Yes, stay positive! BUT don’t stop having feelings. We have become such an image of perfection and only showcase the positive side of our story. This makes us feel like we can’t ever be raw or have feelings. It’s okay to be frustrated, cry or feel angry. Just don’t live there. It’s okay to feel! 💛👏🏻
When your medical team thinks you are just stressed or maybe have a common ailment and never test you for anything out of the norm, it can be frustrating. You feel lost and alone and just want answers. Sometimes this process can last years!
Up to 12 million people are misdiagnosed each year (1 in 20) and medical errors are the THIRD leading cause of death in the US (CDC, 2006) and kill 150,000 people per year. It is also disheartening when friends and family start to question you and think that maybe it is in your head. I have been there!
I am lucky to have a beautiful support system and people who care about me and I have made leaps with my health care, though I still have much more to discover. Advocacy is so important. Though my hands are tied due to finances and lack of health insurance, I still do a ton of research regularly and do what is best for my health and wellbeing with nutrition, detoxing my body, supplements and cutting out emotional toxins. If you are suffering from anything, I got your back. I am on your side. I am always here. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out.
Everyone from time to time gets in a funk. Personally, I used to often. Here are some tips to stay positive and to keep your mind happy:
1) Supplement or Go Herbal
Going herbal is a healthier option for your mind and body. Besides CBD, Valerian Root is my favorite. It helps with insomnia and anxiety. I like to think of it as a natural version if Valium. St. John’s Wort is a natural antidepressant and for mood disorders. Chamomile and Kava Kava are very calming and help take the edge off. You can take these in herbal teas or capsules. I get mine from Mrs. Mango’s. If you are in a legal state, look into medical marijuana.
CBD oil has many benefits. It is legal as long as it doesn’t contain more than 0.3% THC. Anxiety and sleep disorders can be treated with CBD. It also helps with pain, inflammation, headaches, IBS and several other ailments.
*I started selling CBD oil over a year ago since I have a retail license. If you have any questions or want to purchase a bottle, email me at email@example.com
Vitamin deficiencies can also cause depression or anxiety. Vitamin D deficiencies cause depression, hair loss, bone pain and can contribute to cancer. Vitamin B deficiencies can cause anxiety, headaches, tingling sensations and fatigue. Most doctors don’t test for these unless you specifically request it. Doctors tend to prescribe rather than find the cause.
The beauty of herbs and supplements is that they are all natural and they are not addictive. Having a healthy diet without preservatives, dyes, and artificial anything is also crucial to your health as a whole. Make sure you stay hydrated and take care of your body and it will also help with your mental health.
If you can’t get a doctor to test you, you can actually get the test (along with several others) with 23andMe
2) Get a Pet
Many studies have shown that getting a pet can reduce stress in your life. Think about service dogs for PTSD patients or bringing a puppy into a nursing home or hospital, for example. They put a smile on everyone’s face and provide a sense of calm. It is a different kind of love and without complications. It gives you a sense of responsibility. Plus, who does not want a cuddle buddy?
3) Words of Affirmation
Go to google images and type “positive quotes” and click the search button and browse away! I also search Buddhist quotes or Carl Jung, Walt Disney and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
4) Get a Hobby
There is no such thing as too many hobbies. For some, art can be very therapeutic. For others, going to the gym, hiking or playing soccer and being physically active are helpful for their mental health. Everyone knows that exercise releases endorphins. You can still do physical activity even if you are not a very active person. There are many ways to exercise even just sitting in a chair or using a pool to relieve joint pain.
Having a hobby is something to look forward to. Like learning to play guitar, you have goals: Learn chords, learn a song, start a band! Find a passion and a productive outlet.
The world always needs volunteers. The options are endless in your community and it feels great to help others and give back. It also humbles you and can make you grateful for what you do have.
Personally, I volunteer at Brevard Humane Society and I walk dogs and pet cats. It is amazing. I leave feeling renewed.
When you are in a funk, you are probably in bed, have not brushed your hair and feel like a mess. Get your ass in the shower and wash your hair. Blast some upbeat music, get dressed, brush your teeth and put on a nice outfit. Then, go outside and see the sunshine. It is the best way to start your day. There is something about feeling fresh and looking good that can lift your spirit.
You don’t even have to go anywhere. Sometimes, just freshening up with change your mood. Try opening the blinds or curtains at least.
If you still aren’t feeling it then get a hair cut. Changing you hair up boosts your self esteem and for some, it can be therapeutic.
“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life” – Coco Chanel
- If you still can’t get out of your funk, talk to a friend. You can also check your local resources online and find out about counseling or therapy. Many local colleges offer free services.
Do we ever really stop and truly engage, looking into someone’s eyes and feel their existence? We are always too busy or thinking about what we want to say, and let our distractions consume our mind. Our world is disconnected, digital and diluted and we wonder why people feel so invisible and the war on mental health continues to bleed on. I challenge you to engage once a day, whether it is a stranger or your child, friend or spouse. Turn your mind on mute and look them in the eyes an listen.
“How is your day?”
Blake and I decided on Denver as our honeymoon. While most couples go somewhere tropical, we live in Florida and for us that was not so appealing. I need to see mountains once a year for my mental health and we wanted to go somewhere legal so Denver was a win-win. I had never been to Colorado and it was always on my bucket list. We flew Southwest and had an amazing flight.
I found hotel in the heart of downtown Denver and when we checked in, they told us congratulations and treated us like family. They went above and beyond and set us up with a city view on the 6th floor and surprised us with a bottle of champagne. I absolutely recommend Aloft Downtown Denver!
Of course we went to a dispensary! Euflora was right in downtown and a quick walk and our favorite and first stop to check out legal marijuana. I scored some CBD muscle freeze by Arcanum that helped with muscle aches from walking around all day. I also found some local honey from Colorado Hemp Honey with CBD. We also tried out Mary’s Medicinal transdermal patches.
We had dinner at Downtown Aquarium and did the tour after. The food was delicious and it was a beautiful date night for our first evening in Denver.
I loved walking around Denver. There were so many different sides to see. Being an art nerd, I enjoyed the street art.
We checked out the Denver Art Museum and also saw the Degas exhibition while we were there.
Blake and I went to the Denver Zoo and the weather was absolutely perfect. This zoo was so huge that we didn’t even get to see it all. I was in love with the tulips and bright flowers everywhere and of course my favorite, orangutans! They even had pineapple whip, my favorite!
We could not have asked for more perfect weather! We had a few recommendations for Snooze Eatery and it did not disappoint. We sat outside for brunch. We checked out the shops inside Union Station and then played checkers until our table was ready. The food was so delicious and the staff was friendly and gave us recommendations on places to see.
Denver has so much to do and there is so much to see. My husband and I are not drinkers so it was important for us to find a honeymoon destination that would allow for us to sight see, hike and hang out without revolving around bars. Of course, there are plenty here but there is so much more.
We made a side trip to Boulder, Colorado and I literally could not believe my eyes. It was absolutely gorgeous. Dawn Honsky Photography picked us up and gave us a tour. She was so friendly and made us feel like family. She captured some beautiful shots of us which I will share in an upcoming blog post. Boulder gave us butterflies!
My husband and I left Denver with a piece of it in our hearts. The warm sun, cool crisp air and horizon lined with mountains is something I always daydream of. We will be back!
Laura Kay Halcom from Rockledge, Florida is 1 of 10 who struggle with endometriosis, a painful disorder in which the tissue that grows on the lining of your uterus spreads to other organs like the fallopian tubes and ovaries. With no way to exit the body like normal menstruation, the tissue becomes trapped and causes pain, scaring, adhesions and fertility problems.
Endometriosis is difficult to diagnose without an invasive procedure, a laparoscopy. Often times it will be misdiagnosed with IBS or deemed psychological. Symptoms can range based on severity but can cause nausea, low grade fevers, heavy bleeding, lower back pain, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, painful bowel movements and fatigue.
Treatment usually starts with birth control hormones to try to regulate your cycle but unfortunately, some women are very sensitive to the hormones and don’t always respond to that treatment. Another option is an endometrial ablation, but it is not always suggested if you plan to have children. A hysterectomy is a final option but there are studies that it still is no cure and it is a rough surgery. If your endometrial tissue grows onto other organs, removing the uterus is not going to help. There are studies that nutrition can play a big role. An anti-inflammatory diet can help minimize symptoms.
Avoiding gluten, red meat, sugar, caffeine and alcohol can help alleviate symptoms and inflammation. Having a well-balanced diet full of nutrients, antioxidants, fatty acids and iron rich foods is important. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory compound that you can take as capsules or sprinkle on your food. Having plenty of rest, staying hydrated and support will be your best friend for this diagnosis.
What is your invisible illness?
Endometriosis, Depression, Anxiety
When and how were you diagnosed?
Endo: June 2017 by laparoscopic surgery. It took 12 years and dozens of tests for me to be diagnosed. I have had anxiety & depression since I was 16.
What were your struggles and fear after diagnosis?
There is no known cause, and no cure. Now, the treatments of birth control and antidepressants are just making things worse. I also fear infertility.
What advice do you have for anyone going through a new diagnosis?
Be patient with yourself. Keep records of everything. Find your community of people struggling with what you are fighting. Talk about it. Educate yourself so that you can educate others.
What are your goals and dreams in life?
My goal is to finish my business degree. I want to be an educator and an entertainer. I dream of my own business, where I can express myself through art, music, and nature. I dream of adventure in far away places.
Three things you cannot live without: Sunshine, hugs, and my heating pad!
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder in which gluten ingestion can cause damage to the small intestine and other long-term health issues.
Theresa Lanno is a hairstylist and my business partner at Bombshells Barbershop & Glam Lounge in Rockledge, Florida. We busted our asses to open our salon. Stress can do a lot of things to our bodies. Theresa was rapidly losing weight without trying. She was coughing up blood and having stomach issues. The first doctor she saw gave her ulcer medication and chalked it up to stress. Can you imagine if she just took those pills and did not push for further tests? She would be damaging her body for many years to come and suffer from more health issues. Many autoimmune diseases are a dominos effect on your health.
Long Term Health Effects
Celiac disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or medicines that contain gluten. Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to additional serious health problems. These include the development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy skin rash), anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, short stature, and intestinal cancers.
*Read more here.
Theresa also had a vitamin D deficiency, which can cause brain fog, bone pain, fatigue, depression and muscle weakness. Deficiencies are common with celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and 1 in 100 people overreact to this particular protein, which damages the villi in their small intestines and causes poor absorption of food. Malnourishment can eventually lead to infertility, miscarriage, bone density loss, neurological diseases and certain types of cancer.
Fortunately, the cure for celiac disease is to completely cut gluten out of your diet. My goal in unveiling invisible illnesses is to push others to be their own advocate and to get answers and not just accept the first guess a doctor quickly throws at you before their next patient. We want answers and and test as well asnproper treatments and not bandages or pills to mask our symptoms.
Even if you are not Celiac, gluten sensitivities can cause similar issues minus the intestinal damage. Gluten has been know as an inflammatory food. You can read more here about research and references.
*Photos by Misti Blu
At what age did you discover symptoms and how long did it take to get an official diagnosis?
Theresa: I found out I have Celiac disease in April. I’ve always had stomach aches and low energy. I never thought anything of it until the past two years when my life got miserable. I couldn’t eat or drink with out feeling sick. I would get migraines, nausea, dizziness, heartburn, brain fog and joint pain, which ruled my life.
How do you feel about the healthcare system?
Theresa: The healthcare system is very flawed. I went through tests for 2 years before getting a diagnosis. Every doctor said I was young and healthy with low vitamin levels & stress. I lost 20 pounds in 2 months. I knew it was something else and not just stress. Thankfully, after many different doctors, I went to a walk in clinic begging for answers. They finally sent me to a gastroenterologist. Even after going through all my tests it took over a month to get a diagnosis. Celiac disease isn’t very common and many doctors still don’t have knowledge about this disease, which is so frustrating.
Do people have a hard time understanding your illness?
Theresa: Yes! The worst thing about this disease is that the only way to feel better is by sticking to a strict gluten free diet. Cross contamination is a nightmare, which makes eating out almost impossible. Also, people use gluten free as a fad diet which makes restaurants not take it seriously. I get asked if my body’s intolerance to gluten is “a choice or an allergy.” Why anyone would make this choice for no reason is beyond me. Gluten free is not a fad, actually gluten free breads and sweets usually have more sugar and calories than “regular” things do!
Do you have a message for people in your shoes who are struggling with this illness?
Theresa: It gets easier! The cravings are part of the disease. Be strong and don’t give into cravings. Celiac disease is strongly linked to cancer, MS, neuropathy, and diabetes. It’s no joke and there are so many people out there who feel the same!
What do you miss the most from before your diagnosis?
Theresa: I miss having a normal dinner with my friends and family. I was such a foodie! I still am but it’s just harder now. I don’t want to be the person who asks the waitress a million questions or has to fear getting sick from a chef’s negligence or server error. But, most of all I miss real New Haven style PIZZA!
What is your new favorite (gluten free) dish?
Theresa: I have learned to make almost everything I loved before in a gluten free way. My favorite thing has been chicken parmesan! Barrilla makes the best GF pasta! I love Boars Heads deli meats for lunch and Goodie Girl Cookies are the shit for snacks! Sweets are my weak spot, and the Melting Pot has the best GF spread you will ever see!
How have you changed or felt since your diet change?
Theresa: All in all, the sucky diet is so worth the change. I feel so much better. I am down 20 lbs all together. I still have days where my energy sucks and everything hurts but that is part of the autoimmune thing. No more crippling migraines or joint pain. It sucks sometimes but it could always be worse!