Monthly Archives: February 2015

Depression/Anxiety – You are still you!

February 27, 2015

 

you are still you

You have not disappeared. You are still you. Whoever you were before this nightmare began. Deep inside, behind the fear, anguish and despair, the REAL you still exists. You have not gone anywhere. Do not be afraid that you have changed. That you are now a different person. You are not. Nothing can change the fire in your soul, the light in your eyes, your personality and all you were born to be. No external or internal influence can change that. It was God given. That person is still very much alive, you are just covered up by mental and physical pain.

When we are lost in all the pain of depression it’s so hard to believe you will ever be your true self again. You fear you have changed forever. But let me assure you, you have not. Everything in you remains as it ever was. As healing comes, you will see small glimpses of yourself. You may laugh at a joke or you may say something funny that another laughs at. When this happens you have a glimmer of who you truly are, who you always were, who you have always been. As the healing comes, bit by bit your confidence will grow again. As it grows and some of the fear and pain drop away, more of your true self is revealed. You will take so much happiness from this that it gives you HOPE. And Hope means everything. You realise that you were always there. Just tired and run down by mental and physical pain.

I promise you, as your journey of recovery unfolds, you will see more and more of your true self coming back. Let it be. Enjoy those moments. Let it happen.

Anxiety and depression are so very real and debilitating. It’s no wonder it consumes all parts of you. But in reality, no matter how bad it gets, it is just a moment in time. Nothing can change you completely. The bad days will become less, and you will rekindle yourself.

One of my greatest fears when I was first depressed and anxious was that I was changed as a person forever. It was my mum who always assured me that this was NOT the case. And she was right. As the depression lifted and the anxiety let go of its grip on me, my old self returned. But, there had been some change. I was a BETTER person. A more sympathetic person. A more thankful person. More thankful for everything and I had a new appreciation for the state that is ‘peace of mind’.

So be assured my friends, that no matter how difficult things seem right now, how different you feel, you are still the same person and you will come through with a new attitude. A better attitude. You will no longer judge others in the same way as you did and you will appreciate all the good things that life brings.

Onwards my loves xx Huge hugs Kiki xxx

Nutritional Supplements

February 24, 2015

Skimlinks Test

nutritional supplements

Whilst on my quest for better mental health and well-being, I’ve spent much time over the past 15 years looking at what I could put into my body that would help to bring some relief from my mental and physical pain. Nutritional supplements were my first real attempt at anything outside of prescribed medication. You will see that it has been a journey of years and experience that have shown me the benefits of adding these supplements to my daily diet.

When I was first diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, I was always at a complete loss as to why this was happening. I felt there was absolutely no reason in my life for me to be depressed. Doctors and loved ones assured me it could happen to anyone and was likely due to the stress I had been under, and genetics. I accepted this. But always in the back of my mind I kept thinking, ‘there is something wrong’ ‘there is something wrong with my chemicals’. But having no means of investigating this, I accepted prescribed medication, gladly I might add and with great success, and moved on.

But the nagging inside me didn’t last. When another bout of depression came I felt the need for further investigation. By this time the internet was fully loaded and I was able to get my hands on much more information. Here is what I found:

Important Note
I am by no means an expert in this area. All information that I have, I have researched myself. I have always discussed with my doctor and psychiatrist before adding the supplements to my medication. I share these findings with you, only as a means of you looking into doing the same, should you choose to, in the hope that you will have similar results. Please ensure that you discuss fully with your doctor before taking any additional supplements.

Omega 3

Way back in 2000 I was going through a particularly bad patch of depression. It was the second major episode I had experienced and it was far worse than the first. I was trying prescribed medication to no avail for a long time. From sheer desperation, when traditional medicine wasn’t working for me, I took to Google and searched on anything that I could take to help. Following a lot of reading one major theme kept appearing: Omega 3. It would seem that Omega 3 fish oil was not only good for the heart, but also beneficial in supporting brain function and activity. Most importantly I read that in higher doses, it had brought marked relief from depression and anxiety. So, I did not need to read any further. I checked with my doctors and I started taking 3 x 1000mg of Omega 3 supplements a day. Within 2 weeks I noticed a remarkable difference. My mood had lifted slightly, I was less anxious and my mental clarity was greatly improved. As an additional benefit, my skin, hair and nails were all stronger too. So suffice to say, I have continued taking my Omega 3 for the past 15 years and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. In addition, the supplements also support the heart and help with maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

Omega 3 and alopecia

As part of the fibromyalgia and auto-immune problems I have suffered with alopecia over the years. It has usually come after a bout of illness, when a virus had been acute. I would lose a patch of hair, about the size of a 50p piece and it could be anywhere on my head. When the hair falls there is literally nothing there. It is bald as a babies bum! When it first happened I was devastated. I thought all my hair was going to fall out. But it didn’t. What did happen was that at around the same time I lost my first patch, I had just started taking the omega 3 supplements. And literally, within a week of taking them, the hair started to grow back. It was like a miracle. So over the past 10 years, when my hair occasionally falls out, I take strength in the knowledge that it wont be gone for long, and that the omega 3 that I take will help the hair grow back.

Magnesium

In more recent years, having been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was once again on the hunt for any nutritional support I could get to help with the pain and fatigue. Anxiety and depression were also bad again following another long episode. I was taking prescribed medication but having the most horrendous mood swings and pre-menstrual tension. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) at that the age of 26. This caused all sorts of hormonal balance problems including bloating, pain, heavy periods, facial hair and mood swings. Having trawled through countless articles, yet again desperate, another common theme came up. Magnesium supplements.

Now my mum had sworn by magnesium supplements when she went through a very difficult menopause. She swore it was the only thing that got her through the anxiety, sweats and sleepless nights when HRT did nothing. So with this in mind I thought that I had nothing to lose by trying. Again I spoke with my doctor and he actually told me, that during the 1980’s, the use of magnesium for treating depression, was very popular. But that over time, other medications became available and magnesium was once again overlooked.

The research I found had suggested that Magnesium Citrate was the best formula and had shown incredible results in bringing relief for many mental health conditions from clinincal depression, bipolar to schizophrenia. The research went on to say that they felt that with the right combination of nutritional supplements, any health problem could be tackled.

Magnesium has also had great results for those that cant sleep. It helps to relax the body and enduce a restful night.

A deficiency in magnesium has also been linked to restless leg syndrome, where the legs spasm and twitch at night.

I ordered my supplements and I tell you now, the whole truth, within 4 days of taking the supplements the noise in my head had gone. My nerves were no longer shot. I didn’t feel any PMS feelings and pain was greatly reduced. I felt more together, more ‘normal’ instead of manic and hormonal. All in all a winner! What was really interesting was that even though I had had many scans showing PCOS, the last scan I had said that there were very few cysts on the ovaries. The consultant asked if I had taken any medication. I told him I had done nothing other than add a magnesium supplement to my diet. His response? “Well done! Its working!”

I ordered my supplements: Magasorb from Natures Best. I take between 2 and 3 tablets a day. The change has been literally incredible.

Vitamin D

You may have heard that Vitamin D has been linked to brain function. You may have heard that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of depression that occurs during winter months due to lack of good sunlight. The sun and sunlight provide the body with Vitamin D. Essential to normal brain function.

I had been aware of this and certainly over the last four years whilst still working, I would struggle particularly badly through the winter months. You wake up in the dark, go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. Well at least that’s how it is in the UK during the winter.

So once again during my research I looked into the link between a lack of Vitamin D and depression and anxiety. Again the number of research articles were vast and there was a clear pattern. My findings showed that although as yet there are no definitive answers into why Vitamin D causes depression, they do know that Vitamin D is taken up by receptors in the brain and produces serotonin. Our happy chemical.

The research showed that in those with a lack of Vitamin D, some suffered depression and anxiety. It also showed that those with a lack of Vitamin D were more likely to suffer depression and finally that those who took a Vitamin D supplement noticed marked improvements in mood.

Again, armed with this knowledge, I discussed with my GP and started a single Vitamin D supplement each morning.

NB: I generally only take the supplement in the winter months and during periods of bad weather. If the sun is shining and I’m getting enough sun light I do not take the supplement.

Vitamin B Complex

My dad has always taken a strong Vitamin B complex. It was recommended to him years ago as he suffered from severe mouth ulcers and would be in unbelievable pain and discomfort. A local pharmacist told him this was a sign of Vitamin B deficiency and so he began to take the supplements.

My dad went through a very stressful period and some serious health issues a few years back. All throughout this, our family could not believe how well he managed mentally. He slept well, he wasn’t anxious and he took everything in his stride. He still does. Following the vitamin research I had been doing for my own mental health, it became apparent that Vitamin B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well-being. This to me was the key. This is what had kept my dad so strong during extremely stressful times.

Evidence has shown that Vitamin B complex vitamins cannot be stored in our bodies, so we depend entirely on our daily diet to supply them. B vitamins may be depleted by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine, and caffeine so it is no surprise that many people may be deficient in these.

I added a B complex vitamin to my supplements about 3 years ago. I noticed again, that there was an improvement in mood and anxiety was reduced. Together with the other vitamins, I am sure that help to maintain my well-being.

Garlic

My grandfather was a huge supporter of pure garlic to keep away germs and fight infections. It is a noted age old remedy in our family that rubbing raw garlic cloves on the feet can actually clear a chest infection. It saved many of the babies in our family over the years.

Now my pap took raw fresh garlic. Which you can do. But I opt for garlic supplements just because it’s easier. If I get a virus or infection then I will take chopped fresh garlic with water.

The garlic is important for me right now as fibromyalgia is an auto-immune disease. It means my immunity is basically crap. So as soon as I feel a cold or virus coming on I increase my doses of garlic.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is thrown about everywhere. We are bombarded by its many benefits, but particularly in fighting colds and flu and other viral illness.

As my immune system is already powered to the max, I help it out with a daily dose of vitamin C. I use the effervescent versions and if I am very run down I will make a cocktail using a splash of metatone tonic.

If nothing else, it gives me a reason to think I am helping my body in any way I can.

What does this mean for you?

You may wish to try one of these. You may wish to try them all. Or none. My advice is that as long as your doctor is happy for you to try, then I guess you have nothing to lose except your ill-health.

What is hard for me to say now, is whether I am really any better because of all the supplements I take? I cannot tell you. The only way I would be able to tell is if I stopped taking some or all of them. But having had such incredible success with each one, at different points, I truly believe that they all help to keep me on an even keel. Without them, for all I know, I could be a mess again! So with faith and experience I will continue to take my supplements, to supplement my prescribed medication, and continue on the road to full recovery. With peace of mind along the way.

What has amazed me with this journey of supplementing my diet with the right vitamins and minerals, is the profound effect they have had. What I learnt along the way is that many of the vitamins and minerals that the body NEEDS to function, are not produced in the body. They have to be taken into the body in the form of food and nutrition. Now unless you are eating a pound of fish a day together with spinach, almonds or oranges, it is unlikely you are getting enough nutrients. So if these vitamins and minerals are so vital to a sound and good working body, why are they not the first thing that is checked when you present at the doctor with a chronic illness? This is a question we will answer in another post.

Let me know your experiences and thoughts.

Kiki x

Anxiety – Don’t let fear stop you living

February 20, 2015

 

Anxiety - dont let fear stop you living pink

Don’t let fear take over. It’s easy to shy away from everything and everyone when your body is racing with fear. Everything scares you. People, places, events, situations. I find it is mostly the fear of the unknown that gets me. Of not being certain of what’s ahead of me. This makes me nervous. I like to be in control. Particularly when the anxiety is raging. But the truth is, life is one surprise after another. We can never truly know what awaits us. And no matter how much ruminating or planning you do, you cannot control what will be. It will be anyway.

Anyway, Isn’t that the spice of life? Not knowing? If we always knew everything that is ahead of us there would be nothing to look forward to or get excited about. If you understand that there is no certainty, and you are assured of your own strength, you can gain back some control.

So rather that letting your anxiety leave you feeling out of control, just try flowing. Nothing bad will happen. It never does. Chances are only good things will happen. If you shy away from social events or just simply going shopping, then you are missing out on life. And I totally get it. I have done this so many times over the years. But I am learning.

Before facing your fears, carry out the breathing technique and if necessary take someone that you trust with you. You can use your ‘Little bottle of Happiness’ too. The first few times will be the hardest, but as you learn that you are ok, your confidence will increase and you won’t be quite so afraid.

I now get anxious before any social gathering or event. I have come to learn that the anxiety and apprehension comes no matter what. So I ACCEPT it. Its part of me, and makes me who I am. It means I can write this blog.

I can honestly say that every time I am anxious about what COULD happen or what MIGHT happen, as the event pans out, none of those things happen and I usually end up having a wonderful time.

The worst thing you can do is avoid situations that give you fear. This only compounds the fear. Instead, be as brave as you can be and face it. I know you are brave. You live with anxiety every day, so you are pretty brave in my eyes. You may be happily surprised that you actually enjoy yourself. And this in turn will remind you how strong you are and that you CAN face the fears and be perfectly fine. You CAN do it! I believe in you! Say repeatedly to yourself:

  • I am safe
  • I am brave
  • I am strong

Over time you will start to believe it!

Love and hugs K xxx

Important Note

Please remember that this advice is generally more helpful as you come to terms with your anxiety. I want to assure you, that at the very beginning, when anxiety consumes you, you may find it hard to do anything remotely like this. This is OK! You need time to adjust. You need time to come to terms with what is happening to you. Take the time to get medical assistance and educate yourself and as some sense of self returns, when you feel a little stronger, then please start to look at these techniques as help in your journey to recovery, K xxx

Well-being techniques – A ‘little bottle of happiness’

February 17, 2015

We have all been around smells; fragrance, candles and oils that make us feel good. Whether it’s your favourite perfume that makes you feel strong, sexy and powerful. Or your favourite candle in the bath to make you feel calm and relaxed.

The power of smell is amazing. It can take you back to a happy place in time. Or a sad time. It is powerfully nostalgic.

The idea of the ‘little bottle of happiness’ is a very simple one. Using the technique of smell and association, you can create your own bottle of empowering and calming fragrance that can immediately whisk you back to a place of contentment and safety.

It’s a simple process. Find a smell that you love. I would suggest that it be something different to your normal perfumes. It should be a smell that gives you joy at first whiff!

Now take your chosen scent. When you are in moments of personal strength, intense happiness, or calm, then smell the scent. Register it with that inner peace and happiness. Keep doing this for a month at least. Over time, what will happen is that you will start to associate this scent with a feeling of intense happiness and well-being.

The key to this in terms of anxiety, stress and depression is that you can then tap into this scent when you are feeling at your most vulnerable. When panic strikes, when your mood is low, when you generally feel out of sorts, this is the time to take your ‘little bottle of happiness’ and smell. Take the aroma in and allow yourself to be transported back to your happy, strong and calm self.

It is a very simple technique. But hugely powerful and can take you from being keyed up and tense, to far more relaxed. Have your ‘little bottle of happiness’ with you at all times. Particularly those times that you would normally get anxious.

In summary:

  • Find a scent that makes you calm and happy
  • Take in and smell this scent every time you feel calm, strong and happy, continue to register the scent with these good feelings for at least a month until the scent is registered as your ‘happy’ scent
  • When you feel anxious, stressed or panic, take the scent and inhale. Register and remember the calm, strong and happy feelings. Repeat as long as necessary and calm should take over.

I personally use the ‘This Works’ stress less roller ball. It is my happy and calm smell. You can purchase here:

.

I hope this technique works for you as it does for me. As with all the techniques, practice makes perfect. It might not happen for you straight away, but please stick with it. Please comment and let me know your experience. Huge hugs. K xxx