Navigating Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) as a business owner

Life’s journey is filled with unexpected twists and turns, and my path has been no exception. In 2021, I faced a life-altering diagnosis of Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome (RCVS) and endured two Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) 2 months apart; often referred to as ‘mini-strokes’. This revelation reshaped my existence in profound ways.  

I am the co-founder of imployable; a venture that took flight with my best friend from the Royal Marines Commandos after 13 years of service. We set up the business to provide digital support for those that are unemployed and struggling to find work and their purpose. 

Chapter 1: The Diagnosis 

My life took an unforeseen detour when I received the diagnosis of Functional Neurological Disorder. This intricate condition casts a wide net of neurological symptoms, including tremors, weakness, memory lapses, loss of speech, paralysis and even seizures. My body sometimes has a brain of its own. 

My diagnosis came on the heels of two TIAs in 2021, adding another layer of complexity to my health journey. It was as if my body had taken on a life of its own, and I had to navigate this uncharted terrain. 


Chapter 2: The Entrepreneurial Dream 

Despite the uphill battle presented by FND and the daunting challenges of birthing and nurturing a business, I was resolute in my determination not to let my health condition define my narrative. My dream of nurturing imployable, side by side with my best friend and fellow Royal Marine Commando, burned with a fever that refused to be extinguished. Entrepreneurship, an already tumultuous journey with its long hours, relentless stress, and the ever-present spectre of uncertainty, became an even more complex tapestry with FND woven into the fabric. 


Chapter 3: Balancing Act 

Juggling the demands of FND and the responsibilities of business ownership requires finesse and an unyielding spirit. I made significant lifestyle adjustments, developed strategies to confront stress head-on, and maintained a vigilant awareness of my physical limitations. This chapter underscored the non-negotiable importance of self-care and the indomitable spirit of resilience. 


Chapter 4: The Support System 

One of the most critical elements of my journey has been the support system I meticulously cultivated. My family, friends, and devoted employees played starring roles in my narrative, offering unwavering encouragement through the hairpin turns and dramatic plot twists of my journey. Seeking professional guidance and finding solace in support groups for fellow FND warriors provided a lifeline and an invaluable sense of belonging. 


Chapter 5: Lessons Learned 

This journey of mine has been a profound source of life lessons, transcending the realms of health and business: 

Resilience: In the face of FND’s relentless challenges and the tumultuous world of entrepreneurship, I discovered a wellspring of inner strength I never knew existed. 

Adaptability: Business is a capricious dance, and FND transformed me into a nimble partner. I learned to pivot, adapt, and conjure creative solutions to unforeseen obstacles. 

Self-Care: Prioritising self-care became a sacred ritual. I recognised that nurturing my physical and mental well-being was not just desirable but imperative for success, both personally and professionally. 

Empathy: FND unearthed a deeper well of empathy within me. It heightened my sensitivity to the struggles of others and inspired me to foster a more compassionate work environment for my employees and people around me 


Chapter 6: From Commando to Co-Founder 

Before we dive deeper into my narrative, it’s crucial to understand where it all began. I embarked on the entrepreneurial adventure in March 2012. I left the royal marines and went into the security world travelling many countries abroad. After this, I then started a coaching company in 2014 and sold it in 2017 to pursue what is now my ultimate adventure – starting imployable in July 2017 as a co-founder, transitioning from the world of Royal Marine Commandos. It was a shift from one mission to another, with an unyielding commitment to excellence. It’s easy to lose your purpose after leaving the forces and I have now found mine, and that’s helping people, either through digital technology or coaching and mentoring services. 


Chapter 7: Battling the Unforeseen 

In 2021, as the world grappled with a global pandemic that tested businesses worldwide, I encountered yet another unforeseen twist in my journey. Two TIAs struck, momentarily robbing me of speech, memory, and mobility. It was a stark reminder of life’s unpredictability and the delicate nature of our health. 


Chapter 8: The Road to Recovery 

Determined not to let health setbacks define my narrative, I embarked on a gruelling journey of recovery. Supported by unwavering love from my dear ones and an extraordinary medical team; I managed to reclaim 85% of what had been temporarily lost. This chapter was a testament to the resilience I had forged during my years of service in the Royal Marines. 


Chapter 9: Creating Opportunity in Adversity 

Amid my recovery in 2021, I discovered a unique opportunity to contribute to my business. Recognising the economic challenges posed by the pandemic, I spearheaded the establishment of a coaching department within imployable. This division aimed to provide guidance and mentorship to individuals navigating the turbulent job market and support those struggling with various medical conditions. 

Chapter 10: Impacting Lives and Securing Partnerships 

The coaching department swiftly gained momentum, and we found ourselves supporting over 1,000 individuals through contracts with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and prime partners. Our force of 30+ coaches and mentors played a pivotal role in helping individuals find meaningful employment during a period of profound uncertainty and helping people knock down barriers and challenges they were facing. 



My journey of living with a Functional Neurological Disorder, having strokes and getting through a pandemic, while steering the course of imployable has been a tumultuous and transformative odyssey. The challenges have been numerous, but the rewards have been equally abundant. This journey stands as a testament to the unyielding resilience, adaptability, and indomitable human spirit. 

For those who find themselves navigating similar challenges, I extend a reminder that you are not alone. Seek support, prioritise self-care, and continue forging ahead. Life may be an unpredictable voyage, but it is also brimming with opportunities for growth and triumph, regardless of the circumstances. Embrace the journey and seize the limitless possibilities that await. 

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