Surround yourself with family and friends to lift you up in the dark times says Djimbi Djevdet
Djimbi Djevdet’s future was bright. Newly married and in her early twenties, Djimbi’s whole life was ahead of her. With just four weeks left of her teacher training PGCE qualification, Djimbi was weighing up the option of a career in management consultancy when she suddenly began to experience excruciating pain in her back and legs.
“I was having lunch with my husband, and the pain was so severe that he had to carry me home from the restaurant,” she remembers. “The next day I went to the GP, who thought the issue was probably back pain and referred me to a physiotherapist. The exercises and acupuncture that the physiotherapist suggested made no difference, and I became worried I had kidney disease. Months of tests drew a blank and I had to accept I couldn’t complete my teaching qualification.”
Eventually Djimbi was hospitalised in Hurstwood Park Hospital, which specialises in orthopaedics and neurology, and more tests were carried out.
“By then my muscles would spontaneously spasm and what felt like nerve pain would travel around my body,” she says. “After the doctors discounted every other condition, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and discharged from hospital with a prescription of gabapentin and a pair of crutches.”
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat neuropathic pain, partial seizures, hot flashes, and restless legs syndrome.
“The medication definitely helped my muscle spasms and pain but made me very lethargic and slow,” says Djimbi. “I felt hopeless. My career was over and I was housebound.”
Unable to do almost anything, Djimbi took to watching YouTube tutorials about make-up to pass the time. Casual interest turned into passion, and Djimbi’s business-minded brain realised there was a gap in the market she could tap into. But still too ill to contemplate starting a new business, Djimbi accepted her mother’s offer of change of scene in Senegal, where she is originally from. During her trip, Djimbi’s family took her to see a traditional healer and she found herself feel stronger after the four-week visit.
“By the time I came home I was so much better that I stopped taking the gabapentin and realised I was absolutely fine,” she says. “So I set up Makeup Addiction and began to research manufacturers. My first product was an affordable pack of six small brushes of different shapes, made from bamboo (environmentally friendly) and synthetic (vegan). I sent samples to some bloggers on Instagram who loved the product and concept and promoted them. The first 500 packs had sold even before they were manufactured.”
Since then Djimbi has grown her business with the help of a schoolfriend, Olivia, and now has a full range of products available in over 27 countries and 40 retailers. She has also somehow squeezed in time to have two children.
“I can still feel fibromyalgia inside me and am scared of it recurring, but since having my children the fear is diminished,” she explains. “I’m careful to be healthy so I take regular exercise and eat a balanced diet. I am more sensitive to pain and afraid of it than I was before I had fibromyalgia.
“I believe that our bodies are designed to move, so even if it hurts, it’s important to keep going. The more you do the easier it becomes. Keep strong and surround yourself with family and friends to lift you up in the dark times. Never give up.”
To find out more about Djimbi Djevdet and Makeup Addiction Cosmetics visit www.makeupaddictioncosmetics.com.
Interview was first published in 2019.
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