9 Ideas for Emotional Self Care | Self care Series

Chronic Illnesses, Invisible illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Physical Illnesses, Well-being

What is Self care and Why is it Important? 

Self care is gender neutral and is the process of taking care of our physical, emotional and mental health.  It is important to you look after yourself to be more productive, improve your self-esteem, increase self-knowledge and being more compassionate to others.  By knowing your self-worth you will be giving off positive vibes and make you seem more attractive. Although useful sensory self-care is useful it does not necessarily address your emotions but dealing with your emotions can make you less stressed for longer.

If you are sitting there thinking self-care is selfish, well I have found valuing myself more has allowed me to give more and have stronger relationships with others.  It is easy to forget that emotions are not always good or bad, they are responses to situations that you control.  It can be easy to mask these emotions by using self-destructing mechanisms like alcohol, overeating and drugs but they are only temporary solutions.This post will a part of a 3 part series to help you with self-care ideas in loving memory of Nathan Robson. Nathan sadly lost his battle to depression aged 20 on 19/04/2018.


Emotional Self-care Ideas

  1. Keep a daily diary

Take time out of your day to record how you are genuinely feeling which can help identify the triggers of your moods and what makes you feel happier. If you are worried someone might get hold of your deeper inner thoughts put the diary in a safe place with a padlock on it the old school way or keep it password protected on your laptop. A daily diary can also help you see how far you’ve come, especially if you are working with a therapist to find the route of your problems. If you don’t know where to start try use these pointers and make your own list.

Think if you I loved myself what would I…

  • Do more of?
  • Do less of?
  • Who would I spend time with?
  • What inspires me?
  • What hobbies make me happier and how will I make time for them?
  • What goals do I want to achieve?
  • Which boundarieswill I set?
  • What actions can I take now?

diary.jpg


2. Seek Professional Support

If you don’t have anyone who you are close with seeking professional support could be a good route for you. Typically you can get up to 6 free counselling sessions through your University well being centre or the mental health charity Mind (U.K).  These free sessions tend to deal with one  problem you are facing due to the session limits.

However, you maybe entitled to free counselling in your local area through your GP about cognitive behaviour therapy, which helps retrain your way of thinking and may be more beneficial if you require longer sessions.  If you feel talking to a stranger is not for you an alternative may be discussing going on anti-depressants. However,  these take usually around 6 weeks to be effective and lose their effectiveness when combined with alcohol.


3. Practice a Healthier Diet

Food is important to fuel our day and affects our energy levels – Did you know certain foods can help induce you into sleeping or make you sleep longer? Getting enough sleep is important for the self-care triple bottom line. If you have trouble sleeping why not try one of these foods just before bed;

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Lettuce
  • Turkey
  • Tuna or other fatty fishes
  • Ice cream
  • Milk
  • Kiwi
  • White rice

Food also impacts our moods, taking multi-vitamins will give you an extra little boost or treat yourself by indulging if your favourite desert. If you find you have little self-controland are treating yourself to often why not try replacing sugary or fatty foods with healthier snacks or drinks. Lentil crisps are packed with flavour and low in calories, smoothies, herbal tea, yogurts or egg salads.

fruits


 4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

I know comparing yourself to others is so hard, when you see beautiful people floating around Instagram and many people’s lives seem so much better. However, you are your worse own critic, deactivating social media for a while might help you to start focus on yourself.

Focus on your strengths and develop your weaknesses 

One way to identify your strengths and weaknesses is by downloading an online skill matrix.


5. Avoid Withdrawal

Most times I considered killing myself has to be to do with being alone for long periods of time and overthinking. Withdrawing from people or your surroundings are the easiest way to enter a downward spiral. Even if you don’t think being around other people is helpful to keep sight of reality subconsciously.  Avoiding withdrawal is always my biggest challenge with self care because when I feel sad I don’t want to inflict my mood onto others or socialise with them.  You may feel you have pushed most or all your friends away but you can work to overcoming withdrawal by;

  • Attend local support meetups
  • Volunteer in a charity
  • Take a random trip
  • Call a helpline
  • Buy or borrow a dog and take it for walkies
  • Reach out to old friends

6. Reminisce on old Memories

Look back at past photos and videos can really give you the feel good factor and remind you of what makes you happy. If you have time and need a hobby making these into a scrap book with quotes with lovely photos can be really fun. If you don’t have time to do this why not make albums when you upload pictures to Facebook so they are easy to find later.

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7.Let yourself Cry

No matter if you’re a man or woman letting yourself is not weak. Crying can help you let go of situations and doesn’t have to be in front of everyone else.


8.Talk to Someone

Therapy is not for everyone and sometimes talking to a stranger is helpful to get an unbiased view even if you’re on a night out. If you feel you are only temporary down a helpline can really help have someone who listen to you. However, be aware Samaritans don’t tend to give advice but just give a helpful ear.


9.Plaster on a Facemask

Buying a Facemask makes you feel good when you put it on a good one can help with your skin. I find putting on a facemask triggers a positive mood and helps me relax. My favourite ones are from LUSH which cost around £7.50. You can buy fresh ones or ones that last a little longer.  If you have sensitive skin you may want to look in the Body Shop instead as there are a small about of parabens in LUSH products.The most important thing with emotional self-care, or any self-care routine in fact is you do it consistently.

Unfortunately Nathan’s mental health deterioratedonce his therapist went on leave and there was no one to replace her.


Sharing is Caring 

Please share the love to help as many people with tips for emotional self-care. Thank you.


Have your Say

Are there any emotional self-care ideas that help you – if so why not share them below?


Related Posts

Behind the Brave Face | 7 Secret Signs of Depression

Slaying the Double Depression


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Anxiety and Depression: Adam Hughes

Guest Posts, Invisble Illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Peeping through the Keyhole, Uncategorized

Peeping through the Keyhole 

Hello Lovelies,

Today’s guest post  is by Adam Hughes who gives a brief insight and advice to those living or supporting someone with anxiety and depression.

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About the Author 

Hi, I am Adam I am 24 years old living in London. I love reading, Audio books, writing and going on long walks. To find out more about Adam click here


What are the main symptoms you suffer from?

Depressive moods

Mood swings

Lack on concentration


How was your journey to diagnosis of depression?

It took years to be able to speak to a doctor and when I did it felt a lot better, like I wasn’t battling on my own anymore.


What 5 things you have learnt about Depression and Anxiety since being diagnosed?

I am not alone

It can take over many aspects of life

It can affect others as well as yourself

Love is always a great component of healing

Strength can be found in the smallest things


In what way has the NHS supported you?

Giving me a ear to listen to my troubles through counselling


What do you find is the most challenging part about your mental health?

I find building up a happy lifestyle and keeping up with others difficult.


What emotional support do you have for your mental health?

I have many wonderful and kind friends who are always supportive


 What are 3 ways you manage your mental health on a day-to day basis?

Meditation

Walking

Relax remedy spray


What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed with Depression or Anxiety?

Keep on fighting even if it feels like everything is ending


Has any perceptions changed since you’ve been diagnosed with Depression and anxiety?

I have found society perceptions on mental health has improved by being challenged.


Have you gain any new hobbies since been diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety?

A love of writing again


How has depression changed your life?

My illness took some of the most important things from me last year (2017) and it almost ruined my entire life


What information do you wish you was given when you was initially diagnosed? Counselling leaflets and advice


 What do you do for a living?

Freelance Teacher/Performer


What are your future plans in the next year?

Building up a successful teaching career

 

5 Ways to have a Productive Day with a Chronic Illness

Chronic Illnesses, Invisble Illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Physical Illnesses, University life

“Having a productive day is very subjective; what is productive for one person is not for another”.

Some days, I find waking up, washing and eating productive. Others assess,  I am being productive when I  do University work.  What I have noticed though – is we all have tasks that need to be completed and this can send us into panic mode. The vicious cycle, of where to start and where to finish has a ripple effect – like a child who got denied candy at the fun fair.

 If you are someone sat there reading this with a chronic illness, I am sure you have an inkling of the cycle I am talking about. If you don’t well… I sit here, in envy.   What I am going to call the ‘ torrential storm cycle’ makes you question which direction to go in first.   Anxiety and stress are no strangers, crawling around your body, taking its toll , physically and mentally.  This post is designed to stop you in your tracks, so you aren’t continuously interrogating yourself about ability and self-worth.

“I spend 90% of my time in bed, but a chronic illness does not mean accomplishing your goals are not possible”.

Achieving those goals may just take comprise, planning and longer than you anticipated.


5 Ways to have a Productive Day with a Chronic Illness

1. Evaluate tasks ft. the spoon theory

If you haven’t heard of Christine Miserandino’s Spoon theory , it is a great place to start to help you have a productive day.  The theory in a nutshell, is that anyone who is chronically ill has 12 spoons each day (each one resembling energy) and spoons are exchanged for tasks.  The amount of spoons exchanged will depend on factors such as the length of the task and how strenuous. The point here, is spoon must be used wisely so you don’t burn out. By ordering tasks by importance you can identify what needs to be done on what day and start to put a plan in motion.

spoon-theory-e1510325926400.jpg

 In reality, you may find executing a plan is not always possible. However, the spoon theory gives you a general consensus of how much you can get done in a day.

You may find – once you start having a productive day you are at the opposite end of the spectrum. At Uni, I get told a theory is just that a theory. I am taught to challenge theorists view. So it may not be a surprise to hear I wasn’t a firm believer of the Spoon theory at first.  I was so productive one day I felt on top of the world. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had completed an exam, handed in an assignment, found a job, booked a flight, travelled home from Uni and packed for a holiday and cuddled my little bunny.

Shortly, after this semester came to a close – I realised I used the reserve of spoons for months. I had to fly home 3 weeks early from working abroad, quit the job I found and was  behind in every subject at Uni. Barely, attending lectures and hospital appointments.  What I am trying to emphasise, is pushing yourself one day really can have a detrimental effect on your health.

“You need to work out what is realistic to get done in a day for YOU”.

 Which takes me to by next point…


 2. Break down tasks

 Breaking down tasks makes things more manageable.  Something,  I am training myself in like a disobedient dog. I am one of those people who seeks to think holistically to even do a task.  However, breaking down tasks can relieve stress, because you know you are achieving something – which has got to be better than nothing, right?

goal

I have found people have been more understanding about my illness when they can see that I am trying rather than wallowing in self-pity.  The amount you need to break-down a task will depend on its complexity. It may be a case of trial and error, but you know your body better than anyone in time you will have this down to a tee.

 If it’s something academic, you could try and break things down with titles and research areas and tie the ideas together later.  You may not get the best grades you are used to due to time constraints.  However, at least you will pass and can try and work harder when you are feeling a bit brighter on future work. If the task is practical, like cooking, you could do prep at a certain time and then cook later in the day.  Or if you’re a little bit cheeky – ask someone to help you to make the task manageable.


3. Follow your Body Clock

Most people would say, sort out your body clock first and foremost. It may work, but it is something I have been trying to do for over 10 years. My body just likes to be up during the night. The fatigue and pain is more manageable after I have digested by one meal per day.

“To have a productive day you must follow your natural body clock”.

You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by taking a U-turn and trying to achieve tasks when your energy levels and pain threshold is low.

body clock

“Remember you can always move tasks to another day as long as you’re motivated to accomplish them”.


4. Relax… just not too much

Whether you have a chronic illness or not, everyone should take time to wind down.  If you’re fortunate enough TAKE a bath, or go and visit someone who does! Watch a comedy, listen to music or sit in silence, do what works for YOU. I am not saying you are not going to wake up still feeling fatigued because you probably will BUT subconsciously your body and mind is still getting a valuable break and you get a hint of happiness.  I find relaxing whilst doing a task slowly usually gives me the right balance. However, this may not work for everyone.

“Just remember, don’t relax too much or you won’t get anything done”.

bath.jpg


5. Relieve stress with a pet

Patting pets are proven to having a calming effect on humans (Rodriguez, 2012), which may help you to think more clearly and be more productive! It is ideal if you own a pet and go and give them love when you are stressed and they are in a good mood. If your pet is moody, trust me try hugging your friends’ pet or the other four tips AND come back to this one later.  When my pets are hungry they treats me like food and it makes me feel rejected and has the opposite effect.  If you cannot keep an animal, I suggest you look out for the nearest dog on your walks or go visit an animal shelter. That way you can have your rare day out, killing two birds with one stone.

 


Thanks for visiting Brains & Bodies. I hope I have shed some positive vibes on how to have a productive day.


Sharing is Caring 

I would love if you shared this post to help others with chronic illnesses have a productive day – everyone deserves one! For some reason all my shares reset back 27 from 84 , but please keep sharing. 🙂


Have your Say

Do you have any tips how to have a productive day? – I would love to hear them below.


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Over and out,

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References 

Rodriguez, T. (2017). Pets Help Us Achieve Goals and Reduce Stress.

Spoon theory (2017). The Spoon Theory written by and spoken by Christine Miserandino. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn5IBsm49Rk [Accessed 10 Nov. 2017].

 

Through the Nutritionists’ Eyes: The Ehlers Danlos Series

Guest Posts, Invisble Illnesses, Peeping through the Keyhole, Physical Illnesses

Hola Amigos,

When I started Brains & Bodies,  I did not want to accept  guest posts from practitioners, mainly because of the challenges I had with them. Sara Russel is an exception, as she is a practitioner diagnosed wit HDS.  Sara shares my goal to raise awareness about Ehlers Danlos Sydrome/ HDS.   You can look forward to Sara and  I,   collaborating  on Nutrition in the Ehlers Danlos Series.

Sara post is not short, but is certainly a worthwhile read. Time to pass you over. . . See you soon

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Common Ethical Issues People with EDS/HSD Encounter in Healthcare

This guest post aims to provide a sort of exposé of some of the ethical issues (both deliberate and unintentional on the part of health care providers) that people with EDS/HSD and other chronic and complex conditions encounter. Additionally, it offers some reflections on how both patients and care providers can work towards an alternative paradigm and different strategies.

In a sense, because of the extraordinarily complex, multi-faceted and poorly understood etiology, symptomatology and complications inherent in the Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes (which I’ll refer to here collectively as “EDS”) and the relatively newly-coined Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder, the EDS/HSD population can serve as the ultimate example of how often-hidden flaws in the health care system can have an amplified effect on people with chronic and complex health conditions. This piece focuses on selected of ethical problems, while recognising that the impact of course is much more vast.

The information contained in this post results from extensive reading of the medical and scientific literature, personal experience as a patient diagnosed with Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder, clinical experience as a nutritional professional working with a diverse set of chronic and complex health conditions and interviews and conversations with patients with EDS as well as health care providers, both those that are specialised in the treatment of EDS and those who are not.


Common complaints I hear from people with EDS/HSD about their past or present care

“The doctor couldn’t account for my physical symptoms and wrote them off as nonexistent or psychological”.

Depression, anxiety and related disorders, while not specific to EDS/HSD, are more common in these groups than in the general population (Bulbena et al. 2017). The reasons are complex and are likely a combination of co-causative factors (hypermobility is postulated to have effects on the nervous system and the gut-brain axis that profoundly affect emotions), effects of symptoms (pain and fatigue can definitely cause anxiety and depression) and perpetuating/aggravating factors (depression and anxiety increase pain).

Iatrogenic factors, including over- and under-medication, delay in diagnosis, inappropriate medications and more, can cause varying degrees of anxiety, depression and other symptoms, including post-traumatic stress disorder.


“I was denied pain medication when in excruciating pain and was treated like a drug addict”.

EDS and HSD patients often suffer from a high degree of pain which may not be easily recognised or validated. EDS patients frequently report going to the emergency room for a painful dislocation or subluxation and being denied pain medication even after describing debilitating pain. Uncontrolled pain, especially frequent or chronic, can have a profoundly negative impact on quality of life and can cause severe emotional and psychological distress.

“I was over-medicated with pain medications that didn’t lower my pain but only gave me side effects, and my doctor refused to consider any alternatives”.

As the president of a non-profit that connects EDS patients with EDS-focused medical providers noted in a personal conversation, a large percentage of patients with EDS lack the receptors to make opioid pain medications effective, yet these remain widely prescribed for pain management, and often patients become addicted to the medication while continuing to live in pain.

op

She described to me her experience of supporting EDS patients who experienced opioid addiction and uncomfortable side effects, including exacerbation in digestive symptoms (poor intestinal motility, constipation, gastroparesis, etc.), personality changes, reduced judgement and reduced cognitive functioning (increased “brain-fog” – which is already a concern for many hypermobile individuals in the first place). Some of these patients, she told me, have gone through painful withdrawal symptoms and required a lot of medical and emotional support to overcome their addiction. It is impossible to estimate how vast this problem is, considering that many people with EDS/HSD struggle with severe pain yet do not have a diagnosis.


“One or more health care providers exploited me financially on the basis of my poor health and desperation for relief”.

Unmanaged or poorly managed symptoms can make people with EDS/HSD the target for deliberate or unintentional exploitation by health care providers promising or implying all kinds of miracles, and even suggesting that EDS is caused not by genetics but by other factors that can be “cured” easily (of course, with the specific product that the company or individual is trying to sell, or a specific treatment modality the person or company offers. Exploitation of people with EDS may take the form of “friends” pushing the latest cure-all essential oils, proprietary supplements, detoxification or cleansing programs, etc.).

business-money-pink-coins

I’m not saying by any means that people with EDS/HSD can’t benefit from the product and service categories listed above. However, I advise people suffering from EDS/HSD to be wary of any health care practitioner, product or program that offers an easy or miraculous “solution” or a one-size fits-all approach. It is in fact very important for practitioners to approach every hyper-mobile individual as a unique person who requires an individualised plan to manage symptoms and improve or maintain their quality of life, and of course, who can help set realistic goals based on the person’s unique and changing conditions.


Solutions: What Practitioners and Patients Can Do

Why Health Care Providers Must Take a Complete Health History

A patient-centred, multi-disciplinary approach to care is critical. The health care provider must understand their patients’ health history and family history, and this involves careful listening, research and often a referral to an experienced specialist if the hyper-mobile patient is still undiagnosed.

Understanding that physical health problems cause emotional distress

Those who suffer from chronic physical symptoms that impact quality of life significantly may also have some anxiety and/or depression. Often, however, this is the only diagnosis they have, as if nothing else were wrong. Unfortunately, this implies that the physical symptoms don’t really exist. The patient knows better. Patients who are in pain and are told that she suffers exclusively from a mental illness will neither be fooled nor trust the physician.

Yet having physical pain and debilitating fatigue that others don’t see or understand is enough to trigger anxiety or depression in an otherwise well-adjusted person. As many hyper-mobile individuals describe, each in their own way, the true problem is very clear to them in their bodies,but nobody sees or understands it. Labelling a complex set of physical and emotional symptoms with a psychiatric diagnosis will only further the mutual reinforcement of physical and emotional symptoms.

eds

Ultimately, being treated this way over and over again leads to a general mistrust of healthcare, which may in turn increase one’s vulnerability to exploitation by predatory marketing, which often does invest resources in making patients feel understood, not with the aim of solving a problem, but of selling a product or service regardless of its efficacy. The only real way to counteract this is for allopathic and holistic health care practitioners to listen to the patient and to collaborate with each other.


High Ethical Standards and an Individualised Approach

High ethical standards and a bio-individual approach to health must go hand in hand. If your practitioner doesn’t have high ethical standards, you may find yourself buying large packages in a moment of weakness, or arrive home from each visit with loads of supplements that don’t make much of a dent.

If this has ever happened to you, it doesn’t mean that your practitioner intentionally exploited you. It’s more likely that he applied common marketing techniques that brought him money without improving your health. The money-centred model of care doesn’t work well with complex health cases. Nonetheless, most practitioners really believe in their process, in their protocols and in the products they sell.

Practitioners working or wishing to work with people who are hyper-mobile should bear the following in mind. Hyper-mobility is a multi-factor problem with complex etiologies and consequences, and exists on a very broad spectrum, and oversimplifying it is both disingenuous on the part of the person doing so and stigmatising for people who are affected by a complex and non-fully-remitting hyper-mobility.


People with hyper-mobility should be wary of statements such as:

“I am better (or healed) because I did X, so you can get all better too if you’d only stop doing Y and do X like I do”

“I have (or had) a patient (or client or customer) with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome who went through my program (took X supplement or medication or essential oil or protocol, etc.) and is now fine, so what are you waiting for?”

“All symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome match perfectly with Lyme disease (or mold illness or mercury poisoning or copper dysregulation, MTHFR, etc.), so your diagnosis must be wrong, and I can fix it with X.”

redYou get the idea, right? This may not be a comprehensive list of red flags to look out for, but it’s a start. You may even have heard variations on several. I’m not saying that a person with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome can’t be incorrectly diagnosed, or is exempt from also having another condition with similar symptoms.

In fact, hyper-mobile people sometimes do get Lyme disease or have mercury poisoning or dysregulated copper, but implying that EDS isn’t a distinct medical entity is ignorant and dismissive at best, predatory at worst, but probably most often some combination of the two.


A Paradigm of Service

Both allopathic and holistic health care providers should approach their work from the standpoint of service to the patient or client. All too often, allopathic medical care feels rushed and non-empathic, while holistic care can feel to salesy or gimmicky. Neither of these approaches works well for the patient.

Ultimately, patients with complex illnesses, including EDS/HSD, do best in a multi-disciplinary situation where there is a patient-centred approach to care and an attention to the individual history, symptom picture and the elements that bring relief or trigger discomfort. The constellation of dysfunction in the body can vary from patient to patient, but clearly, an attention to each patient’s unique situation can help determine which practitioners are best suited to be part of the care team, so that the best possible support is offered to the patient.

About the Author

Optimized-Sara Russell

Sara Russell is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who works remotely with clients worldwide, specialising in complex cases. Sara comes from a family with a high prevalence of joint hyper-mobility and related medical conditions. She resides in the Tuscan countryside with her husband and six-year-old son. To learn more about Sara’s work and read her blog click here.


Related Post on Brains & Bodies 

My Invisible Illness ft Tramadol: The Ehlers Danlos Series


Selected Bibliography

Bulbena A, Baeza-Velasco C, Bulbena-Cabré A, Pailhez G, Critchley H, Chopra P, Malloquì-Bagué N, Frank C, Porges S. 2017. Psychiatric and psychological aspects in the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. Am J Med Genet Part C Semin Med Genet 175C:237-245.

Castori M. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, hypermobility type: An underdiagnosed hereditary connective tissue disorder with mucocutaneous, articular and systemic manifestations. ISRN Dermatology Vol 2012. Article ID 751768, 22 pp. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3512326/

Castori M, Voermans NC. Neurological manifestations of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome(s): A review. Iran J Neurol 2014; 13(2):190-208.

Castori M, Voermans NC. Neurological manifestations of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome(s): A review. Iran J Neurol 2014; 13(2):190-208.

Castori M, Tinkle B, Levy H Grahame R, Malfait F, Hakim A. 2017. A framework for the classification of joint hypermobility and related conditions. Am J Med Genet Part C Semin Med Genet 175C:148-157.

Celletti C, Camerota F, Castori M, Censi F, Gioffrè L, Calcagnini G, Strano S. Orthostatic intolerance and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome in joint hypermobility syndrome/Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobility type: neurovegetative dysregulation or autonomic failure? 2017. Biomed research international. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2017/9161865/. Accessed May 9, 2017.

Chopra P, Tinkle B, Hamonet C, Gompel A, Bulbena A, Francomano C. 2017. Pain management in the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. Am J Med Genet Part C Semin Med Genet 175C:212-219.

Fikree A, Chelimsky G, Collins H, Kovacic K, Aziz Q. 2017. Gastrointestinal involvement in the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. Am J Med Genet Part C Semin Med Genet 175C:181-187.

Hakim A, De Wandele, I, O’Callaghan C, Pocinki A, Rowe P. 2017. Chronic fatigue in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome–hypermobile type. Am J Med Genet Part C Semin Med Genet 175C:175–180.

Hakim A, De Wandele, I, O’Callaghan C, Pocinki A, Rowe P. 2017. Cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction in the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. Am J Med Genet Part C Semin Med Genet 175C:168-174.

Hamonet, C. Maladie ou syndrome d’Ehlers-Danlos: une entité clinique, d’origine génétique, malconnue, dont la rareté doit être remise en question. http://claude.hamonet.free.fr/fr/art_sed.htm.

Lyons J, Yu X et al. Elevated basal serum tryptase identifies a multisystem disorder associated with increased TPSAB1 copy number. Nature Genetics 48(12) Dec. 2016:1564-71. http://www.nature.com/articles/ng.3696.epdf?referrer_access_token=kkD-p2pE8cDDL5CD1Ld3HtRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0OLzluKQm19ggXVIEhkOhCoL5WeqBE-2NbzNX250zrSY6saf84ClYXe5QCd6Ml8cJXVyO3IwXe2Fg4xQ2imE5j1rUq84b2v8A1zoVGfzqLaTQJ6z9dgZGnPiDeryqKtlDpJVhh0NIkqcozh-yfwtnAdAN6giFaq71aut6Qsm1ZpgBrmjA3KjU2o7jzSbKd1fITd17-KdARtzZXFDf1hWK-m_s7nJK205uewy3iCUhXEv-4EuCSglFcyFlC2qRO52P3zOWLHspxFbUdRoxJ54gYUnzdZRBr6uWpabZI8upyTKVnsbjROAiBKUZI-smYd7Cs%3D&tracking_referrer=solvecfs.org.

Henderson Sr. FC, Austin C, Benzel E, Bolognese P, Ellenbogen R, Francomano CA, Ireton C, Klinge P, Koby M, Long D, Patel S, Singman EL, Voermans NC. 2017. Neurological and spinal manifestations of the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. Am J Med Genet Part C Semin Med Genet 175C:195-211.

Lyons J, Yu X et al. Elevated basal serum tryptase identifies a multisystem disorder associated with increased TPSAB1 copy number. Nature Genetics 48(12) Dec. 2016:1564-71. http://www.nature.com/articles/ng.3696.epdf?referrer_access_token=kkD-p2pE8cDDL5CD1Ld3HtRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0OLzluKQm19ggXVIEhkOhCoL5WeqBE-2NbzNX250zrSY6saf84ClYXe5QCd6Ml8cJXVyO3IwXe2Fg4xQ2imE5j1rUq84b2v8A1zoVGfzqLaTQJ6z9dgZGnPiDeryqKtlDpJVhh0NIkqcozh-yfwtnAdAN6giFaq71aut6Qsm1ZpgBrmjA3KjU2o7jzSbKd1fITd17-KdARtzZXFDf1hWK-m_s7nJK205uewy3iCUhXEv-4EuCSglFcyFlC2qRO52P3zOWLHspxFbUdRoxJ54gYUnzdZRBr6uWpabZI8upyTKVnsbjROAiBKUZI-smYd7Cs%3D&tracking_referrer=solvecfs.org. Accessed Dec. 28th, 2016.

Malfait F, Francomano C, Byers P, Belmont J, Berglund B, Black J, Bloom L, Bowen JM, Brady AF, Burrows NP, Castori M, Cohen H, Colombi M, Demirdas S, De Backer J, De Paepe A, Fournel-Gigleux S, Frank M, Ghali N, Giunta C, Grahame R, Hakim A, Jeunemaitre X, Johnson D, Juul-Kristensen B,Kapferer-Seebacher I, Kazkaz H, Kosho T, Lavallee ME, Levi H, Mendoza-Londono R, Pepin R, Pope FM, Reinstein E, Robert L, Rohrbach M, Sanders L, Sobey GJ, Van Damme T, Vandersteen A, van Mourik C, Voermans M, Wheeldon N, Zschocke J, Tinkle B. 2017. The 2017 international classification of the Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes. Am J Med Genet part C Semin Med Genet 175C:8-26.

Seneviratne SI, Maitland A, Afrin L.2017. Mast cell disorders in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Am J Med Genet Part C Semin Med Genet 175C:226–236.

 

5 Challenges Blogging with a Chronic Illness…

Chronic Illnesses, Invisble Illnesses, Mental Illnesses, Physical Illnesses

 with a sprinkle of advice.

Hello, there 🙂

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If you haven’t read my other posts, welcome. It’s not a secret anymore I am a spoonie. I am Morgan Isabella Shaw, a 24 years old that suffers from Ehlers Danlos Sydrome. However, recently when I was procrastinating, I remembered I haven’t confessed how challenging it is to blog when you have a chronic illness.

I will admit I find multiple things an uphill battle. Cooking, washing myself, walking, relationships and blogging is no different. Actually, it doesn’t happen – unless I am blogging from bed. Even then, five minutes into starting a post I tend to experience a  flare up and struggle to finish writing it that day.  As, I throw my laptop down, I feel disappointed in myself I have not met the strict self-inflicted deadline.

If you land on my homepage you will notice I endeavour to publish one post week.

One post a week – is that it?

Many fire back at me with an eye roll or one raised eyebrow. This made realise how many people do not understand how many challenges are behind the scenes for me to keep on generating posts.This post will let you walk into another part of my mind and reveal 5 challenges a chronically ill person may face when they decide to become a blogger…


5 Challenges of Blogging with a Chronic Illness

1. Blogging is Addicting

 I don’t know if blogging is addicting for everyone or if it just applies to me because of my addictive personality.  I use blogging as a natural remedy for my clinical depression so I try to do it as much as possible to release emotions.

The problem with this is, I have found is I end up not getting other important things done. For example,  I sit very confused looking at University briefs, because I can’t find a private tutor this year –  so I turn my mind to blogging instead.

blogging-for-business

If you find yourself in this position you need to like me – try and snap out of it and  make a loose time management schedule, so you can do everything.  As I move through the academic year I am aware that my blog is going to have to take a backseat if I am to pass it, not because I am abandoning you! I also have to admit the more I want to blog the more I shut myself away from my friends. However, I don’t want to give up blogging.  For once I am starting to enjoy one thing again, which in turn makes me feel less suicidal on the whole.


2. Limited Energy

With most chronic illness comes chronic pain, fatigue and brain fog which makes it difficult to concentrate.  I spend every spare second I have whether that be on the toilet or public transport thinking of new blog ideas and content. The issue associated with this is, my brain goes into overdrive – I  now don’t know how not to think.I am awake until the early hours of the morning. I can’t blame blogging entirely for this – I have always been known as a lady of the night up with pain. However, before my mind got a longer rest.

When my I-phone is ringing in my ear  I know the next day  has hit.  I then *sigh* reaching for the closest can of coca-cola to be able to manoeuvre up right and override the extreme tiredness for a short period of time.  Due to my levels of tiredness I get fed up very easily…

sleep

So, even if I have the best idea for a blog – I lack motivation  to actually blog as even the computer screen stares back at me like a fiend.  A part of this is attributed that with a chronic illness, you never know when bad patches will attack you.  This means it is also difficult to plan a content and schedule and actually STICK to it.


3. Anxiety and Negativity

 I can be a very negative person. To date, I will be honest I only have 66 followers.   I become anxious that no one will like or share my posts and that even sharing my reflections will be worthless.  I panic that the more I write the worse my academic writing for University will become and I am convinced I am going to fail there too.

The reason behind this is, blogging is very descriptive writing and University expects a much more critical standpoint for assessments.  I then wonder if I am being too ‘open’ with the public in what I am sharing and worry that it will affect future opportunities. For example – I need to pull my finger out my arse and start applying for 12 month placements for my degree.

anxiety

I frequently question, if having a blog will be a hindrance and shed light that I used drugs in my past, have clinical depression and that I am disabled. I don’t want special treatment but I know I need to disclose my disabilities on a job application form because my pain affects me on a day-to-day basis.  Whilst, this is all spinning around in my small brain,  I then worry about when I take a back seat from blogging –  if I can ever get the passion back because for other hobbies when I lost them, it was lost forever…


4. Being a Citizen of the Blogosphere

It is also no secret I struggle with Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. I find that when I read someone else’s blog to try and learn about other illnesses I don’t always understand what I am reading initially. Everything just gets lost in translation.

How do I overcome this?

I spend a lot of time on Google to understand what the illness is first and then go back to the individuals’ blog.  All of this is interesting but very time consuming.  You may be thinking – well just skip this part, but that would be a vital mistake.  Commenting on posts is essential to improve your writing skills and how you engage with other people.

dots


5. Gaining Traffic and Post Engagement

In October, I received just over 3,000 unique visitors. Although, I am not sure I really did receive this many as it is likely  some of these visitors were in fact me stalking myself using my friends’ phones as I was without one for a while.

I am unlucky with any electrical product! ( I  was definitely was born in the wrong century)..

th

Additionally, I don’t have a strong social media following across many platforms.  I spend the most time on the one where I do have a following – Facebook, to try to gain traffic for my blog.  I am also putting ‘all my eggs in one basket’ and hoping when I finally set up a YouTube channel this will improve my traffic and engagement… as I try to figure out how to increase my Twitter and  Pinterest following.

On Facebook I post my blog posts on my wall, into a couple blogging groups and into chronic illness support groups when I have permission to do so.

 


That Sprinkle of Advice 

4

Do you have a chronic illness and are thinking about becoming a blogger?

 DO IT!

Just remember don’t punish yourself for not being able to post as much as you would like to gain a following.  Fellow bloggers divulged that blogging consistently is very important, where I have fallen short a little bit as the times and days I post content really does vary. This is something I am going to work to improve as I become more experienced and I hope my readers understand that this is not always be possible.

On groups, ensure you always read the pinned posts in groups or you can find yourself getting an inbox of angry admin messages and deleted out of groups.  I find the most effective way to promote your blog on Facebook is through Facebook pages BUT be careful you will be blocked by Facebook if you are a repeat offender.

I think if you post a series on one theme, you may gain more followers. However, I don’t do this because my mind is scatty and like to think of lots of different topics at the same time!


So, guys there are the challenges I have faced blogging with a chronic illness. Next, you can expect to find 5 more general challenges I found since becoming a blogger and what I’ve learnt about myself since becoming a chronic illness blogger.


Sharing is Caring

I would love if you shared this post to raise awareness of some of the challenges a chronic illness blogger faces!


Have your Say

If you a blogger what are some challenges you face?

If you’re a chronic illness blogger do you face similar or different challenges to me?


 Like what you see? 

Join me on my journey on social media;

Facebook page

WordPress

Twitter 

Instagram

Pinterest

Thanks for staying tuned in bed with me and I hope to see you back soon.

Lots of Love,

my name

Popular Related Post

My Invisible Illness ft Tramadol

A Day in the Life of Someone with Epilepsy

Guest Posts, Peeping through the Keyhole, Physical Illnesses

Hello, everyone.

Today’s post is written by Ariel (formatted  and edited by moi), a courageous American woman living with Epilepsy. I would like to thank Ariel at Different Frame of Mind  for collaborating with Brains & Bodies to share an insight into what it is like for someone to live with this condition.

Ariel and I believe it is important to increase awareness of illnesses to try and improve how they are understood and perceived.

For those of you who don’t know much about Epilepsy, in simple terms it is a serious brain disorder which causes seizures. Just in the U.S, on estimate 2.5- 3 million people are diagnosed with Epilepsy (Health line, 2014). The type of seizures and frequency vary from person to person but may be attributed by similar factors such as; flashing lights, tiredness, not taking medication and stress. Some patients, do not know when seizures will arrive, which has a significant impact on their lives.

Now, that time has come to leave you in Ariel’s safe hands.

Over and Out.
my name


A Day in the Life of Someone with Epilepsy

One day I woke up and my mother was staring at me like she had never done before. I mean one of those stares that have you worried from the start, I was in the 3rd grade mind you. At that age you understand what is going on, but not to the full extent when you should. I repeatedly kept asking my mother what was wrong while she was crying.

She then told me that she believed I had a seizure in the idle of the night, as I was shaking uncontrollably for a few minutes. Which lead her to calling and scheduling me an appointment to see the doctor, more specifically a neurologist. When I received the news that this had happened to me, I simply accepted it and went on wondering what was happening to me. After doing an EEG, the doctors informed my parents and me that I had a condition called grand mal seizures, absence seizures and later on I would discover that I also had a sun sensitivity condition.

       Try telling all of that to a 3rd grader and see what they say.

brain

The doctors put me on some medication, but they said it was the dosage they would give to a 2 month old baby. I began to ponder why I was taking it in the first place. I did not have my next seizure until I was in the 5th grade, this was when I felt a shift in my entire life. I was typing up a report for school, when the computer caused me to have a seizure. I cannot tell you what happened. I can only tell you what others said happened around me. I woke up in the hospital with a cut on my throat, a knot on my head and a hurt tongue.

I was devastated and felt out of place, it had finally dawned on me that I was no longer a normal kid. When I returned to school, all of the other students judged me and made fun of me. I thought, “Great I have to spend the rest of my time at this school known as seizure girl.” Even the girl I fell on was afraid of me, from that point on I felt not normal, misunderstood and not accepted by society.

My entire life revolved around making sure I got enough sleep, to making sure I wore sunglasses or a hat etc. I had another seizure in the 7th grade and did not have another until I was 20. I spent most of my high school years not telling people about my seizures unless my mom made me hand my teachers a handout on what to do if I had one. I was completely devastated doing that, but I knew it had to be done for my protection. I tried out for track my freshman year, but ran into a dumpster and about broke my arm due to my sun sensitivity.

Sun sensitivity causes me to wave my hand back and forth in front of my eyes, looking almost as if I am brushing my hair back. I have zero control of my body when this happens, which means I could walk in front of a car without knowing or not see something and trip. I have had a few seizures caused by this. Which brings me back to my seizure when I was 20. I had just embarked on my first vacation with a friend but without any parental supervision. We finally arrived in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and checked into the hotel. I knew I should have taken a nap since I barely got any sleep, but I was way too excited to see the ocean.

The bright sun shines on a blue sky background.

About 20 minutes into the vacation, I fell over on the beach and had a seizure due to my sun sensitivity condition. I woke up in the hospital, without anyone around that knew about my condition. My friend was supportive, but you could tell the friendship between us had changed. I wanted so badly to give up the vacation and just go home.

My mother talked me out of it and I ended up having a wonderful time. Although I do not have seizures as much as many people do, I still live with seizures. I still feel out of place and wish that I was normal. I love sitting out in the sun, but I have to find ways to shield my eyes from the sun. Instead of letting it get me down day in and day out, I find ways to learn to cope with it. I used to let seizures stop me from doing things that I wanted to do.

Now that I am older, I understand my condition better and find ways to control, deal and cope better with it compared to when I was younger. A medical condition only defines you if you let it. I still continue to work full-time and live my life to the fullest. My biggest piece of advice to anyone recently or in the past diagnosed with epilepsy is that there are others out there that understand it. I felt so alone, but you are never alone. Also do not give up on life or let the diagnosis define you, there are always ways to cope with this.


  About the Author

ariel

My name is Ariel and I am the creator of  Different Frame of Mind  blog.  My blog focuses on travels with little funds, medical and psychological disorders. I was born in Kansas, but currently reside in North Carolina. I am married and have two wonderful puppies.

I am a bucket list traveller and have plenty to still check off. I have been on a cruise, travelled to 34 different states, swam with the dolphins and so much more since 2010.

Join me on my journey on one of the social media links below.

Pinterest

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Xoxo, Ariel


Sharing is Caring

We would love if you shared this post to raise awareness of what it can be like to live with Epilepsy.


Resources

Have you or know someone who has been recently diagnosed with Epilepsy?

 Epilepsy Action  helps Epilepsy suffers learn how to manage their condition better. The accredited course costs £40 but can be done in an environment whereby you feel comfortable and lasts 8 weeks.  I (Morgan) think this is great to give you or a loved one confidence in managing the illness.

Epilepsy does not just affect the patient.  Epilepsy helpline can provide the patient or carer with emotional support if you are having a bad day.

Telephone number (U.K) 01494 601 400*

                                             * Check the website for opening times.

E-mail Helpline@epilepsysociety.org.uk


References 

Epilepsy Action Learning. 2017. Epilepsy and you | Epilepsy Action Learning. [ONLINE] Available at: https://learn.epilepsy.org.uk/epilepsy-and-you-june/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5batouLh1gIVwZPtCh2XKQfCEAAYAiAAEgJSr_D_BwE. [Accessed 08 October 2017].

*Epilepsy Society. 2017. Epilepsy helpline | Epilepsy Society. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/epilepsy-helpline#.Wdp_IFtSzIU. [Accessed 08 October 2017

Healthline. 2014. Epilepsy: Statistics, Facts and You. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/epilepsy/facts-statistics-infographic. [Accessed 08 October 2017].

The *10 Guys You’ll Find on POF

Dating, Uncategorized, Well-being

pof

Online datingin 2017is like playing cards – you’ll never know what you’ll get.Yet, there are many reasons why you might turn to it. You may be disabledmaking meeting people more difficult. Or be a busybee. It’s fast for a hook up, you’ve been on the SESH and didn’t get anyattention or you’re a hopelessromantic thinkingyou’ll actually find someone. I am sorryto break it to you but this is highly unlikely

You may be wondering why on earth am I on POF?

Well, perhapsyou’re like me, you’re just interested to see what’s floatingaround  the marketwhilst needinga little ego boost. I’ve been a member of POF onand off since January and I’ve met one person in reallife. Although, I am not sure he counts, as he was a friend of a friend. If you’re curious he turnedout to be number #7… and like a typical girl, i still have a soft spot for him (at the back of my mind, of course)

I won’t lieI have heard success storieswith Tinder but POF is an entirely differentball game. Anyone can message you, so connectingwith people is fasterand in turn I’ve found much weirder. This post will enlighten you on the *10types of guys to avoidon it.


So let’s, begin…The *10 Guys you’ll Find on POF

1. The D*ck Pic Guy

No matter what dating app you use there will always be the d*ckpic guy. It is either the first message from him in your inboxor you tellhim you don’twant one and he sends it anyway.He is one horny rabbit… and an uglier version of the f*ckboy (#7). If you looking for no strings attached and you’re not too worried about the stateof his face… By all means crack on but it’s a NOfrom me


2. The Serial Dating App User

This guy will write a genericlooooong message and spam you like a recruitment consultant.

“Hey how are you darling, where you from? You have beautiful ______ (inserts a part of the body). How are you finding Tinder?”

Yeah you heard me, Tinder.

He will oftenget confused with which dating app he is usingto message you and then pretend he hasn’t. He is either shockingly badat pulling, is desperateto be with someone OR is using as many channels as possiblefor sex.

dating app


3. Mr Stalker

This typeof guy mayor may not live in your local area but claims he has met youbefore in a place you’ve neverbeen or not at the timethey’re stating. You will notice a guy is a bit stalkerish if he sendsyou messagesevery minute of every day and gets moody when you don’t reply. Another warning sign is when you don’t reply at all and he persistently sends ‘three hey messages’ in a row.

All I can say is be cautiousgiving your numberto this type of guy AND social media accounts. Before you know it – You’ll be receiving Snapchats, Facebook and Twitter messageswhilst he’s simultaneously trying to textand callyou. He will leave you voicemails asking why you brokeup when you wasn’t even together.

Unfortunately, when you blockhe’s number it doesn’t endthere. The stalker will wantto knowwhy you’re not interested and search for your place of work and randomlyspend time in it like it’s his second home to watchyou. This happenedto me on a couple of occasions.

Creeeepy ey.

If this does happen DO NOT leave work alone. Be politeof courseit’s your jobbut try to keepthe conversationto a minimumto prevent his infatuation heightening.


4. The Proposer

The proposer is a bit more complicated than the other 9 types of guys.Why?
Well he has sub-categories. You may receive a message proposing a range of things from a man such as; offering to shower you with giftsand money, paying you in exchange for nudes, wanting you to satisfyhis strange fetishesor… he desires a threesome.suugar daddy

If you’re liberal and want to make some money… you might like the thoughtof men buying you things or sending nudes for money.

Nonetheless, just remember once something is publishedon the Internetit can nevertruly be deleted. Also, if the buyerguy demands to meet you and not in a public place, virtually run that mile.

              It is better to be safe than sorry.


5. The Book Writer

This guy has analysed your profilein depth. He’s never met you but is already falling weakat the knees. He’s taken every single word from your profile and made an elaborate essayof why you would be perfectfor each other. As, you read the messageyou can’t help but eye roll CRINGE

Whilst wonderingif he has mental health problems, if he’s pining for a partner or just a bit odd as you move on to your nextmessage.


6. The Cheater

He is one shady mother f*cker.He spendsa lot of timemessaging you to keep up the single pretence but really is lookingfor ‘the other woman’. More often than not he will have his six packon displaywithout a photo of his face. This is so he can say it’s someone elseif he gets caught out.

If he’s in a long-term relationshipyou may find a picture of his face because he believes that he won’tget caught. Facebook ruinsthat. If he lives near you on in your localarea, chances are a friend of a friend will know him and out him.

His biowill say something like ‘looking for some fun’ whilst he would of entered ‘not looking for a serious relationship’ when he signed up. Try and stayclear of this type of guy. You may end up riddles with STDS, pregnant or heartbroken.

Or a triple hat-trick.

cheat


7. The F*ck Boy

If you’re not down with the lingo… The f*ckboyis someone who wants to get their d*ck wet ALOTand doesn’t carewho they screw overin the process. He is on heatlike a Duracell rabbit. He is usually very attractiveand give youthe impression he is into you when in realitythey are or planningto message multiple girls at once. He would of put ‘looking for a relationship’ on their profile when their not to make out there a nice guy.

Manyturn out to be this type of guy. You can guarantee he is looking for a ‘gap-filler’ girl and suggests ‘Netflix and chill’ or he will say ‘I’ll cook you dinner round mine’ on a Sunday evening. Once, you get involvedwith him he will say he has feelingsfor you, and then retract this saying he told you the situation from the off go. Then, when it suits he will state he has feelingsfor you again.

Simply, a mind f*ck!

duracell rabbit

He will get jealous if you speak to other guys but won’t want youto spend timewith his friends.By preventingthis, his friends can’t accidentally drop him in it that he is after all the m*nge in the world.

If your friends are also on POF he has likely sent them a cheekymessage too so it’s easierto identify the f*ckboy. If not then look out for texts in the early hours of the morning after his night like ‘You out? Want to come over for a drink?’ If you’ve just got out of a long-term relationship and you want fun go for it. Just always use protectionas you don’t know where he’s been. After all, women have needstoo.


8. Ex Garbage

As so many people are dating online don’t be surprisedif you come across your ex-boyfriendon POF. If you’re stillinto him *sigh* I know this can be tough but he will think you’re over it if he finds you on there too. Stay strong. Whatever you do, don’t message him… The past is the past for a reason!


9. The Chancer

Welcome to the ‘I favourite your account’ guy and sending you sparks.  Sparks are images from your profile that he likes and uses to starta picture conversation. That’s it really, you won’t hear from him again or at least not for a week or two, as he is probably favouriting everyone, tryinghis luck.


10. The Foreigner

He is on vacation and has locationsettings turned on. He is exploringoptions, claiming he wants to make friendsin the area and that he will moveto your countryone day. Really he is a temporary versionof the f*ckboy. He has photos with touristic places, and a solid tan (shouting foreign).

Oioi he is HOT. You thinkall is going well.

He speaks your languagewhat are the chances?

In truth, he WRITES it as good as Google translate. Once, you ask for a voice notethey make excusesand the conversations dies unlessyou can speaktheir mother tongue
You usually can find out their first dialect from their bio.

tourist


There we have it boys and girls. I hope you have found my FAILEDexperience of POF interesting.

Are you on a dating app?If, sowhy not comment below?

I would love to hear what type of guys you’ve met virtually or in person on it!


Sharing is Caring

I would love if you shared this post to let others know who they might come across before they sign upto POF.


Like what you see?

         Follow me on…

Thanks for Reading,

Lots of Love.

my name

The Blogger Recognition Award 2017

Uncategorized

Hi everybody,

                                   Welcome back.

Brains & Bodies has received its third nomination for a blogging award this year.  In my first two weeks of blogging I was surprised to have received two nominations for ‘The Liebster Award 2017’. It seems that the saying third time lucky is in full swing and this time I am proud to announce I was nominated for ‘The Blogger Recognition Award 2017″ by Preeti at Scenario of Life.  

Scenario of Life is a lifestyle blog that lets you into everything in Preeti’s world.  She is a credible blogger and so far has received nominations for two blogging awards. If you are interested in health and different aspects of life you should check her blog out.


blogger-recognition-award


I launched Brains & Bodies about a month ago and since then I have been astonished by its response. Of course, I am no Z list celebrity, but it’s a great feeling to know people enjoy what you are writing and recognize the importance of health and well-being topics.   I want to thank everyone who has read my posts to date across different oceans.

 Blogging is one of the best things I have ever done for myself mentally and an an amazing opportunity arose this week. I have been asked to be a guest writer for one semester at Cherwell Blogs.

Cherwell Blogs is a blog from the only independent student newspaper at The University of Oxford.  I can’t actually believe I am saying that – I am not even a student there.  I attend Oxford Brookes so theoretically I am still in the Early Learning Centre being asked to play with the top dogs. Nonetheless, being a guest writer will be a great addition to the CV – and it also gave me a compliment off my mother – which is a rare commodity.

However, I can’t lie I am not your usual blogger. One of my main illnesses – Ehlers Danlos Syndrome still holds me back somewhat as I cannot write every week due to the pain I endure.  I accepted the position on the condition I will be writing bi-weekly for them about chronic illnesses related posts– watch this space!

cherwell


BACK TO THE BLOGGER RECOGNITION AWARD AND ALL THAT JAZZ

Similar to the Liebster Award, The Blogger Recognition Award is given to bloggers by bloggers. Its purpose is to motivate further writing and acknowledge the effort that is involved in generating posts.  The award is great for bloggers to review and reward each other’s work to create a supportive blogging community.

Once, nominated… If you wish to accept the nomination there are a few rules to be followed which are;

  • Produce a post about the award
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Write a brief story about how your blog began
  • Provide two pieces of advice to newbie bloggers
  • Select 15 blogs to nominate
  • Comment on each nominee’s blog and provide a link to the post you made about the award

HOW MY BLOG STARTED

I first was required to create a blog for a University module in the last academic year about Business topics. I didn’t actually receive any likes, comments or shares but I found it was a good way to map out my thoughts more clearly.  I didn’t really think about blogging that much more until I became so sick I couldn’t leave bed and I didn’t know how to explain my health problems to others… or whether I should bother anymore.  If I tried, I wasn’t able to vocalize it very well. I mean in my mind I was but everyone else would ask me to repeat what I said again which led to frustration and feeling alone.

 I own more than one invisible illness – EDS and Depression.  On the odd day I left the house I found I was discriminated against on public transport. I was often told to move to let young children sit down on long journeys.

I explained why I needed to sit down but as parents got rowdy I moved yet my nobly knees didn’t thank me for it. I knew I didn’t look sick but I thought once I explained why I needed to sit down people wouldn’t question it. I was wrong. These things combined led a passion to grow in me for raising awareness about disabilities and well-being.

passion


TWO PIECES OF ADVICE FOR NEWBIES

  1. Discover your Writing Style 

When you’re a newbie, you will quickly realize you need to find your own voice to stand out in a crowded community.  EXPERIMENT with your writing and you will find out what works and what doesn’t.  There are many ways to discover your writing style. Play around with words because your posts will need catchy titles to draw people in.  Writing in a conversational tone can also help the reader feel connected to you.  I suggest you write questions at the end of your posts to engage readers with the contents and don’t worry if you make mistakes.  They aren’t really mistakes if you learn from them.

 I’ll let you into a secret…

Mistakes are normal if you seek to be a fully pledged citizen of the blogosphere.  If you are really stuck then read other blogs. There is no harm in copying the structure of a post as long as you ensure the content IS different.

  1. Raid your Inspiration 

What I mean by raid your inspiration, is when inspiration strikes, write!  You can always come back to your writing to add more or refine existing content and have several drafts.  Proof reading is equally important as writing the original post.  It is better to post content you are proud of than writing for the sake of writing because your worried other bloggers are posting every single day and will gain more traffic.

 inspiration

An Extra Tip –Free of charge, of course. 

  1. Join a blogging network

Blogging is not an easy ride.  Writing is only one half of the process, whilst the other is promotion. My third piece of advice is to join a blogging network. Blogging networks can be hit and miss if they are generic so search for one in your niche.  By finding a network you can increase traffic and engagement and gain advice from more experienced bloggers.  You can look for a variety of blogging networks on Google but many tend to be on Facebook.


MY NOMINATIONS

       Health 

     Lifestyle and Travel

     Parenting

  • Danny at Dadoo  
  • Mark at Thoughts of a First Time Dad

    Congratulations to all my nominees, you deserve it. I hope you have fun if you choose to take part and I look forward to reading your posts.  I would like to thank Preeti again for nominating Brains & Bodies and appreciating my hard work.

    READERS… GET INVOLVED

    1. What do you think about the award?
    2. Do you have any advice new bloggers?

        SHARING IS CARING 

     I would love if you shared this post to support mine and my nominees’ blogs.

          LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?

                                            Follow me for updates on …

       Thanks for reading,

    Peace out. 

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Behind the Brave Face: 7 Secret Signs of Depression

Mental Illnesses

Depression Diaries (Post 2)

If you look around see someone who looks sad, they may be just that – sad. Life is full of ups and downs so it is natural for our moods to adjust to different circumstances. Feeling down in the dumps from time to time and grieving is normal (NHS U.K, n.d; Winch, 2015). It is when sadness turns into something more gradually, the inner demon depression is born in yet another victim.

A common misconception is depressed sufferers have monotonous personalities. However, it is a complicated emotional state that affects people behaviours differently. Someone who is depressed may loathe themselves, feel helpless, hopeless and upset (Mind.org.uk, 2016) although, the extent of what is felt and how they act varies.

A mildly depressed person can get through daily life holding down a job or running a family home. Whilst, a clinically depressed individual struggles to get through each day and may live a double life. Sustaining a double life for some is just too much to handle. In the U.K and Ireland alone, more than 6,000 people commit suicide, ISAP cited in (Mental Health Foundation, 2017).

 

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My last post touched upon that the disease does not exhibit in one stereotypical face. Depression can pursue your colleague or peer – the person you admire most or even decide to seek you. No one should believe they are immune from the black fogs wrath. Unfortunately, 1 in 10 people in England will suffer from clinical depression in their lifetime (NHS U.K, 2016) but many more go undiagnosed. Even those with diagnoses may still conceal it because they believe their curse will be a burden on others…

If you aren’t aware of the hidden signs of depression it is easy to overlook requesting help for yourself or a loved one in need. After all, how can you notice something you don’t understand? This post is to help you reflect on yours and others’ behaviour, to identify whether symptoms are apparent, to gain support to manage and relieve them.

 


7 Secret Signs of Depression (Part 1)

1.Withdrawal

A depressed person will try their best to avoid social activities. Periods of silent isolation is one of the main signs that an individual is being tortured by depression. When someone becomes depressed it is not unusual for them to lose interest in everything and everyone. Where he or she may have once been the party starter, now they are the party pooper and may even call into work sick.withdrawal

They may still make plans with you, trying to keep up the ‘happy’ pretence. However, in reality they have turned into ‘king’ or ‘queen’ bail’. Someone who consistently lets you down is likely to be suffering from depression.

 


2.Excuse O’clock

When you realise you were lied to it is hard to trust the person who lied to you. Yet, it is unlikely you will taste dishonesty from depressed people – they are  semi-professional liars.

clock

They have the skill of making up believable cover stories on the spot for pretty much anything. Lies could be to hide how they got scars on their body (when they have had a self-harming sesh) to an excuse of why they need to leave somewhere rapidly. Although, they mastered lying tell-tale signs of their illness is that they have an answer for EVERYTHING and are very defensive.

 


3. Mean Girl… or Boy

A depressed person over analyses themselves and others people obsessively. They do this is because they are so unhappy with their appearance and/or personality that they begin to look for what they desire in others. At the same time when that individual finds traits in someone else they despise in themselves they give off the impression over being over judgemental and a royal b*tch. From experience, chances are that b*tch is extremely insecure and depressed too.

girl


4. Conversation Changes

A closed book who avoids expressing their feelings and subjects is likely to be depressed. Of course, it is possible that he or she will bleed out their feelings but usually this in a philosophical manner. If you find yourself or a loved one turning the conversation to life or death, or what the route is to a happier life and no philosophy or R.E books have been studied. Then, you are certainly hearing little indicators of depression.


5. Substance Abuse Perceptions

We all know drugs are bad – right? Not exactly. A depressed person views substances differently to a healthy one. I want you to think of your favourite food, – could you live without it? If someone is a user they see them as necessities to get through the next day. Even if they’re not a user, they may consider it as a viable option to wash away their pain… to be happy again (even if they know it’s temporary).


6. The Mechanisms of Intense Feelings

A person masking depression will often feel emotions more intensely than others. Do you find yourself or know someone whom bursts out in floods of tears watching television over a scene that isn’t sad? Or see red about something trivial like someone overtaking them in a shop queue or in traffic? Well that is personifying the clouds of gloom. The only way some depressed suffers know how to channel their depression is through anger and irritability (Koh et al., 2002).


triple

7. *Incoming* Triple Threat…

Failure, Rejection and Abandonment. The three ingredients a depressed person wishes their mind could shield. There is nothing worse than finding out someone you love cannot handle your worse layer. The fear or rejection and abandonment forges the need to be secretive so they don’t walk away. If you or someone else strongly fears the triple threat, then you may be depressed.


So, there we have it guys, 7 secret signs of depression unveiled. I hope you found it useful whether you think you or a loved one may be suffering from the condition.


Do you think you or a loved one could have depression?

Resources

United Kingdom

Depression UK: Supports those suffering from depression

info@depressionuk.org 

Samaritans UK: A helpline for those who feels heavy distress or suicidal. The helpline does not show up on phone bills also.

116 223 – Free helpline (My personal favourite)

08457 90 90 90*

*This number still works to get through for Samaritans but you will be charged for the call.

SaneLine: (6pm-11pm, open every day of the year) provides support to those suffering from mental health problems)

Young Minds (Under 25 years old): A UK based charity committed to improving children and young people’s mental health.

020 7089 5050

U.S.A

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

National Adolescent Suicide Helpline

1-800-621-4000


Over to You

Can you think of more hidden signs of Depression? – If yes, why not share them below?


 

Sharing is Caring

I would love if you shared my post to raise awareness of some of the hidden signs of Depression.


About the Author

My name is Morgan Isabella Shaw a warrior of clinical depression. To find out more about my story click here.


Coming UP Next…

Behind the Brave Face: 7 More Secret Signs of Depression (Part 2)


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Thanks for reading

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References  

Koh KB, Kim CH, Park JK (2002) ‘Predominance of anger in depressive disorders compared with anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders’. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry; 63: 486–92.

OpenUrlMental Health Foundation. (2017). Suicide. [online] Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/suicide [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

Mind.org.uk (2016). Symptoms | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems. [online] Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/symptoms/#.WcOdoZWWzIU [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

NHS U.K. (2016). Clinical depression – NHS Choices. [online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Depression/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

NHS U.K. (N.d). Dealing with grief and loss – NHS Choices. [online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/emotionalhealth/Pages/Dealingwithloss.aspx [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

Winch (2015). Psychology Today. The Important Difference Between Sadness and Depression. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201510/the-important-difference-between-sadness-and-depression [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].

 

 

The chronically ill student’s quick-guide to success

Uni

It is hard enough for University students to balance their coursework and exams with their social life. So, when a chronic illness is thrown into a mix, it definitely puts a spanner in the works.  Surviving student life with a long-lasting illness can appear daunting, impossible.

Trust me, I know. I had a mental break down three weeks in my first year and nearly dropped out.  The tips I am going to give you, are the techniques that enabled me to find my feet ; study with more ease and achieve high grades.


1.  Apply for DSA

If you have a chronic illness, you should qualify for Disability Student Allowance (DSA).  You apply for this through Student Finance (SF). You will then be offered a ‘Needs Assessment’ . This assessment determines what you are entitled to, based on your individual circumstances.

If you take anything from this post, it is really worth taking the time to make an application because your disability will be on record – even if you switch unis or defer. Module leaders are also made aware of your specific needs and you should get extra writing in exams and coursework extensions. Other examples I received were; printing costs ,  individual £1 taxi journeys costing  to and from campuses and Dragon software.  The software works by you speaking into a microphone and it types up what you say.


2. Order groceries online

Getting your groceries delivered may sound like a trivial thing but if you have a physical illness, it is something you MUST do. Not only will the delivery man become your new best friend, you won’t break your back in the process of buying food. food

It is easy to want to buy everything online but don’t spend money for the sake of it unless you are mintedIf not – like the majority of the student population, it is wise to set yourself a limit so you don’t become the size of a hippo and can go out.

Most supermarkets add basket charges which cost between £3-£6 each time.  If you want to do lots of little shops, TESCO delivery saver gives you the choice to pay for unlimited deliveries as long as you reach the minimum spend (£40).


3.  Select a disabled bedroom

Most Universities, allocate disabled spacious rooms in halls with larger beds on the ground floor. You will need to apply for the room during the booking of the accommodation and disclose evidence of your disability. I recommend doing this otherwise you might find it difficult to get to sleep with pain.


4. Cook meals in bulk

When your illness flares up, I know it can be difficult to do anything. When mine does I don’t want to get out of bed unless it’s to eat – I am a proper foodie. Cooking meals in bulk ensures that you always have something to eat, should you feel hungry – which is important for recovery.   Quick and easy nutritional meals I recommend that are fresh are; stir fries, steak, pasta, jacket potato with beans, sandwiches and chicken with salads.


okay

5. Be upfront & request help

Being open can be a difficult thing; for many in a new environment with strangers.  You may worry more that people won’t accept you because your different. Don’t worry, just be honest about your illness. When I wasn’t honest about mine I lost a lot of friends because they thought I was boring when I couldn’t go out.

Don’t live a lie and just try to keep up with the pace of everyone else. The chances are, you won’t be able to for long and burn out. Also, talk to your lecturers and  about your condition.  Discussing your illness can make them more understanding than it written down on a piece of paper.


6. Visit wellbeing

Every Uni, has a wellbeing department.  Go VISIT it.  You will be designated a disability advisor, who handle matters on your behalf and can help you with queries. My advisor helped me talk through my options if I was to stay or drop out of Uni and drafted my disability memo to staff.  You may find that you are entitled to extra support that is run by your specific institution too. For example, stress-relief and anxiety workshops.


7. Buy an audio recorder

When you do roll up to those 9am lectures, with a potential hangover and chronic audio recorderillness; chances are you won’t be playing much attention.

If your Uni does not record lectures, buy an audio recorder – they are only about £20 from Curries or Argos.  This device was literally my savour throughout first year and helped me remember content. However, make sure you sit near the front to get clear audio. I don’t think I would have achieved my high grades without this gem.


8. Take your laptop to lectures

Some lectures, speak very fast.  So, I suggest you take a laptop so you can open up the slides and go back and forth at your pace to keep up.


9. Have a structure

Try to plan your days as best as you can. So, you can relax  at societies and find time to do your coursework.  This can be difficult when your ill and one day merges into another but the secret is you can have a loose routine as long as you stay organised. By this I mean completing coursework progressively and putting your notes in a folder.


10. Take the free support available

I know, it can be hard to accept help, because of pride – you don’t want your illness to define you.  I was reluctant at first to take help but I was really struggling to plan my workload.  You are likely to get a learning support assistant through DSA for one hour per week in a study room.

The assistants are not subject specific but are still useful. During these sessions the tutor taught me how to structure essays for exam, check my progress and helped me plan. Be aware though – if you miss 2 consecutively without 24 hours’ notice your Uni reserves the right to stop these sessions for the entire semester.



 So, there we have it guys. My guide for the chronic ill student’s success.

I hope you found it useful.

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