b a r e

writing is healing. ask me anything.

Tag: hope

Influence

All around you, all the time, is language that is absorbed into your brain. Advertisements telling you “you’re lacking, buy this” or “you’re unhappy, buy that.” The voices of your parents, alive or as ghosts. Those are particularly hard to ignore. They adhere to your insides, leach into your bloodstream. Contaminate. The voices in your mind. The echos in the very back. The broken records that blend in with background noise. That we don’t even realize are there, are guiding our boat, are triggering the storms. So many intrusive messages you didn’t choose, you never had a say in.

But what about the ones you do get to choose. The facebook group posts. Are they angry? Are they distraught? All of their voices march into your head. Onslaught. Their cries of pain, their desperation, your brain soaks that in. What messages are you letting in? The company you keep. The friends and the ‘friends.’ Do they complain constantly? Are they victims of life? Or do they have hope? Do they believe in humanity? Do they seek out ways to improve, to help others, to evolve? Look around you. Make conscious choices. You might not have had any control over the world around you as a child. But you are no longer that child. You get to decide your habitat. You pick the decorations, the furniture, the art on the walls of your mind.

The anchors you cling to from familiarity, only you get to decide when to let go. The knives you’re squeezing in your hands. Only you get to pick when you’re ready to set them down.

What are you going to choose?

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half-sister, my sister

29 years later
we meet in person after all of this time
I remembered you, a faded memory of adoration
then we found each other online
and you recounted your tales of pain
now finally we’re together
once again you recount your story of woe
you suffered, you suffered, but you survived
we share the same cruel father
our torture presumably the same
this devastation is your signpost
upon which you hang your identity
it’s familiar because I once did the same
‘Look at me, world, see what I overcame’
a badge of courage and strength
giant chips on my shoulders as warnings
to set the stage for all relationships
you want me right there with you
marching and holding the bloody flag
I am conflicted because you are a dream
a mythological creature I hoped to see someday
I don’t know what I thought I’d find
But I want our connection to be more than the past
I don’t want to keep reliving the pain
comparing scars triumphantly
I feel discomfort, unease
a part of me pulling away
I have spent so much time dismantling the past
I healed, recreated, renamed, rebuilt
I want to focus on now and moving forward
into health and happiness and ease
I don’t want to walk backwards
the road to the light was…uphill
I like it better here, I can breath again
I don’t know if you would join me
the intensity you live doesn’t say

GUEST POST: Happiness…Could the Key be in Your Genes

Written by Stephanie Correa
Original found here: http://onthegowellnesscoaching.com/articles/happinesscould-the-key-be-in-your-genes

9/1/2015

– – – – – – – – – – – –
Many people I know would be surprised to find out I’ve struggled with depression throughout my life. I chose early on to hide it, when I saw how uncomfortable people around me were when I shared what I was going through. I learned and created techniques to manage and hide it from even those closest to me. I don’t always win the battles and as a mom, whenever I felt it building up beyond my ability to hide it, I intentionally watched sad movies, so my crying wouldn’t worry or confuse my son as he grew up. With all my efforts to shield him, I was unable to prevent him from also experiencing the despair, anxiety and debilitation depression can infuse people with. His depression and anxiety worsened when he experienced a long-term illness, surgery and failed care by medical professionals. During his darkest days I was constantly fearful his despair would win and he would leave this world.

Through the darkness, however there can often be gifts. Directly after his surgery in 2014 we were advised by his doctor of the importance of managing his pain through medication. He was prescribed three narcotic pain killers, which we unfortunately discovered he was unable to feel. Doubling the dosage, per the advice of his doctor, he still felt nothing stating it was as if he was taking nothing at all. Frustratingly our doctor thought we were lying. Prior to abandoning him, his doctor did say one thing that stood out, she told me she had heard there were genetic mutations that could affect a person’s ability to metabolize pain medication.

It took all of 2014 for my son to recover from both the surgery and residual fatigue. As he healed, I researched gene mutations affecting narcotic metabolism and in the spring of 2015 decided to have him genetically tested. What we discovered was shocking, revealing and incredibly empowering.

We discovered he has a genetic mutation that prevents him from making the enzyme necessary for metabolizing a majority of narcotic pain medications. 3% of the population has this mutation. We also learned there are two medications he can take since they don’t require that particular enzyme to be metabolized. Mystery solved!!

The biggest gift, however, came from the discovery of two other mutations on a gene called MTHFR which methylates folate (Vitamin B9). Methylation of folate makes it possible for our bodies to utilize it. Folate has many important functions, one of which is to facilitate the production of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine our feel good hormones/neurotransmitters. The power of happiness really can be in your genes!!

After researching and factoring in several additional gene mutations, we began supplementing with methylated folate (aka:  L-5-MTHF, L-Methylfolate, Folicinic Acid) and noticed a difference within just a few days. With strategic supplementation based on his genetic mutations, a decade of despair and months of intense anxiety attacks were finally lifting!!

MTHFR gene mutations aren’t limited to contributing to depression. Here are several other diseases and symptoms resulting from unsupported MTHFR genetic mutations:

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With the gift of seeing my son begin to smile and laugh again and watching his quality of life improve dramatically after just a few weeks, I decided to have my genetics tested as well. I  learned I also have MTHFR gene mutations. To give you a better picture of what I’m talking about, here is how my particular MTHFR gene mutations look on my report:

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The red Result +/+, indicates I have two mutations of MTHFR C677T which means I am methylating folate at only 10% of functionality. In this scenario I learned supplementation support is incredibly important. If only one copy had been mutated the Result would have been marked as +/- and shaded yellow, indicating support would be helpful. Green (-/-) indicates there are no mutations on the MTHFR A1298C gene.

Interestingly, 40% of the population has MTHFR genetic mutations and 38% of people with depression have a folate deficiency. Not a big difference between those two numbers. If you or someone you know suffers from depression and anxiety (or any of the diseases/symptoms above), genetic testing might be worth looking into and hopefully offer a personalized pathway to feeling healthy and HAPPY.

How does someone get their genetics tested, where can you find the reports and is the process expensive? 

With genetic testing and reporting available, we have better access than ever to a road map to improved health and well-being personalized from our DNA. The reports make it possible to have a conversation with your doctor and/or health care provider, where together you can identify areas in need of support and decide how best to fill those areas in.

Below I’ve listed the company I used to order our genetic testing kits, pricing and websites with reporting platforms I found very helpful and informative.

Genetic Testing:
1) Request a DNA Kit from www.23andme.com

  • This costs around $199 plus tax & shipping.
  • The testing is through a saliva sample.
  • Note this is an ancestry site; however it will house your raw genetic data which is important when you are ready to run reports from the data.
  • The testing can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 8 weeks before your results will be ready. It is truly worth the wait!

Genetic Data Reporting Platforms:
1)   www.knowyourgenetics.com

  • Free.
  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • A great site for supplementation recommendations you can go over with your doctor.
  • Very informative for explaining gene mutations and the methylation cycle.

2)   www.geneticgenie.org

  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • Methylation Report is $10. Methylation report provides a summary of information about gene mutations found in your Methylation report.
  • Detoxification Report is $5 (this report shows how well you are able to handle toxins).
  • These two reports are concise and handy to go over with your doctor.

3)  www.promethease.com

  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • Report costs $5.
  • A comprehensive and informative report with details specific to how well you handle medications, diseases you may or may not be at risk for, fat metabolism, etc.
  • Interesting, but can also be a bit overwhelming.
  • Access to data expires after 45 days. You can save the information to a spreadsheet for your records.

4)   www.mthfrsupport.com

  • Report is generated from your raw genetic data housed at www.23andme.com.
  • Report costs between $30 and $50 depending upon whether they are running a special offer.
  • Comprehensive Report. Not all genetic mutations listed are easy to find health and supplementation recommendations.

There are several websites, books and YouTube presentations on the topic of MTHFR and other gene mutations, which you may discover down the road. The first step, however is to find out whether you need support or not and then begin the journey of mapping out your personalized path to feeling your best.

The information related to Epigenetics and Nutrigenomics is vast, but incredibly fascinating. Please share your stories and let me know if there are areas you would like to know more about. This topic is near and dear to my heart and if I can find ways, through my blog, to help clarify and provide you with resources to healing, it would be my great pleasure to do so!
 

http://onthegowellnesscoaching.com/articles/happinesscould-the-key-be-in-your-genes

What if

What if
You are not your Ego
What if you are not your exterior, your physical form, your reflection
What if you are not the identity you have formed, piece by piece, layer by layer, year after year after year

What if
You are the Light
Bright, piercing, blazing
Larger than the Universe
Connected to everything that is, ever was, ever will be

What if
You are Love
All the oceans combined
Always present, available, infused, no matter what
Surrounding, supporting, solid, strong
It can’t be earned, because it is already there, already given, already received
Already a part of everything, inside and out, every atom

What if
You are Whole and Complete
Nothing missing, nothing cracked, no chips, no gaps, no limping
Underneath the frail, tattered layers of who you think you are
Solid and powerful
Simple and elegant, beautiful and perfect
Every cell exactly where it’s supposed to be
A delight, a joy, a Life
Uniquely formed, special
Exactly as you are
Not defined by society, your parents, your internal record,
But already, before it all, behind it all
A You that is a Gift
Imagine it
It is Truth

What thoughts bring the greatest peace to your mind? How do you use them?

Peace. So elusive. Like reaching out to catch the wind, or fog. If I could trap it in a bottle and carry it with me, then I could guarantee having it when I need it. But behind glass I cannot feel it, I cannot experience it. All I have is this cold, smooth surface. And when I open the bottle up, it evaporates. But maybe peace isn’t a thing you hold in your hands. At the beach, warm sand, cool breeze, crashing of waves. Here, yes, this place brings me peace. My body is solid, heavy, sinking and relaxed. But then I leave, and go back into the world. How do I bring this peace with me? Maybe peace isn’t external. I close my eyes and return to the beach. It is a capsule of time, gleaming, inside my mind. Not always accessible, especially when I need it. That’s why I meditate. I practice separating from the world of chaos and ego and demands. I return to the core of my being. My true self. The light that shines bright no matter what. Though sometimes I forget it’s there, or forget the power of its light. I go back there, and I am. I exist in the I am for however long I can. Before the flood gates of thoughts, worries, doubts and insecurities fall open and wash over me. And somehow, that light has recharged me. Refilled my sanity gauge, even just a little helps. And I am not flattened by the onslaught. I stand there, I’m soaked, but I’m standing. My jeans are weighed down, and it takes effort to walk forward, but I walk forward. And each time I am still standing, each time I am still moving forward, shows me that I am strong. Proves to me that I don’t have to drown again. That I can, I will, I am at peace.

Sisters

So much damage, for so many years, to both sides. Knives cutting and cutting. Never backing down. Never surrendering for a moment. Both egos completely dedicated to winning. But we were really both losing. It was easy to judge. My ego loved feeling justified anger, justified superiority. All of it masking a desperate need for closeness and love, while ensuring anything but. Years of cold war went by. Mom liked to leak information to both sides, double agent, hoping for an opening, for possible reunification. Summarily rejected over and over. Ego likes to twist the state secrets into judgement induced superiority. But there’s an emptiness. And a shame. A dark, dirty, embarrassing guilt that flows under it all. And always that longing. Longing to finish each other’s sentences, to laugh at inside jokes that only we know, to hold each other close and give and receive comfort from someone else that really does understand completely, because she was there when no one else was. We saw the horrors together. We escaped together. Each of us so strong, pulling in our own directions. Trying to pull the other one with us, but it wasn’t working, it forced us further apart.

Finally, an opportunity to try again. To hopefully put past pain aside and try to find each other’s hands to hold. To hopefully reach out and be received with love. To reunite. To recombine. To join forces. I think we have always been connected, despite distance and silence. Even apart we were moved by the same music. Our paths meet again, now parallel, healing.

recovered?

A new mom asked this in a forum:

“Is there really an end to this.. Like 100% healed? I feel like what I have is too disturbing and terrible to ever go away.”

My answer:

I went through an outpatient program at a hospital and they talked about accepting a “new normal”. Now, I refuse to accept that this means my new normal is misery. But I don’t think we can ever go back to the person we were before we had our birth/postpartum experience.

Like any trauma, it has left a mark on our psyche. And so we have a choice about what to do with that. I’ve tried wallowing, and that worked for a while, but it got in the way of joy. I’ve tried hiding from the world, but I missed out on living.

So I’m at a place in the middle between where I used to be and the pit I had dropped into. Sometimes I need to wallow, and I give myself space to do so. But I don’t move back in there. Sometimes I need to hide from the world, and I accept that, that I don’t have the stamina of the extrovert I used to be. But I also challenge myself, just a little, and over time I see progress towards a new me. Wiser, stronger, but also weaker in some ways, and accepting of that part of me too.

And my story, and yours too, becomes something we can share with others who are somewhere along that tough journey of losing yourself and trying to figure who you are now. We bring each other strength because we have compassion and empathy and help heal each other. Because we understand the pain. And we’re not alone anymore.

what pieces, all put together, help keep you up

It takes a crew of about 100 people to help keep my mood up. Just kidding. But I’m lucky enough to have many different people in my life that help support my mental well being.

My husband. Even though he doesn’t fully understand my experience, he hangs around. He takes care of the things in our family that need to be taken care of so that I don’t have to. He’s not big on supportive words (I can’t remember the last time he specifically said something supportive), but instead shows his support by doing. It takes a little bit of effort for me to translate his method of love, but it’s valuable nonetheless. Knowing he’s there taking care of things allows me the space to fall apart if I need to. I don’t have to share how far I’ve fallen, but I can dive, and then I can climb back up, knowing he’ll still be there.

My friends. I have the best friends anyone could have. Not all of them know about my struggles. And only a few know how dark my night can get. But all of them love me no matter what, just as I am. I know that I can call on them (or, rather, text them), and they would do just about anything for me. I don’t reach out that often (rarely, really), but knowing they’re there and available if I wanted to reach out, can be such a lifeline when I’m sinking fast. It means that even though I feel like I’m utterly alone, I know I’m not. I hold onto the tether, the rope, because at the end of it is love, the anchor. I know they love me, no matter what. Even if I feel like I don’t deserve it, I know it’s there anyway.

After-care group. This group has literally been a lifesaver. I have lost count of how many times I have broken down, crumbled, split open. I have “lost it” in a place where so many others know exactly what that feels like. I have come apart at the seams, looked up and seen others holding up their threads too. I have never felt judged here, only complete support. Here is where I am reflected back to myself as someone strong, even when I’m feeling like wet cardboard. Here I’m told how far I’ve come and how much better I’ve become. Here is where I can measure my health, because these people, these walls, have seen my dark, crumbled core. Here is where I’m able to help others. Where I get to be a lifeline. Even when I’m empty for myself, I’m able to find hope for others. And even just offering up a tiny spark to someone else, helps refill my own tank. We’re in this together. We’ve got each others’ backs. We’re an army of strength and hope and love. We will survive, we will thrive.

stuff

I might have nothing to say. I sit here, reviewing old writing prompts, and nothing stands out to me. Perhaps there are large, shadowy issues swimming slowly beneath the heavy ice, but I don’t feel attracted to releasing them for analysis today. Things are good. That in itself is a surprising realization. My destiny is changing, I can feel it, and things are moving forward easily, smoothly. I don’t even feel the gray cloud that usually appears over my left shoulder, the one that says, “beware the darkness is coming!” Yes, I was fearful a few weeks ago – convinced, but trying to ignore the words telling me this wasn’t going to work. Who did I think I was, deciding to change my career, and expecting it to be successful. It was a brief stalling, but my thoughts were sure it was the beginning of the end. I pressed forward anyway. Start where I am, use what I have, do what I can. Don’t give up. Keep trying. I couldn’t ignore the frightened voice, I couldn’t shake it, so I placated it by feeding it a morsel, by allowing for the possibility of “getting a real job” if things didn’t work out by the start of the school year. Then I pushed that to the very back of my mind, stuck it deep inside a drawer, and turned my focus back to steps I could take to go in the direction I really wanted. I threw myself completely into my volunteering, giving every drop of myself. Each day I would leave exhausted, but fulfilled, and filled with a warm, relaxed joy that I have not been familiar with for years. That’s telling, that’s the Universe telling, telling me this is the right path, keep going.

what brings me peace and balance

This is my third time falling. One might say I’ve gotten good at this. And my third time picking up the pieces and putting myself back together again. This time my recovery is faster. I’m still not sleeping, but I’m not drowning in despair. The anxiety is debilitating and crushing, but it’s not constant – just early mornings, and late afternoons to evenings. I know what I’m doing this time. I’m proficient at recovery. I have my bag of tools that I know work and I can rely on.

For my worst case scenarios, when all other tools fail, I give myself permission to use ativan. I used to tell myself that I can’t/shouldn’t, and trying to hold it together by eliminating that option was a nightmare. Knowing I can, if I need to, makes it easier to hold on without it. But before it gets that bad, I have some other options. I have my meditations. When I start I’m agitated, but over the 15-20 minutes I become still, as if floating. A perfect escape-the-world snack. A brief respite that refills my mental tank just a little bit. If I need to, I will listen to meditations back to back. They work.

Walking. Even when I’m dragging and every step is a monumental effort. Even when my anxiety is high and every minute is filled with panic. Even when I’m feeling devastated and I cry the whole way. By the time I’m done my leg muscles are humming and the endorphins have lifted me out of my mind. My body feels stronger. I sit on my front steps, I watch the tree branches sway, I breath the cool air, and I feel a sense of peace. It may not last. But in that moment I memorize all the sensations. I will put this memory in my pocket and carry it with me.

Journaling. When my brain is full, swirling with thoughts that attack like birds, and I can’t quiet it and I can’t escape, I run to my bedroom and shut the door and I pull out my journal. Then I purge. I vomit up every nasty, horrible thought I have no matter how humiliating. I smear the pages with my words and my tears. No restraint. And when it’s all out and I finally feel emptied, a calm comes over me. And I am able to sort and sift through the situation, and understand it. And once I understand the why, I am able to counter the negative thoughts with realistic and positive solutions. I can see more clearly. I can see my value and my strengths and I can come up with a plan. And once I have a plan I feel stabilized and confident again. And I am ready to open the door and return to my life, my family, and my responsibilities again.