Category Archives: Healthier Lifestyles

Fatigue Overload Recovery and A Wedding!

I’m back. I hate it when people apologize for being away from their blog or You Tube channel, like there’s an audience hanging on, just waiting for the next post with great anticipation. So I’m not apologizing, but I will update with my goings on.

This is the first week in months that I have felt near normal levels of energy. I’d had energy dips for ages and they had generally been attributed by doctors to be part of depressive phases of bipolar disorder. But over the last few years I’ve been getting this insane level of sleepiness, weakness and general fatigue that seemed completely unrelated to my mood. Walking for longer than 15-20mins was becoming impossible, and I hadn’t realised how much it had been impacting my life until last September when I visited family in Plymouth, and could take part in very little of all the activities they had planned.

So a quick trip to the doctor and a blood test later, I was diagnosed with Coeliacs Disease, treated entirely through complete elimination of gluten from the diet. At first I was elated- I could actually do something about the fatigue! I had in my head that it was going to turn out to be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which I knew there is no cure for. At least I could do something about this! Gradually the realisation of cutting out so many foods I love began to sink in, and I was pretty moody for a few weeks!

Anyway, I’m two weeks into a gluten free diet, and I feel I have energy again! I can’t believe it! It’s like a miracle! I walked my dog the last few days without struggling to move my legs, which usually felt completely encased in thick, sticky mud. I’ve not felt so completely exhausted by 12 noon that I have to go back to bed! It’s so weird! Good weird obviously, but now I have to do stuff! Haha!! I want to become productive again, and writing was the first thing to come to mind, as well as practising the flute for wind band, and getting back into art. I’m actually going to have to start planning my activities!

Life lesson learnt. If you have severe fatigue, don’t just attribute it to something you already have. Get it checked out!

Oh, also since I was last here, I got married!!! Jon is amazing, another miracle in my life and I am so blessed!

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Taking Care of Myself

ID-10046699I’m feeling much more positive today!! Hooray!!

Since I posted on Saturday I have been meditating to ground myself. Only a few minutes every few hours. It’s worked so far!! I feel more at peace with myself, though am still working with a few things.

Eating

I’ve used food for comfort since I was a kid. A dip back into pretty bad depression over the last 6 months has led to an increase in my food antics and a fast 16 pound weight gain. My knees have definitely noticed! My BMI is nearly 39, which is not good.

I think I’m at my limit now, where I say “Right, that’s enough now. No more.” There is no more denying the effects of what I’ve been doing, and the fact that it’s making me feel worse, not better.

A cease in cooking for myself is one of the first signs for me that I’m depressed again. But there are easy meals I am sure I could manage:ID-10038600

Jacket potato & baked beans

Eggs & salad.

Even a salad sandwich and some soup.

I know I can do this. It’s just a case of re-programming my brain! Lol!

I don’t want to eat in secret, feeling so guilty and ashamed. I need to replace the buzz of shopping for binge food and guzzling it with something more loving and nurturing to myself.

Dreams

I need to remember my dreams are important, so use these as a replacement! If I want to draw, I will draw. If I want to sing, I will sing. If I want to write a silly story, I’ll write a silly story!! I will resist the urge to tell myself there is no point in doing any of this, and remind myself that theses things are important- they are part of BEING who I am. I believe that we are all expressions of God’s spirit- being who we truly are (from the highest perspective of unconditional love) is what we are here for!

I’d like to reconnect to the childlike joy I used to feel when drawing and making up little stories, and dancing and singing. Joy brings light to the world!

Slow, but healing.

It’s definitely a slow day today too. Slow thinking, slow walking.

A very interesting observation was made by the psychiatrist Dr Russell Razzaque, author of Breaking Down is Waking Up. He took up mindfulness meditation for his own personal development and whilst on a retreat noticed something curious. During mindfulness exercises the participants were aiming to slow their thinking and  their walking, to observe themselves. He connected this with what happens in depression- our thoughts and movements slow down. Could it be that our minds and bodies are actually healing us through depression? I definitely like to think so!!

So with that in mind, I will trust that I am on the right track, and to listen and act on my intuition, rather than dismissing it as airy fairy.

Related Posts

Depression and Grounding

Hypomania and Grounding

Body Image and Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’.

A Little Bit on Eating Disorders

Bipolar Disorder: Body Image and Anxiety

Conversations With Myself: Exploring Low Mood

Forward-thinking Psychiatry

Keeping the Peace

No, that's not me! But I feel like that!

No, that’s not me! But I feel like that!

Arrrrrghhhhh!!!!

Sometimes I just want to scream!!!! Doesn’t everyone at some point?

I feel like such a rubbish human being sometimes.

I’ve been through CBT, Mindfulness Therapy, counselling and have been working on personal and spiritual development with my teacher Dawn for a good 4 years now. I feel like I’ve done so much work on trying to improve myself and my life, so why isn’t my life perfect? Lol!!! I think I might be expecting a little bit much of myself!

I feel like I know what I should be doing to improve things for myself: walking in nature, meditation, eating healthily, journalling, talking to friends, going to choir, playing the piano, drawing. So why don’t I do any of it?!!!

Angry & Annoyed!

I get angry with myself. Like I am now. Ok so, I’m doing walks in nature, meditation and going to choir, but I know I need more balance than that.ID-1003585

I get annoyed with myself when I get bored. I’m not working at the moment, so I beat myself up about that. I’m living off benefits.

I find regular jobs so tough to hold down- I end up depressed and anxious. All I can do is sleep in between part time shifts. I get so exhausted that I can barely walk- I’ve always seen this as psychomotor retardation, my thoughts become very slow too, I can’t look people in the eye, I become a shell of a person.

Right now, I know I’m going through feeling like a victim and I know I’m not really. But I think I just have to get these thoughts written out.

Even though regular jobs don’t work for me, I still fight with myself: “why aren’t you working? You should be working, you’re so lazy.”

And I know these thoughts aren’t productive!

Wallowing.

I know how to change my thoughts. I know how to look for the things I’m grateful for in my life. I know how to foster and nurture this emotion to bring back the loving, joyful, abundant state of mind. So why do I feel so rubbish right now?!! Knowing and doing are two different things! Lol.

Storm CloudsBut maybe I feel the need to wallow for a few hours. Maybe wallowing and allowing these feelings, of “life’s not fair” and anger with myself, just to be in existence for a little while will help to process them.

I think I deny the darker feelings as much as I possibly can sometimes. My mind chews over and over- “I shouldn’t be thinking these things, I must get rid of them quickly”. When really I need to allow them to be.

So this is what I’m doing right now: allowing my thoughts and feelings to be.

Where did my peace go?!

Last Friday I had two teeth taken out. The injections were a lot more painful than I remember in the past. The needle went very deep into my jaw. I wasn’t prepared for the pain. Now one wound is infected and another tooth has been aching and I’ve had a temporary filling put in. The extraction seems to be causing me to clench my jaw and I’m having facial, head and neck pain due to this. I guess that’s going to make me feel a bit fed up!

432724y2b5b5yubI was so full of love and inner peace over the last two weeks- I want it back!!! Why can’t I have it back, lol!!!!!

I feel angry with myself for letting it get to me and angry with life, I guess, for not letting my inner peace last.

The challenge I’m learning is to keep the inner peace and love, return to the state, even when I’m feeling out of sorts, even when life is throwing me curve balls. To return to the love and peace in my heart. I know it’s there. I know writing like this helps to get my irritation and frustration out, to a place where I feel less overwhelmed and can get more perspective.

Related Posts

Exploring Negative Thoughts

Conversations with Myself: Exploring Low Mood.

Depression: Alternative Therapies, Life Lessons and Gratitude.

Face Fear: Making Peace With Our Shadow Side.

Bach Flower Remedies

 

 

 

Bach Flower Remedies for PMS.

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After a lovely bout of PMS last week I thought it might be handy to share the Bach Flower Remedies I find most helpful to ease the symptoms.

For Irritability:

Impatiens: for impatience with others.

Beech: for when you feel you want to verbally lash out at someone.

Holly: calms anger/aggression.

For Low Mood:

Mustard: relieves depression.

For Tiredness:

Olive: revitalises when you are shattered.

For Anxiety:

Cherry Plum: for when you feel out of control or worry that you will lose control.

 

Bach Rescue Remedy is an alternative option- it will aid in balancing the emotions.

 

To learn more about Bach Flower Remedies and where to buy them please click here.

 

 

 

My New Blog!!

Hi everyone- I have a new blog!! (I’ll still be writing here too).

I’m writing for John Levine’s Alphamusic which I’m very excited about!

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I met John at a Mind, Body, Spirit Fair in Norwich (UK) and was inspired by his music, which is spiritually channelled and healing for many different conditions including depression & anxiety!!

He has also composed music for each specific chakra and for each Archangel.

My first post is Overcoming Insomnia.

Here’s a little sample of his music:

Free Meditations with the Chopra Centre’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge

It’s a little late in informing you, but the Chopra Centre are half way through their 21-Day Meditation Challenge with Oprah Winfrey. It’s not too late to join though as the majority of meditations are available for 10 days online. It’s really easy to sign up (it’s even easier if you’re on Facebook-one click only!!):

Sign-up for the Chopra Centre Meditation Challenge

The Meditation Challenge happens about 2-3 times a year and is a fantastic opportunity to access some great-quality meditations by health guru Dr. Deepak Chopra. This season the theme is creating perfect health- hey, we could all do with some of that!!

The meditations are completely free and are sent to you via email each day.

Meditation has many health benefits including lowering stress levels, boosting the immune system and lowering blood pressure. It is also practiced to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

I’ve been doing the meditation challenge for about 5 seasons now and each time it helps to bring me greater inner peace and to connect to who I am and what I want out of life.

It’s a great time to start meditating!

Related Posts:

Benefits of Meditation & Free Meditations via The Chopra Centre

5 Benefits of a 10-Minute Meditation Practice.

What is Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation?

100 Benefits of Meditation- ineedmotivation.com.

Dance, Dance, Dance!!!

ID-10046699Yesterday I went to my usual monthly healing group. It involves a thoroughly relaxing evening of meditation, crystal healing, angel card readings and massage. Our therapist is fantastically psychic and usually tells us which chakras each of us is having an issue with. For the last two weeks I’ve had a very tense jaw and have been getting regular headaches. She told me it’s related to my fifth/throat chakra and that I’m not “speaking my truth”.

I’ve been thinking about that all day today. Does it literally mean I’m not speaking my truth? I think partly, in that I haven’t entirely come out of the spiritual closet yet, even to Chris (boyfriend). I’m worried he’ll think I’m going off the wagon.

But I think it also means that I’m not living my life as ME, my true self. I know I need to eat healthier, exercise more, but also begin working on my passions again.

One of my passions is dancing. Heaven knows I watch a ton on TV, so perhaps it’s time to actually get off the sofa and shimmy away. So I’ve created my own dance workout!!!!

Rachel’s Magical Movie & Musical Workout!!

This involves dancing to all my favourite musical tracks on my favourite movies and dance videos. Today was Hairspray!! I danced to:

Good Morning Baltimore,The Nicest Kids in Town, Ladies’ Choice, Welcome to the Sixties and Run and Tell That- picking up bits of the choreography on the DVD and making up other the rest.

It was more fun than a regular exercise DVD that’s for sure! Tomorrow: Mamma Mia!!

You May Also Like:

Yoga Benefits for Mental Health

Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

 

A Christmas Present to Ourselves

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With Christmas comes the inevitable present-buying for others. If you’re like me, you love to shop for presents. I love the challenge of trying to find a gift that will make someone smile and then the creativity you can bring to wrapping up and hosting family get-togethers. Maybe you get a bit hypomanic- I definitely do, especially with shopping and seeing family & friends.

I find it’s easy to become overwhelmed by Christmas, caught up in presents, decorations, merry-making, twinkly lights and games. It’s all wonderful, but I do tend to forget about keeping myself in a “good space”- remembering to ground and centre myself and keep a sense of inner peace.

This Christmas I think it would be a great thing to remember ourselves in all the chaos and give ourselves the present of:

Committing to our own Inner Peace & Bipolar Balance.

How we can best do this will be individual to each of us, but I can think of no better present than making sure we look after ourselves and find as much Bipolar Balance as we possibly can.

Think about what you really need in this moment.

Here are some ideas for maintaining Bipolar Balance during the holidays:

– meditation or just time to sit and be with ourselves in peace and quiet.ID-10050484

– yoga.

– gentle dance to peaceful music.

– sitting and stroking a pet.

– cooking a healthy meal (or lots of healthy meals!).

– booking a massage or spa day.

– walking in fresh air.

– tidying that messy drawer or cupboard.

– swimming.

– crafting/drawing/painting.

– taking time out in a quiet room when at friends & families’ Christmas parties.

–  journalling.

– staying away from the shops if we’re feeling energised and impulsive.

– hot bath with aromatherapy oils.

– recognise early on if we have over-committed and reduce our schedules. Nobody will mind and if they do, remember we need to put our health first!!

– light a candle and give thanks for all we’re grateful for.

My head is already buzzing with mind chatter, so I’ve been taking the Bach Flower Remedy White Chestnut which is excellent for quietening things down a bit! Impatiens is also good for reining in that hypomanic speediness, impatience and pressure to do, do, do!!

Click here for more information on Bach Flower Remedies.

Let’s commit to our Wellness and Peace of Mind this Christmas! 

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Photo Credit:nuttakit via freedigitalphotos.net;sakhorn38 via freedigitalphotos.netSimon Howden via freedigitalphotos.net.

Turn the Day Around: Shifting the Gloom

I’ve just had one of those mornings where I’m feeling down in the dumps and resigned to having a bad day. I started the day getting up late and eating sugar- not my usual start!! It made a big difference to how I felt though: low and negative and I’d genuinely given up on improving things for the day- I’d written the day off! I just wanted to sleep through it and start again tomorrow!

I managed to snap out of it a little- enough to do a bit of meditation and just accept the place where I was at. Sometimes it helps to just go:

“I feel like *%$@ and that’s OK.”

“Just because I feel low doesn’t mean I’ve failed.”

“It hasn’t been the best of starts, but I’ve been reminded what does and doesn’t make me feel good.”

“I can still enjoy the afternoon.”

Following this I made a mini-plan of actions to help myself feel better. This included a dog walk in the fresh air and countryside, drinking loads of water, and eating some raw carrot- a very low GI food to counter-balance the sugar I ate earlier. Balancing blood sugar seemed like a sensible thing to do as I feel horrid when my blood sugar plummets after a sugar binge. I also added cleaning the bathroom to the list: not my favourite job, but I really like the bathroom to be clean!

The walk was great- we ended up being over an hour. The weather was perfect- sunny but cool- and we didn’t see another soul! The squirrels and jays entertained us with their antics around the woods and farmland. I came home feeling refreshed and revitalised.

The Importance of Shifting Energy

The walk worked for me as it shifted the negative energy which was clinging to me and allowed new positive energy in!

Low, gloomy energy, once accumulated, can stick to us like glue in the energetic field around us- our aura. Once stuck it keeps us feeling down, which in turn attracts more negative energy. Like attracts like.

It is much easier for positive energy to accumulate around us once the negative energy has been shifted- it clears space.

The things which help us to feel better are usually things that shift the negative energy. One of the best ways to shift energy is exercise, or any type of movement eg. cleaning or gardening. Once we’ve shifted the negative energy we are then in a position to attract new positive energy to us. This usually occurs through enjoyment of an activity. We feel good. Our thoughts become more positive. Like attracts like, so more positive energy is attracted to us.

Other ways to shift negative energy include:

– chatting, laughing with friends.

– breathing exercises: imagine breathing in beautiful, clean, loving, positive energy and breathing out old, stale, stagnant negativity. Breathing deeply into your lungs and imagining the new energies shifting the old really helps this exercise work.

– expressing yourself through creative activity.

– spending time in nature: the energy of trees, plants, the Earth etc, neutralises any negative energy. Sitting by rivers or the sea can be especially healing as you imagine the negativity being washed away. Even visualising this is helpful.

– music- screaming and shouting out any anger to angry music can help. As can putting on upbeat tracks that make you want to dance. Dancing’s great too!

– massage/spa.

– doing something you love.

Seeing these activities as shifting negative energies really helps motivate me to take action if I’m feeling low. I know that if I don’t act towards shifting the energy, I’ll very likely feel rubbish the rest of the day- maybe even getting worse by ruminating.

When we find ourselves ruminating negatively- it’s time to take ACTION through distrACTION!!  Don’t let those thoughts get their icy grip on your heart. Say NO!! You’re not sucking the life out of me!!! I’m going to create some positive energy instead to push you away!

Positive Intentions

Keep your mind focused on:

– high energy levels and vitality.

– fun and laughter.

– passions eg, people/pets you love, hobbies etc. Things you love.

PLAY!! One of my favourite games to play is to imagine I’ve been given £100,000. I then go about “spending” it online! It’s fun planning a holiday or some courses I want to take, and imagining what it would be like. Childish but fun! And a good way to use the Law of Attraction!

Give yourself a great day- you deserve it!

Photo Credits:

Sun by digitalart; Rainy Boy by Simon Howden; Waterfall by Evegeni Dinev all via freedigitalphotos.net

During the week I read this fascinating post on Words From The Well (a blog overflowing with insight and guidance relevant to all), which I wanted to point out to Bipolar readers. It suggests that our brains are like nuclear reactors that heat up when working through various tasks. But too much heat can cause an explosion! I thought this might be particularly relevant to Bipolar peeps- specifically when anxious, agitated, restless and hypomanic, possible symptoms of brain over-heating :)!! The post suggests which activities heat and which cool the brain. Fabulous post.

wordfromthewell

Today we ask that you take time to ground yourself.

There is an enormous amount of energy moving through your reality.  And your bodies conduct and absorb it — particularly your nervous system.  The human brain generates and absorbs a vast amount of energy.

Human brains are a lot like nuclear reactors.  In order to function properly, they must be cooled down.  Otherwise they overheat, and when this happens, things can get quite toxic.

What heats the brain?  Any kind of cogitative thought.  Strategizing, planning, calculating.  Imagination heats the brain even more — visualizing, fantasizing.  Worry is a negative use of the imagination that heats the brain.  All creative work heats the brain.  Watching TV, or looking at information on a screen heats the brain.  Computers are very heating for the brain and nervous system.

What cools the brain?  Being outdoors.  Bathing in water.  Engaging in activities that minimize cogitative…

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