Monday, November 24

The Importance of Gratitude

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
~ Melody Beattie ~

On Wednesday I will be going out of town for a few days with my family to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, and it got me to thinking about how important gratitude is for all of us. In fact, it's absolutely essential in order to be happy- at least in my experience. Feeling gratitude and expressing it has done wonders for me. It has helped to pull me out of some of the darkest times of my life; the simple act of sitting down to write a list of what I am thankful for has shifted my perception completely over and over again.
Over the weekend I saw a friend of mine, and I was telling about how I have felt improvement in my physical condition. Then I went on to complain that I had gone on a walk and by the end of it I lost all of my steam and was very tired. I told him that I was disappointed in the way my body was holding up and he replied that at least I was doing better, and I had been able to do more than I had in the recent past. The conversation continued on in this fashion- I would gripe about something and he would throw it right back at me with a positive. He finally stopped me cold when he said that there is so much to be grateful for in all of our lives, and until we are able to see that and embrace all that we have, we can never be happy. He calls himself a glass half full person (who formerly was the opposite) and shared that it has brought him more contentment and joy than all of the years he spent feeling like he didn't have enough combined.
I have to say that I totally agree. No matter how badly I have felt physically or emotionally, I have always been taken care of. There has always been a better day around the corner, and I have always had things in my life to be grateful for. They say that what you give attention to increases, so why not make the good things in your life multiply, instead of creating more grief and frustration? I whole heartily recommend making a gratitude list everyday and letting it remind you of just how blessed you are. Even if you can't see it at that moment, the more you do it, the better you will feel.
I wish you all a peaceful and wonderful Thanksgiving, and remember to take a look around you and let in all of the things that you have to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 16

Natural Treatments for Depression

Over the past few months- in fact it's almost been just about a year- I have been struggling with depression and anxiety. I have tried many medications over the years because I have gone in and out of depression a few times before, and almost all of them made me feel sick, or off in one way or another. Recently, I have been looking into natural ways to deal with my depression, and here is what I have come up with so far:

Omega 3's
L- Tyrosine
St. Johns Wart
Vitamin C

Elimination of allergic foods
Avoid gluten and wheat products
Limit sugar (including fruits)
Cut down on caffeine
Stop using artificial sweeteners
Limit alcohol consumption
Drink enough water

SAD lamp if depression is worse in the fall and winter months
Get some form of exercise everyday
Take in some sun daily
Take up a hobby
Go to a support group or therapy
Ask God and the Universe to help you find solutions
Love and accept yourself

Please share anything that you may have found helpful on this topic - I appreciate whatever input you may wish to provide. I know for myself that life is too short to feel like you have nothing to look forward to, and I am hoping that I can find the best natural solutions so that I can enjoy my life (and pass this knowledge onto to you too!).

Monday, November 10

Finding Balance In A Crazy World

I have always felt that achieving balance is a very important thing for all of us to strive for, especially in these tumultuous times. In addition, if you are struggling to overcome chronic illness, the need to be balanced is even more critical. I have a list of activities that I know bring me peace and serenity, but I have to admit that I get caught up in running around and getting things done, and then I pay for it by feeling sick afterwards. Not a great way to live your life if you ask me. Even if it is simply a way to remind myself, I am going to list some of the things that bring me peace and balance in my life:

Tai Chi
Helping other people- being of service
Talking to someone who I can trust and who has my best interest at heart
Going for a walk
Riding horses
Reading- especially an inspiring book
Going to church
Sitting out in the sun and soaking it in
Putting my feet in the grass
Going to the beach and watching the ocean
Getting a relaxing massage
Doing things I have a passion for
Being out in nature
Learning about new subjects that interest and fascinate me
Being quiet and sitting with a heated pillow to warm and relax my body and mind

Those are some of the top things that I have done to help me find balance- sometimes I desire more energy; most of the time I need to just relax and let life happen. Feel free to share what works for you- I appreciate any suggestions and I will post them on my blog to share with others as well. Now go and do something good for yourself!

Sunday, November 2

The Results Are In

On Friday I got a chance to speak with my Cardiologist about the results of my heart biopsy. It was just as I had imagined- they still cannot find the cause of my Caridomyopathy. In hindsight, this was very good news, but at the moment I was quite upset. In fact I felt devastated for a couple of days afterwards, to be completely honest. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I wanted them to find some terrible thing wrong with my heart; I just wanted an explanation. What in the world is causing my heart to only expand to about half of a normal person's capacity? This seems to be a great mystery for me, and up until yesterday, it was a question that I was determined to have answered. Not just because I want to know how someone my age winds up with a heart condition, but because I want to get better (dammit!) and if we knew the cause, then wouldn't we be able to hone in on a solution? Makes sense to me!
The conversation with my doctor was confusing, and at times she contradicted herself. I am now going to have to go and see a rhumatologist, and meet with a team of doctors to be evaluated for a defibrillator to be implanted in my body in case my heart just up and stops one day. FUN, FUN, FUN. Yes, I am still feeling a bit bitter about the whole thing, but I have chosen to stop trying to figure things out and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Going over and over in my mind what I think is causing my illness isn't doing me any good- and for today I have decided to turn it over to God and relax as much as possible. I really have no business stressing about all of this- it just makes matters worse and I am still healing from the biopsy- so making the choice to stop struggling against this is a very good one indeed.
I have many calls to make tomorrow to doctors offices; I am debating on whether or not to call my Cardiologist back for some clarification. She is a fantastic doctor, but she doesn't have much patience when it comes to answering questions, and I have to get over the fear of pissing her off and just stick up for myself. I may also go and see another Cardiologist (yet another opinion) if I still feel that she isn't going to help me progress any further.
Well, that's the long and short of it for now. I am going to stay in the moment and once again do my utmost to trust that everything (even this) is working out for my highest and best good.