7 Questions to Ask When Dealing with a Trigger

UpsetA guest post by Heather Durling

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been dealing with some very deeply buried triggers that exist in my conscious and subconscious mind. I’ve done a lot of work in healing from my abusive childhood, so I thought I was doing pretty well. Out of nowhere, which is usually how these things go, I was shown that I still had some clearing up and cleaning out to do.

Now, my first initial reaction to these nasty triggers was to be angry, feeling as if I hadn’t come as far as I had hoped in my healing and recovery. The secondary reaction was to feel hopeless in the sense that I would never be able to completely heal. The final reaction was to look at myself and say, “I’m done allowing this to have power over me. I want to move on from this.”

This is where your power lies, these “I” statements that affirm and confirm that you are ready, willing, and able to do the work of opening up the proverbial can of worms and start sorting them out.

The way I handled my triggers was to seek help from two coaches that I have been blessed to personally know. I was willing to be asked the right questions and ready to dig deep to find the answers. You may have heard this one before – “You know the answers, and you always have. You have to be willing to see them.” When I allowed myself to go there, to really look, feel and see what was causing the physical and emotional reactions, I was able to start cleaning off some very old corrosion on my connection to myself, my heart, and my spirit.

In Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, “Excuses Be Gone,” he tells us to ask ourselves the following: “First of all, is it true? Can you be 100% sure that what you’re saying is true? Don’t believe everything you think. Almost everything that you think doesn’t hold up to a simple-truth test.”

How do you know what to ask yourself, or where to look within, when seeking if how you are feeling is true?

Where a lot of people seem to struggle, is exactly where I got stuck. When these powerful triggers struck me, one being very physical where I lost my ability to speak and literally froze for a few moments, and the other an emotional reaction to being made to feel less than – it was very difficult to know what to do with them. Most of the time, we ride them out, waiting for them to subside. However, if you can learn how to ask yourself the right questions when a trigger is in full force, you can start to heal from it.

When a trigger hits you, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is it that person is triggering within you?
  2. What are you feeling? (i.e. anger, sadness, etc.)
  3. Where are you feeling it? Be still for a moment and sense if it’s in your head, heart, gut, etc.
  4. Can you tap into why it makes you feel that way?
  5. Who was it in your past that made you feel this way?
  6. Have you forgiven yourself for allowing it, and have you forgiven them for doing it?
  7. Ask yourself – how they made you feel, is it true?

That final question, “Is it true?” will almost always prove to be false when it’s a trigger. They are often caused by someone else’s belief that was downloaded into you, or by a trapped emotional reaction that hasn’t been released, such as feeling powerless, terrified, hurt, and betrayed.

Once you have done the work of cleaning out all of the “stuff” that is causing the trigger to engage, you have gained power over it. Then it’s time to redo your “I” statement. For an example, with the strong physical trigger, I was hit with, the original “I” statement that was happening was: “I am in danger, I am afraid.” After going through the steps, asking the questions, and finding the answers, I was able to change that statement to: “I am in control. I am safe.” Saying that still brings an emotional reaction of tears to my eyes, but it’s because I’m still in the process of accepting those words. However, I will keep repeating that statement until it becomes as strong as the lie it has replaced.

It takes practice, just as it took practice for you to learn how to walk. You fell, A LOT. However, your powerful desire to walk fiercely outweighed the temporary moments of falling. This will take time; it is a process, so please remember to be kind to yourself while going through it, knowing that you will eventually learn how to walk away, leaving the past behind you once and for all.

About Heather Durling:  Founder of The Phoenix Gathering, Practitioner, and Personal Coach for adult survivors of child abuse. She is a fellow survivor who strives to learn new ways to thrive, while sharing her knowledge with those on their own healing journey. She is also a co-facilitator for a local support group, speaker, writer, and a closet herb mad scientist.  She is a guest in the Head|Heart|Health Club as we learn to shift our thoughts.  <<< click on the link for more.

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Facing Our Demons…and Kicking Ass.

Super cool photo of your demons.

This was not going to be the original title, but it needed to be said.  How often have you actually named your demon?  I am not talking about a freaky version of Rumpelstiltskin where a tiny man dances around the fire saying his name loudly in a song that your hand-maiden can hear in order to destroy him…way to go Rumple, nope.  Not that kind of naming.  No.  This kind is actually way worse.

The scariest quest I ever completed was the journey into my deepest darkest fears.  The time that I sat on the couch and knew that without hope, of which I had very little, and faith, of which I still had a small amount left, that if I lost those two things, I would not be able to come out on the other side of this…maybe ever.  Let me be real about it.  It was not suicide, it was immense and total desperation.  It was depression that at such a young age, disease starting trying to destroy my body.

Now with disease comes an entire army of demons.  The likes of which normal people might face one at a time.  However, with me, it was the Battle of the 5 Armies and I wasn’t sure if the Elves were going to fight for me…or not.  << see that scary part in the beginning if you love Tolkien like I do, but stay for the battle.  It’s only a minute but it illustrates my point perfectly.

So the orcs, my demons, I had to name.  I was afraid of living a life of pain, and I knew it.  All of a sudden the Elves catapulted over the humans to fight the impending doom.  In reality, that didn’t happen.  I had to rise up and make a plan.  A plan that I knew would not bring me instant gratification, and a plan that I knew was going to be hard.  Like throwing the ring into Mount Doom hard.  So what did I do?

I got still.  And I said a prayer.

You can meditate, talk to your higher power, write about it, but speak it into existence.  Ask for it.  Seriously.  Men fighting battles always say a battle cry to rally the troops.  We’ve seen that time and time again.  RALLY your TROOPS. 

I made a plan.

Let’s say that you are dealing with anxiety.  When does it happen?  What are your triggers?  Do you know what causes you to spiral into that head space where all the voices are going off at once?  Write it down.  Use a focus word or mantra like this “I am breathing in.  I am breathing out.  I am safe.  I am whole.  I am not afraid. I am in control of my thoughts.”

I realized that I could control my thoughts.

This was a huge part of healing.  As I started to take back control of my Head, everything else started falling into place.  Did this process happen overnight?  No.  But I had a great and powerful plan of journaling my way back to what I truly wanted to feel like, and it was working.

I got really clear on my inner most desires, feelings, and what I did NOT want in my life.

It’s amazing how boundaries work.  One day, after a particularly amazing Yoga session, a “friend” called me to vent yet again.  Only this time, everything that was wrong in her life somehow became my fault because I suggested that I could help her no more and that perhaps therapy was needed.  Never heard from her again.  I was not important enough when I wanted to do fun things like go to yoga, or go out and enjoy dinner without hearing the same exact story.  Every. Single.  Time.  I was ready to grow and change and move forward.  She, and a few others like her, were not.

I made self-care first, not second, to ANY excuses.

This one is also powerful because if you make a commitment to your health and well-being, honor it or one day, quite frankly, you might not be here.  Too many people were flipping out, stressed out, and over the profession I was in.  They always stayed late, and got there early.  They said they couldn’t make yoga because of a “work” thing.  Or it was raining.  Or they were tired.  <<< pick your poison.  Excuses are a type of demon that want you to fail, so my friends, put up the good fight.  Send in Legolas and do the work here. 

I hope this helps you see that growth, in any form, is not an overnight process.  I recently pissed off a person as I mentioned that it was up to them, and no one else, to make their own happiness.  That is where the light comes in my friends.  You can fight these demons and win.  I believe in you.

Dedicated to my warriors in the Head|Heart|Health Club.  There is always room for you!

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Getting to the Root of What’s Bothering You

There’s something just under the surface that you can’t figure out.  You feel very close to making a break through with yourself, but each time you are almost there, another wave crashes over you and threatens to pull you down with it.  You feel alone, but the fact is, you aren’t.

Over the years, I realized what had to happen in order for me to get over a feeling that felt “stuck”.  I actually had to give it a bit of attention and figure out where it was coming from.  It’s uncomfortable as hell, but the fact is, if you ignore it, it will get worse.

Right now, as you are reading this, do a brief inventory on your feelings.  What made you stop and read this?  What feeling is there just below the surface?  As I was writing this, I was happy and content to help others, but now, as I am exploring the feelings someone else might be feeling right this minute, I am anxious.  How do I move forward and really help people get “unstuck” and move forward?

Self-check in time.  Are you running away from your feelings?

If the answer is yes, why? Are you afraid you will reveal too much emotion by facing what is bothering you?  What is the worst thing that can happen?  Sadness?  Tears?  Anger?  Or regret << bingo.  It might be this one that gets stuck.

How to get to the root of the emotion:

  1. Name the feeling and give yourself back the power.  I remember the first time I told someone the root of their problems was ultimately depression.  Depression is a serious thing, but once addressed, we can really get down to business and dissect that bad boy.  It no longer has the power of hiding out in the darkness waiting to overtake you.  You see it coming and you are ready to face it.  Do not freak out over that word.  It is just a word, but if you don’t face it, it can and will destroy your life.
  2. Write about it.  You aren’t a writer.  Heard that before.  You don’t have time.  Avoiding it still.  I have worked with clients who tell me all of this.  I am not a counselor, merely a wellness coach using her gifts to assist others into stepping into the life that was truly meant for them.  Write down every single thought for 5 minutes.  Set a timer.  Then close it.  The next day, re-read it.  Look for a pattern.  A word that emerges.  If you don’t clearly see it, do it again.  Write a stream of thought for 5 minutes.  Is there one word that pops out and your gut says that is part of the problem?  The next day, begin with that word.  Explore it and see what is under it all.
  3. Talk about it with a friend or counselor.  Do the work first as named above, and when you have really explored it, especially if it persisting sadness, do seek professional help.  Private message a friend and ask if they have the name of a counselor.  It is okay to not be okay…but you can’t stay in that place for the rest of your life.  It is not healthy for you and you deserve so much better my friend.
  4. Be mindful of the present moment…constantly.  I watched this inspiring story about a guy who lived after jumping off the Golden Gate bridge.  You might have heard about him, and his story.  He said the second he let go, there was instant regret.  He prayed to be saved, and he was.  One thing he does now is constantly take back control from the “what ifs” and the past thoughts.  He made people realize they have to be honest about their pain.  Here is his post.  It gave me chills to know that this is what he was called to do.  I hope this story as well as these tips help bring a little bit of comfort to your day my friends.

Hope

How to Find Your Groove Again…and Release Funk!

I can’t help but think of George Clinton and “We’ve Got the Funk” when I started thinking about my title for this post.  After I listened to that song, it was hard to concentrate as I like music and I started to wiggle…but that made it even better.

So back to the word “funk” and what that means to me.  I know that I have many things to be happy about, but occasionally, it takes just one little thing to bring my mood down.  I know that I do not want to function at such a low vibrational frequency, but at times, I just have to go with it.  If it appears I need to bring myself out of it, because it has lasted longer than necessary, I will work to snap myself out of it.

Why don’t you want to stay in a “funk” or a low-frequency?

I know that many people worry about money, so I am going to start there.  When you worry about money, bills, and feel like you have scarcity in your life, you actually start attracting more of it.  I know some people think this sounds crazy, but it’s true.  On the other hand, when you start acting as if your needs will be met, through prayer, meditation, or journaling, and release it after the prayer, things start to shift.  I have seen this happen in my life and I firmly believe it to be true.

I would like you to apply the “acting as if” rule to your thoughts anytime you start to feel like things are slipping out of control.  One of the hardest times to do this for me personally was when I was very ill.  When you are ill, you are not at your best.  It lowers you so much that it seems you can’t get out of the hole.  Start visualizing yourself well.  Again, write on it, pray over it, meditate on a healthy vision of you.  Embrace it.  When people ask you how you are doing, say “I am healing.”  Do not, in any way shape or form, list what is wrong with you.  Don’t air it out on Facebook, don’t talk about it with a friend, don’t put it in writing anywhere.

The exception to this thought process is if you put it out there in a positive way.  I know that sounds crazy, but a friend of mine does this to let her friends know how her journey is going and it is never written in a low way.  It is always written in a way that says how blessed she is, and I believe it helps her healing process.  She has continued to beat enormous odds!

How can we find our groove again?

  1. Do a body scan like I say at the beginning and end of my yoga classes.  Breathe deeply, start your thoughts at your head and release tension you might be holding in your jaw, and face.  Work your way down and feel the tension slipping from your shoulders.  If you notice any tight spots, send healing thoughts there to open the muscles up like a flower budding, releasing the tension held therein.  Continue working your way down and take inventory of your stomach.  This part is a little bit different.  Think about what you are eating.  Are you feeding yourself good foods?  Does your stomach not seem to digest foods?  Are you processing foods normally?  <<< Yes, I know people think this is TMI, but it helps.  Lastly, scan all the way through your body and notice where you are holding tension.  Release the tension by tensing the muscle and releasing it.
  2. From your body scan or inventory above, think to yourself what needs to improve.  Are your self-care routines in place?  Are you taking care to keep moving and exercise?  Have you given up doing something you love and thus feel tight and tense all the time?  What really needs to change?  Embrace the truth with yourself.  Don’t cover it up.  Write about what things you know need to be different in order for you to “release the funk.”
  3. Are you sleeping?  Full disclosure on this one.  Several years ago I started doing research, more research, into all-natural supplements because I was diagnosed with so many things.  I read that people with fibromyalgia don’t sleep, and I put myself on this supplement and never looked back.  Except when I run out of it and can’t sleep again for 2 days until the order comes in.  So I became a customer first as I got a discount from ordering something that honestly, helped me find sleep at last.  You are more than welcome to do your own research, but for me, the change was drastic.  I needed sleep to function.
  4. The stomach was the root of several of my moodiness issues.  If you read my post I linked up there to the word stomach…it really changed my life when I realized that caused me so many hours of “funk” when it was not in balance.  I did put myself on my own probiotics after hours of research into the different types.  Why?  My gut was causing me so much pain and dysfunction that I couldn’t have a normal life.  Period.  <<< that link above is my really super amazing research I wrote for a magazine:)  Yes I am proud of it because I didn’t give up on my quest to find my groove again.
  5. Treat yourself and others with kindness.  Have faith that this will pass.  Be gentle to yourself, but firm that you can’t stay in this place forever. I know you can move forward and find that inner fire again!

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5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood

For those of you who have read my about me page, you know that I have been researching and improving my health for over 18 years.  Last year I completed a sports nutrition certification and realized, yet again, how many of the health issues we face today can be altered and slowly improved with just the right tweak in our diets.  I believed so much in it, that in just 1 year, I had completely turned my life around from removing the foods that were causing me pain and “flare-ups” of my diseases.  Depression was not going to get me once I identified what foods made me worse.

So today, I was minding my own business gathering ingredients for a nice big salad, when a processed food display jumped right up and tried to grab me.  <<< not really, but it almost did.  Chocolate is my weakness.  But this chocolate was on something that is a known flare for me and causes me to crash so much right after eating it I feel like I can’t move.  I become that tired.  So I knew what I had to do and I want to help you do the same.  Let’s grab some of these great foods instead!

5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood:

  1. Go bananas <<< technically I linked to my favorite dry snack, but I love this version of dried bananas.  So what do these yellow fruits help us with?  Bananas employ mood-lifting power, with their combination of vitamins B6, A, and C; fiber; tryptophan; potassium; phosphorous; iron; protein; and healthy carbohydrates.  What happens in the body?  You get a quick boost from the fructose as well as sustaining energy from the fiber, which helps prevent a blood sugar spike and ensuing drop in energy as well as mood.  Mind you, this is natural and not some made up thing like “high fructose corn syrup”.  <<< icky for autoimmune responses…well just plain bad honestly. So I always stay away from that.  At our house, we tend to use bananas in smoothies, but if they have been there and are ripe, I will actually cut them up and put them in the freezer for later use as “banana cubes” in my blender.
  2. Sunflower seeds (or butter) <<< I love this stuff times 10.  I was doing research a few years ago on a theory I had that my prior acid-blocking supplements (completely weaned myself off them using natural remedy) were causing an issue with my magnesium levels.  Why is this important?  Magnesium, in addition to regulating mood, is vital for many body functions to operate normally. Magnesium deficiency can be responsible for feelings of fatigue, nervousness, and anxiety (triggers increase in adrenaline), and it’s been linked to various mood disorders. However, stable magnesium levels can help the body and mind achieve a calm and relaxed state.  Some scientific studies have shown magnesium supplementation to be beneficial in treating major depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.  Boom!  There it was yet again.  That feeling to go down the right path and unravel the mess my doctors, no offense to anyone, had caused in my gut.
  3. Dark chocolate is the bomb dot come in my world.  <<< the one linked I often see in my grocery store as a savior if I am desperate to have something chocolate.  I have to read all ingredients, but this one is safe for me.  The organic cacao powder is my go-to for smoothies, baking and drinks of the hot kind.  Yummy.  How does this help me?  Sorry men, but PMS time, seriously, come in the house with this in the shopping bag.  Here is why: Among its many nutrients, cacao beans contain a slightly stimulatory, mood-boosting caffeine derivative called theobromine. Theobromine, a molecule with a structure similar to caffeine, has been shown to support mood and increase focus:)  I am big into plant-based or phyto healing, so as this chocolate melts on your tongue, a number of reactions occur, including the release of serotonin in the brain and mood-elevating endorphins in the body.  Yummy.
  4. Pass me my green tea y’all.  <<< I linked my all-time favorite recent discovery of this muscle recovery tea I drink after a hard day of yoga.  So why is tea, especially green tea helpful?   Tea, the green variety more so, provides catechin antioxidants that have been shown to support brain function and promote proper balance of the stress hormone cortisol.  Further, a toasty mug of tea can supply you with L-theanine, an amino acid that might promote you being alert a bit more.  Also a report published in Public Health Nutrition showed that study participants who sipped four or more cups of green tea daily reported having a more positive mood.  I recently started making my green tea 30 minutes ahead of time in the fridge using cold water and mint leaves.  I then drink it cold and I know that provides a metabolism boost as well.
  5. Walnuts were also on my list of foods to eat.  <<< again, I have to be careful.  No glaze, no almonds (I personally found out they cause me stomach pain…who knew? Autoimmune is a tricky navigation.), no additives.  JUST walnuts!  Why are they helpful?  Walnuts contain a handful of components that contribute to the elusive good mood, including omega-3s, vitamin B6, tryptophan, protein, and folate.  Higher blood levels of omega-3s have been linked with better mood and lower rates of depression, while lower blood levels of omega-3s have been associated with higher rates of depression and negative feelings.  Boom!  Grab you some walnuts friends.  Or nutty friends…either way. Normal suggested dosage of omega-3 oils is one gram (1,000 mg) per day. You’ll get about the same amount, as well as a healthy dose of fiber and protein, in just half an ounce of walnuts.  I put them on my yogurt, but yogurt is a whole different story, so read the ingredients!  I personally have been enjoying some Brown Cow yogurt…but prior to that is was the Stonyfield Farms kind.  Again, navigate so that you can actually read all the ingredients as I discuss in my 4 Weeks to Wellness course.  You don’t want things you can’t read going into your body.  It really does flare all kinds of things that are just bringing you down.

Thank you guys for reading this and go out and clean your pantry today!  Stock up for better health!

Anything's possible

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Ease Depression with these 5 Steps

This article is not medical advice, but it is intended to help you on your journey.  While I don’t know if anything can actually prevent you from becoming depressed, I believe that my diligence helped me come out of it.  The signs that I personally experienced were from my own combination of invisible diseases.  I was diagnosed with “secondary depression” stemming from pain.

Symptoms you might experience:

  1. Loss of energy or fatigue even after sleeping.
  2. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt that you are to blame.
  3. Weight loss or gain…in my case it was gain.
  4. Thoughts of suicide or just nothingness…as in what would happen if you didn’t exist?
  5. Restlessness, insomnia, or wanting to sleep all day long.
  6. No pleasure in any or all activities, and/or no joy or happiness in other things that used to bring you joy.
  7. “Hermit” behavior and not speaking to anyone.

While there are certainly more symptoms, these are just a few that are warning signs your body is trying to tell you something.  What do you think your body is trying to tell you?  There could be many underlying health problems mimicking depression that can be corrected and/or helped once noted.

5 steps to take if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms:

  1. Have your thyroid checked, your vitamin levels and possibly even your adrenal glands.  If you open the link on thyroid, in the fine print of the article, it says this:  A 2005 study found that subjects with Hashimoto’s disease displayed high frequencies of lifetime Depressive Episodes, Generalized Anxiety Disorders, Social Phobia, and Primary Sleep Disorders.  What had I been trying to tell my doctor for over a year?  That there was a link.  When he refused, seriously, to listen to me I went to a functional medical doctor instead.  The body gives us these warning signs as a way of letting us know that we really are not in balance.  I could see that I was not, and definitely knew something brought it on because never in my life had I felt so empty.
  2. Get more Vitamin D.  I take this one right here, but have your levels checked first.  I started looking into the most pure form of phytotherapy, or plant-based nutrition supplements, and was personally sold by the methods of how this company preserved the nutrients in the most readily available form.  I read that Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression.  So I also decided to take a gluten-free multivitamin.
  3. Check and see if you suffer from food intolerance as it a real thing. Like most people, I used to think that food intolerance caused unpleasant reactions like diarrhea, swelling of lips or tongue, etc. I would not have associated my food with what was happening in my brain and gut until I studied the effects of what I was eating.  I journal the questionable items which might have sugar or gluten to see if that is what triggers my response or mood shift now.  When I am away from foods I need to eat, and make do with foods that I should NOT eat, there is a consequence in my body.  My body warns me almost immediately now.
  4. This one is hard, but drink less caffeine.  Anxiety often happens along with depression, and too much caffeine can make you nervous, jittery, or anxious.  There is no clear link; however, it is well known that cutting out sodas and sugary drinks that spike your energy and then leave you in a slump and replacing with water will leave your blood sugar levels at a more normal balance, which will, in fact, help you in the long run.  Plus you might just sleep better this breaking the cycle.
  5. Exercise in some way shape or form daily.  People get mad at me for pointing this one out usually, but it brings us back to the endorphins. I wrote about this a while back, but it is true that endorphins help us.   In my own way, I always have dark chocolate here, so I hope you opened my old post up there as it has a funny clip, plus I do yoga and walk, get outside, etc.  Truly is life saving to get exercise.

While these things might seem insignificant to others who do not know what it’s like to be trapped in a world of nothingness, these tips really could help save a friend’s life.  Keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on a card as well.

Articles I have written on autoimmune can also help you in your research on gluten intolerance, leaky gut and more.

  • The great puzzle takes you back to my allergy tests.
  • Fog speaks on what it’s like to have brain fog.
  • War on me talks about my inside battle.
  • Motivational Monday on this day talked about tips I used to get by daily in pain.
  • The Thief is one of my faves and talks about old age being a bitch.

sadness

The Secret to Success in Every Area of Your Life…

The Secret to Success in Life

Finding Success Took Me Years…Now You Can Benefit.

Two years ago, I was severely depressed from my illnesses.  I was in pain daily, overweight, and couldn’t find a doctor to help me…other than suggest prescriptions for life to manage my pain.  I knew that I didn’t want to do that, and February of 2014 was when I left the doctor’s office more depressed than ever as I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia…and no treatment.  None, but medicine.  Nothing to address my diet, my life, how I was going to live since I said no to this medicine that could cause more damage to my liver.

But after the sadness passed, I was determined to continue my research into helping myself, and others like me.

Today I want to share with you the one secret I discovered.

I discovered my mind played a key role in all areas of head, heart and health and I learned the secret of using my mind to become a success in every area of my life. Not just mentally, but physically and emotionally as well. It sounds so simple…but it took me almost 17 years to “wake up” and discover that the true hero of my life had to be me. The key to making this happen was getting mad, and forming a plan.

I lost over 25 pounds on my 5’2 inch frame, started moving more…and finally started feeling better. I had truly lost hope of ever feeling better before I mapped out the series of steps that was crucial in changing my life…and never would have imagined that I would make it through 200 hours of Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in 2015!!

Over the last year, many people in my life have seen this transformation, and have contacted my about my plan.  I do have a line of all-natural supplements that I prefer, but it was so much more than that.  With each step that I took towards wellness, each change that I made, I could feel my spirit lift.  I knew that I was on the right path.

I no longer let my thoughts of pain, depression, and hopelessness rule my life.  I took control back over my head, my heart and my health.

If you have tried everything, or at least you think you have, if you feel like you need a fresh outlook on your life, I am offering lifestyle tools for the first time online! <<< Clicking that link takes you to my new product portal. I have coached hundreds of people over the last year in my business, but decided to open it up to an online community.  Work with me to help change your life!   

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Share the Wealth…blog talk radio show

Share the Wealth with Kellie Fitzgerald and her guest…well me!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/themagichappens/2015/07/29/share-the-wealth-with-kellie-fitzgerald-and-aimee-barnes-halpin

Hopefully you got a chance to listen to that ^^ as it was actually a really quick show!!  Well, for me anyway.  I glossed over most of the details, but I do want you to know that there is a search button here on the page and if my story resonates with you or you know anyone at all who suffers from any of the diseases I talk about, please feel free to share this post with them.  Lastly, I am doing some more research on one more new gene mutation so look for that soon if you happen to like reading about invisible diseases and possible links as to why you might have what you have!  ~Aimee

Breaking chains

Tips for living with pain…

Oh great.  Here is yet another blog article trying to tell me how to live with pain.  What does this writer know?  This writer lives with 6 invisible diseases…and all of them have caused pain.  Hereditary Hemochromatosis (iron overload), Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (sensitivity to light, skin blisters), Hashimoto’s Thyroid (autoimmune…caused extreme stomach issues), Epstein-Barr Virus (felt entire vertebral column flare-up), Depression from pain, and Fribromyalgia (when anyone touched my skin, it felt like a slap).

Over the last three years, the pain continued to get worse.  I opted not to be on the pharmaceutical drugs due to the fact that HH is a genetic condition and no doctor could tell me for sure if the drugs would make my liver worse.  So pain it was.  But I wasn’t going to stop there.  I continued my search for things to help me cope that were going to work with my body naturally.  What did I find?

  1. Turmeric milk.  Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory properties…due to the active compound curcumin.
  2. Relief.  Building on that, I take this product because it has ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin, but even more than that it also includes turmeric root extract, as well as yucca root, which has long been used for osteoarthritis as well as inflammation of the intestine.  Ah-ha.  Hmm.  Remember my stomach pain before?  Better within weeks of getting on this.
  3. Restorative yoga.  Yoga has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol.  Do you think I might have been stressed when I moved if my whole body felt like it was on fire?  Yes.  Just a little.  The difference in restorative though, is that you get to use comfy bolsters, blocks and blankets.  So we made little nests, and sat in that pose for 5-15 minutes depending on what it was.  I had a hard time at first, but learned to let go of my expectations of what my body used to be able to do.  The poses became second nature.
  4. Vinyasa yoga for back pain.  I graduated to Vinyasa…honestly, only because a friend pulled me in the direction my mind was afraid to go.  When she suggested restorative, I gave it a try.  When she said that I could do Vinyasa and possibly teach one day, my mind shut her down due to the pain.  “She has no idea how much moving hurts.”  Said the mind…but the heart wanted to get better.  Thankfully, it’s pretty strong, and said “Let’s do this thing!!!”  And so I did.  Almost 200 hours later…the girl on fire.  Literally.
  5. Meditation-like thoughts.  When I felt myself go into the dark place of pain, I would literally stop and say things to myself like “I am breathing in.  I am breathing out.”  I didn’t come up with this on my own.  I read part of a Thich Nhat Hanh’s You are Here, except at the time, I didn’t want to be there.  ha.  So I never finished it.  But it did teach me to focus my breathing.
  6. Friends checking in on you.  This part became difficult.  Not many people were in this category.  When you are in pain, people slip away.  They do.  It’s not their fault, but it is in the human nature to be uncomfortable when you don’t know what to do.  Most don’t climb down in the hole with you.  Watch this short video to get the full meaning of “The Power of Empathy”.  Rarely can a response make something better, says Dr. Brown, what makes something better is a connection.

So my friends, I leave you with my connection to you.  I am in the hole with you.  I have climbed down there.  I will hug you.  I will give you that love and connection to your pain, but the next step is on you.  The best advice I have for you is to read more about my 4 Weeks to Wellness course and take that as your next step.  The program was created based off what I did to get my life back, and it truly and honestly saved me.

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Motivational Monday…for the UNbroken

Hey friends…you know how last week on the Facebook fan page for my blog, I asked you a question?  I asked you to tell me what kind of “invisible disease” you had.  Many times, we feel so alone with these diseases, because they are in fact, not visible to people looking in at our lives.  But this statistic came from the link I posted: 96% of people with chronic medical conditions live with an illness that is invisible. 

I don’t really think we are alone.  So let’s say you didn’t get your disability and you have 5, maybe 6 illnesses on that list.  Guess what?  It happens.  I decided it meant something different.  I decided it meant that I was supposed to find a flexible job working from home and helping others.  Don’t be discouraged.  You have a few options.  You can continue the fight without a lawyer.  I have been told that’s why I never got anywhere.  You can get a lawyer.  Or you can move on.  Moving on is not giving up.  I just want to give you permission in case you needed to hear that.  I know all the excuses in your head.  I know all the what ifs.  But do not stay in that place of despair.  Make a plan.  Work on it.  Move on.

So now I am in yoga teacher training, and it’s hard.  Very, very hard emotionally and physically.  I doubt my path at times.  I do.  But as my friend said yesterday, okay really paraphrasing, if we didn’t have emotions or feelings we’d be like Data from Star Trek.  He was an android who was unable to feel emotion or understand certain human responses.  We don’t want to live like that.  So acknowledge the feelings you are having, and work the plan.  Whatever the plan is.  If you don’t have plan, write something down.  Just a few things.  It can be as simple as get out of bed, and get dressed.  Get to the store today.  Fibro friends, this is an important plan.  You know this.  Get out of your pajamas…says the blogger still in pajamas.  But you know what I’m talking about!!!  You do.

Next on your list, make a new friend.  Okay, this one is hard.  Why is this hard?  It is hard for people who feel alone, because opening ourselves up and getting vulnerable with new people is like going to a new doctor for us.  We hate having to start at the beginning and tell our story.  I know this.  You know this.  Stop ignoring this one.  So here’s how you can go about doing this.  Re-evaluate who is in your life right now.  Who checks in on you…who checked out on you.  Those people who checked out of your life during your hardest times, they have left you space for new people.  I know it sucks, believe me I do.  But it’s time to be honest.  Those people didn’t understand anyway.

So start a new practice.  Get your list out.  What did you like to do before all the bumps?  For me, I already liked yoga, so I looked into restorative, which was low-key.  I researched other types of exercises for fibromyalgia, and decided I didn’t feel like going to water aerobics, but if you like that, put that down.  if you liked gardening put it down.  Don’t think about the pain, I know you automatically went to “I can’t get down there and bend.” Stop.  So here’s a neat idea, look up community free classes or workshops in your area.  You can also container garden and not have to bend.  See how I did that?  Put it at eye level.  Flower arranging?  Do it.  Whatever it is that old you did, write it down.

So guess what’s going to happen during this process of thinking about other things that you now have room for in your life…you are going to make new friends.  You are going to feel better, and you are going to feel less alone.  Anytime you have a negative thought, push it away and back to the things you are doing that are positive.  That are a step in the right direction.  So when you get that letter in the mail from social security…don’t be afraid to open it.  Make a plan.

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