The What IF’s?

It has almost been a month since I found a lump in my breast and I have seen the other side of….what if’s…What if I die? What if this is it. What if this is one of the last sunrises. What if this is the beginning of unbearable pain. What if this is closer to the end of my beautiful life. What if I am taken away from my daughter, an only child, her best friend, her foundation, her comfort. What if I won’t be there for my husband to lift him when he needs me. What if I have poison running through my body. What if. What if. What if. It seems to never ends when you find something in your life that shakes you to your core.
You definitely see another side of yourself and you wonder how you became this small, scared version of something ugly, something you never knew could be there.
I feel like I rolled up in a ball for about a week, but knew I had to keep a strong face for my daughter. I did not want her to worry or wonder or think about the ‘what it’s.’
I knew I had to begin to look at the what if’s from a different place, a more powerful place. What if it is the ‘C’ word…What would I do? How could I take that on? Would I go traditional medicine? Would I talk to a lot of people? How could I handle this to my best ability? How can I empower myself.
Now, you must know one thing about me—I HATE hospitals, doctors, needles and I avoid them at all costs. In fact, I had not had any blood work done since my ONE and only daughter was born (15 years ago) & that experience ended poorly when the nurse yelled at me & told me I was making her nervous. NEEDLES. NEVER!
Well, when something shakes you to your core & your mind races with the ‘what ifs’ those needles don’t seem like the biggest problem in the room, so I took it with grace and dignity and powered through. I left the lab, looked at my husband and said, “One hurdle down! One more big one to go…the mammo.”
It is tomorrow and my fears begin to bubble to the surface and I have to find a place that helps me feel safe. I have found music, nature, warm showers, visualizing healing images and little things make me feel better.
ring-magical-vintage-mood-ring-1LITTLE THINGS: I bought myself a “mood ring” because when I was a kid I thought they were so magical. At this point I knew I could look down and see a variety of colors that would make me feel a little better. It works!! I look down at my finger and see bright purples, blues, greens and I know that deep down I am feeling CALM, HAPPY, RELAXED and it makes everything a little better.
Big hugs. You can never get enough of those little joys. Life is short & we MUST stock up!! smile.
Music-heals-the-heartMUSIC: There has been a song that seems to resonate with me at this juncture. The words seem to resonate. It is a song by Rachel Platten called Grace. Here are some of the lyrics that resonate:
I used to wear love like an army
I used to know nothing could harm me
Now fear got up all in my head
I’m all in my head, and I made a mess
I confess, I’m ashamed
And I need grace
To step inside my mind and help me be a better person
Release the better version of me
‘Cause right now, what I wanna do is scream it
I need grace ’cause I’m running low on faith
And I really wanna change my heart
‘Cause I’m falling apart these days
And what I really need is grace, grace, grace
I feel like I’m a ghost
I forgot the most important thing I know
That there’s nobody else I have to be
There’s no one else I need to please
I have the answers that I need
I used to wear love like an army
I used to know nothing could harm me
Now fear got up all in my head
I’m all in my head, and I made a mess
I confess, I’m ashamed
And I need grace
To step inside my mind and help me be a better person
Release the better version of me
‘Cause right now, what I wanna do is scream it
I need grace ’cause I’m running low on faith
And I really wanna change my heart
‘Cause I’m falling apart these days
And what I really need is grace watching over my mistakes
Yeah, I really wanna change my heart
‘Cause I’m falling apart these days
And what I really need is grace
 
The other song is RISE UP by Andra Day. That just makes you feel stronger.
a5ae7f8e8f57683986848258cb7c59bf--white-butterfly-butterfly-wingsVISUALIZE: I also believe in visualizing & when it comes to trying to heal something I see white butterflies. I envision the ball inside like a cocoon that is radiating light, waiting to be free from fear, illness, and there are hundreds of butterflies inside that break free and flutter throughout my body spreading light.
I also see the ball as a spinning bright light that explodes sending thousands of tiny stars spinning throughout my body.
It is hard to not know what is happening and having no control. I am trying to have faith that I will be stronger after this experience. I will RISE UP and be filled with GRACE.
What else can you do?
forest-trees-happyWALK: No matter what you have going on in your life, your body, your mind…a walk is an instant remedy and seems to help worry, stress, what if’s melt away and take you to a place of calm. You just see beauty, details, colors, nature soothes the soul. ALWAYS.
prayerPRAYER: NO matter what you believe, have a religion, struggle…I believe prayer is a very powerful tool and is not bound by any belief system. Prayer is the purest form of communicating fear, need, faith, humility, thanks. It is a gift that we can say simple words and bless anyone in need. That is a beautiful gift. I invite prayers from anyone and simply say thank you.
1199_800_HandHeartBackground-1024x683
I am still in the unknown, but I am trying to surround myself with hope, faith, prayers, lots of walks, warm showers and little things that make me happy. What else can you do. Life gives us struggles, but we learn through them and hopefully come out stronger. We can only HOPE to find the strength we need within and are able to RISE UP.
SAY a PRAYER. SEND SOME LOVE. TELL SOMEONE YOU LOVE THEM. HUG. SEND LOVE NOTES. GO ON A WALK. TRY SOMETHING NEW. EAT SOMETHING YOU LOVE. LISTEN TO MUSIC YOU ENJOY. Do things that make your heart sing…because we can!!
Peace and LOVE to you today. xoxo  -H
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A lesson from being totally numb!

I recently have been going to the dentist to take care of some periodontal issues. The serious nature has had me getting intensely drugged and numbed. I left the dentist office two different times looking like I had a stroke (mouth droopy) and my entire mouth numb and left without feeling. Talk about humbling. I could not feel my lips or tell if I was sucking a straw. It was terrible. I felt like Tim Allen…see below..hahaha

 

1Now, seriously. It was humbling and my heart ached for people who suffer from health issues. It made me think of my friend who was pregnant and had a stroke during her pregnancy. She lost mobility and memory. She struggled to find a reason for what had happened to her. She came to the realization that if it was for her child, she could struggle through & then she was thrown into the fire of losing that child. She wondered why. She began to question everything. She fell into a depression. She had not only lost physical mobility, she was now struggling with emotional mobility. She had other children she needed to take care of, so she had to go deep into her emotional reserve and find a place where she could begin to build again.

Today. I hope that many of you out there who do not struggle physically or emotionally will count the many gifts that you take for granted. I know walking out of that dentist office numb made me aware of the many gifts I take for granted. Think about it…A FEW things to get you thinking about the many gifts you are given…

 

site_photo_Our_Mission1Do you have healthy children? If you need a little more realization on this go watchthe movie,  “Miracles from Heaven.” My husband and I balled watching what that family had to go through and endure. It is based on a true story. Just imagine having a sick child & how difficult that would be. Go hug your children and thank the heavens that they are healthy and happy.

 

6db96ebcaa0ec34f9b184010c74191c6Two gifts you opened this morning–your eyes: You have the gift to see. There are many people who don’t take the time to look at the details, to notice the small gifts all around them. Read something. Go outside and look at the symmetry of leaves. Watch the clouds. Enjoy a sunrise or sunset. Notice color.

 

abundance-42-1024x860Do you have abundance? Whether it is fruit available for picking, a grocery store full of a variety of goods, running water, energy, family near, somewhere to live…My sister-in-law just moved to California. They had a house lined up to move into when they arrived, but the day they were to move in, the funding fell through. Luckily they had a trailer to live in while they are trying to work things out. My sister-in-law laughed as she explained their situation, “and I wanted to sell the trailer!” My response, “I bet you are glad you have it right now.”  They are living in a trailer, but are abundant with love. They took a day as a family and made it a memory in Disneyland. She joked that they are homeless, but they are in Disneyland and enjoying it.     Every situation is different, but if you can find the abundance wherever you are, you will find the gift within the situation.

 

Love-Heart-Made-With-Hands-At-Sunset_1Do you have love? We all come from love, but sometimes that gets lost in the confusion of life. You may be surrounded by friends and family who love you or you may have a best pet friend or maybe you are constantly searching for love. Do you love yourself? Love can be found in service, caring for another, holding the hand of someone afflicted, listening to someone in need…LOVE is everywhere, it is a gift that may be freely given or you may need to seek and find it. Love is in our nature.

 

healthymindbody_29Do you have a healthy body? Many of us take for granted and sometimes abuse the incredible gift we have been given–our body. It is an amazing piece of systematic genius. How are bodies function is a miracle & we do not have to do anything. It runs beautifully. Sometimes it is put on us to take better care of this amazing gift and we need to take it seriously. When we begin to break down, life becomes more difficult. We need to seek out good healthy habits. We need to find exercises we love. We need to sleep, drink water and do good things. Do you appreciate the ability to touch, to hear, to breathe, to taste yummy foods, etc.  We need to be grateful for the health and happiness we have.

 

Never-Stop-LearningDo you appreciate being able to learn and grow? We have a great ability to learn anything with the help of the internet, youtube, connecting with others, etc. It is amazing!! We are only limited by what we do NOT do. Learn something new & guaranteed you will find a new zest for your life. You will begin to strive to seek out new things more often to enhance your life. You will learn and want to share with others around you. It is contagious! When we don’t seek out new things, we become stagnate and don’t grow. Take the time. It is worth it. Seek to learn something new each day, even if it is something small. You will fill it boost your day. I promise!

 

download_images_7191338321_healthcorner_banner_3Do you have balance? Mind. Body. Spirit. All come together as a whole.

Well, this is a small list, but a good start. Create your own list of things you are grateful for and begin to to truly live, love and see the things that make your life incredible.

Peace and love to you. -H

 

Exercise & its spin on depression

ImageIt’s the new year and every gym is busier than ever, so I thought this would be a good topic to talk about because it hits home with me. You always hear the benefits of exercise, but I am here to attest to the benefits it has on depression.

My husband has had swinging bouts with depression to a point where it almost ended his life & would have altered mine and my little girls forever. We struggled to find a solution that did not involve pills or long visits at a psych office, so he began working out. He began to feel better and even signed up and competed in numerous triathlons. It seems to be his magic, natural cure for the darkness. It brings out the hope of feeling good, the light that helps him deal with the stresses of life. I can literally see and feel a difference in him when he has not worked out for a week, his attitude, his irritability begin to creep in & I remind him gently that he needs to work out to feel better.

If you or someone you love struggles with depression or even a bad day, get them moving, get them doing something that will trigger the good chemicals in their body. I promise it will help.

Here are some good tips that I pulled from the Mayo clinic to help…

Try a happy hour to your health!

Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms

If you have depression or anxiety, you might find your doctor prescribing a regular dose of exercise in addition to medication or psychotherapy. Exercise isn’t a cure for depression or anxiety. But its psychological and physical benefits can improve your symptoms.

“It’s not a magic bullet, but increasing physical activity is a positive and active strategy to help manage depression and anxiety,” says Kristin Vickers-Douglas, Ph.D., a psychologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

When you have depression or anxiety, exercising may be the last thing you think you can do. But you can overcome the inertia. Here’s a look at how exercise can ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Plus, get realistic tips to get started and stick with exercising.

How exercise helps depression and anxiety

Exercise has long been touted as a way to maintain physical fitness and help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and other diseases. A growing volume of research shows that exercise also can help improve symptoms of certain mental conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Exercise also may help prevent a relapse after treatment for depression or anxiety.

Research suggests that it may take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for at least three to five days a week to significantly improve symptoms of depression. However, smaller amounts of activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — have been shown to improve mood in the short term. “So, small bouts of exercise may be a great way to get started if it’s initially too difficult to do more,” Dr. Vickers-Douglas says.

Just how exercise reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety isn’t fully understood. Researchers believe that exercise prompts changes in both mind and body.

Some evidence suggests that exercise postively affects the levels of certain mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain. Exercise may also boost feel-good endorphins, release tension in muscles, help you sleep better and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It also increases body temperature, which may have calming effects. All of these changes in your mind and body can improve such symptoms as sadness, anxiety, irritability, stress, fatigue, anger, self-doubt and hopelessness.

If you exercise regularly but depression or anxiety still impairs your daily functioning, seek professional help. Exercise isn’t meant to replace medical treatment of depression or anxiety.

The benefits of exercise for depression and anxiety

Exercise has numerous psychological and emotional benefits when you have depression or anxiety. These include:

Confidence. Engaging in physical activity offers a sense of accomplishment. Meeting goals or challenges, no matter how small, can boost self-confidence at times when you need it most. Exercise also can make you feel better about your appearance and your self-worth.

Distraction. When you have depression or anxiety, it’s easy to dwell on how badly you feel. But dwelling interferes with your ability to problem solve and cope in a healthy way. Dwelling also can make depression more severe and longer lasting. Exercise can provide a good distraction. It shifts the focus away from unpleasant thoughts to something more pleasant, such as your surroundings or the music you enjoy listening to while you exercise.

Interactions. Depression and anxiety can lead to isolation. That, in turn, can worsen your condition. Exercising can create opportunities to interact with others, even if it’s just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood.

Healthy coping. Doing something beneficial to manage depression or anxiety is a positive coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol excessively, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping depression and anxiety will go away on their own aren’t helpful coping strategies.

Tips to start exercising when you have depression or anxiety

Of course, knowing that something’s good for you doesn’t make it easier to actually do it. With depression or anxiety, you may have a hard enough time just doing the dishes, showering or going to work. How can you possibly consider getting in some exercise?

Here are some steps that can help you exercise when you have depression or anxiety:

Get your doctor’s support. Some, but not all, mental health professionals have adopted exercise as a part of their treatment suggestions. Talk to your doctor or therapist for guidance and support. Discuss concerns about an exercise program and how it fits into your overall treatment plan.

Identify what you enjoy doing. Figure out what type of exercise or activities you’re most likely to do. And think about when and how you’d be most likely to follow through. For instance, would you be more likely to do some gardening in the evening or go for a jog in the pre-dawn hours? Go for a walk in the woods or play basketball with your children after school?

Set reasonable goals. Your mission doesn’t have to be walking for an hour five days a week. Think about what you may be able to do in reality. Twenty minutes? Ten minutes? Start there and build up. Custom-tailor your plan to your own needs and abilities rather than trying to meet idealistic guidelines that could just add to your pressure.

Don’t think of exercise as a burden. If exercise is just another “should” in your life that you don’t think you’re living up to, you’ll associate it with failure. Rather, look at your exercise schedule the same way you look at your therapy sessions or antidepressant medication — as one of the tools to help you get better.

Address your barriers. Identify your individual barriers to exercising. If you feel intimidated by others or are self-conscious, for instance, you may want to exercise in the privacy of your own home. If you stick to goals better with a partner, find a friend to work out with. If you don’t have extra money to spend on exercise gear, do something that is virtually cost-free — walk. If you think about what’s stopping you from exercising, you can probably find an alternative solution.

Prepare for setbacks and obstacles. Exercise isn’t always easy or fun. And it’s tempting to blame yourself for that. People with depression are especially likely to feel shame over perceived failures. Don’t fall into that trap. Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction, no matter how small. If you skip exercise one day, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure and may as well quit entirely. Just try again the next day.

Sticking with exercise when you have depression or anxiety

Launching an exercise program is hard. Sticking with it can be even harder. One key is problem solving your way through when it seems like you can’t or don’t want to exercise.

“What would happen if you went out to your car and it wouldn’t start?” Dr. Vickers-Douglas asks. “You’d probably be able to very quickly list several strategies for dealing with that barrier, such as calling an auto service, taking the bus, or calling your spouse or friend for help. You instantly start problem solving.”

But most people don’t approach exercise that way. What happens if you want to go for a walk but it’s raining? Most people decide against the walk and don’t even try to explore alternatives. “With exercise, we often hit a barrier and say, ‘That’s it. I can’t do it, forget it,’” Dr. Vickers-Douglas says.

Instead, problem solve your way through the exercise barrier, just as you would other obstacles in your life. Figure out your options — walking in the rain, going to a gym, exercising indoors, for instance.

“Some people have the idea that being physically active is supposed to be easy and natural,” Dr. Vickers-Douglas says. “Some think of it as just having enough willpower. But that really oversimplifies it and can make us feel like failures. You can’t just rely on willpower. Identify your strengths and skills and apply those to exercise.”

“Act as if you are and you will become such.”  -Leo Tolstoy
If you begin to believe in yourself, your possibilities and the direction you are taking your life, all will be well in health and happiness. Best wishes for new beginnings, new hopes.
-Love, Heather