James Sutliff

Qualifications – level 2 gym instructor . Level 3 Disability Coach Specialist.

My Name is James Andrew Sutliff, I am 31 years old and I live for fitness, to keep me motivated, inspired and strong. Below is my story and how I would like to prove that anything is possible, any goal, dream or ambitions you have life, you can achieve no matter what life throws at you, always give 110% back.

8 years ago my life took a sudden, unexpected change. After a normal night out on the town with friends, drinking the usual G & T (no drugs) I returned home, went to bed as I usually would and slept without any interruptions. I woke up as I normally would the next day and I started to feel a little unwell, I put this down to a hangover. I took a small nap, to wake up to something that changed my life in an instant. I found that my speech was badly distorted and slurred, thinking this would pass I carried on as I normally would do. A couple of days later the problem seemed to worsen, so a friend took me to the hospital, where I was admitted straight the way. I underwent test after test, to the doctors confusion.on paper I was a healthy 24 year old man. Doctors were baffled by what had happened to me and could not finger point a cause or diagnosis. Still almost 6 years on I still have no firm treatment plan or clear cause.

After discharging myself I was put under the care of a neurological specialist, whom I saw every 6 months, just to prodded and poked at. A year had past and although I still had my speech problem, I was carrying on my life as I normally would do……then the problem directed its self into my hands. I noticed that my thumb on my left hand was starting to become painful and tight and I found it increasingly hard to use, to the point where it eventually closed fully. Over time a couple of my fingers on both my left and right hands did the same. Working as a plumber by trade I found it increasingly hard to continue doing my job, I no longer plumb as a living. being a proud person, I am not one to sit around and mope nor feel sorry for myself. Although I found it very hard going from a drastic wage decrease I continued to found work as laborer. I work with a great team of lads and they help encourage and build my confidence each day.

Finally in the year of 2012 I was diagnosed with a neurological dysfunction disorder, know as Dystonia. Finally I had name to this thing that had been ruling my life for so long. I started to read up on Dystonia and came to found I actually have a very mild form. However, Dystonia should not be overlooked. It is a debilitating disorder that can affect your life completely, no matter how minor.

Going through this challenge has been very difficult at times. One minute I was a normal confident lad, with a promising rugby career, no cares, a great paying job, to then have to deal with this massive change. It felt like my life had been taken away from me and I felt resentful at times and I went through some dark periods to say the least. trying to get around coping with what had happened to me, I struggled a lot with confidence and my self esteem was at an all time low. One thing I did know is that I wasn’t going to allow what had happened take over my life. I knew if I continued on the road of self pity I would end up a lot worse off than I am today. This is when I turned my focus to fitness.

Always being keen on the gym, I had always been in pretty good shape but I wanted to take it to the next level and prove that my goals and dreams were still achievable, although having a disability.