My Story – a little bit Bipolar

MY STORY

Health care professional can suffer from mental illnesses too, and I stand proud to announce that I am one of them.

Don’t ever be afraid to share your story!

Where do I even begin?

In my teens, I was treated as an outcast; I was bullied and made to feel small and unimportant. The kids judged me before they even took the time to get to know me.  They said and did hurtful things that still sting to this day. Shouting crude comments, teasing, taunting, harassing, pointing, whispering, eye-rolling, laughing, criticizing, or they left me in silence with no one to turn to, no one to talk to. I was easily rejected because people didn’t want to associate with me. When I did make friends, they weren’t the type of friends that you wanted. They were the type to subject you to the world of drugs and alcohol.

Life became risky, and I became rebellious. I gave little avail to how I was hindering my life and future.
I didn’t care because for once, I was finally feeling something besides hopelessness, fear, and sadness.

FORTUNETALY, a light bulb went off in my brain towards the ending of high school and I made it a goal to at least obtain my High School Diploma.

It was those younger days, when I felt what actual depression felt like. It was sometimes an internal battle of wanting to stay alive and wanting to end all the suffering.

Once high school was over, I entered into a state of equilibrium and it has only been disrupted if triggered by specific incidents, such as a breakup, death, failed friendship, major life change, etc. This state of equilibrium only lasted for a few years, and then as I entered my young adult life, I suffered from constant low-grade depression, with the occasional relapse into Major Depression.

In nursing school, I suffered from debilitating panic attacks. There was nothing worse than feeling like the world was closing in on you; my hands would begin to tremble; my heart would begin to race. My heart would beat so strongly that I was certain that it was going to explode or just stop from extreme exhaustion. My breathing would quicken and my hands would begin to tingle. I would feel like I was breathing but yet no air was getting into my lungs. the lump in my throat made it difficult to swallow. I was more afraid of having another panic attack then of death itself.

Once nursing school finished, so did the panic attacks…. Go figure! Actually, I think they ended up transitioning into generalized anxiety and eventually I was diagnosed with this disorder. At the height of my anxiety driven moments, I remember feeling constantly on-edge, irritable, and constantly worrying about every thought that came into my head. I would make big deals out of minuet things, things the average person would shrug their shoulders too and forget about in the next second.  Everything seemed like a BIG DEAL. And god forbid something ever had to change in my daily routine. It felt like it was the end of the world in most cases. I was fixated on an unfixable schedule. My anxiety ended up getting so bad that it prevented me from attending social gatherings, or even hanging out with friends for that matter. The very thought of having to go to a social event made me want to vomit.

My moods kept cycling between anxiety and depression, but eventually I had enough and decided to reach out for help. I had hit my absolute lowest point in depression and knew I needed help. Lying on the couch, not eating or showering for weeks was a sure sign I was giving up. I needed help!

I pulled myself into my doctor’s office, she knew right away what the problem was when I opened my mouth to speak and all that would come out was a flood of tears.

I was immediately started on an antidepressant, referred to psychiatry, and put on a medical leave of absence for work (which lasted a month and a half).

Something very interesting happened when I was put on the antidepressant, I became activated.

My mood drastically improved. I had an abundance of energy, but my anxiety had returned with vengeance. This was the start of my journey with Bipolar Type 2.

It all started to finally make sense.

My overdriven capacity for change, flood of ideas and tasks, over indulged and hyper focus on new projects, irritability, impulsivity, and the late nights and early mornings. I would get lost in my own thinking. When I had an idea, it had to be done NOW. The lack of impulse control led to purchasing cosmetic procedures and spa treatments, a whole whack of pink stuff, my dog, my vehicle, way too many dresses and books, and a bedroom makeover. I am sure there are more examples, but I think you get the point.

I was started on anti-psychotics, which only made me feel like a zombie.

I do admit, the medications did help to stabilize my mood. I stayed in a neutral state, but I was determined to do it on my own, without chemical medications.

Now please note, I am not discouraging medications by any means. There are many people that require to be on medication for a lifetime and that is perfectly okay. You have to do what is right for YOUR BODY and BRAIN. Before deciding to go off your medication, please consult your doctor first. And NEVER go off of them without tapering the dosage down. Stopping psych-medications abruptly can (and almost always does) result in NASTY side effect, commonly known as withdrawal effects. [Trust me, I learnt the hard way, don’t make the same mistake I did]

My decision to stop taking chemical medication led me to embark on a holistic journey to overcome my own mental health challenges a natural way.

I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU SOME TIPS I HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY THAT I HAVE USED TO MANAGE MY ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.

  • Educate yourself (about your disorder)
  • Eat a healthy, Well Balanced Diet
  • Get active, get fit
  • Get enough sleep
  • Natural Remedies
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Pick up a hobby
  • Lean on your Support Network
  • Establish a Daily routine
  • Indulge in Self-Help Books
  • Clear your mind with Journaling
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy, self-guided
  • Consider a Coach or Counselor
  • When in a crisis, seek professional help (ie. doctor or psychiatrist).
  • And so much more.

Having gone through what I went through with my mental health and having to navigate the health care system by myself, was exhausting, if not frustrating, to say the least. It was a lot of trial and error to figure out what worked and what didn’t. I am not going to say it will be easy for you either, but with the help of a coach (like myself), they can direct you and go through the process with you.

You are not alone.

I can now say, without a doubt, that I am feeling my absolute best. I feel healthy, both mind and body. I feel mentally strong, and empowered by my own self-determination.  I feel calm, content, and happy. I feel like I can accomplish any obstacle that comes my way. I have learned to become more aware of myself so I can recognize when “warning” signs or triggers are present. I am able to prevent a relapse from taking hold. I have discovered more about myself and what my body and mind need to stay in a state of equilibrium. I have learned to love myself whole heartedly.

And I learned all this through self-discovery.

I smile again.

And so can you!

~ Rachel Page

Staying Organized Through the Chaos

It is hard to believe that it has almost been 2 month since the last time I sat down and took the time to blog something.

I am sorry.

As a Wellness Coach and Mental Health advocate, it is my job to be consistent.

And I am sorry I have failed to deliver consistent content but I am not sorry for the fact that these last two months were focused on improving myself.

With that said, It is all about finding a balance…. something I suck at.

It is difficult to find a harmonious balance when you are trying to juggle work, personal obligations, relationships, school, starting your own business and your own mental health wellness.

Lately I have been in a state of equilibrium. Mainly, just going with the flow of life.

I am happy, content, and in-love….. with myself.

What have I been doing to manage my life? (besides blogging)

Goals list

A list of overall goals has helped keep my life organized. My current goals focus on:
work, school, starting a business, my mental wellness and relationships.

Daily task list

A list of daily tasks and obligations keeps me focused. A typical day may look like:
Gym, Study, Rest, Social Media, Blog, Rest, Self-discovery, Rest. (Rest periods are typically 15 to 30 mins in length, and sometimes I have to throw in annoying personal obligations (obviously) into the mix, like laundry and groceries). I use Google Keeps for creating Goal and task lists.

Prioritize the day

What is the most important thing(s) that needs to be done now?
What can wait? What can be delegated?
Sometimes things come up that may need to be prioritized into your day, like a family member or animal falling ill, or a friend needing someone to talk to. The most valuable piece of advice that I can give you is LEARN TO BECOME FLEXIBLE WITH CHANGE.

Establish a routine and schedule

Having a routine is an essential part of my mental physique.  It keeps me calm, enhances my focus, decreases my anxiety, and keeps me consistent. A routine is a sequence of actions that flow regularly. My daily routine typically looks like: Wake up by 8am, Post to social media, eat breakfast by 8:30-9am, hit the gym by 10am, shower, lunch by 1pm, study or read (to enhance my knowledge) for 2 to 4 hours (sometimes longer). dinner by 6pm, evening self-care (personal leisure reading, painting, journaling, hang out with friends), bed by 10pm (always). 

Self-Care

Self Care seems to be a growing trend that coaches are really emphasizing the importance of these days, why? Because it keeps you mentally fit. Self care doesn’t always need to mean extravagant things like pampering yourself with $200 spa days. It simply means to take time out of your day to focus on your personal needs, which can mean anything from personal hygiene, eating a nutritious meal, exercising, engaging in self’discovery journaling, to spending time with loved ones.

 

Most importantly, Keep life simple.

Stop over complicating it.

How do you organize your life? How do you keep consistent? Comment below

Rachel Page

 

My Mental Wellness 101

Exercise for mental wellness and stability is a no brainer. Exercise makes you feel great, body and mind. Your brain releases the chemicals known as endorphins and serotonin when you exercise, the ‘feel good’ chemicals.

In today’s society, people eat ‘garbage’. Unhealthy fats, sugar, and processed foods is what is contributing to a lot of the diseases you see these days.

A well balanced nutritional diet helps to ensure that your body and brain get the essential nutrients it needs to function at an optimal level. Majority, if not all, of your meals should be prepared using whole foods. Focus on the outside of the super market, the fresh fruits and vegetables with a low glycemic index. Stay away from processed frozen foods or buy organic. NO white starch, or simple sugars. Think whole wheat or grain.

Still, despite are attempts to maintain a balanced diet, it is sometimes difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals we need. This is why I take a multivitamin. I also recently integrated a vitamin B complex, fish oil, GABA and L-theanine into my daily regimen to help enhance my mood, focus and promote calmness. These natural drugs have so many additional benefits, but I dont have enough room to mention them all here.

Meditation and mindfulness…. it really is an art. Two techniques I am still learning, but have already proved to create mental calmness and focus in my life.
Cuddles with my furbabies are always a daily ritual for me. Their affection is an instant pick-me-up…
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Follow my Social Media sites for more material related to mental health:

Blog: divineminds.ca
FB Page: /divineminds1
IG: mind_over_mood
Pinterest: /divineminds1

Ways to Get Through Failure

Failure doesn’t mean that you have been defeated. It just means that particle course of action wasn’t meant to happen for you. When something doesn’t go the way that you want, learn from it. Reflect. Reflecting on it allows you to grow in strength. It simply gives you the means to either try again, taking a different approach, or it shows you what you don’t, in fact, want. It means that there is another, and a better, opportunity out there waiting to be discovered by you. .
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Follow my Social Media sites for more material related to mental health:

Blog: divineminds.ca

FB Page: /divineminds1
IG: mind_over_mood

Pinterest: /divineminds1

Simplify Your Life

Your life will be less stressful if you live a simple life. Living simple means creating a life that is organized and follows a routine. You creates your own values and beliefs or adopt them from past generations. It empathizes continuity, but remains flexible in times of change. Life is forever change, it is when you don’t allow change to evolve naturally, you feel the constraints and pressures of life. Roll with it, embrace it. A simple life is a happy life.

Control your thoughts, Control your mood.

Moods.

We seem to have so many of them.

At any given moment, our mood can be so easily manipulated by our thoughts.

Happy one moment, raging with anger the next. All because that guy cut us off on the highway. That single moment in time can drastically change our mood, from positive to negative. Cyclic negative thoughts devour our conscious mind. It can be like an endless battle for those that have difficulty getting a grip on their thoughts. Remember, your thoughts impact your mood.

How can we gain back our control?

The truth is, you were always in control.

Relfecting on your thoughts will help you to become more aware of how your thoughts influence your mood. By implementing some techniques [that I will discuss in a moment], you can learn to have better control, which will help you become ‘less’ reactive to your negative thoughts.

Acknowledge your thoughts for exactly what they are… just thoughts. They are thoughts with no action. You create the action, or perhaps you choose to take no action. Nevertheless, the choice is yours.

A few techniques that have been helpful for me:

1) Thought record

Keeping a thought record helps you to identify a trend in negative thoughts and feelings. It helps you to become more self-aware, which in turn allows you more control over how you respond to your thoughts. Ultimately you have the power. You can choose to hold on to a thought or you can disregard it. If it is causing you distress, it may be better to let it go, for now. If it is something that is worth a second look, you can always revisit it at later when your mind is more calm and clear. But before you do, ask yourself, is it really worth it?

2) Thought Challenging

Challenging your thoughts allow you to see things in more than one perspective. Ask yourself:

Is it really worth it? Will it matter tomorrow, a week, a month or a year from now? Could the opposite be true? What evidence do I have to support this thought or assumption? What level of importance does it really hold? Is it something that is needed or wanted? What advice would I give to a friend in a similar situation? Does a decision need to be made right this second, or can I give it a few days?

Take a step back and re-evaluate your situation from a different perspective. Chances are nothing is really as urgent or significant as what our minds make us believe.

3) Distraction

Sometimes all we want to do is completely forget about whatever is probing at our brains. Although at times it seems impossible, we do have the option to let it go (even if for only the time being). If it’s a feeling you just can’t shake, or if it’s causing you a lot of distress, let it go for now and distract yourself with something else. Find pleasure in activities that bring you joy. For me, hiking along the Bruce Trails, Manicures, painting, cuddling with my furbabies, journaling, going to the gym, and reading go a long way. During the process of distracting yourself, you may even come to realize that it wasn’t as big of a deal as you first thought it was. Distraction allows you to take a step back, and revisit it when you are more calm, and your thinking is more logical and rational.

4) Support

There are multiple ways to access support. Whether it be from a friend or family member, or a professional, there is always help available.

Take advantage of the World Wide Web, the internet. This valuable tool has made access to Mental Health Support easier to access. We have education and support at our fingertips. A quick google search will reveal support services available on the internet (for example, E-couselling), or services close to you in your area.

You can also checkout the list of Helplines, and Mental Health Services under the Mental Health Resources Tab. I will continue to locate and add more resources as they become known and available.

5) Self-Help Books

Self-help books make my world go round. What works for some people may not work for all. Some people prefer a more traditional one-on-one counseling approach as opposed to self-guided lessons. Find out what works for you and do that.

A few of my favorites are Mind Over Mood, Retrain Your Brain (CBT in 7 weeks), Feeling Good (The new mood therapy), You are Badass, Unf*ck yourself, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and The Secret (Law of Attraction).

6) Apps

The world seems to be going fully digital in this Era, so I encourage everyone to utilize the online resources we have available to us. Cellphone Applications are numerous, and can be of great value. Think of it as 24/7 support, available 7 days a week, including holidays.

A few of my favorites are Dailyo, eMoods, Pacifica, Talk Life, Feartools, Moodtools, What’s up, BetterHelp, Calm and HeadSpace.

For more of my favorite applications, check under the Mental Health Resources Tab.

Are there any additional techniques that work for you? Any that you have tried and didnt work? I would love to hear from you. Drop a comment.

Follow my Social Media sites for more material related to mental health:

Blog: divineminds.ca
FB Page: /divineminds1
IG: @_divineminds
Pinterest: /divineminds1

You CAN; You WILL

The moment you limit yourself to your true potential, you lose out on all those opportunities that were possible.

There may be obstacles standing in your way, but it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed or achieve what your heart desires.

People do the impossible everyday. What separates them from the rest is the power of their minds. They believe they can so they do. Can’t, should, would, try, could, or I’m going to are not in their vocabulary. I WILL is what circulates in their consciousness. They plan and they do.

You Can and You Will.