MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH – WENDY BLANCHARD, M.S., CHHC, CPS

In recognition of May being Mental Health Awareness month, I am sharing my story of a recent challenge with a very serious Lupus flare that has definitely challenged me to stay mentally strong, focused, and determined in my recovery of this autoimmune disease, and even more importantly, to remain in excellent mental health. WE KNOW THAT OUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH ARE DIRECTLY CORRELATED. I share my story of recovery to inspire you to never give up even when you feel like you haven’t any strength to continue on your own journey…when everything appears dark and there seems to be no answers or resolution.

The belief that I live by is that everything that I need, and that everything that I seek will come to me in the perfect time. I am so certain that the uncertainty is the Universe’s way of taking the time to prepare my resolutions perfectly for me. A Course In Miracles says, “Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety.” I am always certain that God/Spirit are lovingly guiding me and will always bring to me everything that I need and desire to heal, and to live in wellness…people, places and things. There is never any cause for worry. Ongoing worry and stress only promotes and exacerbates inflammation/dis-ease on a cellular level.

I had been diagnosed with Lupus about eight years ago, and went into remission about six years ago in living a holistic lifestyle through natural and organic solutions. Due to extraordinary stress about a year ago, I began experiencing symptoms again, but not until about 2 months ago was the Lupus flare confirmed clinically, and in blood work.

Today’s blog is about mental health, and I will address, in the future, autoimmune and inflammation, and how to prevent and treat.

During these past two or so months, I have been living in ongoing, chronic and debilitating pain that is widespread that has profoundly affected my ability to walk, and at times, use my hands. I have experienced pain, weakness, fatigue, and other symptoms that profoundly affect the quality of my life.

I trust my specialists and Holistic Health practitioners who continue to reassure me that although it will be a slow process, I will heal. However, we know that one of the most significant risk factors that causes one to experience mental health disorders/illness, is having experienced a prior mental health disorder/illness, and we also know that another significant risk factor for mental illness relapse is an ongoing physical health crisis. Having this information and awareness, allows me to plug right in and to begin to use all of the tools that I have implemented in my mental health recovery over the past six years.

So, what I have been doing for myself, and I suggest to my clients in my private practice, as well as those I work with in the community, daily, is to engage in self care practices that resonate with oneself. “SELF CARE ARE THE TOOLS/ACTIONS THAT WE TAKE TO ACHIEVE WELLNESS, AND WELLNESS IS OUR POWER IN RECOVERY.!”

I remind myself that I have the utmost faith in my physicians, both traditional and holistic practitioners who are working together as my team of healers, and that the Universe/God/Spirit continues to guide me and show me that I am healing, albeit slowly. As I have small setbacks, I reorganize my activities, and my work schedule, to allow my body to rest. My meditation and prayer practice keeps me so closely connected to myself, and to the Universe, and it gives me constant reassurance which fosters complete peace of mind. Some days when the pain is overwhelming, I allow myself to just rest, and if need be, to reach out to connect with a loved one for support.

My personal “soothing solutions” that allow me to relax, to think positively, and to foster continued healing are warm detox baths (see recipe below), relaxing herbal teas, GabaMax and Gabatrol, alternately with L-Theanine that helps with anxiety, (all available at your health food store/holistic health pharmacy),a slow and relaxing walk and/or simple stretching exercises. In addition, I prepare all of my own meals/snacks which are organic, gluten free, sugar free and dairy free, as well as elimination of any processed foods. I drink half my weight in ounces of water daily to continue to flush out any toxins that may get in through the foods that I eat, the environment, and the medications (Prednisone, Plaquenil, and Motrin) that I take. It is also important to be sure we are taking Vitamin B12 (about 2.4 micrograms daily) and Magnesium (about 350mg daily, and please check with your health care practitioner) which is also so helpful in reducing stress and anxiety. You can also get these vitamins from a variety of healthy food sources such as spinach, pumpkin seeds, avocado, halibut, peanut butter, collard greens, dark chocolate for magnesium, and salmon, clams, organic eggs for vitamin B12.

I use a variety of daily healing meditations, including one that actually connects oneself to Spirit, and then I journal every day after the meditation. I also use a Body Scan meditation that allows me to scan and observe every part of my body to notice any tension/tightness, and this gives me the opportunity to breathe, and to relax. I do a variety of deep breathing exercises which alleviates anxiety, and slows down my heart rate as it adds oxygen back in.

Some of these breathing exercises are “4-7-8 Breathing,” “Oxytocin Breath,” and “Alternate Nostril Breathing.” (Find links below.)

I stay connected to my loving son, and my loving daughters who are an enormous constant support, my loving friends, and my loving work family who are always so encouraging, and reassuring me that I am doing well, and they have been so flexible in allowing me to work from home on the days when I am not feeling my best. Having this type of support truly promotes a deeper sense of calm, and healing. My doctors are always available and constantly checking in on me, through calls and emails, and that is always reassuring. Being surrounded in loving, healthy relationships, using all of my positive healthy practices, and always reminding myself that everything is going to be alright and that I must be patient with the process, is my greatest catalyst for healing. THIS IS MY SELF CARE!

Each one of these healthy practices individually, and cumulatively, keeps me in a healthy mindset, body, mind and spirit.

We all have mental health and it changes for us on the continuum of feeling well, and feeling unwell, depending upon what is happening around us and within us. Inherently, we all know what we need to heal, and it is up to us to implement these self care tools into our everyday lives so that when we begin to feel unwell, we know what to do to heal ourselves. And, when we have tried all of our tools, and we are still feeling unwell, we must have the courage to ask for professional help.

Recently, due to my physical illness being ongoing and relentless, I realized at one point that I needed to talk, and to get some validation and support from my therapist, so I returned to talk therapy. She’s been with me since the very first day that I began my SUD/Mental Health recovery, and I was so excited to share with her that even in this extremely challenging time, I have never considered any controlled substances to ease my pain…a very big deal, and growth for me. She validated this for me, and is also so proud of my recovery, and all that I have accomplished. This is the positive I choose to focus on. How we respond to adversity and challenge, is always a choice.

If you would like more information on how I can support you in achieving your health and wellness goals, please contact me at wendyblanchard044@gmail.com, or go to my Contact page on www.harmonioushealth4life.com, and I will be in touch with you shortly.

Wishing you harmonious health 4 life!

Love and blessings,

Wendy

DETOX BATH RECIPE – WENDY BLANCHARD, M.S., CHHC

A Meditation to Connect with Your Spirit Guides

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