How Does Alcohol Affect People With Lupus?

Guest Post:  Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Compounded Health Problems, Alcohol and Lupus

Never assume you have lupus based on the signs and symptoms you may display. It takes your doctor’s expertise to say whether or not you have this chronic disease of which there are no cures. However, certain medications can help to keep your lupus symptoms under control.

Everyone has an immune system to fight off disease processes such as a bad cold, the flu, or pneumonia. Lupus is a genetic condition in which your immunity cells attack your body.

Lupus is an autoinflammatory process by which the cells of most of your vital organs come under attack such as:

  • Joints
  • Skin
  • Brain
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Blood

If the doctor diagnoses you with chronic lupus, it can be a combination of genetics and the environment you live in. Researchers find that some people with lupus develop this disease as they come in contact with specific triggers in their environment. However, the real cause of lupus is unknown. Researchers know that certain medications help keep the symptoms of lupus a bay—chronic lupus cycles from little to no signs to many symptoms for a while.

Symptoms of lupus may include some or all of the following on different levels of severity depending on your body.

  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Joint pain

When you experience a flare-up, the symptoms of lupus become worse until you enter into a remission period, and the symptoms decrease or seem to go away for a while.

Medications on the market targeting lupus help improve your quality of life, such as anti-inflammatory steroids, making flare-ups less frequent.

How Alcohol Kills You

Your prescribed medications to help your lupus can be altered related to its typical and expected effect on your lupus through drinking alcoholic beverages.

The chronic drinking of alcoholic beverages slowly damages the cells of all your vital organs. This process happens more quickly when you have an underlying condition such as lupus.

“Out of sight, out of mind,” applies to drinking alcohol and the damage it does to the inside of your body that you cannot see happening.

If you cannot see the damage, you do not know the extent of what alcohol is doing to your vital organs. This damage significantly rises if you have a diagnosis such as lupus. If your drinking of alcohol is out of control, you will benefit from the help that alcohol treatment centers can offer you.

There are many different perspectives available on how alcohol kills you. Anything you consume, good or not so good can kill you when used in extreme amounts, and alcohol definitely fits in this category.

For instance, there are some excellent health benefits to drinking a glass of quality red wine daily. If you go beyond this one glass and drink a bottle of red wine daily, the right benefits are no longer viable. Over time, your excessive alcohol consumption begins to damage the cells of your vital organs.

Damage to Organs, Medication Interactions, and More…

When consumed in excessive amounts daily, alcohol slowly but indeed starts to tear down the tissue structure of many of your vital organs in a healthy person without any underlying health issues. If you have a condition such as lupus, you are at high risk for complications associated with this condition.

Generally speaking, those who have a definitive diagnosis of lupus are old enough to drink. If you have lupus, you can drink in moderation. However, the medications your doctor prescribes to you for any given health issues such as lupus can be altered in the way your body metabolizes your lupus medications.

Alcohol can speed up the effects of the medication within your bloodstream. Alcohol’s impact on specific drugs intensifies the impact of the medicines in a good and bad way. Alcohol treatment centers can help you eliminate the need for alcohol in your life, especially if you are fighting a chronic health problem such as lupus.

All medications have an element of side effects. Side effects are not good, but most are tolerable because the drug is so essential to a lupus diagnosis. Alcohol can also make lupus symptoms worse. Everyone is different, reacting to alcohol, medications, and the diagnosis differently.

There are dangerous health issues associated with chronic and excessive use of alcohol, such as hepatitis, blood infections, and pneumonia, to mention a few problems brought about by alcohol use in any form.

Researchers find that if you have lupus and want to enjoy an occasional alcoholic drink in moderation, wine is your safest choice because red wine can cause less inflammation in the body. In fact, red wine is a known anti-inflammatory.

Alcohol in moderation means that you can safely enjoy no more than two drinks per day if you are a male and one drink a day if you are a woman.

If you can no longer drink in complete moderation and your alcohol consumption seems to be a growing problem, make the wise decision to contact alcohol treatment centers to help you enter a better path of healthy living. Alcohol treatment centers can get you on the right track and keep you there for the sake of your chronic lupus medication program.

 

 

Sources:

http://lupuslyfe.com

http://www.lupus.org/resources/thinking-about-drinking-read-this-first

http://www.cdc.gov/lupus/basics/symptoms.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354386

http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines




How to Live With a Chronic Illness in 5 Easy Steps

Guest Post: Jessie Ace is a podcast host, writer, public speaker, and illustrator. She’s the founder of the chronic illness podcast ‘DISabled to ENabled’ where she interviews everyone from celebrities to patient advocates and charities, founder of the empowering ENabled Warrior tribe, and her blog jessieace.com where she shares tips and advice for living your best life with chronic illness. She’s worked with the National MS Society, MS Trust, MS Society, shift.ms, and MS-UK and been featured on CNN, Huffington Post, Yahoo, and The Mighty among others.

My diagnosis came as a shock. Within three days, I went from being perfectly healthy to having a lifelong degenerative health condition. I fell apart, especially when I was told to ‘go home and Google it’ to find out what it was for myself. Seven years in I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride of painful trial and error. I’ve finally learned the secrets that I feel it’s my duty–from one person with chronic illness to another, to pass on. 

Here are the five things I’ve learned that keep me living a meaningful life with a chronic illness that I hope will also help you too. 

How to Live With a Chronic Illness in 5 Easy Steps

Positive Statements

You may or may not have heard or used positive statements or “affirmations” before. I’d never heard of them until someone suggested them to me. But using these statements every day is how I managed to go from being shy, unconfident and overwhelmed with symptoms to someone who can stand up for herself in medical appointments and feel confident every day. Positive statements train you to create positive language patterns in your mind. The things we tell ourselves affects everything we do-without us even realizing! 

When we have chronic illnesses, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in what we can’t do, right? 

How many times do you wake up thinking to yourself, “I am so exhausted today”, “I am in so much pain today.” 

Let me ask you this, do you think these statements make you feel more or less tired/in pain? More, right?

What would happen if we became aware of those thoughts and we flipped them to, ‘I AM energetic today’, ‘I AM strong’, “I AM able to handle anything!”. Even if we are not feeling these things; Do you think that would help make you feel better or worse? That’s right, better!

Here are some examples:

  • I AM CONFIDENT
  • I AM ABLE TO HANDLE ANYTHING
  • I AM ENERGETIC
  • I AM FULL OF LIMITLESS POTENTIAL
  • I AM FEELING GREAT TODAY

 

It won’t happen overnight but keep repeating these every day over a few weeks, and you’ll start seeing a huge difference.

Keep Track of Your Diet

Foods are chemicals.

I’m not just talking about the heavily processed foods. All foods are made of different chemical compounds. Glucose, Sucrose, Fatty Acids, Omega-3’s are all examples of these chemical compounds, and these all have a different effect on the body.

Because of that, they can alter your symptoms.

Noting down what you’re eating means you can correlate that with your symptoms and you can find which foods are triggering your symptoms and leading to flares.

Getting in control of your body starts with what you put into your body.

Make sure also to note down any snacks and drinks as well as your main meals, so you have a clear idea of what is affecting your symptoms. 

 

Keep Accurate Records

How many times have you been in a medical appointment and your doctor asks you things like, “How long have you been on this medication now?”, “When did this symptom start?”, “How long did you feel that symptom for?” They use these questions to try to figure out why you’re feeling this symptom, whether it is a new relapse or maybe a recent symptom appearing. For most of us, we rely on remembering these things, which quite often leads to errors. 

The problem with errors is that it may give the doctor a false prognosis and send you for tests that you may not need. These tests cost a great deal of time and money (not to mention, stress.). 

I got so frustrated and fed up with having to remember these things that I made a book where you can track symptoms in less than five minutes per day. Alternatively, you could find a symptom tracking app. If you use an app, make sure it is secure and your data protected. 

Practice Gratefulness

It’s so easy to feel depressed when we have a chronic illness. We are continually battling symptoms, spend far more time in a hospital than we’d like, and get frustrated when we can’t live life on our terms. 

A great way to take control of that is by practicing gratefulness. However depressed you feel, or however hard things seem, there is always something to make you feel good. 

It could be hot cocoa, wearing your favorite sweater, or having a hug from your dog. Make a note of all the good things that happen around you. It helps to rewire your brain and make you feel happier. Happiness lessens stress which can improve symptoms. Join our ‘WINsday’ posts every Wednesday and celebrate your wins with us on Instagram.

Feel Accomplished

Something that I find challenging is fatigue. Do you get fatigued too? I’m one of those people who always has to feel productive, and I get so frustrated when my energy runs out halfway through the day, and I don’t tick off most of my ‘to-do’ list.

The best hack I have on that for you is to write down everything you need to do in the evening on some paper. Then choose your top three most important things on that list (it could be, to put the washing in, respond to a message, finish episode three of a new series, etc.) and do those things first in your day. 

Living with a chronic illness isn’t fun, it’s just something we have to do. Hopefully, these make it slightly more manageable. Give these tips a try and make sure to connect with me and tell me how you get on. 

 

author bio jessie ace

Jessie Ace
www.jessieace.com
Join our enabled tribe on Facebook
Subscribe to the DISabled to ENabled podcast on http://mmini.me/itunes or http://mmini.me/spotify
IG: @DISabledtoENabled 




The Relationship Between Sleep And Skin

Guest Post by Karim who is the founder of bedsisland.com and advocate of all things sleep related.

If you are serious about your beauty you will need to take care of every detail that impacts it, and one important factor to how you look during the day is how well you sleep during the night. Quality sleep plays a major role for your beauty level and you need to take good care about it if you want to improve the way you look.

Sleep is one of the most underestimated things in the world, and that does a huge amount of damage to our lives that we could simply avoid by sleeping well and giving sleep the attention it deserves.

The impact of sleep on your skin is very obvious, you will look tired and pale if you aren’t sleeping well and you will look energetic and refreshed when you are getting the amount of sleep that your body needs.

Let us investigate how sleep impacts your skin and what to do to get better sleep and as a result a better skin.

How Sleep Affects Skin

The first obvious way lack of sleep can impact your skin is under-eye circles, lack of sleep causes your skin to be pale and that allows for dark tissues and blood vessels beneath your skin to show.

Under-eye circles will make you look tired and exhausted and you won’t be in your best shape if that’s the case, you want to be fresh and alert and to look energetic but under-eye circles don’t reflect that truth.

Why does sleep deprivation make your skin look pale? Because two things happen when you are not sleeping that impact your skin, first, melatonin production drops, melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleep in your body but it is also an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from damaging free radicals.

The other thing that happens is that cortisol production increases when you are not sleeping. Cortisol is the stress hormone that your body produces in alerting situations so you are ready to act but it has other effects on your body and skin, cortisol, when it is in its normal levels, is healthy but problems arise when there is an overproduction of cortisol.

Cortisol can cause acne because it stimulates your skin cells to produce more sebum, the oil of your skin, and that leads your skin pores to be clogged with the excess amount of oil which results in acne.

Cortisol also contributes to aging and wrinkles and can actually cause you to have wrinkles on your body and face because it causes collagen breakdown and collagen is the glue that holds your skin together and helps it restore its original shape.

sleep and skin

How to Sleep Better for Your Skin

The first and most important thing you need to do to sleep better is to have a clear waking up time and clear sleeping time.

When you have your schedule right your body starts developing one powerful thing that it is good at developing: habit. A habit is simply your body’s way to automate things and make it happen on autopilot with no effort from you. When you are at the early days of your schedule you will probably suffer to sleep but stay with it because things will get good at the end.

Having a bedtime routine would extremely help you stick to your sleeping schedule because it signals to your body that it’s bedtime so your body get into the mood and starts the process of shutting down the system.

Eliminate electronics before one hour of bedtime because electronics emit blue light that prevents the production of melatonin which makes sleeping a lot harder than it should so by eliminating electronics one hour before bedtime you are allowing your body to get into the sleep state.

Another general tip you should follow is to exercise during the day, it doesn’t have to be every day. Exercise helps free your energy and releases the tension you may have for any reason. It will reduce the amount of stress you have so you can become more able to fall asleep.

Don’t eat heavy meals before bedtime, you want to promote rest and relaxation to your body and heavy meals alert your body that there’s work to be done and that is not good for your sleep, instead you can eat fruits or salad before bedtime so sleeping gets easier.

And of course, you should stay away from caffeine before bedtime because it makes you in an alert state and it flips everything into the reverse of sleeping, so if you want to sleep well you have to stay away from caffeine before sleeping and drink moderate amounts of it during the day.

The last tip I have for you is to make your sleep environment friendly and gentle to your skin and that is by investing in luxurious bed sheets that will help your skin rest, recover, and flourish while you are sleeping.

karim mohamed bedsisland.com

I am Karim, the founder of bedsisland.com. In the past, I suffered a lot from sleep and it caused me a lot of problems so I decided to get educated about it and share the knowledge I find with the world, and that is what’s Beds Island is all about.




My Life, My Story

Guest Post from Ellie, a blogger at My Life, My Story,  who shares her own personal opinions and experiences of living as a visually impaired woman who identifies as part of the LGBT community and who suffers from a mental health condition.

Hi folks, I’m Ellie, a lion maned, only just pushing 5′ Londoner who just so happens to have an
incurable genetic condition called Occulourcutanious Albinism type 2, OCA2 for short.

I also have the co-morbid conditions, poor depth perception (it’s always fun tripping up or downstairs or practically faceplanting the pavement when there’s a man-hole or other unseen objects just lying in wait, nystagmus (involuntary shaking of the eyes), photophobia (despite the misleading name this is not a medical fear of photos, it’s actually an acute sensitivity to bright and glaring lights), a strabism, a lazy eye for all us laymen out there and astigmatism (the eye is supposed to be the shape of a soccer ball but instead my eyes are shaped like a rugby/American football instead) thus it’s harder to focus on objects as clearly as people without astigmatism.

This condition means my body will never produce a normal amount of melanin. Melanin is the
lifeforce behind the colour of your eyes skin and hair. It also has a great impact on the
development of the retina … a light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye partly responsible for the transfer of visual information from the eye to the brain.

Because I lucked out in the genetic pool my hair is a pale blonde, but hey, the up-side of that is I
don’t have to spend thousands of pounds damaging my hair by bleaching or stripping out other
colours. My skin is a lovely shade of pale mild and my eyes are a light grey-blue.

Although the aesthetic of albinism may have some naturally occurring aspects that others may
wish for, the reality is far from fun. I’ll take the ability to tan over blonde hair any day. My lack of
naturally occurring pigmentation means I have at least a 10% higher chance of getting skin and/or eye melanomas. I don’t relish any day when there’s even a hint of the sun … thankfully they are few and far between in the UK … and I have to take a suncream bath.

The real kicker in the teeth though? My eyesight is awful. I’m registered visually impaired. There’s nothing that can ever be done to correct my vision. To give you some context as to how bad my sight is, I have to use voice over on my phone, I have to magnify the hell out of my computer and iPad screens, god I love the inbuilt accessibility features of modern technology. When standing on one side of a road I can’t even read a pretty big, clear road sign unless I’m so close it looks like I’m making out with the sign.

My sight condition is classed as an invisible disability. To the regular jo walking down the street, I don’t look disabled. This is both a blessing and a curse. There is a lot less awkward small talk or ableist comments wrapped in a pretty bow tie as people ask, in sometimes very strange ways if I need help.

On the other hand, I often fear that people will assume I’m lying when I say I can’t see very well. This is particularly frustrating when I’m travelling around London and need to let train staff know that telling me ‘I need to head over there’ is meaningless to me as I have no idea where ‘over there’ is.

Realistically I should use a white cane whenever I go out. In the past, my stubbornness has
prevented me from utilising this useful mobility aid more than I should. However, due to the
current pandemic, I have never left the house without my trusty cane in hand because I don’t
think the general public would appreciate me unwillingly ignoring the 2-meter social distancing
rules and I don’t think they would take too kindly to me bumping into them just at the same time as I sneeze, just for the record I have hayfever people, not COVID.

At the ripe old age of twenty-nine, I’ve had many experiences both good and bad because of my
sight condition. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change having a visual impairment because it’s
part of who I am and has shaped my life and allowed me to have many fun experiences and make friends with people I wouldn’t have if I was fully sighted. I would change the way able-bodied people interact with and help those who have any level of visual impairment or any disability for that matter.

I went to mainstream school from nursery to the time I finished my GCSEs. So, from the Age of
three to sixteen I was, to my knowledge, the only visually impaired student in my nursery, primary and secondary school. As a result, I mostly socialised with able-bodied peers.
Going through my formative years in a mainstream school environment was both good and bad.

It taught me that life, society and institutions from schools, hospitals, government etc try their best to help but aren’t equipped to be fully inclusive of the disabled community and that facing
challenges and overcoming new hurdles is what everyone regardless of ability or disability have to do.

However, going through mainstream education as the only VIP student took a toll on my mental
health and my engagement with learning. Having to face a whole host of challenges in accessing
even the most basic of learning resources and lack of support from the staff meant that I had little in the way of truly accessible support. I’m surprised that I managed to pass as many GCSEs as I did because by the end I was so disillusioned with the whole system.

For my sixth form years, I went to s specialist boarding school for kids with visual impairments. To say that I wish I had gone to school a lot sooner would be an understatement. The level of
individualised and person-centred learning resources was incredible. I got my first real taste of
what it’s like to not be singled out because of my sight. I became more engaged in learning again.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do so well in my A-levels because of the rapid onset of what would be the
start of a long term battle with mental illness.

Despite my decline in health and poor results, I was accepted to university to study Contemporary Performance and three years later I passed with a BA 2:1 honours degree. Going to uni is a scary enough time for many students. Going to uni as a disabled student is a whole other level of stress.

Luckily I wasn’t worried about living away from home because I’d done that for the past three
years so doing things like laundry making friends, being away from home, cooking all that was old hat to me.  Having to apply for disabled students financial aid and gaining handheld audio recording devices that would allow me to record lectures instead of having to take notes all whilst having to let my faculty and relevant staff know of my disability?

That was stressful. I think I must have been one of the lucky ones. Contemporary performance isn’t a heavy reading or writing-based courses such as history, English or psychology. When we did have lecture hall based classes, my lecturers where outstanding, always making sure I had access to clear easily readable large print, print outs of the slides, they never expected me to be able to read as much as other students but comment as much as possible on what I had read.

My disability was never the focus unless I decided that it was relevant. It was the experience I wished I’d had when I was at school. I felt like a regular student rather than a disabled student.
After finishing my first degree I was at a bit of a loss at what to do. Thus I found myself applying
for a learning disability nursing degree at a different uni.

Unfortunately, my sight was a massive hindrance. I had three placements in a clinical mental health unit, a residential home and a community nursing and social work team. Despite passing my first two placements and all my exams and essays and class-based work. It was decided that due to my sight I couldn’t continue into the second year because it would be unsafe for me to continue training and thus qualify as a nurse.  This knocked me for six. I was left reeling, upset, my mental health was severely affected, a future, career and vocation were tugged from under my feet because of my disability.

Somehow, like an ungainly cat, only just managing to land on its feet after a scary freefall, I
managed to get my first real job. I was a support worker in an independent living home for adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues. I wasn’t a nurse but this was the next best thing.

Paperwork was a bit of a bitch and dispensing meds was a real pain in the ass. Using simple yet
effective assistive devices such as magnifiers and my phone’s camera easily made those tasks
much more manageable.

Other than that there were no barriers whatsoever to me doing the best job that I could and for the time that I was there I settled in well, I got on well with both residents and colleagues and again my sight wasn’t a thing unless I decided I wanted it to be. After a year  and a half, the stress of the environment and the long hours started having a negative effect on my mental health so it was time for me to leave for the sake of my own well-being.

When I decided to move on I moved to a school. I was a lunch lady and part-time teaching
assistant in a specialist school for kids with learning disabilities. I loved the work, the kids, even
more so than when I was a support worker. I could see myself becoming a full-time TA at this
school and staying there long term.

I applied for a full-time position five times over my two-year stint at the school. Each time I was
told I hadn’t gotten the job because of lack of experience. The first couple of times I accepted this
as part and parcel of the process because I hadn’t been there long and I didn’t have that much
experience. After the fourth and fifth time? That was when I realised that my sight was once again standing in the way of me getting full-time work.

This was never actually the reason given for me being declined full-time work. However when
you’ve been dedicated to a particular workplace and done as much as possible to educate
yourself, spending money and investing time to earn qualifications relevant to the job whilst taking any opportunity to gain on the job experience? You soon grasp that indirect discrimination is a major part of the brick wall you’re banging your head against.

It was with a heavy heart that I shut the door on that chapter of my working life. However, all the kids and colleagues I worked with will have a special place in my heart. My next working venture was in a mainstream nursery. In terms of my working life? Those six months really did highlight how much sight impairments have a major role to play in other people’s perceptions of your capabilities to carry out a job.

Now, my logical brain isn’t complaining about the fact that child safeguarding is much more prominent and stringent compared to what it used to be. But the emotional and mental illness side of me? Well, it really didn’t get that logical message. I spent three months as an early years practitioner and the last three months as a nursery assistant. As a nursery assistant, I was basically a glorified, cleaner, restocker etc.

Once again my sight had pulled the wool over my eyes so to speak. The following year was spent
as a housekeeper in a nursing home for the elderly. That, was mundane work that I was doing
because I wanted to continue earning money. My sight wasn’t a major concern. There were times when my supervisor pointed out things that needed an extra going over because I’d missed it but 99% of the time my sight was a footnote barely worth examining in my working day.

After a year of hard work and another severe downturn in my mental health, I decided that yet
again my overall well-being was more important than a job that I wasn’t passionate about and
saw no career progression in.

My last shift at the care home was on August 31st 2019. I needed some time and space to get my
mental health back in order. So, the next three months saw me relaxing, whilst applying for a
couple of possible volunteer positions.

In September I applied to volunteer at the RNIB’s resource centre in the charities London based
headquarters. The RNIB is one of the UK’s leading charities for the blind and somewhere I never
thought I’d end up volunteering or potentially working, despite having a visual impairment since
birth.

I started volunteering in November of 2019. In the three months that I was there before the
pandemic and social distancing and isolation came into play in the UK, I settled in quicker than I had done in any other workspace. For the first time in my working life, I felt like I’d found home.

The working environment and colleagues make this role the happiest, most relaxed work
experience I’ve ever had. Since working at the RNIB I’ve learned so much and become so much
more passionate about equality. I get excited to wake up and go into work. I feel supported even
when there is a busy chaotic day ahead of us. I feel like a valued member of a knowledgeable,
caring, funny team.

Working in such a positive environment has really taught me that life is tough. We don’t always
have to have a plan, we won’t always see or expect what’s around the corner. But learning to
adapt because of stressful situations, whether that be in the form of being in a rut at work or
dealing with inaccessibility or well-meaning yet unhelpful people who treat you differently because of your disability, is showing the strength of your character and ability to metaphorically put one foot in front of the other.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and I hope you enjoyed.
If you’d like to check out my blog I post my own experiences and opinions as someone who is
part of the LGBTQ+ and disability community and thoughts and experiences of coping with a
mental illness, you can find me here.
You can also follow me on twitter: @EllieAOfficial
And Facebook: My life My story




Work Stress: The Silent Killer And The Self-Solution

Guest Post from Matthew Adams of MatthewAdams.com.  Matt Adams is a Work Stress and Work Anxiety Expert, Health-Hacker, Keynote Speaker, Stress Management Trainer and Consultant.

Work stress is one of the most debilitating mental health conditions in the modern world.

If you’ve ever dealt with work related stress, even for a short period, you know how it can disrupt not just your work, but also your overall health and personal life.

But is a large workload really the cause?

And more importantly, how can you overcome stress?

As a result of my own journey with work stress and work related anxiety, self-healing from it and successfully managing it to this day, I now look at all mental and physical conditions in much the same way.

I hold the belief first and foremost that:

Anything is curable if I’m committed enough. If I can’t cure it, I’m prepared to make as many changes as possible in my life to minimize the symptoms to a point where they’re almost nil. I’m in control with the choices and actions I take every day.

I believe that if you take this approach to any mental or physical condition you’re experiencing, you create hope. And hope is what keeps you moving forward, especially during the toughest moments of the condition.

Since 2002 when I first experienced work stress while managing two real estate offices and the life-altering work-anxiety related panic attack 3 years later I’ve had the literal feeling that “I could die at any second”, thousands of times.

It was this adversity that motivated me to heal myself, or get as close to a full healing as possible.

I devoured books on personal development and 4 months after the panic attack I came across the 22×11 technique which literally changed my life. I implemented it immediately and had instant results which you can read about on my website, MatthewAdams.com.

From there I went on to either find or create my own techniques that allowed me to shift the negative symptoms, sensations and feelings I was experiencing.

In my travels there’s a few things I’ve learned along the way, the first one being that everything relates back to childhood. And in most cases, back to conception, where you have your inherent genetics, personality and other ‘wiring’ encoded within every cell of your being.

After that, we’re all products of our childhood… our parents, our country and culture, our home environment, our schools, friends, family… absolutely everything plays a role in your make-up as an individual.

And there’s positives and negatives. It’s a double-edged sword.

Keeping the positives and eliminating or at least reducing the negatives is the goal. It’s the onion layer metaphor. Keep peeling back the layers.

My mindset is that after 18 when we’re officially adults, our goal should be to make self-development and self-healing a priority in order to life a full, rich life. Otherwise, we leave ourselves open to being victims of our upbringing.

Taking stress as an example, I’ve come to realise that I was predisposed to stress purely due to my personality type.

work stress

Causes And Healing From Stress (And Other Mental Health Issues)

As an ‘A Type’ personality, running on adrenalin in my quest to achieve was what caused stress symptoms to begin appearing. At the time, stress equalled ‘weakness’. So I kept pushing.

I kept pushing for 3 months until I finally crashed. And the panic attack 3 years later was my mind/body’s way of warning me not to go back into that world.

And only because the effect of the panic attack was so severe did I finally ‘get it’.

If I was to identify the most important factors in healing from any mental or physical health issues, it would be these 3 areas:

  1. Childhood – healing the emotional wounds/traumas from the past. Practising forgiveness, self-love (refer to Louise Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life”).
  2. Self-Awareness – noticing how/what/when triggers your symptoms. Knowing your personality type (refer to ‘Personality Plus’ by Florence Littauer)
  3. Mental and Physical Diet – literally, what are you feeding your mind (thoughts, words, images, movies) and your body (food and drinks). And of course physical exercise can go a long way to helping improve your mental and physical well-being. (refer to ‘Unlimited Power’ and ‘Awaken The Giant Within’ by Anthony Robbins)

Overcoming Stress

Overcoming stress could include changing your current job role, changing your work environment, finding a new job, or a new career. The solution in my experience will either be your own choice, or it will be forced upon you by external factors.

If you can identify the cause(s) yourself and make changes to eliminate or reduce stress you can save yourself a lot of pain and heartache. Take it from me!

The problem with stress of course is that it can’t be measured. Well, not quite.

Sure there’s symptoms of stress such as shallow breathing, heart palpitations, inability to concentrate and lowered libido, that could lead to the conclusion of stress being the cause. But there’s no ‘a+b+c’ equals ‘stress’.

Perhaps that’s why stress is known as the ‘silent killer’.

So what does all this add up to?

Well, it’s probably the reason that a higher proportion of heart attacks on a Monday morning, more than any other day of the week.

How To Manage Stress

How should you manage stress?

It depends on your work situation and environment.

Working at an office for example will certainly trigger greater stress than working at home, but you can still experience stress working from home too.

It depends on your physical workload as well as mental factors such as self-expectations and how you handle stressful situations.

I recommend starting with the common notion that ‘prevention is easier than cure’.

To prevent stress, I highly recommend starting an exercise program that involves the 3 types of exercise: Cardio, Strength Training (aka. Resistance Training) and Flexibility training.

Cardio will help build cardiovascular fitness (heart health), strength training builds muscle strength, increases bone density and benefits all organs in the body, and flexibility exercises such as Yoga will help the physical release of emotions trapped in the body.

And these 3 physical exercise types have IMMENSE mental health benefits too.

Prevention also includes doing daily affirmations like: ‘I forgive [insert name]’, ‘I forgive myself’, ‘I let go of the past’, ‘I release pain’, ‘I release guilt’, ‘I release anger’ (repeat for all ‘negative’ emotions).

I use affirmations daily as a form of Emotional Fitness.

And lastly, diet, diet, diet. The foods you eat and the drinks you consume are having an immediate AND long term effect on your thoughts, feelings and physical well-being.

Strip back your diet and build it from the ground up, starting with vegetables. In fact, I recommend anyone with mental or physical health issues go vegan for 2-4 weeks to see the effect it has (Disclaimer: Consult a medical professional before implementing any new diet or exercise program).

You’ll be amazed at what symptoms suddenly disappear when you change your diet and strip out dairy, grains, soy, processed sugars, saturated fats and alcohol.

If you’re dealing with stress right now, the above solutions can be equally effective for immediate healing as they can for preventing issues from arising.

I wish you all the best with your journey to self-healing, and if I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to ask me a question in the comment section below…

guest post matthew adams




Parenting with a Chronic Illness

Guest Post from Maly O’Grady of The Rheuma Mill, an inspiring single mother of 3 and rheumatoid arthritis warrior and patient advocate.  Read her story and tips on parenting with a chronic illness below.

Parenting is hard is it not? It is exhausting, challenging, stressful and frustrating. I could use the same words to describe chronic illness. If that’s the case, parenting with a chronic illness is double the exhaustion, double the challenge, double the stress and makes life twice as frustrating. UUURRRGGGHHHH!!!!

But let’s take it back a bit, what is a chronic illness? Chronic illness means that it is an illness you’re going to have for a while. You’re in it for the long haul. How long? Who knows? But we’re talking months or years if not decades. It’s a persistent condition where the symptoms just don’t go away.

There are many types of chronic illnesses and I’m going to relate to you just one of them: Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is the one I’m going with because this is the one I have.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is not only a chronic illness, it’s also an auto-immune disease. It’s a disease that causes your system to attack the lining of your joints (synovium) and when it does this, it causes inflammation to the synovium and that causes your joints to swell and limits movement.

It’s not the same arthritis that old people get because people as young as 4 can get rheumatoid arthritis and what I can tell you about RA is that it is absolutely debilitating. Let me put it into context for you: Before I was diagnosed, I was a healthy, fit and strong 38 year old woman. I engaged in MMA and Pole dancing 5 days a week and was competing in Jiu Jitsu competitions. I was a badass mama! Now that I have RA, I can’t even do a single squat or pushup. I can’t kneel or get up off the floor without looking like a turtle flipped on its back.

In fact, in the early stages of my RA, my own children had to lift me out of bed, help dress me and tie my shoelaces. Heck, my fingers were so messed up and swollen, I couldn’t even flick on the light switch! That’s how debilitating rheumatoid arthritis is.

parenting with a chronic illness

On top of having rheumatoid arthritis, I have 3 children aged 11, 12 and 14. They are hard work and I can honestly say that having pre-teens and teenagers absolutely sucks but that’s a story for another time. As challenging as having children that age can be, it’s a fun age because you can do lots of cool things together!

Oh wait, actually, I can’t because I am parenting with a chronic illness. When you are parenting with a chronic illness, you are limited as to what you can do and how long you can do it for. I mentioned before that I used to do jiu jitsu, well, my kids started doing jiu jitsu not long after my symptoms presented and it just killed me that I couldn’t participate with them and teach them what I knew. It really hurt and that’s just one of the things I can’t join in with.

I can’t take them to the trampoline park and jump with them, I can’t chase them, I can’t shoot hoops with them and I just can’t be out for too long because it is tiring. Fatigue is one of the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and it is just as debilitating as the swollen joints and for some RA sufferers, it’s the worst part. Imagine your body as a faulty battery that runs out of juice really fast and needing constant recharging because that is what it feels like. You can read more about my story here.

Parenting is a demanding job so what do you do if you haven’t got the energy to meet the demand? Does that make you a bad parent? Absolutely not, but it certainly makes you feel like a pretty crappy one. The guilt factor is enormous when you are parenting with a chronic illness because you focus on all the things that you can no longer do for your family.

The family dynamic also changes when you are parenting with a chronic illness because often, particularly in my case, there is a role reversal. The parent becomes the one needing care and assistance. It is really confronting and often leads to depression and self-isolation.

If you are parenting with chronic illness, here are some tips for you:

  • Be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can with what you have. You are enough.
  • Join a support group. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you can join The Rheuma Mill’s community here.
  • Communicate. This is a big one. Don’t feel ashamed to express how you feel and what you’re feeling if you need to. Write it down or say it aloud. Letting it out will lighten your burden. This is important for your children as well. Explain to them your situation or they will feel it has something to do with them.
  • Put yourself first. Don’t be a hero. If you need to rest, then rest. Listen to your body.

Parenting is not easy and parenting with a chronic illness is even tougher but the greatest thing that we can do for our children during this time is to be a good role model. We need to model for them what they need to do in adversity and that is to be positive and try their best because that is good enough.

 

maly ogrady the rheuma mill

Hello! I’m Maly. I’m 39, a single mother of 3, a full time special needs teacher and motorbike rider. I love to travel and can proudly say that I have ticked off every item on my bucket list! Now I can add rheumatoid arthritis warrior to my list.