Jessica Pett

Special to Londoner

It was a decade of hell — 10 years loaded with enough mental and physical suffering to last a person a lifetime.

She is the woman who married her mother and birthed a dog… sort of.

Best-selling author Allison Graham recounts her years of pain and suffering in an effort to give hope to others going through rough times in her new book called Married my Mother, Birthed a Dog: How to be Resilient When Life Sucks.

Graham is a force to be reckoned with. According to her website, in 2007 she went in for a simple surgery and left with severe chronic pain. By 2009, doctors told her she should give up on all of her professional goals. On top of that, she lost many close friends and relatives and went through a wave of other injuries including a broken nose, a torn MCL, a damaged pubic bone, and an injury to her big toe.

Throughout all of this heartache, she was able to stay on top of her thriving business, Elevate Biz, but not without the help of her mother.

Because of her injuries, Graham was in desperate need of someone to act as her chauffeur, her secretary, and even her companion. Her mother moved to London to be these things and more for her. During this time, Graham also had what she likes to call her ‘fur baby.’ Winston, her “14-pound black bundle of love” came into her life and thus the joke married my mom, birthed a dog, began.

“I used to laugh at people who treated their dog like a child but now I am one of those people and I get it,” said Graham. “He filled that void for me in a very nurturing way.”

Graham knew that with her professional and personal background, she could really make a difference in helping someone who is going through a rough patch.

“I felt really alone,” said Graham, “I wanted other people who were going through challenging times to not feel alone.”

She decided to share her story.

Her book revolves around the idea that when you are feeling overwhelmed in any situation in life, it takes being honest with yourself to find a way out.

“This is about opening a raw, authentic conversation about the collision between who you are personally and how you show up professionally,” said Graham on her website. “I want to ensure you have the tools to bounce back from tough times, even faster than I did.”

Graham uses a self-developed tool called the Resiliency Ninja Formula as a way to overcome obstacles. She distinguishes between stress, obstacles and adversity.

“I want people to be able to take that formula and apply it to their circumstance so that they are able to succeed, no matter what life is throwing at them,” said Graham.

One of her favourite things about having shared her story is hearing feedback from her readers. When she hears other stories of overcoming adversity she is able to see that she is making a difference.

“People have sent me their notes and their own stories of resilience and about when they had to bounce back,” she said. “What it does is it starts a conversation that as humans we go through things but it doesn’t have to define who we are.”

Graham launched her new book in January.

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