Finally Seeing Yourself as Others See You

When you suffer for so long from any mental health issues, it is quite difficult to believe what others tell you no matter what it is. Whether it is as simple as “you look nice today” to “I like what you are wearing” we just can not seem to believe that it is actually true. Then when they try to get us to see that we have overcome so much in our journey to getting better we just go along with it and act like we agree and life goes on.

One day something amazing finally hits you and all these wonderful things people have been telling you for so long make sense to you. I know when it hit me I honestly can not describe exactly how I felt. It was a mixture of pride in myself, relief of this weight being lifted of me that I did not even realize I had been carrying, being able to tell myself that I am smart and pretty and deserving of good things in life. I have never felt these things in life before. I had never realized for myself any of this for myself. I actually felt like I was glowing. I was smiling more because for once I was feeling so much better about myself.

It is not even just about feeling better though. I can see for myself that I am handling everything better than I did in the past. I had a car issue come up that normally would have had me all worked up. Instead I kept my head and kept calm and just handled it. I was shocked. It did not even phase me. I am getting my son the help he needs and am staying calmer with him. My kids are even handling things better too. I saw a dietitian to help get my eating habits better for me and the kids. I am going to the gym now. I used to feel guilty when I would buy myself new clothes. Not anymore. I even started buying a few things with color.

It has taken quite a few years to get to this point in my life. I will admit it is still hard living every day in what people call “normal” life. I do miss the highs that come with the Bipolar but I do know that life is so much better the way it is now. I think I will always struggle a little with staying on my medications but I just have to remind myself where I have come from. I am so proud of myself and how far I have come. Time to see where I go next!




Heart and Stroke Month

February is Heart and Stroke Month. Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day. It describes a range of different heart conditions such as coronary artery disease, congenital heart defects (heart problems you are born with), and heart rhythm problems. These conditions range in severity and treatment style, but can all become dangerous if left alone. At worst, heart disease can cause other major issues, such as stroke, which can be deadly.

Strokes (“brain attacks”) occur when the brain loses blood supply and stops receiving oxygen. This is often due to blood vessel and artery issues caused by cardiovascular disease. Any areas of the brain that lose oxygen become injured, impairing the function of that area of the brain. This can lead to the loss of many mental and physical functions, paralysis, and in about 1/3 of cases, death.

Potential symptoms may include:

  • fluttering in your chest or racing heartbeat
  • chest discomfort or pain
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness or fainting
  • pale skin
  • swelling in the legs, hands, around the abdomen, or around the eyes
  • constant weakness and fatigue
  • numbness in arms and legs
  • persistent fever

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor immediately.

In contrast, strokes are hard to see coming beforehand because they are so sudden. If you believe someone is having a stroke, it is important to keep the acronym FAST in mind:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 9-1-1

Prevention is the best medicine. It needs to start with you.

  • Get up and get active by being physically active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Know your ABC’s
  • Ask our Doctor if you should take an Aspirin every day.
  • Find out if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and if you do, get effective treatment.
  • If you smoke, get help to quit.
  • Make your calories count by eating a heart-healthy diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sodium and trans fat.
  • Take control of your heart health by following your doctor’s prescription instructions.

It is much easier to make healthy choices that prevent heart disease and strokes than it is to fix them after the fact. Therefore, people of all ages should be wary of their habits in an effort to prevent these conditions from happening to you.