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Mental Health and Lifestyle Blog

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Staycation: Kerry

Staycation: Kerry

This week I had a friend come visit me in Ireland, so I was on a mini staycation in Kerry while she was over. I actually hadn’t seen my friend Tammy since May 2016, the last time I was over in London. We stayed out […]

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Life After Mental Illness

Life After Mental Illness

  When I was 26, I was diagnosed with depression. I got help from my doctor, took the anti-depressants, did counselling sessions, and now as I’m about to turn 29 I no longer suffer with depression. This wasn’t a journey of that I did everything […]

Trichotillomania – Hair Pulling Caused by More Than Stress by Ariel Taylor

Trichotillomania – Hair Pulling Caused by More Than Stress by Ariel Taylor

 

*This is not a sponsored post*

 

Trichotillomania is described as compulsive hair pulling and is a complex condition. Contrary to popular belief, it is not triggered by stress and anxiety alone. In addition, it is far more common than people think. The degree to which sufferers experience the condition may vary.  But it is believed that about 2% of the population experience trichotillomania. For some, it becomes a permanent, debilitating condition. It attacks the self-confidence of sufferers and adds to the stress and anxiety they already feel.

How trichotillomania develops in some individuals and not others is a question not easily answered. Experts believe the condition has its roots in the genetic make-up and hormone count in the body. Add to that the psychological aspect of the regulation of emotions, and a less than ideal environment, and you’ve got the right mix for trichotillomania.

A person with a genetic predisposition toward any Body-Focused Repetitive Disorder (BFRD) has a higher chance of developing trichotillomania. Other BFRD’s include cheek biting, skin picking, nail biting, and thumb sucking. Studies are being conducted into the possibility that fluctuating hormones may be responsible for the onset of trichotillomania. The reason for this suggestion is that trichotillomania often begins as a child enters adolescence.

The brain’s ability to process and manage emotions may also be a cause of trichotillomania. The condition is driven by an inability to regulate emotions. There is a range of motions that can trigger trichotillomania. Feelings of anger, fear, stress, anxiety, boredom, or excitement may cause a trichotillomania response. When these factors are coupled with an environment where stress and other emotions run high, a person can develop trichotillomania.

Trichotillomania can also be a response to a particular experience. Some sufferers say its onset was brought about by a haircut they didn’t like. Appearance is a very sensitive subject among adolescents. So, when they are teased about a haircut, it affects them. That’s not to say that every child who is teased about their hair will develop trichotillomania. But for some, it can trigger an episode, which then develops into a lifelong condition.

The reasons for trichotillomania are as different as the factors that drive it. Treatment for it and teaching techniques that address how to stop pulling out hair will therefore also vary. Some people describe hair pulling as a way of eradicating feelings of stress. It gives them a sense of control to pull their hair out. Others do it to eliminate hairs from their head that they feel are less than perfect. They consciously seek these hairs out and selectively pull them out. This is called focused hair pulling. The person sets aside a certain amount of time of their day to pull out hair. They derive a sense of satisfaction or relaxation from hair pulling. Some trichotillomania sufferers pull out random chunks of hair without even knowing they’re doing it.

Before any treatment can be prescribed, the cause of the trichotillomania must be established. There are various treatments (see trichstop.com), which are usually a combination of medications and psychotherapy. Medications can alleviate some of the irresistible urges to pull their hair out. Psychotherapy teaches the sufferer how to manage the triggers that cause them to start pulling out their hair. Trichotillomania patients are urged to find a therapist with some knowledge and experience in dealing with the condition. There are also support groups that patients can join to share their experiences. Many feel that the support and advice of other sufferers are helpful to them. It helps them to deal with the social stigma of trichotillomania. There are also plenty of websites that offer advice for trichotillomania sufferers.

Because the condition is not well-known, and few people talk about it openly, the stigma is a huge challenge to sufferers. Being ‘caught in the act’ or having bald patches on the scalp from hair pulling stimulates prejudice against people with mental illnesses.  Those who are not educated about the condition assume it’s purely related to stress. It comes from the saying “I’m so stressed out I want to rip my hair out.” These people cannot see beyond that to the complexities of trichotillomania and what causes it. They also accuse the person of being weak-minded as they cannot manage their stress or control their behavior.

This type of ignorance drives the trichotillomania sufferer to keep their condition private for fear of judgment. It also keeps the stigma alive. This limits people’s ability to learn about the condition and what causes it.

 

 

Slimming World: Week 2

Slimming World: Week 2

    Hey guys, Another week, another weigh in. This week was hard, I have not been sleeping well at all. Having those horrible nights when your body is completely exhausted but your brain just won’t switch off. Which has completely affected my productivity and […]

Slimming World: Week 1

Slimming World: Week 1

Hey guys, so if you saw last week I posted that I joined Slimming World and that I would be doing a weekly blog about it. It actually has been fine, I thought I’d be starving but surprisingly I am not. I’ve had sausages, bacon […]

Taking The First Step

Taking The First Step

I did it, I went to my first Slimming World group last night.

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I was a little bit nervous just as a do have social anxiety but I wasn’t going on my own so that made it a little easier, though when I got there I realised there was nothing to be any bit nervous about as everyone was extremely nice and upbeat.

At first we sat down for a little introductory session, had everything explained. Though all I was thinking is “I’m not gonna be able to have my several cans of Heineken for the World Cup”. Though I can drink light beer but to be honest, who likes light beer?

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After that we moved over to where the other members were and they were handing out awards for weight loss and then what their weight loss goals were for next week. I will admit that all that was going through my head was ‘Fat Fighters’ from Little Britain.

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After the members had talked and set their goals for next week, we went over to get weighed in and set our target weight. I know exactly where I want to be. I want to be the weight I was before I got injured. It’s a long way to go though.

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Can I release my inner Ronda each week and mean mug on the scale?

One thing about Slimming World is I just ate a big ass dinner which is counted as FREE and I’m full!

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I made the Chicken Pizzaiola tonight and had to with carrots, shallots, aubergine, courgette, peppers and asparagus which are all Speed foods.

 

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I am looking forward to hopefully seeing the scale go down next week. I will let you know how it goes next Friday!

Enjoy the weekend!

Blue ♥

Easy Egg Bake

Easy Egg Bake

Check out my latest video! My Easy Egg Bake ♥

Spicy Beef Udon Stir Fry

Spicy Beef Udon Stir Fry

Spicy Beef Udon Stir Fry

Depression: I Beat It

Depression: I Beat It

It is possible. I did it.

I knew I didn’t feel right in myself during April and May in 2016. I was a mess. Mood swings, feeling helpless, wanting to hide away and breaking down. I used to cry into my dogs fur late at night while making him cuddle me. I made the decision to go see my doctor that June.

I remember walking in and him asking me “So, what’s wrong?” and this opened up the floodgates. I bawled my eyes out and just told him “I don’t know what’s wrong with me!”. He reassured me, we talked for about 40 minutes and I was diagnosed with depression. I was put on antidepressants and my doctor scheduled me in for weekly visits for the first few weeks which was then moved to monthly meetings. In the weeks that followed I went to see a counsellor.

Everything seemed to be going ok-ish till it came up to Christmas and then I was just miserable and then in January I suffered a massive knee injury and I had to leave my college course as I was unable to walk. I tried to keep myself as busy as possible, I started my blog and started learning to cook. Though was awkward to cook when you are in crutches and a knee brace. Constantly asking for help to put things in and out of the oven and trying not to get tripped up by my dog.

I started to feel better when I openly started talking about my depression on my blog, it was my way to get out what I was feeling. Yes, it left me open to abuse my trolls but the ‘Block’ button and I got very well acquainted though I will admit sometimes the trolls really got to me, it’s not fun having your illness being made fun

. I started to feel pretty good again when I started my physio for my knee. Everything seemed to be healing well physically and mentally…

My happiness was not meant to last.

My mind started swirling again with depression and anxiety. Tried tinder around the same time which was a disaster and to top it off my knee collapsed on me and I couldn’t walk again.

*insert more depression here*

I basically gave up on myself. Just let the depression take over me. Wore my “happy mask” when I was around people but I was completely miserable and I ended up back at the doctor and increasing my antidepressant dosage.

The increase in tablets did help, I started to feel a bit better again and then I made a choice, I cut all the toxic people and crap outta my life. I started putting myself first, giving zero fucks about anyone or anything that wasn’t a positive force in my life.

I changed my mindset and how I look at things, I spent less time giving a crap about people insulting me online and talking crap. Started becoming friends with the ‘Block’ button again. The less energy I spent worrying about other people and more time concentration on myself, the better I felt.

In January of this year, I went to my doctor and we talked about moving down in dosage of my antidepressants. I moved from 40mg to 30mg. After a few weeks on the lower dose, I felt fine. I was happy, started cooking and blogging again. I was happy and motivated. I went back to my doctor after a few weeks and we discussed coming off antidepressants. While I was making the change, I deactivated my social media accounts as I didn’t want any online BS to interfere with my mental health.

I have been moving down 5mg a month. I have dropped from 40mg to 20mg so far. I will be completely off them in 3-4 months.

I feel strong, happy, in control and feel like my badass old self before this illness dragged me down.

I have fought depression, it was in no way easy, it was long, tough and full of breakdowns but I did it. It is an illness you can beat.

Stay Strong ♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese Cashew Chicken

Chinese Cashew Chicken

Ingredients: (Serves 4) 4 Chicken Fillets 4 TBSP Soy Sauce 2 TBSP Cornflower 1 Red Onion 1 Yellow Bell Pepper 1 Green Bell Pepper 4 Carrots 6 Mushrooms Spring Onions 1 Cup of Cashews Sesame Oil Garlic Powder Egg Noodles Marinade: Cut chicken fillets into […]


My Diary

Revenge Body: An Unhealthy Obsession

Revenge Body: An Unhealthy Obsession

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“Looking great is always the best revenge,” – Khloe Kardashian

Type “revenge body” into Google and the first thing that comes up is Khloe Kardashian and how her show empowers women. I completely disagree. Even the term “revenge body” is a negative term. Even look at the top definition of it on Urban Dictionary:

When you break up with someone, usually a cheating piece of shit who really wasn’t worth your time and you work your ass off to look the best you can just to piss him/her off and make them regret their poor choices.
Can’t wait until he sees this revenge body, he’s going to regret fucking that hoe and losing me.”

 

I watched Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian before I wrote this. This show seems ridiculous, just praising Khloe Kardashian for her looks and realistically she didn’t just lose weight and eat right, these are rich people who have had plastic surgery. One of the first things she asks the participants of the show is “Who is the person you want to get revenge on?” that is completely toxic. They whole idea of a revenge body is toxic. This is not the right motivation to get in shape. Khloe has said this show is to transform you spiritually and emotionally as well as a physical transformation but what bothers me the most is the participants citing family members, ex boyfriends, and friends as their reason to get “revenge”.

Speaking from my own personal experiences, I was called fat by friends and told by family members I was heavy, which I was. I never went to seek revenge on them because that is an extremely unhealthy mindset. I reached a point in my life when I decided for myself that I needed to make a change. Which I did, I didn’t do it for anyone but myself. You should never do anything that isn’t for yourself. Never change for anyone.

In my opinion, a “revenge body” is completely unhealthy. You may transform yourself on the outside but what about on the inside? How is your mental health if you are focusing on transforming yourself because of someone else? Do you think your ex will want you back because you are now thinner? Why would you want them back in your life if they only want you back because you are now aesthetically pleasing to them?

Instead of focusing on getting a revenge body, focus on moving on. Focus on yourself.