Real Life, No Filters – Depression

Real Life, No Filters – Depression

I’m depressed and it made me ashamed and that breaks my heart!

I should be present! I should be diligent! I should be strong! I have been all those things in the past and I have always made a way when there was no way! What changed? What is so different? There are so many things and I’m guessing I could go into depth on the family issues, the life transition issues, the disappointments and the grip depression that took hold of me! I’ll save those details for another time. I’m pretty sure it’s so lengthy it’s book worthy! The bottom line…I got super depressed, real life anxiety (which I haven’t dealt with in over 20+ years), and I was literally sitting on my couch watching TV for 10-14 hours a day binge watching Netflix like it was a woobie. I couldn’t work out but that was a twofold deal, it started as a knee issue and then transformed into a super excellent excuse for laying around with my woobie and sleeping my life away.

The outside world basically saw none of this. I’m good at putting a mask. I can smile with the best of them. I’m pretty great when I need to be “on” in the presence of people. I did that most of my life. There were a few that saw me break down when I was young, few that saw my real-life battles and the pain I fought through. But what a lot of people saw was a very angry individual. (Again, a book worthy story for another time)

How’d I find my way out this time? Well truth be told, I am not all the way out yet. I’m getting there. I started working out about 4 weeks ago. I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to move from my comfy couch or my tear stained pillow. However, I know me well enough to know my symptoms were kicking in from all sides. I needed to at least try to move and see if that would boost my mood some. It took almost 2 weeks (All modified just 30 minutes a day) before I noticed a shift in my mood and another week before I saw a shift in my health. Yes, my health, because whether I wanted to believe it or not, the pain I was feeling in my knee, my headaches, the body aches, were all coming from my deep-set depression. So, I still need to get some counseling. I do believe in talking things out with someone who has no clue about your life sometimes. I am so new to this area that I have haven’t made that move yet. What has comforted me some is I found a new church and that makes me a little more comfortable. My other church was stressing me, because it wasn’t a true fit. It was nice and I won’t bad mouth it, but it wasn’t for me and I didn’t feel like I fit in. That was hard for me and all the things in my life felt out of place. Strange, I know, but it is how I felt, like I couldn’t connect to God the way I wanted because I was blocked at church. So about 3 ½ weeks into working out I was feeling a lot better, then I get this chest/sinus/ear crud from the devil I swear! So, no more working out until I can breathe normally again. Kinda worries me because that is my escape, my release, it’s my physical and emotional wind down to let all things that bother me go. It keeps me on track mentally and physically, keeps me from eating out of control. Keeps my PMDD at bay and my hormones in some form of check. However, for now, until I can get back into my workouts I’m praying and meditating to try to keep myself grounded. Being with friends and family. Smiling for real and not just for show. Being intentionally grateful for the many things God has giving me and for the things He has in store for me in the future, because I know he has something big for me coming up. No more shame. I’m coming back! Real Life! No Filters! This is me.

Fighting Inflammation Ninja Style

Fighting Inflammation Ninja Style

Everybody and in every body has inflammation.  And while some may tell you it’s a bad thing to have, inflammation in smaller amounts is good for the body when it comes to exercise. However, when it starts happening repeatedly due to a bad diet, lack of exercise, or autoimmune disease, it can affect your mood at the very least. In my case my MS or diseases like it such as Lupus, Thyroid syndromes, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome they are all affected by inflammation in the body. Symptoms are triggered or increased when inflammation occurs.  If I were to just focus on one symptom for the sake of this blog, I’ll say that fatigue is one to set in quickly and the most misdiagnosed in an immune system that is chronically over excited. Issues that can raise inflammation include stress, lack of exercise, eating too much junk food, or have long-lasting low-inflammation triggers.

Here are a few Ninja secret (not so secret LOL 😉) tricks that can help with Inflammation

  1. Fitness Time

This will always be my #1. It’s made the most different in my life. Everyone has a different limit and everyone has a different start point. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Yoga , Walking, Running, Pilates, Daily Stretching all can reduce your stress which lessens inflammation. No matter what your level or what your goals you should at least do a low impact workout daily, it will make a huge difference. 

  1. Eat More Leafy Greens

Whole-food plant-based diets are becoming more common place.  It is often called Vegetarian or Vegan. This diet of mostly plant based foods can help lower inflammation. The meats in our society now have become overly processed with hormones and antibiotics and cause more inflammation than they ever did in the past. Eat more greens! 

  1. Gut Health

Taking in health pro and pre-biotics, which is the good bacteria that fights infections, can impact and reduce the symptoms of heart inflammation. You should have a good probiotic like yogurt, pickles, dark chocolate, kimchi, or sauerkraut daily. Pre-biotics can be found in garlic, onions, apples, and bananas 

  1. Laugh and Smile

Last but definitely not least HAVE FUN WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!!! Have conversations, have social interaction and just genuinely enjoy yourself. Research shows that having good social contact each day can be a powerful anti-inflammatory. So laugh and smile away!!!

Pictures provided by Logomakr, and Pixabay

 

 

New Year…New Me…UGGGGHHHH!

New Year…New Me…UGGGGHHHH!

The 1st day of the new year… You know the routine..NEW YEAR…NEW ME! BLAHHHHH BLAHHHHH BLAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

As you can see, I have an issue with that statement in some if not many aspects.  So let’s discuss Ninjas. People make resolutions all the time and they usually fall to the wayside.  So you have a choice…make a resolution or make a life changing decision! You can utter words that make you feel better for a few weeks or you can dig into a real “WHY” you want a change and give it some true meaning. This can be for anything. Real talk, I know I focus on mostly health and wellness, but it doesn’t have to be weight loss, health and wellness, but we know that is usually where this statement dredges it’s focus. However, it can be in making a healthier relationship, doing better in your business, or making a career change. 

Whatever is going to make a New Year…New You…Put some thought into it. Why are you wanting this new life change? What is fueling your dream? When you have a strong enough why, then you will have a purpose to keep it going and that will push you from the resolution phase to life changing phase! Now you have to put a plan in place, actionable steps that can get you to where you want to go. If the “thing/dream/goal” is lofty and will take a while to get there, break it into small steps and make it something obtainable. If you are trying to become a millionaire you can’t just say it and hope it happens…what are you going to do to make that happen??? If you have to or want to lose 100lbs what steps will you take? Because JUST working out on a treadmill won’t get it! 

If you focus on the end game at the starting line, before you even really get started, these big things will seem way too much to achieve. Don’t get it twisted! Don’t think you shouldn’t have BIG LIFE CHANGING DREAMS, IDEAS AND GOALS! These are real life life changers for people and they do become reality! They say if you are not scared by your dream, it’s not big enough! (Not the exact quote; I hope Kristine K. Stevens doesn’t track me down 😉!) But these big things do not happen over night! You likely didn’t not gain that 100lbs over night, and becoming a millionaire (outside of hitting the lotto) takes time and investment in yourself and what you are doing to make it happen? If you focus on the on that huge life changing end game you can truly get overwhelmed!!

Small segments y’all, that is the KEY TO SUCCESS! Make each step obtainable and realistic! If you want to be a brain surgeon, you just can’t take an online class or on the job training – these are not realistic; you need years of schooling and a hospital residency (and I am sure more but I am not versed in how to become a surgeon). But I do know you could start by breaking it down to the initial college semesters you’d need and build the milestones from there. If you are trying to lose weight, you could start by picking a workout that fits you at your circumstance (please don’t try to be a marathon runner on the first day) Pick an eating plan that fits your lifestyle and start that after you are in the habit of working out so you aren’t overwhelmed. Know your end game is 100 pounds but focus on the first 10lbs. THEN..this you CANNOT go without doing;  celebrate accomplishing every little accomplishment toward getting to that goal. EVERY. LITTLE. ACCOMPLISHMENT! Don’t leave one out, they are important to your journey no matter what your new life change is going to be, no matter how big or how small!

 

 

So, I say all this to let you know, it’s awesome to be all gung ho at the beginning of a new year, but you can reinvent yourself at any time in your life. You don’t have to start on a Monday! You don’t have to wait to the beginning of the month! You don’t have to wait for the New Year! Any day can be a starting point. One foot in front of the other! Each step is the next step to the NEW YOU! You got this Ninjas! I hope you share some awesome transformation stories with me!

 

Why Fatigue SUCKS!

Why Fatigue SUCKS!

Ever have a long day and plop on the couch and pass out for a 30 minute or 2 hr nap and when you wake up and think…”Ahhhhhhhhhh….that was amazing, now let me get on with my day/night/or however you end your statement? Yeah, I haven’t had those in years, probably 25 years to be on the approximate side. I feel the same need and longing for laying on the couch and wishing that closing my eyes for a bit will make a difference. I wake up and if fatigue is my issue, you can guarantee no nap will make it better! I feel exactly the way I did when I laid down and sometimes it can be worse.
 
Years before my official diagnosis I’m almost 100% sure this was my first on-set symptoms and the military doctors would give me the same glucose test with each time I complained. Even when I told them all the previous tests came back normal. Their diagnosis for years and years…it has to be stress! I guess I was blind or maybe just thought maybe they were right. The military was stressful, raising children in a dual-military and failing marriage was stressful, trying to make weight with my body-type in the military was stressful, I mean I guess they were right, right? NOT! These lesions on my brain tell a very different story and they didn’t even think to look and I had no clue then so I didn’t even think to have them do any other testing. All I wanted was to feel rested at some point.
 
So for those of you who are not MSers and don’t suffer from any other auto-immune disease where one of the side effects is chronic fatigue, it’s really hard to explain what we feel. It’s a type of tired that doesn’t have a true word that others would understand. Sometimes you’re not even sleepy, but our bodies and mind just don’t want to go any further and it’s frustrating as all get out! So it sucks on so many levels but not just because we feel the way we do, but because of how others look at you or blow you off when you have the audacity to mention it. Like it’s fake or something a quick nap will resolve. It’s won’t and we can’t wish it away and sometimes we can’t eat healthy so it disappears (even though it does help to look at a diet and remove certain things that can exacerbate the symptom) You have to know It’s real and sometimes there’s nothing anyone can do about it, except to just rest and not do much. This may not help the immediate circumstance but not much will happen when it hits. Trust me when I say we wish there was a fix.
 
So I’m here to help those on the outside! When we say we are tired.
Do NOT do these things:
  • Say “You’re tired too.” – trust me it’s different and we don’t need to take on your issues too
  • Say “Go take a nap” “Eat Better” “You should exercise more”
  • Ignore us and hope it goes away
  • Tell us it’s in our heads and we need to stop complaining
  • Be more upset or sad about our disease than we are – we feel bad enough for how our lives have changed us and EVERYONE around, trust we are riddled with guilt that we cannot change
  • Get frustrated or sigh like we have inconvenienced you. See statement above.
Try to DO these things: 
  • Say something like, “What can I do for you?” or “Do you think it’s your MS, do you need anything?”
  • Show support: We probably know all the things we should be doing to be healthier but we may not know how to go about it. There’s a reason we aren’t moving in that direction and need support to get there. Just throwing ideas we’ve probably heard before just makes us feel inadequate for not being able to more forward – Change your eating habits, workout with us etc.
  • Take something off our plate – (feed the kids,  make dinner, vacuum, do something he/she has trouble cleaning; clean it,  this makes us feel like you understand there are days we can’t be perfect
  • Research our disease and get an understanding of what it really means to have it. You can start by going here ⇒ CLICK to go to THE NATIONAL MS SOCIETY
  • Fight for us when we can’t
  • Give us a hug and let us know you are there without judgement 
Hope this helps a bit.
Meditation for MS – Why It’s a Yes For Me!

Meditation for MS – Why It’s a Yes For Me!

Mediation seems to have this connotation that you are supposed to sit still in a silence and think of nothingness. Just empty your thoughts and go to a place of blank empty space. Soooo, let’s discuss how that is a myth and let me explain to you why.

Sit still in a room with nothing on. No TV, radio, no outside noises that you can control. Now…think of nothing for a minute, I mean nothing.  Not about dinner tonight, what you are about to do when you finish, not if you can do this exercise, don’t think about why you are trying this LOL, not about picking up the kids or how you are going to pay that bill that’s due….I’ll wait…it’s only a minute, right? AND… if you tried this you will find, if you try it 1000 times, you won’t be able to do it. I  mean, maybe if you are a skilled monk or true ancient Ninja…Who can control your inner chi, then maybe you are the Iron Fist (comic reference for you comic geeks out there LOL) Howwwwever, for us normal folk…your mind is not geared to shut down unless you are sleeping and even then its wanders into a dream land and you are “thinking” about something.

Mediation is really about relaxation and becoming centered. Thinking about one thing, just one thing and not letting your mind wander from thing to thing, as we tend to do, for a certain amount of time.  It’s basically a training exercise for our mind and body that teaches us how to control our thoughts and relax when we need to, instead of spiraling out of control when our minds seem cluttered with EVERYTHING.

A lot of people start off a mediation practice by thinking about their breaking pattern because in a lot of ways it is the easiest things to focus on in the beginning.  Also, relaxation comes with proper breathing technique…in through the nose, filling your belly with air – not your lungs (for a certain amount of seconds) your belly should expand and your chest should not rise when doing this  Out through the mouth – sometimes even making a almost snoring sound from your throat, exhaling all the breath from your belly as it collapses -belly to spine- (for a certain amount of seconds).  Why did I put a certain amount of seconds you ask? Because in the beginning you may only be able to inhale and exhale at 3-5 second intervals, if you keep it up you will find those intervals will increase. Hence; training exercise, but that doesn’t ever sound sexy when you put it with the word meditation, because everyone thinks of meditation as such a zen space, not something you have to work to obtain. In the beginning you may only be able to focus for 3-5 minutes but your build each week and try to get to 20-30 minutes.  Some will even meditate for an hour. I don’t require that much. 30 minutes is my max and 20 is about my norm.  As you progress in your practice of meditation you will change from thinking about breating to thinking on one thing. For some it could be a mantra, or a prayer, or any one thing that makes you feel at peace – this is where that zen state comes in I suppose! It’s really just trying to ensure you stay focused on the one thing you want to think about at that moment and not letting your mind get the best of you and start going all over the place while you breath and relax. I’ve been asked do you sit up or lay down. That is a personal preference really. I like to lay down on my back on a flat hard surface, preferably with a yoga mat, if I am not too sleepy, because that is where I feel my most at peace and my body is in it’s best alignment. But I’m not quite this flexible   😂    =======>>>>>>>>

I’m more of a  lay flat with your arms laying down to your side in a super relaxed state (GOOGLE search the yoga pose CORPSE..super easy to do)

However I think you should do what ever makes you feel the most comfortable. I don’t want to fall asleep when I meditate so that plays a factor. **Side Note: There is a certain type of mediation you can do to help you fall asleep as well that works like a charm if you are one of those people who cannot shut off your brain once your head hits the pillow. I use an app called Calm and it works every time, even though I think I can beat it to the end, it always puts me out. LOL

Meditation has helped me so much with my MS. Crazy as it sounds! My brain fires at what seems like 1,000.000.000 miles a minute. If this is the first blog your have read from me, you may not know this, buy my daughter also has MS.  She was also diagnosed with adult onset ADHD. Her neurologist believes it’s linked to her MS. Like myself we both have our issues with shiny object syndrome or better known to some movie enthusiasts as SQUIRLLLLLLLLL.. I also have a slight form of OCD which my neruo thinks could be linked to my MS since it wasn’t an issue I had as a child or young adult. I’m not knee deep in it, but I have some quirks for sure. So when I’m spinning out of control or if I can’t figure out why I can’t get one thing done before the next thing is in my lap, these are the moments I will choose to meditate. Once I am finished I seem to gain some clarity and can put a list together and prioritize my life for that moment and make it work. It’s strange to say, but I can’t seem to get that list together and make it work until I get that clarity. If I try, even that list will become a sore source of my spinning out of control. Oddly enough if I can put a list together early in the morning I am usually okay. I get more foggy and cluttered as the day progresses. So if the list happens to not get structured before that sets in, my meditation pulls it all back together for me. Kind of like wiping my slate clean and starting over for the day. I call that a win-win! Mostly because before I started this practice I would just be frustrated at the fact I couldn’t get stuff completed at the end of the day because I was ALL OVER THE PLACE. I’m pretty much opposed to taking any drugs unless it’s all out necessary. So this is a holistic approach that keeps me grounded and doesn’t take hours out of my life. Much like my exercising, it’s something that keeps my MS in check and makes me a happier Ninja!

One last thing…And PLEASE always remember this…when you start off you don’t have to be prefect! JUST START… Because there is not right or wrong way… just A BEGINNING to your journey!

Exercise and MS…Why Do I Push So Hard & Why Do I Do It??

Exercise and MS…Why Do I Push So Hard & Why Do I Do It??

Once I heard the words “Yes, this is a confirmed diagnosis of MS.” I am not sure what I felt first, confused, anger or overwhelm. I knew what I was feeling physically, I felt extremely fatigued, my migraines were off the charts in frequency and pain levels, I tingled down the entire left side of my body; top of my head to the bottoms of my foot, and I had this crazy annoying pinching feeling in the back of my left arm and the same feeling wrapped halfway around my ribs; spine to sternum — lovingly known as a MS hug — feels nothing like a hug by the way!! I knew my life was about to change for sure, but I didn’t know how.

They let me know I probably had this disease for years, starting in my mid-20s by virtue of my lesions and some “possible symptoms” I had on and off over the years.  I literally blew them off, because they were sporadic and didn’t last very long. I use to trip over my left foot, just walking on flat surfaces. Jokingly I’d say to myself “I wonder if that is MS” Since my sister was diagnosed, it was always in the back of my mind. Everyone in my family had some kind of ailment or illness except me so my mind always wondered. I also had some muscle spasms and this funny fluttering in my ribs. I just ignored it and chalked it up to nerves, or something else.  I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 40 years old, June, 2012. How did I hold it at bay for so long?  

My doctors told me it was more likely than not due to how I took care of myself.  While I always had a weight issue,  I worked out regularly and took supplements and that is what probably kept me normalized for the most part. They cannot say 100% for sure if that is the case, but I will have to agree with them on this one. Why, you ask?  Six months before my diagnosis my mother passed away. I was devastated and went into a depression of sorts 😞. Not the typical depressing most people think of. I didn’t pull away from everyone, hide in my room, stop talking to everyone and cry all the time. However, I was tired A LOT , and I had no desire for my workouts and couldn’t care less about cooking healthy, fast food was just fine with me! I forgot to take my supplements all the time, so I just stop taking them all together, because it was a chore to get them ready. In those six months I gained about 10 pounds. And almost five months after her death my symptoms kicked in and little by little they increased. Then,  basically six month to almost the date, my symptoms were full blown and out of control and I had my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

Now I am not going to lie, I couldn’t get my life together for about two years as far as working out and eating healthy. Mostly because the doctors told me I couldn’t do most of the things I use to do before workout-wise and I felt crazy going to the gyms.  They were worried I’d hurt myself, falling or something of the like so I was discouraged to say the least not to mention I had put on a total 30 extra pounds within three months after the diagnosis. I could no longer distinguish between what was MS and what was me being in pain because of my weight.

 

FINALLY I found a workout program I could do at home, completely modified along with a all natural nutritional shake that MADE MY LIFE. A program I could start from ground zero with lots of accountability and support. If you’d like to know more about that program Click Here And Check It Out! It made all the difference and within only 42 days I had lost approximately 13 lbs and I can’t even remember how many inches, but this is what it looked like~

Click the pics if you’d like to know more about my fitness journey! 🤗

And my symptoms were starting to fade. I wasn’t cured and NO! I didn’t stop taking my preventative meds. Over time I noticed I didn’t have to modify as much and I could do the workouts just like the people I was watching on TV.  Even better I could out do my 6’3″, physically fit Hubbinator (that is my husband, for those who don’t know..😂) And he was still in the Army at that point.🏋🏼‍♀️

It’s been approximately three years since I started this journey and there are days when my MS still gets MSessy 🤷‍♀️and I have a bad day, but it doesn’t last long and I usually know what’s triggering it. I didn’t drink enough water, or eat enough vegetables. I ate too much white bread. I didn’t drink my shake for a few days (I NEVER DO THAT… ANYMORE 😳) but I did in the beginning, because I didn’t realize how much of an impact it had on me. Now my workouts are very intense, I still use some modifications, because I have some bad knees. Being 5’ and 225 pounds at one point in my life, did some damage that I can’t be fixed with weight loss alone and require surgery and I’d rather not do that at this point, so I prefer to modify when needed and wear knee braces. I don’t let ANYTHING hold me back. I push harder than ever, but I do know my limits. When I first started, my limit was working out no longer than 30 minutes MAX. Now I can do 45 minutes and few days  and 60 a few days,  but I can’t do 60 minutes every day or I will fatigue out. I can workout 6 days a week, but I HAVE to have a rest day. I need self-care. Massage and chiropractic care from time to time, because I have slight scoliosis. I listen to my body. I take a week off about once every three months. I also have cheat meals from time to time and enjoy the food I eat without guilt. I just don’t indulge to the point of getting over stuffed. I hate feeling that full; makes me feel sick.    

I have to say this again..I AM NOT A DOCTOR, but I KNOW everyone with Relapsing/Remitting MS and other functional autoimmune diseases should find a healthy lifestyle (actually everyone in this world, but since I’m talking to my Ninjas, you get where I am coming from right now).  Incorporate exercise in your life.  Just like Newtons’ First Law, a body in motion, stays in motion! Conversely, a body that stops will grow weak and more sickly (mentally and physically). You will notice that if you stay immobile and you have the ability to actually move, your muscles will begin to atrophy, meaning they will gradually deteriorate and become ineffective due to underuse or neglect! You need those active endorphins in your life that come from exercise to stimulate your muscles and your brain cells.  It makes your body feel better and your spirit! Start slow, you don’t have to be fit in a day, you didn’t get unfit in a day!! You also don’t have to be the most healthy eater instantly. You didn’t start unhealthy eating habits in one day either. It’s a process and you have to give yourself a break and understand sometimes you have to take things in segments. I can teach you how to do this. If you are interested. You can schedule a clarity session with me! CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE!  

So, that is my story,! It’s why you see me sweating my bunz off at what looks like workouts that may be killing me, but they aren’t. They are just challenging my mind and body to go where it hasn’t before. Even when I was doing the minimal, most modified moves ever, guess what? I was still doing more than the undiagnosed, possibly, healthy person who was sitting on the couch doing nothing! So I rock! 😝 You can too and I know it! Because we all have an inner Ninja waiting to come out!