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Day Four of the Self Care Challenge

I didn’t post about the one yesterday because it was to “unplug”

Of course, as a writer, I can’t fully unplug for a full day but I did for a little bit. My three year old led me on an adventure- across some rocks (pillows) and up and down a mountain (the stairs). It was a fun adventure.

 

Today’s challenge is to write out what you feel. In a way, I did that with my last post about the quarter life “crisis” I have been going through for several years now. Anything else I write out will be on paper and totally private.

This challenge is going smoother than the other challenges I have attempted to complete in the past. They’re quick, easy and I can easily fit them into my day to day life.

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Day 3 of the self care challenge- listen to your favorite podcast

I don’t really have a favorite, so I looked around and ended up connecting to iHeartradio to listen to one. I picked one on Pinterest marketing for blogs and small businesses.

Not necessarily my favorite, but I’m getting decent with using Twitter and Twitter and Pinterest were my two goals for this year.

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Day 2 of the Self Care Challenge

The second day involves walking (take a walk)

I’ll be having to walk around in my house due to not having a place at the moment to walk.

Day 1 (yesterday) was take time to read a bit and I selected an old favorite- The Looking Glass Wars.

Ever since reading about Alyss Heart in this series, I’ve become a HUGE Alice in Wonderland fan (the live action movies helped quite a bit)

I’ve read this one book like 2-3 times at least, but it never gets old and I’m wanting to start finding time to read more anyways.

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I’m doing a challenge this month

From a woman I met on Twitter, Thoughts with N from over on Blogspot.

She came up with the “Self Care Challenge” which includes different little things to do for yourself throughout the month.

Today’s is to read, which goes perfect with one personal goal I have to read a little bit more than I have been.

 

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I have decided that on January 1st

I’m finally going to commit to the 30-60 day Whole30 diet.

As of right now, even sticking with strict gluten free, I’m right back to feeling sick all the time. I’m not sure if it’s dairy or if there is something else I’m now sensitive to but the Whole30 is the best way to find out from what I can see.

I have failed multiple times, but I’m sure I should be able to commit to 1 simple month of whole foods. I have checked out so many recipes, it will just involve making my own birthday cake since my birthday is in January.

 

I just signed up for a holiday HIIT 3 days a week program. HIIT workouts have always been my favorites and with some really busy weeks, the 15-17 minute workouts should be feasible. My two year old has enjoyed joining me doing the Stronger workouts (livestrong website) and she’ll love joining these as well. I’m not trying to set any kind of New Years Resolutions, those are never kept, I just prefer starting things on the first of the month- it’s easier to track progress.

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How I get my kids to eat- a step by step guide

  1. I start early and fix a nice, balanced meal
  2. I sit the girls down at the table
  3. I clean up and scold the two year old for throwing the food when she decides it’s “icky”
  4. I fix a slightly less healthy meal
  5. I sit them back at the table
  6. I clean the next mess up as the two year old (who has ate a few bites from each meal) makes yet another mess
  7. I cave in and feed them what they want- despite it being what I deem as healthy
  8. I clean the last mess up and finally release them from the table
  9. I bang my head against the wall repeatedly while doing the fourth or fifth load of dishes of the day and silently scream because I don’t understand how I ended up with such picky and light eaters.
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How to enjoy a Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is celebrated by sitting around the family table with your extended family eating a huge, calorie laden dinner. It’s easy to eat until you’re bloated and too full/ tired to function but it’s a huge pain when you’re on a gluten free or any other restricted diet and need to avoid getting sick. You see the sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie and stuffing and already know you can’t eat those but what are your alternatives? Are there any other foods to watch out for?

Main Dish

The turkey (or ham) is the default with Thanksgiving. Make sure the seasoning is safe. If they use anything other than normal herbs and spices, it could have hidden gluten and not be safe. The gravy is another big no- unless you make it specifically yourself, you cannot be sure what it’s thickened with and it’s best to avoid.

The best ways to be safe are to make sure your turkey has no skin and no topping but spices. Keep away from gravy, or take some broth before it’s made into gravy and add your own ingredients to thicken it.

Sides

Stay away from stuffing, unless you get a gluten free bread or stuffing mix and make it your own. Stuffing is bread, so it’s obvious that it will not be safe traditionally.

Stick with normal veggies. You can ask about the ingredients in the sweet potato pie and there is a decent chance it’s safe, but is it worth the risk? To know you’re safe, stick with green beans, spinach or any other side that contains no additives. If that sweet potato pie only contains sweet potatoes, brown sugar, marshmallows and a few other items they can easily list (or show you) it’s safe. (Yes, sweet potato pie is my favorite dish)

Stuffing- gluten free version

Stuffing isn’t hard- take your favorite gluten free bread and tear it up, add it to broth (or gluten free gravy) and let it soak, then toss it with the celery, onions and anything else you use and wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it the way you normally bake your stuffing.

They also have gluten free stuffing mixes for people who don’t cook it totally from scratch- located in the gluten free section of the local grocer.

Hot Rolls

Rolls are another obvious issue- they are nothing but flour but there are gluten free options out there, more than other subs. You can find frozen gluten free rolls, normal rolls in the bread aisle and there are countless recipes out there for gluten free rolls, so you have many options. My personal favorite is to take a normal hot roll recipe and convert it- they taste almost the same and are a tried and true recipe.

Deserts

Pumpkin Pie

I think it’s safe to assume, the pumpkin pie is one of most peoples’ favorites. The pumpkin itself is fine- pumpkin, milk (or milk sub), cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg/whatever other spices you use, sugar, eggs- all of that is gluten free. You can bake it all in a pan to make a pumpkin pie pudding type of dish or you can head to the local Kroger (it’s the only store around here that sells them) and pick up an extra gluten free frozen pie shell. (Wholly Wholesome makes a really good crust- but pay attention to the label because some of their crusts are whole grain- meaning wheat and they are usually together in the frozen coolers).

Pecan Pie

There are plenty of recipes out there to make gluten free pecan pie and I’m not sure, besides the crust how much needs to be avoided.

Use your other Wholly Wholesome pie shell and find one of the many pecan pie recipes and test it out

 

It may be a bit more time consuming on your end and you may end up offending family members by your “diet choices” but it is very possible to be included in the big family Thanksgiving meal while staying safe and not getting sick.

If this is your first year, it will be more challenging but just remember- your body won’t care if your aunt was offended by you not wolfing down her rolls. Your body won’t care that you had a moment of weakness and took a few bites of that pie or stuffing- your body will mind that you just put an ingredient in it that it cannot tolerate and your comfort is more important than someone’s feelings. If it’s store bought, always look for the gluten free label and if you’re in doubt, keep away.

 

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Frozen Perfectionist

I am what is known as a “frozen perfectionist.” I was diagnosed with OCD as an adult, after discussing my childhood with a therapist after losing a child (the symptoms got too bad to ignore). I finally found out why I obsess over nearly everything but some of the symptoms didn’t add up. I started researching self help and found the term frozen perfectionist- when a perfectionist gets so afraid of failure, they can’t move forward. When I found that, it summed where I was in life. I wanted to go back to school, was too afraid of what could happen. I had a rough draft of a novel- I was too afraid to go any further. I had tons of dreams but I was so afraid of failing, I was stuck working in a dead end job afraid of going after anything better.

The book that changed me was “Stop Self Sabotage.” It made me stop and really start looking at my own issues. When I was 18 and a college freshman, I had confidence. I knew I had my life in front of me and since I was out of my parents’ rule, I had freedom. I messed up and starting skipping classes. That led to me being put out on academic suspension and I was talked into dropping out instead of going back the next semester. That summer, I started dating an old friend from high school who literally beat the confidence out of me. It took me two years to get away from him but in that time, I was shattered. I wasn’t “allowed” to open the business I wanted to open (even though my plan impressed the woman at the SBA so much I would have gotten the loan immediately). I wasn’t “allowed” to go back to school- if he was unable to graduate, I wouldn’t be able to either- he was “insanely intelligent” and I wasn’t- so if he couldn’t do it, I couldn’t. I dealt with tear downs along with those subtle insults for 2 years until I finally got him to kick me out of the house (after he cheated) and took advantage to finally break up with him fully. By that time, I was 21 and a wreck. It compounded on my own perfectionist traits.

What exactly is “Frozen Perfectionism?”

A frozen perfectionist is someone born with the perfectionist traits who goes untreated for too long and finds themselves frozen in fear- fear of failing and fear of moving forward for whatever reason. It could be considered a side effect of OCD/OCD perfectionism. This has become a nonresearched opinion due to not finding my original sources. The term that is now coming up is perfection paralysis- but it’s the same concept.

What is OCD Perfectionism?

OCD and perfectionism do not always go hand in hand BUT they do in a lot of cases. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not the quirk of needing everything organized or being really neat. That is a quirk, OCD is an Anxiety Disorder that causes random and truly meaningless (and often totally out there) thoughts- they become obsessions then that leads to a most of the time unrelated compulsion to do something and that will “prevent” the obsession from happening. (As in- fear of your child dying, it becomes a near- phobic obsession that you cannot shake. In order to prevent your child from dying, your anxiety tells you you have to count every step you take. Counting quickly eases the anxiety but now you’re stuck in the trap of having to count every single step you take at all times- otherwise your child will die.

That is the reality of OCD- it’s not a funny little joke, it’s a really severe Anxiety disorder that needs treatment (NOT medication)

Perfectionism also involves a lot of anxiety. It’s an obsession with everything being perfect. It’s the obsessive need to be the best- at everything and anything that does not come naturally is to be given up.

The kid sitting in the front of the class who studies all the time, finishes his test earlier than the rest of the class and still gets straight As is likely not a perfectionist. The kid in the back who writes a few words, erases, writes a tiny bit more and frantically tries to make his writing absolutely perfect while failing tests due to incomplete responses is more likely to be a perfectionist.

Perfectionism can go far enough to be an actual mental disorder- when the desire becomes obsession and anxiety takes over with every failure. That’s where perfectionist paralysis comes in. It’s when the fear of failing is so strong, you freeze in order to protect yourself. You’re unable to complete projects (like my novel) because you’re so afraid of failing, you get stuck.

 

How I am Trying to Battle OCD Perfectionism Without Professional Help

I was diagnosed at 26, after losing a baby. My OCD had got so bad, I was afraid of carrying my living child up or down the stairs. I started grief therapy to handle losing Cassie and started talking to her about my childhood. After mentioning some quirks I have held my whole life, she told me Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I started studying deeper into it and found it to describe my whole life.

She also told me to run from anyone who tried to medicate me because it needs treatment but not medication. She also gave me the advice that helped me more than anything else-

When your brain is stressing- ask yourself, is this a worry a “normal” person would feel or is it the OCD/Anxiety?

I started reading self help books about OCD and ran across Stop Self Sabotage. I ignored the advice that you need to be under a professional’s care to do exposure therapy, and so far, I’ve kicked a phobia of driving and am working on the fear I have of failing. I started cold pitching to different sites and magazines and in a few cases, I have even pitched and applied to places I knew would reject me so I could start to get used to being rejected before my book is ready to be published.

I also have started asking trusted sources if a thought is normal or I try to put myself in a normal person’s shoes.

Those have been helping me personally and I’m going longer and longer periods of time without the OCD acting up. I have read OCD is one mental illness that can totally clear up on it’s own, so I’m hoping with time I can fully kick it for good.

My Tips For Dealing With OCD On Your Own

  1. Step back and think- when you have an obsessive thought, try to determine if it’s a legitimate thought or if it’s anxiety
  2. Remember, above all, OCD is an ANXIETY disorder
  3. The compulsions are NOT going to help- when you learn your obsessions, identify them and avoid the compulsions. They ease anxiety, BUT it hurts your recovery.
  4. The best way to recover from OCD is to avoid compulsions and ride out the anxiety. Once you see that the bad won’t happen, it slowly eats away at the obsession until there is nothing left.
  5. It’s hard, and you may need a therapist but riding out the anxiety (through exposure therapy) is the best way to recover

Look at Perfectionism as a form of OCD- it’s an obsessive need to be perfect. Slowly expose yourself to failing and being seen as imperfect. Me blogging is part of my self therapy. Not being seen as perfect helps as exposure therapy and over time, perfectionism can be overcome.

*Side note- I started this post months ago and have been working on adding to it and finalizing it but since then, I lost all sources I found that mentioned “frozen perfectionist” so I can’t link to a proper definition. I believe the term that keeps popping up now is “Perfection Paralysis“*

Also- with any anxiety or mental health problem, you do need to have a diagnosis to deal with things like Obsessive Compulsive. Perfectionism is not a mental disorder in and of itself, but it can turn into one.

 

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Winter Tips for Skin

The cold weather of winter hits your skin in multiple ways. The cold weather can wreck havic and dry your skin out. The dry air from running the heater sucks the moisture out as well. When you get sick, constantly blowing your nose chaps lips and dries out the skin under your nose above your lip. Winter is painful for skin but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips to keep your skin smooth, moist and pain free during the dry winter months.

1. Wear sunscreen- just because it’s cold, doesn’t mean the sun isn’t a threat. It can be more of a threat due to reflecting off the snow (water). It can cause sunburn and sunburn is one of the leading causes of Melanoma (the most deadly form of skin cancer).

2. Use a moisturizer-with the chilled wind and dry air, a good hydrating moisturizer will be a must. Make sure to choose a hydrating formula because all this stuff dehydrates your skin and you need to replenish.

3. Drink lots of water- like I said in 2, dry air dehydrates your skin so drinking lots of water can help counteract the loss of moisture.

4. Use a cool mist humidifier or vaporizer. Using either of those at night while running the heat keeps the dry air from drying your throat or skin and I found it had me feeling better after one use. They both put moisture in the air so when you’re breathing in the heat, it puts the moisture back into your skin or throat.

5. If your lip or under your nose gets chapped, use vaseline or Aquafor- both help protect against further damage and both help heal chapped and painful skin. Usually 2-3 nights *along with using a vaporizer* is all it takes.

If anyone has anything to add to my list, let me know in the comments.

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About 1P36 Deletion- Why Do I Even Have To Know?

              Why Do I Even Know What 1P36 Deletion Syndrome Is?

              I never thought we would be traveling down this path. I had severe Pre-Eclampsia at 28 weeks and had my baby weighing only 1lb 11.5ozs and 13 inches long. She was on a feeding tube, oxygen and heart monitor. She stayed in the NICU almost 9 months. She had Retinopathy of Prematurity (where her retinas were detaching from her eyeball) and required laser eye surgery. She also had five holes in her heart- PDA, ASD and three muscular VSDs. We had to have two of the holes (PDA and ASD) closed, luckily they were able to close them through a catherization instead of open heart. She also had feeding troubles after being on oxygen for so long, so the last of her surgeries was getting a g-tube placed in her stomach.

              She came home at eight and a half months old still on a nasal cannula and heart monitor that beeped every time she kicked her feet. She also still had the development of a newborn since she had been lying in a crib most of her life. For the first few months of having her home, we had a home nurse come to the house daily to help us out. I was testing the day time nurses to see if I could seek employment again whhile they took care of her during the day. The first outing we had as a family resulted in her getting a cold. A simple cold shouldn’t be that bad, right? It wasn’t RSV or anything more than a simple cold- and it landed her back in the PICU and on life support so I knew we couldn’t place her in day care, the nursing fell through and I had to cancel it so I decided to stay home with her instead.

              We were nervous for the first few months of taking her out of her crib too long, so we would keep her in the crib except during play time and feedings, baths and spending some time with her. I regret that to this day, but if her cannula came out of her nose for any length of time, she’d start turning blue. We finally figured out how to place her main oxygen tank so it could stretch all through the house and we were able to take her downstairs to be with us during the day, luckily that didn’t last long and around 15 months, she finally had strong enough lungs to get rid of the tube. By that time, she was finally starting to be able to lift her head and crawl during belly time. By three, she started walking without assistance but by that time, we had a misdiagnosis of Cerebral Palsy and she had started Pre-K. She had finished early intervention (birth to three in this state) and she loved Pre-School. Her first year, she didn’t talk and had to be carried. By the end of the year, she was walking holding the teacher’s hand and starting to say words. By four, she was walking on her own, by five she was walking and doing more talking. She started Kindergarten and entered a special class with an IEP. She had a tablet device to help her communicate. Now at seven, they’re putting her in second grade. She’s able to jump about an inch off the ground, walk up and down stairs, run slowly and speak in sentences (short sentences), her hole have fully closed up and she has a normal heart now. She still can’t write but she can read and is starting to be able to do basic math, she understands more than she’s able to communicate back to us.

So, what is 1P36 Deletion Syndrome?

              The first chromosome is the largest chromosome. It may be the most important to development. It is separated into two parts (1P and 1Q) 1P is the shorter arm and 1Q is the longer arm. The whole chromosome contains about 249 million DNA base pairs. 1P36 Deletion syndrome is when a part of DNA is deleted from the 1P arm at the 36 base. My daughter’s particular is 1P36.12-1P36.22. Different areas cause different symptoms but the syndrome has some common symptoms-

1. Low muscle tone (hypotonia)

2. Seizures

3. Growth and feeding issues

4. Developmental delays

5. Birth defects like cleft lip, pallet, heart defects or brain defects

6. Cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart)

7. Hearing loss

8. Vision problems

9. Thyroid problems (mainly hypo but this condition seems to put them at higher risk)

10. Behavior problems (self harm, throwing objects, hitting, melt downs, screaming etc)

              Those are the more common problems. There are some that are more rare- early puberty, undecended testes in boys at birth, scoliosis, neuroblastoma (extremely rare)

              Some of the other random common yet uncommon symptoms include shaking while excited and biting on their hands. My daughter has chew marks all over her hands, we try giving her chewies to use instead but she still has litte blisters. I thought it was anxiety for a long time, but learned it’s a symptom of the 1P36 Deletion Syndrome.

How common is 1P36 Deletion Syndrome and how does it happen?

It’s rare, but one of the more common genetic disorders. It affects 1 in 5-10,000. It’s not completely known how many since there are a lot of kids who go undiagnosed.

It can be passed down but it’s more common to be a random occurrence with no family history.

When it is genetic, the parents usually have what is called a balanced translocation. A balanced translocation is when part of the gene didn’t attach in the proper location and connected to a different gene. Since the gene is there, the carrier shows no symptoms and doesn’t have the syndrome- but they have a 50% chance of any offspring inheriting the deletion.

What’s the prognosis?

              Most children with 1P live into adulthood and with symptoms controlled, can live average lifespans. Some of the complications can take their lives early, but the prognosis isn’t bad. Our geneticist told us our daughter has a 50/50 chance of needing a care taker or living a normal life. There isn’t enough known yet as to the full severity.

              Our case isn’t as extreme as some of the cases I have run across in the forums and support groups I have joined, but it’s not the least extreme. She speaks in basic sentences and her speech seems to improve as her (normal developing) two year old sister’s does. She is fully potty trained, including at night but she has trouble tolerating loud noises and while her gross motor skills are improving, her fine motor still need to catch up. We lucked out and the majority of her problems seem to be physical,(not mental) she developed no brain bleeds or defects and doesn’t have seizures. She did have the heart defects, but they were easily fixable and she speaks more than a few words now. No two cases of any disorder will be the same. There are online support websites available, a yearly conference that is held in late July or early August. The conference for 2018 is from July 26-28 in Houston, Texas.

              The major website is http://www.1p36dsa.org. They have resources, information about the disorder, information for families a store and opportunities to get involved in spreading awareness or just making donations. They are a nonprofit dedicated to education and awareness.