Monday Mental Wellness Share

Monday Mental Wellness Share

 

After my first Monday Mental Wellness Share I got the opportunity to meet this inspiring lady from Blonderia Blog. Her blog is one really worth checking it out. Here is the Link. I love her culture section it is something I do not see on many blog. Enjoy her story below.

IMG_2419

My PCOS story

In 2014, at the age of 28, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It means that there are several cysts in my ovaries which cause hormonal imbalance. Though the illness itself doesn’t sound severe, if it’s left untreated, it can lead to severe health issues. PCOS can cause irregular periods, thyroid issues, insulin resistance, Type II diabetes, acne, obesity, heart disease, fatty liver syndrome, high blood pressure, male pattern hair growth, hair loss and infertility. In addition, it also makes the patient prone the cancer and heart attack.

The first red flag was the rapid weight gain I experienced after I finished university. In one year, I gained 14 kg. I also had adult acne but I didn’t really care about it as I could conceal it with makeup. In 2014, my husband noticed that I always felt sick two hours after meals. It was a huge red flag, so my gynaecologist performed a transvaginal ultrasound which confirmed the doctor’s suspicion: I had PCOS. As there have been diabetics in my family, I had to have an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test done and it turned out that I was also suffering from insulin resistance. My condition was so severe that my doctor told me that she could not help and I had to see a specialist to start treatment as soon as possible. I went to see an endocrinologist who told me to start a low-carb diet and lose 16 kg. I had to take metformin, transform my lifestyle, pay extra attention to what I was eating and I started to play squash twice a week. I lost 10 kg in 3 months and 3 more in the following 3 months, so I got rid of 13 extra kilos altogether. A year later, my husband and I decided to start a family. I had a series of blood tests done and it turned out that I was suffering from hypothyroidism as well. It means that there isn’t a sufficient amount of thyroid hormone in my body. It causes infertility or if you manage to get pregnant, you have an increased risk to miscarry or the baby might be born with a birth defect. I had to take medicine to stimulate my thyroid and I also had a check-up every 4-6 weeks.

 

  1. What do you find is the hardest part of living with PCOS?

The hardest part for me is the fact that it’s invisible and when I say that I can’t eat this or that, people don’t understand why because I don’t look ill and they think that I don’t really need this diet, I’m just picky and a drama queen.

 

  1. What makes the bad days better?

Thanks to all the treatment I got and the transformation of my lifestyle, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl in November 2016. On bad days, I look at her, the result of all my efforts. She reminds me that I am stronger than my illness and I have to keep doing what I’m doing to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

 

  1. What do you want people to know about PCOS?

I want people to know that it’s a severe illness, patients don’t make it up. If you suffer from it, I want you to know has to be treated even if you don’t want children. Weight loss and regular exercise and a healthy diet are important in managing this illness and they also boost your immune system.

 

  1. Do you find you are treated differently?

Food is an essential part of Hungarian culture. In my country, people are often proud to eat unhealthy food, so I’m definitely treated differently with diet that contains lean meat, a lot of vegetables and no refined carbohydrates. I no longer like family meals because I feel odd and excluded.

 

  1. What advice would you give your younger self about your journey with PCOS?

When I was 17, I had a dermatologist’s appointment and the doctor noticed that my acne wasn’t that typical teenage acne. She printed out my medical record and wrote “PCOS?” on the paper and told my mom to take me to a gynaecologist’s appointment. She didn’t. So my number 1 advice for my younger self: “Go and get checked by a gynaecologist”. Advice 2 would be: “Never stop exercising regularly”.

 

 

Lagom

Lagom

Not too little, not too much, just right

3f3f939a54f60846bff5344bc1690acf

I knew I had heard this quote somewhere but for the love of me I could not remember where it hit me one night, it is from Goldy Locks. It amused me that the best way to translate a word was to use a kids book. It is, however, the perfect quote for the world Lagom.

Lagom is a way of living and it is taken from Sweden. Now the reason it interested me so much is that Sweden has the high percentage of happy people so they must be doing something right. Being someone who struggles from depression I find being happy so hard and right now I am going through an even harder time. I decided to see what the Swedish people were doing to make them so happy and the one term that kept coming up was Lagom.

Lagom is a change to one’s whole life and the way they think too.  It is about creating an appreciation for what one has, it is about living a balanced life that is fair and less complicated. Through this approach to living one also looks out for the environment by creating less waste and buying eco-friendly products. By having less one is meant to have less stress in their life and it is meant to create more freedom which sounds great. Also by having fewer things around one, it is meant to clear out the mind. This is something that I really could use.

Lagom in a house is no clutter, clean spaces and more nature. If one were to decide to try this out there a few tips on the decluttering side

  1. No doubles of things. No need for two salad bowls that look the same.
  2. If it is broken get rid of it.
  3. If it has not left the closet in two years it goes
  4. If it does not fit that stunning figure it goes
  5. If it does not bring you joy it goes
  6. If you do not love it, it goes
  7. If it was a gift that you do not really like, it goes

When I say it goes that does not mean you need to throw it away you can give it away too. This really forced me to clean out my room, I still live at home so I do not have a ton of control. But my room is my space that I can control. What i also enjoyed was the idea that it gave me a chance to only keep what I liked and not feel guilty when giving things away.

Lagom also comes into play with how one eats. You eat the right amount for your body and you eat more simple based foods. Less processed foods and frozen foods which is good for anyone’s health.

Another aspect of Lagom is to save money by buying less. You also then spend money on good quality so therefore it lasts and you do not end up spending unnecessary money. For example, you buy a good quality coat and it lasts ten years, yes it has cost you more but in the long run, you save. You do not have to buy a coat every year because it keeps breaking. Lagom is also about classic style, buying what style works for you and is timeless.

Lagom looks at one’s work/life balance, are you just living to work or are you working to live. Do you get to explore the world the way you want to or is your job keeping you down. Are you happy or is work making you so unhappy that it affects your personal life too.

The minimalist approach to life fits in nicely with Lagom. Lagom at the end of the day is about having only what you need to free up time and space. To give you a chance to live more through experiences and not worry so much about material objects. Ill keep you up to date on how my transfer is going.

1abcbcfdaf5f72dbd1b7279553a798cc

 

Being 21 in a changing world.

Being 21 in a changing world.

“and suddenly you know… It is time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings”

m_180215dm_91a3eda30dfd6f8ad4c7f24133851846

South Africa has always been my home, I have never lived anywhere else. I spent my life growing up wanting to leave and wanting to live in a “better” country. However, now that I am 21 I sit here and think is there a better country?

I was born after Apartheid which means I was born into a free and equal South Africa. The reality, however, is that there is no such thing as a completely free or equal country. I remember when I was in school and everyone was talking about Nelson Mandela and I had thought he had already died, I also thought Micheal Jackson was dead when I was 10.  That was the first time I was made to be aware of the political happenings in my country. I remember how teased I was that I did not know Nelson Mandela was still alive, so I made sure I knew what was going on after that.

The next big thing I remember was Zuma coming into power and everyone was talking about his shower scandal and all his corruption. I did not really understand why, if he had so many bad things about him, he was our president. The whole thing had me very confused.

In about grade 9 we were talking about black and white, how the black got “advantages” now because they were “disadvantaged” before. I got the concept but how it was executed made me so angry. In school, the black girls would shame me for being white, accuse me of destroying their lives, make note this was a private school they could pay for and they drove cars that cost nearly a million bucks. The point is I was angry because it was not me who did anything yet I was being punished. This is when I decided I would be moving as soon as possible.

Grade 12 came and with that applications for varsity. This is when I really started to get angry when I was told there was a quota that had to be met when accepting students and that meant I might not get in. I remember how angry I was to find out that someone with marks lower then mine would get in over me because of my skin colour.

University opened my eyes to how our government was a total waste and could not do anything worthwhile. Here was our president with an R500 000.00 house and so many people dying from hunger. I started to pay attention to the news to try and understand what was happening, all this did was make me realise all the countries are in trouble. There was America electing a man who abuses women and thinks its okay, the UK being attacked more and more by terrorists and now the rest of Europe not being that finically stable.

This all hand me in a panic of where do I move to? I felt like I could not stay in South Africa because firstly teachers do not get paid or treated that well and secondly I am competing against a race war. I understand the need to equal things out but in this process, a generation that did nothing is being punished, my generation. Then change started.

Zuma was under pressure and soon the ANC had elected a new leader but the country still had Zuma as president. The new ANC leader was said to be great and would help mend the country. I was excited, I knew that I would like him if he had the strength to take over from Zuma. But he did not, he took his sweet time, in this time I came to wonder if he is really the leader we need as a country.

It is hard being 21 with your whole life ahead of you and not knowing where is best to go. I am about to build a life but I do not know where to because I do not know firstly where is it safe and secondly where is the best economically to invest. People want to go to America but for me with that leader, no thanks and today alone marks the 18th school shooting in 2018. England has always appealed because its cold but the bombings and car killings put me off. When I look at it like this I wonder maybe sticking it out with my own countries issues is the best. Why move to a new country to inherit more problem.

Valentines for one?

Valentines for one?

I dont like valentines day as you probably already know. But i will not ignore the fact that it is a holiday. Not everyone has a partner to spend the day with. I am single and I do not love or hate valentines day. We are so willing to love others on this day why do we not spend the day loving ourselves.

Here a few ideas to do if you are alone this valentines day and decide to show yourself some love.

  • A bath with some candles and bubbles, this is always so relaxing and makes me spend some time alone and with me.dec1a6394407f699f795187bc6d18581.jpg
  • Put on your favourite PJs that are comfy but also make you feel pretty. Sometimes we wear old tops and PJs with holes. Try to get a new pretty pair this will make yourself feel more loved.
  • Make your favourite dinner if you love to cook. If you do not love cooking order your favourite meal.
  • Watch your favourite show or movie. If you do not have one here are some ideas that always make me laugh and even better they show women empowerment.
    • Legally Blonde
    • The devil wears Prada
    • Clueless
    • White Chicks 8eeec9e3fb4535c343f5f574676f171fb38cd34b23ababeeffe32767c387a23f
  • Have a glass of wine of that is what you like.

Take the evening to treat yourself and do some simple little things that make you happy.

 

These pictures are not mine. Please note that they are from Pinterest and are only used to display ideas.

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger-award

I have to say a very big thank you to the beautiful Maddie from Tiger Lily Diary for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Being nominated truly put the biggest smile on my face. Here is her blog that you should totally check out Tiger Lily Diary

What is the Versatile Blogger Award?

Basically, the Versatile Blogger Award is a chance to show appreciation to bloggers. When I started blogging I had no clue how much work it would be and how much of my time it would take up. This award is there to support bloggers and share many other bloggers. When one is nominated they can choose to accept the award and then nominate 15 other bloggers with unique and high-quality content.

The rules to accept this award are simple:

– Thank the person who nominated you, and link their blog. There are millions of blogs out there, and somebody chose yours!

– Nominate 15 bloggers to keep spreading the appreciation.

– Share 7 facts about yourself.

My seven facts

  1. I am crazy scared of snakes
  2. My favourite colours are white, black and grey, slowly starting to love baby pink
  3. I love stationery a lot
  4. My favourite food is sushi
  5. I don’t like mushrooms
  6. I have glasses
  7. I am terrible when it comes to replying to messages

The 15 bloggers I nominate

@wellnessandwander

@thedairyofellie

@lazyblogging

@ramblingsofablonde

@palegirlranbling

@findthebeautyy

@simplysplendid

@anotherlittlebirdie

@nataliehansblog

@jasminsworld

@elliekblog

@exhalestresswiththoughts

@helensjourney

@cacoco

@nothingbutauthentic

Reasons I don’t like February

Reasons I don’t like February

IMG_4995

The first of February is here and welcoming us to a new month. A new month is exciting I agree, it is a chance to set new goals and start over in many ways. People feel that with a new month they can start some new goals and not worry about the ones they did not really reach in January.  This is a positive and something exciting but at the end of the day, I still don’t really like February.

There are a few reasons I am not the biggest fan of this month, first be the heat. It is rather hot here in the sunny South Africa during the month of February. I am not the best person in hot weather, it makes me grumpy. I also hate to sweat, I know weird thing isn’t it.

The second reason is the month feels strange being 27 or 28 days long. I feel like this just throws me off balance with the bigger scheme of the year. Before I know it March has arrived and I always feel shocked.

My last reason why I dislike February is valentines day. Now I have nothing against love and all that romantic stuff, however, I do have something against it being used to make money. The 14th of February is a day used to make companies extra income, they oversell the idea of love and what it should be. I personally would rather get flowers on a random day than on a day where one feels they have to show they love you. Why put so much unnecessary pressure on a relationship, I really think that this “holiday” leads to more problems then happiness. The single girls get sad, the girls with men who forget about the day get angry and feel they aren’t loved. Why do we do this too ourselves?

 

Are you looking forward to the month of February?

Mental Wellness Monday Share

Mental Wellness Monday Share

After sharing my story last week I got a lot of kind messages of support and others telling me about their struggles with many different illnesses. I decided to start the Mental Wellness Monday Share to help share peoples stories and let people know that they are not alone in the world.

This week I have the inspiring story of a young lady who has not had an easy time with her illness. It took Yolandé a long time to get the doctors on her side but this has not stopped her in life. Here is her inspiring story which I hope will help many of you know that you are never alone. Check out her Instagram page: Sheer Empowderment

Yolande & Richie ~ 009

My journey with fibromyalgia

A few months ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Even though the diagnosis happened quite recently, I have been dealing with the symptoms for as long as I can remember. As a little girl, the doctors explained to my parents that it was just growing-pains and that eventually it will blow over. Well, I’m 25 now, and still waiting for my so-called growing pains to “blow over”.

Fibromyalgia is characterised by chronic, widespread muscular and joint pain. This is often accompanied by chronic fatigue as well as issues related to sleep, moods, concentration and memory. Because there are, to date, no physical blood tests that can be done to make a diagnosis, the word fibromyalgia seems to have become somewhat of a dirty word that some medical practitioners tip-toe around. This leaves the patient with nothing but questions, a feeling of hopelessness and a handful of (even more) painkillers. Yes, there is no cure for fibromyalgia but there are very effective treatment plans that can be put into place to drastically improve your quality of life despite living with fibromyalgia.

 

The most frustrating and disempowering part of my journey with chronic pain was getting diagnosed. It took years, endless bloodtests, tender-point tests and a very long list of different medical practitioners. From multiple GP’s, to psychiatrists and physicians. It’s a long and exhausting path but don’t give up! Even when the doctors do…

There were and still are days (although they happen a bit less often now) where my body is in so much pain and so stiff that I physically cannot move until I get my medication and warm my muscles up with microwavable beanbags. There are nights when the pain in my legs are so bad that I cannot fall asleep. Simple things like brushing my hair, climbing in or out of the bath, driving or even just being touched or hugged become a challenge on my bad days. The tricky thing about fibromyalgia is that the flare-ups (periods/episodes of intense pain) can be triggered by multiple factors. Stress, climate changes, poor sleep, certain foods, hormonal changes etc, etc, etc. You start to learn what your triggers are and either try to avoid them or if you can’t (ie hormones and weather) you at least know what’s coming. Because I also have endometriosis, it is a bit of a vicious cycle with the one condition feeding off of the other.

Mood changes are also associated with fibromyalgia. It often leads to feelings of anxiety, helplessness and depression which can, in turn, trigger another flare-up. This is the kind of knowledge and understanding that usually only comes after we know what we are dealing with. Without a diagnosis – you have no answers and no treatment plan. You do not know what to avoid, what to focus on and what to expect. It’s a very lonely space to be in and extremely difficult to explain to the people around you.

My current treatment plan enables me to live a normal life. I am able to study, work and reach for my dreams because I know my limitations during flares and I (finally) understand what my body needs from me. I have had to make a few changes to my mindset and lifestyle which I will elaborate on below. This year I am completing my Masters in Industrial and Organisational Psychology and lecturing part-time. I will also be celebrating my first anniversary with my husband who completely understands that some days we will be having take-aways and lying on the couch because cooking or going out just isn’t possible on a “fibro-day”.

 

  1. What have you learnt through this journey?

So often, we really are our own worst enemies. I can be extremely hard on myself and tend to push myself to the limit. It’s just who I am. But I have learnt that it is okay to take time out for yourself, actually it’s a necessity if you want to be the best version of yourself. Taking a night or a weekend off does not mean you are lazy or aren’t worthy of your dreams. It means you have learnt to listen to your body when it needs a break. It means that you chose to take a day or a few hours off instead of being bed-ridden for the next week because you pushed your body past its limits. I have also learnt that my aspirations and achievements are literally worthless if I don’t have my health– so my priorities have definitely changed.

I also realise that some people might never understand what I’m going through and actually that’s okay. I don’t wish it upon anyone to know the feeling. So certain comments and requests may come across as insensitive, but I don’t let them affect me because I realise its coming from a place of lack of awareness. Fibromyalgia has a long way to go in terms of awareness and that’s why articles like these are so important.

  1. What is the hardest part of living with your fibromyalgia?

I think the biggest challenge for me is the fact that I cannot always predict when I will be having a good or a bad day. That means it’s difficult for me to, for example, stick to a set time to go to the gym or know which days I’ll be able to study without with ‘fibro fog’. So as much as I thrive when I can plan my schedule to a T – that simply isn’t possible and I have had to learn to be more adaptable. Another challenge is the fact that fibromyalgia is an invisible illness. People cannot see it, so for many it simply doesn’t exist.

 

  1. What makes the hard days better? Any home remedies, hobbies, self care tips

There are so many! Keep in mind what works for me might not work for everyone but it’s definitely worth giving it a try. A few things that really help me:

-Multiple microwavable beanbags (I think I own more of these than shoes)

-Epsom salt bath (hot water)

-Magnesium and zinc supplements (I use Ultimag tablets from clicks or dischem)

-Sometimes I find it helps to limit gluten in my diet

-The occasional painkillers (try to avoid habit-forming ingredients like codeine as much as possible – the last thing you need is pain from withdrawal)

-Sticking to a sleep schedule (this is very important)

-Exercise (But like I said, be flexible with when you exercise – you want to exercise when you are not in pain. Otherwise you can stick to gentle stretching)

-I was prescribed chronic medication so I set reminders on my phone so that I remember to take these religiously.

-Taking time-outs at least once a week. You cannot expect your body to function for 7 days a week if you are working all day and during the evenings. Either take at least a full day off over the weekend where you do not touch work, or give yourself evenings off from work.

– I have recently started an instagram account called Sheer Empowderment focussing on empowerment and cosmetics. This gives me a creative outlet and also provides me with a platform to empower others with the things I have learnt through my journey.

 

  1. If you could give the you who started this process of diagnosis some advice what would you say?

If I knew what a difficult diagnosis it was to make right from the get-go I think I might have been less frustrated by the process. But the most important thing is that you deserve answers. Maybe you don’t have fibromyalgia. Maybe it is something else with similar symptoms. Whatever the case, keep fighting until you know what it is you’re dealing with and how you can treat it. Diagnosis can become a very expensive exercise which also extends the time it takes to get answers and in some cases even make it impossible. This is because more often than not you are sent from one doctor or specialist to the next. I would advise that in the meantime you start focusing on basic self-care tips which will help no matter the diagnosis (getting enough sleep, a healthy diet, vitamins and supplements and putting processes into place to reduce your level of stress). And whatever you do, don’t accept the answer of “it will blow over, it’s just stress, here are some more painkillers”. This is your life, your body – and this is your fight.