Category Archives: Healthy Mind

Your Mental Well-Being

ADHD: A Holistic Approach

A Personal Note

This term (ADHD) recently entered my life. My five (5) year old daughter is being tested and observed for the next several weeks, as her teachers and those close to her have come to realize that she is a strong candidate for the disorder. It is not something that just jumped out of no where, for the past year I have questioned if this was a possibility. I started to notice about a year ago that although highly intelligent, I was unable to keep her attention on anything for longer than five to ten minutes at a time. Around the same time I was told by a pediatric healthcare professional, who had worked with her, that ADHD was something I needed to look-up. I started to see how many of the indicators were closely identifiable with my daughter.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD Signs
Signs of ADHD

ADHD can be catagorized into three subtypes: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive and combined (most common). Inattentive symptoms seemed to border the pattern of an active child and are listed as follows:

Hyperactive-impulsive symptoms can also border the same characteristics of an active child, but there were several that stood out and I could identify them as traits my daughter often displayed. Following is a list of symptoms for hyperactive-impulsive:

combined type is a combination of the other two types, the most common and seemed to be a checklist for my daughter’s behavior. I have come to realize that she is HIGHLY intelligent; in fact so much so that when she was 2 she could memorize a password to get into her brother’s tablet, without the knowledge of numbers and letters. This same little girl barely made it through preschool last year and had more than 30 citations at the end of the year and is on track this year with 2 citations in 2 weeks. Anyone that knows her, loves her. She is a sweetheart and probably the funniest little person I have met. Yet, her teachers and those that have to keep her attention, don’t find her sweet or funny. Hence the 30+ citations.

Hesitant To Label?

ADHD Zone
ADHD Zone

I was still hesitant to “label” my daughter ADHD, as this can often cause teachers to cringe at the thought of having them in their class. I decided to research the facts a little deeper and that is when my hesitation completely diminished and I found that I was then researching holistic remedies and a way to better help her become educated.

The research that led me to my ultimate resolve was found in an online article that offered information about women who take antidepressants during pregnancy are more likely to have children with ADHD. I have not always maintained a lifestyle of holistic health. In fact, it was shortly after my daughter’s birth that I chose to go holistic and much of that decision was based on health complications she endured at birth. Those complications were caused by the medication that I stayed on at the direction of my Doctors; who offered their dish of ‘fear psychology’ and told me that she and I would both be in danger if I did not remain on the medication. I have gone more three years without antidepressants or any of the other medication the Doctor’s offered upon diagnosis of my disease and yet I am now the healthiest I have been in years. I can speak from experience when I offer my suggestion of: follow what you know to be best for you and your family, regardless of what letters follow their last name.

Healthline posted an article October 2013, where they cite the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as showing an increase in prescriptions of methylphenidate (Ritalin) by 500% since 1990. Medline Plus lists this drug as habit forming along with several other side effects, including: nervousness, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and the list goes on and on. I have met several adults that have told me that Ritalin was the “gateway drug” for them to start down a path of addiction and drug abuse. If you are considering taking the route of prescription medications to treat ADHD, I highly suggest researching the side effects and articles that others have written.

Still Stuck on Holistic…

Helpful Study Tips for ADHD
Study Tips for ADHD

I continued my search and was encouraged to continue my quest for using a natural, holistic approach to help treat my daughter’s ADHD. I was able to locate an article by ADDitude that lists not only helpful foods, but also lists supplements and vitamins that researchers are starting to look further into for possible solutions in treating ADHD based on vitamin deficiencies.  I also found an article on helping my daughter in being less of a “picky eater”, which apparently stems from my actions based on my lack of knowledge as a parent. I also located a six-week detox plan that I am willing to research further and possibly write a follow-up article on it’s success. I am committed, as a parent, to enhance my children’s lives in every way possible; especially in researching every possible means of improving their lives rather than damage them with chemicals that have less history and background than herbs and vitamins that have been used for centuries.

Depression Hurts: Healing Holistically

by Jennifer B. Christensen

Depression Affects EVERYONE!

There have been a couple of times in my life where I hit a mental health “bottom” and felt that I would never see the light of day again. I felt completely hopeless, helpless and wanted this world to disappear. There were many people in my life that judged me and would say that I was being selfish, since I had three beautiful children that loved me. I can understand where they were coming from, as this would NORMALLY be enough for anyone to want to live, but I was no where near “normal” when I was overtaken with complete depression.

Molecular Psychology
Molecular Psychology – Why We Become Depressed

Depression can hurt and not just mentally, but physically, emotionally and spiritually. Depression can tear apart families and forever ruin lives; many people still see it as a “hush-hush” topic, never wanting to reveal that they have or are experiencing some form of depression. It is this stigma around the topic that is creating more problems and validating the feelings of those that already feel worthless and unnecessary.

Depression Hurts

Depression can and does cause physical pain, according to WebMD. In fact, depression has many physical symptoms such as: headaches, back pain, muscle aches and joint pain, chest pain, digestive problems and many more other symptoms. We often self-diagnose ourselves and group our aches and pains into the category of “getting older”, dismissing the feelings that we are stuffing with more work, school, opposite sex, sex, alcohol or whatever helps us dismiss the true pain we are feeling.

Depression Hurts
Depression Hurts: Brain/Body Connection

In an article written by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), they found that depression and pain share the same neurological pathway. Your response to painful physical stimuli is moderated in the brain by serotonin and nor-epinephrine, which also affect mood. Your mood stabilizers are also your pain stabilizers, creating one big jumble of physical and emotional pain when you become depressed. In fact, patients with chronic pain often report having suicidal idealization and severe “episodes” of depression at a rate of 33% higher than someone that does not have a chronic illness.

Exercise and Depression

Despite the endless articles I have read on healing depression naturally, the most profound statement I have heard came from a conference I attended where one of the speakers was a woman who was in charge of patient care at The Betty Ford Center; “take a step, change a thought.” How many times have you gone for a walk, just boiling with anger. Someone has just added that last habanero pepper to your chili and you are over the

Habanero Angry
Habanero Angry

“HOT” gauge, you walk away from the situation and when you return you almost forget why you are mad.

A Harvard School of Medicine research paper sites that although it is unproven that a walk will alter your mood, exercising three to four times a day does have a proven effect on depression and mental illness. In fact, in the article it states that, “A follow-up to that study found that exercise’s effects lasted longer than those of antidepressants. Researchers checked in with 133 of the original patients six months after the first study ended. They found that the people who exercised regularly after completing the study, regardless of which treatment they were on originally, were less likely to relapse into depression.” Thereby proving that exercise is the best medicine for mental illness.

Exercise? I Can Barely Get Out of Bed!

Yet, there are many that reach so deep into depression that getting out of bed is a victory in itself, forget about even thinking about exercise. When you have gotten to this point, I want to assure you, there IS hope. There are things you can do to help relieve even the worst cases of depression. In an article titled, 7 Ways to Manage Clinical Depression,” the author lists seven ways to get out of bed and move into the thought of getting past the front door. My favorite tips in this article is Go Easy and STOP TRYING. Don’t be so hard on yourself, when you make it out of the bed for an hour a day, CELEBRATE your victory. When you have the energy to make a meal, CELEBRATE your victory. Those small things deserve praise and gratitude. Be grateful for EVERY small victory, no matter how small.

My favorite tip though; STOP TRYING. The article points out that when you believe the “normal” will help and then it doesn’t, it just makes you feel worse. I hate to point out the obvious, but the “normal” people in the world are often the most abnormal and thereby making their treatments only viable for them. Be the abnormal and accept that the “normal” is not you and you are your own person that was created just the way you are for a reason. I have come to appreciate the statement, “Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness” – Eckhart Tolle. I have accepted that I am not the “normal’; in fact I delight in knowing that I am not “normal,” I am conscious of the world around me and know that they are not “normal” either and for that I am grateful.

Holistic Healing
Exercise or Illness?
Exercise or Illness?

There are endless quotes that come from “diet and exercise,” but nothing could be closer to the cluiche than with depression. Foods (healthy) can and will change and enhance your mood, as will unhealthy (fatty) foods alter and worsen your mood, leaving you feeling sluggish and tired. There are many yummy, healthy foods that can alter your mood positively such as: blueberries, avocados, chamomile tea, asparagus, oysters, dark chocolate, oranges and turkey. There are also essential oils that you can put in a difuser or wear that can enhance and improve your moods, such as: lavender, chamomile and valor. For over 3,000 years the Chinese have practiced the healing arts of massage therapy and acupuncture and have found great success with these “non-western” forms of medicine. In fact, massage therapy can not only relieve depression, but can also help ease the pain caused by chronic illnesses. There are many forms of holistic alternatives to pharmaceuticals, but it ultimately comes down to you knowing what is best for you. There are many people that need pharmaceuticals to maintain a healthy and balanced mental status, but to you I still suggest balancing all parts of your life and that includes diet, exercise, meditation, friendships, soul food and service to others.

 

Unlucky St. Patricks Day

Unlucky St. Patrick
Unlucky St. Patrick

The Long Delay

The past several weeks I have been unable to blog, which has challenged my creative flow and brought imbalance to my life. I have come to appreciate the opportunity to have this balance. On St. Patricks Day I was carving corned beef and the knife slipped; somehow jumped off the meat and went across the back of my hand, severing my two extensor tendons. These tendons, as I have come to find out first hand, are extremely important to not just the function of your fingers moving, but when severed to full amputation can affect the wrist. When they are repaired, the person is put in a splint that keeps you from moving your hand and wrist. I was also asked by my surgeon,  Dr. Freedman, not to move or use the arm at all for three weeks.

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Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down

Anyone that knows me, knows how impossible this is for me to follow these instructions. I have a hard time with not moving and not using my hand has been much more difficult than I ever imagined. I am not sure if any of you have tried tying one hand behind your back for a day (not sure why you would), but it is nearly impossible to function. All the way down to personal hygiene, one handed is not easy. Typing is a very slow process of the old one handed pecking, which requires significant patience on my part. I have a new found appreciation for people that have to live on a daily basis with just one hand, but I am guessing eventually you adapt. Although, I could only imagine the trauma of permanent amputation, it has been more than expected for my temporary situation.

Why, Oh Why?

Some of you might be wondering how this happened; I am not good with the carving knife and apparently St. Patricks Day is highly unlucky for me. I was carving corned beef and as I thought “I should not be cutting towards me,” the knife slipped and cut the back of my hand severing the tendons. I have no one to blame for this accident, I do have an example of why you don’t cut towards yourself. So, I apologize now for any blogging lag and ask for patience as I learn one handed pecking with speed.

A Fresh Peception of Desert Hot Springs

I believe in leading a balanced lifestyle in all parts of my life; body, mind and spirit. I have started a new weekly course at Desert Christian Center called “Seek God For the City,” which gives you an app or booklet to read daily prayers for 40 days (finishing on Palm Sunday). I have never loved living somewhere so much as I love living in Desert Hot Springs. The local government and news would have you believe that this is the worst City to live, but read on and understand why it is the BEST!

Dual Aquifers
Desert Hot Springs                Water Tables

Desert Hot Springs is one of two places in the whole world that has dual aquifers. Meaning, we have both hot and cold water that comes up from the earth and contains minerals like NO WHERE else in the world. The waters are truly “healing” waters. I have been diagnosed with several debilitating disorders and yet I have not stopped moving. On the days that I “disappear,” I am soaking away the pain that has become unbearable. It keeps me going for another day, sometimes week,but I always know when I soak in the water I will feel much better. There are groups of people that come from all over the world to soak in the water of Desert Hot Springs. There are many hotel’s from other areas in the Coachella Valley that state they have Natural Mineral water, but Desert Hot Springs is the only City with the “healing waters.”

Desert Hot Springs Beauty
Desert Hot Springs

The second reason I love Desert Hot Springs, the views from our City are amazing. We get to watch the “Angel” on the mountain every night at sunset. San Gorgonio Mountain is the first view outside every morning and San Jacinto Mountain is my second view. Awesome is hardly an accurate description.

Beautiful San Jacinto Mountain
San Jacinto Mountain
      Desert Hot Springs

The third reason that I love Desert Hot Springs is that it is one of the last small towns in America. If you live here long enough, you know most of the people in town. The compassion, phileo-love and grace abounding is what keeps me from moving to another town. We are a town that has been quietly established with several recovery centers,  our community thrives on second chances, lives being saved and lives needing to be saved. It’s my belief that this has brought a spiritual strength to our community. We have all been in need at one time or another, so we can empathize with our neighbor, our community and we help serve those that haven’t found balance or peace. I believe more prayers go out of Desert Hot Springs and for us than any other town in the Coachella Valley. I have never prayed for a community as I have Desert Hot Springs and I know many other people who feel the same way.

Serving in Desert Hot Springs
Service With A Smile

There are many other great things I can list, but I will leave it to you to come and see for yourself. I would love for you to comment below on what you like about Desert Hot Springs, positive comments only, please.

The Many Faces of Bipolar Disorder

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There are many faces of bipolar disorder, once referred to as “manic depression.” If you Google images of bipolar disorder you see that bipolar disorder does not discriminate; old, young, rich, poor, beautiful, etc.

There are many questions that remain unanswered about the not so new, but newly researched disorder. There are also many unanswered questions on how to treat bipolar disorder, as each case is never the same. The fact is, there are many symptoms and some people might display one while others will display all of them, some respond to the first treatment offered while others take years. The following website can offer a list of symptoms and treatments for bipolar disorder: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/37010.php.

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Passionflower

The question remains, what can be done to treat bipolar disorder holistically and what are some home remedies? Before posting a website for home remedies, I advise that you first research and gain as much knowledge as you can about bipolar disorder and identify the symptoms you are experiencing. Research and list home remedies (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/37010.php) that you would be interested in trying and why you feel they would best balance your mental health. Next, take your questions, research and suggestions to your physician; I take them to both my Doctor and the One Great Physician, my Creator. Then create a mental health plan that brings mental balance and well-being in your life and apply the plan to your daily life..

Gardening At It’s Best

I LOVE my mornings in the garden, this is my way of meditation. There is nothing better than having my time with God’s most elegant yet simple gift, nature. I have attached a link to help you get started on your own garden. Remember, anyone CAN garden; I live in the Desert and was once thwarted from gardening because I was considered the world’s best “brown thumb.” Another great resource is your local florist, I have DHS Florist & Nursery and John is an expert.

http://greenyatrablog.com/10-easy-to-grow-herbs-and-vegetables-refreshing-recipe/#.UxUYoeNdUdo

Fun and Fundraising

Fun and Fundraising

Although we didn’t have the healthiest of foods, my daughter and I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at the Desert Hot Springs Women’s Club Fashion Show. Everyone was to be served a salad, which by all standards really wasn’t healthy, my friend’s were able to get my daughter chicken strips and french fries. The proceeds benefit the DHS Women’s Club Scholarship Program, who has funded many young women and young men in the community. I had a GREAT day with friends and family all in the name of fundraising for education.