’ phase. Without a stable home life, it did make me wonder why I was here on this planet.
My grandparents were fantastic! Their homes became my homes – a place where I felt safe, wanted and loved. I’m not sure what I’d have done without them.
I went to University simply to get away. The freedom was immense. And that’s where I met my husband – the very first weekend I arrived in the halls of residence. We were brought together by a panic alarm!
He’s my soul mate. I know, because when we met, it felt like we’d known each other forever (maybe we had). We’ve been together 25 years! In that time we moved abroad and came back again – all the way back to Stoke-on-Trent!
I fell into a career in Cytology because I was in the right place at the right time. I didn’t expect to stay for 15 years, but having kids kind of cements you into a role.
That role grew as I took more qualifications and gained more experience. Until eventually, I became the Lead Biomedical Scientist, managing the department.
I loved that job. I could have done it forever, if the pressure to maintain a 14 day turnaround time (with less staff and more patients) hadn’t come along. Maybe even if the work wasn’t taken elsewhere.
But it was. All of the pent up emotions of my life collided with increasing pressure to BE more and DO more. To please everyone around me. Everyone BUT me.
At the time I was feeling bullied by my manager. But looking back, I can see that although he was wrong in his outburst, if I was feeling less stressed, I’d have handled it (and him) better. It was the last straw.
Something snapped in my head. Like someone flicked the off switch. I hastily typed out a complaint to HR and marched out of the building, tears streaming down my face.
That was the start of it all. The burnout. The nightmares. The depression that followed. In the end I was signed off for 11 weeks. It felt like an eternity.
When I returned (now feeling like a zombie from the medication I was on), there were only skeleton staff remaining. Then all of a sudden, it ended. Without any warning, we were told we were closing the following day.
Redundancy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We used to joke about hoping for redundancy! It was a horrible experience, not knowing if it was really going to be approved. I should have felt elated to be free. But it felt like the door had finally slammed shut.
What now? All my identity was wrapped up in being a Biomedical Scientist. In being a leader! The experience shattered my self-worth. I started to look for volunteer roles and signed up for a counselling course (even though I didn’t feel counselling had particularly helped me).
Booked a life coach. Not realizing I would have to do any work, I plunged in and got on with the tasks. They taught me a lot about myself and my life.
That January night I arrived at the counselling course, it was dark and cold. Only myself and a man had turned up to join the course. The course leader said it couldn’t go ahead with less than 5 people. I asked if we could wait 15 minutes, just in case. All three of us sat and waited in reception. No-one else came.
The next day I heard from a lovely woman I was following on social media. She asked if I was interested in the Hypnotherapy course she was starting.
YES. This is it!
But I couldn’t possibly help others until my head was sorted out! So I booked in for some sessions with her.
Lots of tears later, I felt like a weight had been lifted. That was only the beginning. The work we did on that course set me free in so many ways!
A new career
The great thing about hypnotherapy is that it keeps working to help you, after the sessions end.
Lockdown gave me time to do a Life Coach certification too, where I’ve been able to help lots of people with lots of different things!
I came off the medication. Set up my business. Started to be in photographs that I happily shared. I even started doing lives on social media! Without turning red!
I stood up and spoke, into a microphone, at the Better World Festival in 2022. No nerves, just excitement! No going red. No dry mouth. No shaking. Just enjoying sharing my message.
Here it is:
‘You are amazing. You can be, do and have anything you want! It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to let go of that emotional baggage you’ve been carrying for years. When you do, the freedom and peace is immense. Life is joyful!’
I’m now at peace with my past. I know how to take control of my anxiety when it starts to rear it’s ugly head. I’m now helping others in exactly the way I was helped. I’m watching their fearless freedom light up the world.