Beauty a mind-body experience

 

I wanted to start my blog lift knowing definitively the direction I wanted to go. After a minute of introspection I laughed as I realized the answer was right in front of my nose.  You see two weeks ago I had rhinoplasty surgery.

I have been obsessed with skincare and makeup since I was 13.  The care of my skin and keeping it youthful has been my mission. I don’t care if you are 8 or 80 the way you are feeling physically and mentally manifests body-wide.

My Friend depression has come for an unexpected visit.  Perfect timing for Postcards segue to her new theme, Beauty a mind-body experience,  Therefore, depression and the effect it can have on your appearance is our debut post.

When depressed I am different inside and out. One minute I am energetic, getting things done. Thinking normal thoughts. Then I am not.  I am nervous, shaking, tears flow for no apparent reason.  The marvelous fatigue sets in and my bed beckons. My skin looks swollen and puffy. Eyes are red rimmed slits.  The PTSD causes stuttering and an inability to function. Taking care of my appearance is not a thought.  Sometimes a bath is to much to handle.

So for my friends in depression, this first post will share tips I use to de-stress and try to keep a modicum of beauty while awaiting the return of my mind.  Looking good makes you feel good.  The thought process it takes to follow your beauty routine is time you are not dwelling on depression.

A few of my tried and true favorites:

Number One – Sleep.  A day in bed is not a bad thing. Sleep allows your mind and body to rest.  This can give you energy and a more positive outlook.  It can also help you manage stress.  Research in the journal SLEEP showed that people who snoozed 7-9 hours a night had fewer symptoms of depression.

When sleep eludes I find that listening to a meditation app can relax you into sweet slumber. One that works for me is  “Relax and Rest”.  I am usually fast asleep halfway through the “Whole Body 24 Minute Meditation.”

Number Two – Hydrate. I don’t mean hydrate with wine to oblivion. Water.  Our bodies are made up of 50-65% water.  It helps our skin regulate temperature through sweating.  Water also serves as the body’s transportation system circulating essential nutrients. As skin is our largest organ; regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly.

Number Three – Exercise.  I don’t care if it is a walk with your dog or best friend.  The saying “a body in motion stays in motion” holds merit. Use it or lose it.

Walking outdoors absorbing Vitamin D from the sun is a feel good experience that is good for you as well.  Vitamin D is unique in that is a vitamin and also a hormone your body makes from the sun. An estimated 40-75% of people are Vitamin D deficient.  Throw on that sunscreen, a hat and head out the door, healing Vitamin D awaits.

If indoor work outs are more your style, force yourself to go to the gym.  That means getting dressed and driving or walking to the location. Once those feel good endorphins start flowing you will be glad you went.

Number Four – Medication.  It is easy when you are in the middle of a crisis to forget or say to yourself, these meds don’t work.  Yes they do! They were prescribed because you need them and these situations are one of the reasons.  Take your meds!

Number Five – Stick with your skin care regime. Feeling good mentally takes a full body experience.  Start with a hot bath.  I like to use Epsom Salt as it is a naturally occurring mineral known as “magnesium sulfate”. Epsom Salt used in the tub as a soak can help relax you and draw toxins from your body.

Cleanse, scrub and moisturize your face. Use sunscreen if it is daytime, Your sunscreen should be put on before your foundation.   Use your sunscreen even if the foundation you use has an spf  listed.

Many of the new sunscreens are lightly tinted to even out your skin tone.  I  am mad about SkinCeuticals Physical Fusison UV Defenses.  It is lightweight and has a neutral tint that works well enough that I could skip foundation if I wanted a more minimalistic look,

Number Six – Fragrance.  Our olfactory response is directly linked to the emotional center of our brain causing a flood of warm and fuzzy feelings with a simple sniff.  So as a finishing touch a marvelous fragrance does wonders.  A perfect fragrance match is one that you can not smell on yourself but others ask what perfume you are wearing.  This lets you know the fragrance agrees with your body’s natural chemicals.

I also love to rub a frangranced essential oil throughout my dry hair. Be stingy a dab will do! Your fly away hair and frizz is controlled.  A bonus is you will be getting a whiff of the fragranced oil for hours,

Number Seven – Reach out, call a relative or close friend who understands your frame of mind. Try not to spend the whole conversation talking about you.  Ask questions about their lives.  Get out of your head.  This helps put things in perspective, as much as you may feel it is all about you, it isn’t.

Remember no-one can make you feel anything.  We are in charge of our feelings and in turn the way we look.  Knowing that you may be depressed but can still look damn good is a most undepressing feeling.

Madly, Marlene

Why I am dysfunctional today

Pain, I am indescribably dysfunctional today because of pain. My quote for the day in my newly acquired “Dysfunctional Journal” is eerily  apropos:

“I believe that everybody comes from pain and a certain amount of dysfunction.”

Thank you Mariel Hemingway for this bit of truth.

I never in a million years thought that I would have pain like this. Not from this body, this body that always worked like a well oiled machine. No matter what sport hit my fancy – karate, kick boxing, aerobics, jazzercise, running, speed walking. You name it my body and I loved it, lived it. No longer.

Today is the second day I woke up in tears.  How I dislike myself when I feel weak.  I need to not feel this way about this body that has served me so well, until recently. My new normal.

Is crying a good release? A pain killer in disguise? I do not know the answer to this. The tears come, the hot tears, welling, filling my eyes until they overflow like lava running down my face. The heat of them feels good.  I do not try to stop.  There must be a reason the tears come uninvited.  Some chemical in this body of mine,  I won’t fight, not just yet.

It is the last day of another year. A nanosecond it feels. What do you say at the end of one year?  The beginning of another looming as the sun sets and the moon rides high in the sky?  Nothing if you are smart. I have no control over what is coming with tomorrow’s sunrise any more than I currently have control over this pain that has decided to spend this last day of the year with me as an unexpected, unwelcome guest.

Now is what I have, when my eyes, albeit full of tears, should be open to the beauty of everything around. My heart should be full of joy and gratitude for this moment, pain or not. 

If I had a wish for the upcoming year, it would be that I could live exclusively in the now.  Each moment full of joy, overflowing with gratitude. Reveling in the moment, pain or not.  Enjoying completely the gift of now.  The biggest, most unappreciated gift we have.

Happy New Year 2016!

#DepressionTip102

Exercise, sounds like a dirty word doesn’t it? Especially if you are suffering from depression.  I know what you’re thinking – how can I think about exercise when all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep?  Believe me I understand I have been there and still am at times. I fight daily to not let depression into the window of my soul.  

I have always been athletic – not an athlete but I love the feeling I get after a good workout.  Whether that’s a quick walk with my dogs, a swim or a vigorous ride on the recumbent bike.  I love it.  Don’t get me wrong many days I have to force myself out of the house. Some days I will go to a mall and walk.  On those days I get to window shop and be around other people.  I am getting my endorphins going and helping with my feelings of loneliness at the same time.  Win win! 

A study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1999, divided 156 men and women with depression into three groups. One group took part in an aerobic exercise program, another took the SSRI  (Zoloft), and a third did both. At the 16-week mark, depression had eased in all three groups. 

How does exercise relieve depression? For many years, experts have known that exercise enhances the action of endorphins, chemicals that circulate throughout the body. Endorphins improve natural immunity and reduce the perception of pain. They may also serve to improve mood.  Exercise also has these added benefits:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects

Regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits, too. It can help you:

  • Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
  • Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
  • Get more social interaction. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood and help lessen feelings of loneliness.
  • Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.

Starting and sticking with an exercise routine or regular physical activity can be a challenge. The following steps can help you find and stick with an exercise program:

  • Identify what you enjoy doing. Figure out what type of physical activities you’re most likely to do, and think about when and how you’d be most likely to follow through. Doing what you enjoy helps you stick with it.
  • Get your mental health provider’s support. Talk to your doctor or other mental health provider for guidance and support.  It is always important to discuss any new exercise program with your doctor before you start.
  • Set reasonable goals. Think realistically about what you may be able to do and begin gradually.  Never set unrealistic goals that you’re unlikely to meet.
  • Don’t think of exercise or physical activity as a chore. It is better to look at your exercise or physical activity schedule the same way you look at your therapy sessions or medication — as one of the tools to help you get better.
  • Prepare for setbacks and obstacles. Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction. If you skip exercise one day, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain an exercise routine and might as well quit. Stick with it!

If you are exercising regularly but anxiety or depression symptoms still interfere with your daily living, see your doctor or therapist. Exercise and physical activity are great ways to ease symptoms of anxiety or depression, but they aren’t a substitute for psychotherapy or medications.

With depression there is not one “fix” that fits all.  Since I have added regular exercise to my medication and therapy sessions I have definitely had more good days than bad.  I can only hope that it will do the same for you.

Cheers

Marlene



#DepressedAnonymous

Depression is a lonely feeling.  It is hard to explain the deep despair that is the crux of depression.  I have trouble getting out of bed much less do I feel like feel like socializing when all I really want to do is crawl back under the comforter.  As hard as it is I force myself to exercise, walk my dogs, putz around the house; anything to keep busy.  I feel if I stop moving the depression will set in.  It does.  Writing helps – the community of bloggers is wonderful – but could there be a comfortable way to meet people to feel less lonely?

I have many friends and family members who have suffered with addictions of various types; alcoholism, drugs, gambling, food.  The one constant in those who made it to the other side was Alcoholics Anonymous. 

 I wondered if there was a “Depressed Anonymous” a place to meet others who are experiencing the same feelings of lonliness and despair.  I was very excited to see that there was.  After visiting their website at http://depressedanon.com I thought this was definitely a program worth exploring.

Based on the very successful protocol set forth by Alcoholics Anonymous what follows is from the website of Depressed Anonymous.

THE AIMS OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS:

1) To let the depressed person know that she or he is not alone in his or her struggle with depression. We also help others learn to do pleasant activities again.

 2) To provide a group where members can help one another and learn new skills in taking mastery over their lives and begin to live again with hope and joy. 

3) To help each member feel better about themselves — today. One day at a time! 

4) To educate the depressed person and his or her family about the nature and causes of depression and remove the SHAME of their feeling depressed. It’s OK to admit that we are feeling overwhelmed

We seek to prevent depression through education and by creating a supportive and caring community through support groups that successfully keep individuals from relapsing into depression. 

12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous

1. We admitted we were powerless over depression —that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We’re entirely ready to have God remove our shortcomings.

7. Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.

I hope that anyone reading this who is suffering will be motivated to search for a meeting in their area.  Please visit their website if you can’t find one –  they are there for you.  It is up to you to take the first step hard as that sounds.  Once you have taken that step I have a feeling you will be glad you did.

#AweDepressionandOtherCauses

Depression is an odd animal. My husband and I spent the last few days in Zion National Park, Utah.  I was awestruck by the beauty of nature yet felt sad at the same time. Is that sadness depression? I’m pretty sure that was how I felt. 

I have this need to name my depressive feelings hense “Awe Depression”.  This got me thinking, is there a clinical name for this and other types of depression?  

Google to the rescue! Following are a few of the most common causes of depression, some more surprising than others.

Genetics

Maybe your mother had it. Or your uncle or your sister. Watching a family member suffer from depression can be difficult. But does that mean you also will suffer from the condition?

Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is the most common form of depression. The Stanford School of Medicine(SSM) estimates that 10 percent of Americans will experience this type of depression at some point in their lives. This type is also more likely to be shared by siblings and children. A person with a relative who suffers from depression is almost five times more likely to develop depression as well.

A British research team recently isolated  a gene that appears to be prevalent in multiple family members. Scientists believe as much as 40 percent of those with depression can trace it to a genetic link. Environmental and other factors make up the other 60 percent. 

One study found that women had a 42 percent chance of hereditary depression, while men had only a 29 percent chance.

Facebook Overload

In a 2010 study, researchers found that about 1.2% of people ages 16 to 51 spent an inordinate amount of time online, and that they had a higher rate of moderate to severe depression. However, the researchers noted that it is not clear if Internet overuse leads to depression or if depressed people are more likely to use the Internet. These individuals may struggle with human interaction and lack of companionship.  Some experts even call it “Facebook depression.”  How apropo.

Poor Sleep Habits

It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, but it can also increase the risk of depression.

Summer Weather

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is most commonly associated with winter blues, and it afflicts about 5% of Americans.  But for less than 1% of those affected by SAD, this form of depression strikes in the summer.  “Warm weather depression is caused by the body experiencing a delay adjusting to new seasons,” says Alfred Lewy MD, professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland. Instead of waking and enjoying dawn, the body has a hard time adjusting, this could be due to imbalances in brain chemistry and the hormone melatonin.  next

Rx Medications

Depression is a possible side effect for anxiety and insomnia drugs.  Certain drugs prescribed to treat high blood pressure and lower cholesterol can also be a culprit.  Then there are those drugs used to treat menopausal symptoms. These among many others can cause depression, read the potential side effects when you take a new medication, and always check with your doctor to see if you might be at risk. 

End of Events

When something important comes to an end, like a TV show, movie, wedding, relocation or vacation , it can trigger depression in some people. All the excitement leading up to the event has had your adrenaline in overload. When the event ends the adrenaline levels drop and so does your mood.

Where You Live

You can endlessly debate whether city or country life is better. But research has found that people living in urban settings do have a 39% higher risk of mood disorders than those in rural regions. A 2011 study in the journal Nature offers an explanation: City dwellers have more activity in the part of the brain that regulates stress. And higher levels of stress could lead to psychotic disorders. 

Too Many Choices

The sheer number of options available whether it’s a beauty product, what to eat for breakfast at  a restaurant or simply buying a bathing suit can be overwhelming,  Not a problem for shoppers who pick the first thing that meets their needs.  However, some people respond to choice overload by exhaustively reviewing their options in the search for the best item.  Research  suggests that this coping style is linked to perfectionism and depression.

Lack of Fish in the Diet

Low intake of omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and vegetable oils, may be associated with a greater risk of depression. A 2004 Finnish study found an association between eating less fish and depression in women, but not in men. These fatty acids regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin, which could explain the link. Fish oil supplements may work too; at least one study found they helped depression in people with bipolar disorder.

Poor Sibling Relationships

Although unhappy relationships with anyone can cause depression, a 2007 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that men who didn’t get along with their siblings before age 20 were more likely to be depressed later in life than those who did.  It’s not clear what’s so significant about sibling relationships (the same was not true for relationships with parents) researchers suggest too much squabbling is associated with a greater risk of developing depression before age 50.

Chronic Pain 

Pain and depression are closely related. Depression can cause pain — and pain can cause depression. Sometimes pain and depression create a vicious cycle in which pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression worsens feelings of pain.  Such fun!  A rollercoaster of symtoms – which is causing which?  

Pain and the problems it causes can wear you down over time, and may begin to affect your mood. Chronic pain causes a number of problems that can lead to depression, such as trouble sleeping and stress. Disabling pain can cause low self-esteem. Depression doesn’t just occur with pain resulting from an injury. It’s also common in people who have pain linked to health conditions.

In retrospect my Awe depression is not all that odd.   If I analyze myself (this happens frequently), it seems to fall under end of event  depression; I tend to worry about the trip being over while it is still happening therefore everything is that much more intense and important.  

It seems self-analyzing can be enlightening.  I am by no means suggesting you fire your therapist!  A little self discovery never hurt anyone.  Does your depression fit any of the categories I have listed?  Did I miss one that you feel may cause depression in you? If so please share as we are all in this depression game together.  I feel the more we learn from each other; the better equipped we become to aid ourselves in our lifelong healing process.


#DepressionSurvivalTip101

I have found a few things I can do that absolutely keep depression at bay once my medication is correct – A good belly laugh being number one.  

My sense of humor runs amuck I never know what will cue my funny button but once that happens it’s off to the races for at least 5 minutes.  That’s 5 minutes I am not depressed, success.  

So for my friends in depression please try to find something to make you laugh today.  I don’t care if it’s a movie, a book or reading my previous post about farting (I laughed as I typed that one, I know sick sense of humor) just laugh – out loud.  You will be amazed, you can actually feel the endorphins being released.

I am the depression queen.  A proud survivor of many things, depression being just one.  At my lowest I was never suicidal, to vain for that.  I would not give this disease the satisfaction of taking my life. I like looking at the sky, listening to the wind blow, beautiful flowers – I love life.   

Lucky me the one thing I have no control over is my biggest fear, death.  So I laugh.  As often, as loud and as long as I can. 

Join me in laughter please.  Tell me what makes you chuckle or roar with laughter.  I am always looking for something new to laugh at other than myself!

Chuckles

Marlene