Mental Physique

Physical Health is just as important as Mental Health. You can’t have one without the other. In order to achieve an optimal level of health, these two factor must be working together in unison.

A major difference between my current lifestyle and where I was a year ago is the negative changes I am seeing in my diet and excerise. My routine went completely out the window when Major Depression started to creep into my life. *sigh*

I have been a bit hard on myself lately as the medication caused some unwanted weight gain. . I expected it to happen, and tried to prepare as much (mentally) as I could before the few pounds creeped in. I gained about 8 to 10 lbs. This may not seem like ‘a lot’ but it means a lot to someone who has struggled with a negative body imagine perception her entire life. I wouldn’t say I suffered from an eating disorder, rather weight gain or being over 120lbs would trigger the Major Depression. (There are multiple triggers for my depression, this is just one).

At my heaviest, I was about 135-140lbs (about 3 years ago). I ended up investing in a personal trainer – best decision I ever made. My confidence level went from 3/10 to an 8/10. I felt great both physically and mentally. Then, unfortunately, depression came rolling back in about a year ago, with Major Depression settling in 4 months ago and lasted for almost 3 months.

I noticed lately, despite feeling great, I have been struggling with getting back into my diet and fitness regime. The key culprit hindering my ability to succeed was a lack of a concrete plan and a routine.

A Plan really boosts productivity by taking the guess work out of what you will be eating and working on each day. Less of a hassle – so to speak. The other key components is consistentcy, and motivating yourself to do it. You are your best motivator. Just get up and do it. Eventually your routine will become habit, and will become a natural, effortless part of your life.

Here is my routine:

I will resume my workouts as before (with an emphasis of shredding fat, then I’ll gain muscle after summer).

•Workout 3 to 4 times per week.
•Rotating Upper and Lower Body + abs.
•4×20 with each exercise.

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Sharing Stories

It wasn’t until I relapsed with Major Depression, and experienced the troubles and triumphs, that I wanted to reach out to the world and share my story.

I hoped by doing so, I would be able to help others and provide some level of hope.

My story began. . .

Some people thought it was a wonderful idea, while others were a bit hesitant as they thought it would have negativity consequences on my career. Although, I was never really worried about that as depression is as common (if not more) as hypertension these days, it is just less talked about. I was more worried about what people would think, and the assumptions that would transpire. My personal stories that I blog about are open, honest, raw, and vulnerable.

I think my deepest anxiety came from my negative assumptions my coworkers would have, but that anxiety was quickly neutralized with their abundance of support. Many of my coworkers were quick to open up to me about their own personal stories regarding their struggles with mental illnesses. It only validated how common mental illnesses are, and how uneasy people still feel to talk about it.

I am showing people it is OKAY to talk about it. It is okay to be taking medication. It is okay to see a therapist.

I am still the same person I was before anyone knew I was diagnosed with Major Depression. By the way, I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and ADHD. . And Joe Blow over there has hypertensive, high cholesterol, and diabetes (and no body thinks any different about him).

I honestly didn’t know the type of response I would, I was nervous and at times psyched myself out preparing for the worst. . .

My negative thoughts were quckily prooved wrong with an out-pouring of support from friends, family, coworkers, and from people all over the world. People started sharing their stories with me, some people turned to be for guidance and support. The next thing I knew I started creating social media platforms to provide my growing amount of followers a space where people could turn to for support.

This is still the beginning.

I only began this journey 2 months ago.
I am so excited for everyone to continue on this journey with me. ♡

The Inattentive Mind

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Time has escaped me. Nearly two weeks since my last published blog entry. I sit here and momentarily mediate to the sound of instrumental music while I gather my thoughts. My thoughts have been scattered lately, trying to organize them has been my deepest trouble. I try to sit down to compose a creative, informational, and purposeful blog entry, but my mind goes blank then is flooded by different thoughts of where to begin. I get overwhelmed, I get nowhere.  Minutes will pass and my frustration will begin to build, why do I struggle with this?

That golden question sent me on a journey to discover an answer.  Why do I continuously struggle with disorganized thoughts? Why am I often plagued by an endless amount of thoughts that I seem to have little control over? Why do continuous thoughts hinder my ability to sleep? Why I am so easily distracted?  Why do the simplest of sound of airplanes, chewing, or a buzzing sound bother me so much? A pin dropping on the floor could easily annoy me. Why do I get so easily irritated? Why can’t I focus? Why do I make impulsive decisions, or act without reason? Why do I seem to hyper focus on thoughts or task but never really seem to get anywhere? Why do I always take things so personal or out of context? Why do I have such a difficult time regulating my emotions and moods? Why does the smallest concerns turn me up side down, and eat away at me? Why do I have such a hard time making or sustaining friends? Why am I always so anxious? Why do I suffer from depression?

Could I be going crazy, or could it be Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)?

The answer is yes, to ADHD.

I was diagnosed with ADHD (multiple times) when I was a child and as an adult but never received medical treatment. As the years went by, it was forgotten about.  As a child I was also ‘diagnosed’ with the learning disability “auditory processing disorder, and as an adult (in university) it was changed to “auditory processing – short-term memory – disorder”.

My parents chose to not medically treat my disorder out of fear, and a lack of available education and research. They saw energetic and bright children turn dull. They saw children who were were once sociable turn isolated and withdrawn. They learned about all the risks of medication, and found it impossible to see the benefit. Research and education about the medication Ritalin was minimal when I was a child. Ritalin, at the time, was the first (and only) line of treatment for ADHD. It was meant for hyperactive children, and I only suffered from mild hyperactivity. My problems were with inattention, and distraction. When I was a child, ADHD was predominantly a male disorder; it was “rare” for females to be diagnosed with it.  It was thought that the ratio between boys and girls was 10:1. Girls went massively under diagnosed in their childhood, struggled throughout their lives, and if they were lucky, were diagnosed in adulthood. Fast forward to 2018, it is now almost as common in males as females with a 2:1 to a 3:1 ratio. Research has showed us that females tend to struggle with inattention, distraction, and emotional dysregulation, whereas males struggle more with hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

During my school years (Elementary to University), I had what was called an “Individual Education Plan” or an IEP. This was a plan, developed by the school in collaboration with my parents or me, which focused on my strengths and had strategies to optimize my success in learning by managing my ADHD and learning disability.   The common theme in all of the IEP’s was the strategies for managing ‘inattention and distraction’.  I was able to complete majority of in-class projects, or tests in a quiet room (free from distraction), with extra time to complete them in. I was always seated in the front row of the class, right in front of the teacher’s desk. I had access to learning materials and/or devices to help me with assignments or tests, such as a computer, speech-to-text software, a dictionary or calculator, tape recorder, or ear plugs. I have to say, my school and my parents really tried everything in their power to see that I succeeded. At home, my parents really focused on natural remedies for trying to manage my ADHD, through a  structured lifestyle, and diet and exercise.

Unfortunately, it was not enough. Despite all the changes in diet and structure, and things I had access too, I still continued to struggle. My parents were told by my middle school teacher that I would only ever be an ‘average’ student. The psychiatrist that re-diagnosed my ADHD and learning disability in University said that I should reconsider my decision of pursuing a career in Nursing as I would gravely struggle with it.

I didn’t listen to either of them. Regardless of the diagnosis that has been given to me, when I want something bad enough, I will do whatever it takes to achieve it. I have always been hyper focused on goals, which has worked to my advantage in succeeding my highest potential and accomplishing my goals.  I did struggle immensely (to the point of severe, almost daily, panic attacks), but I didn’t let it stop me. I had to keep finding and adapting ways to work with my mental health disorders. I had, and continue to have, an incredible support group that supported me and empowered me to keep going when I was struggling through the hardest of times.

BUT I did it. I graduated Nursing School (without having to repeat any courses), and obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. My greatest accomplishment thus far.

I do have to be honest with something though, as an adult,  I have found it more difficult to manage and cope with my disorders.  I tried for many years to self-treat, but eventually those strategies started to wear down, and I started to run out of options. I started to adopt maladaptive coping techniques, which is probably why I developed Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and relapsed with Major Depression, both of which happened recently. I will write a detailed blog about that journey, and how I finally was able cope and manage, another time. I am in a much better place now.

I now wonder if my ADHD contributed to the development to my Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depression, or are they separate disorders unrelated to each other. So far, I have read that it is common to be diagnosed with both anxiety and depression, and ADHD. Only a trained professional, a physician or psychiatrist, would be able to decipher if depression and anxiety is secondary to (or caused by) adhd, with a comprehensive physical and mental health assessment, and often trial and error of medication.

I wish I could offer some additional information about ADHD and some personal experiences as to how I successfully managed it, but I am still learning about it myself. Currently I remain untreated, but I will discuss a treatment plan with my doctor at my next follow-up.

Below I have attached pictures with some useful tips on how to ‘naturally cope with ADHD.

I have also included questionnaires that assess for ADHD, as well as Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. They are not to be used as a self-diagnostic tool, however If you answer “Yes” or “More than half the days” or “Nearly every day” for a lot of the questions, please consider seeking professional help from your doctor.

If you have any questions or mental health concerns please feel free to contact me through email, or through Facebook or Instagram.

My Facebook Profile is www.facebook.com/rachelpage

My Facebook Page is www.facebook.com/rachelpageblog

My Instagram is www.instagram.com/rachelpageblog