Featured

About me and why I created this blog

Sharing the joy of movement and raising awareness for mental health.
My name is Jasmine, 28, engaged, Christian, cat mom, mental health advocate, and fitness enthusiast.
Mental illness has a stigma and some people feel alone because of it. I know I used to feel alone because of it. I’m using fitness and mindfulness to survive with borderline personality disorder, schizpaffective, and bipolar. I want to educate people on what mental health is like and how they can help the people in their lives who struggle or deal with mental illness. I also want others to know they are not alone in this battle. That they can make it.
Fitness is also another passion of mine and I think more people should embrace it. Fitness and running helped me quit smoking cigarettes. I want people to live the best life they can.

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jazzyfitness_journey/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JazzyFitness1

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JazzyFitness1/

Strava – https://www.strava.com/athletes/18880651

Advertisements

Schizoaffective Bipolar – A form of Schizophrenia

images (1)

 

I have a mild form of schizophrenia called schizoaffective. People will sometimes avoid others if you mention having anything linked with schizophrenia it can be scary if someone is misinformed.

May is mental health awareness month and I think more people should know about this disorder. I have Schizoaffective bipolar. At first I thought my bipolar diagnosis was something separate but it’s a part of my schizoaffective disorder.

Schizoaffective disorder is defined from mayoclinic as ”

Schizoaffective disorder is a mental disorder in which a person experiences a combination of schizophrenia symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, and mood disorder symptoms, such as depression or mania. The two types of schizoaffective disorder — both of which include some symptoms of schizophrenia — are:

  • Bipolar type, which includes episodes of mania and sometimes major depression
  • Depressive type, which includes only major depressive episodes

Schizoaffective disorder may run a unique course in each affected person, so it’s not as well-understood or well-defined as other mental health conditions.”

48375752_274183406623583_9082584615209664512_n

Symptoms include

  • Delusions — having false, fixed beliefs, despite evidence to the contrary
  • Hallucinations, such as hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there

(I think people are plotting to kill me, to hurt me, or to harm me in some way. I sometimes think people can read my thoughts, or there are security cameras in my home. I sometimes have very self destructive internal conversations about myself.)

  • Symptoms of depression, such as feeling empty, sad or worthless

 

  • Periods of manic mood or a sudden increase in energy with behavior that’s out of character

 

  • Impaired communication, such as only partially answering questions or giving answers that are completely unrelated
  • Impaired occupational, academic and social functioning
  • Problems with managing personal care, including cleanliness and physical appearance

It also depends on if you’re bipolar or depressive schizoaffective.

The Cause

The cause of schizoaffective can be a combination of different things like genetics or brain chemistry and structure.

Taking psychoactive drugs, having a family member with schizophrenia, or stressful events can cause schizoaffective.

Complications

People with schizoaffective disorder are at an increased risk of:

  • Suicide, suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts
  • Social isolation
  • Family and interpersonal conflicts
  • Unemployment
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Developing alcohol or other substance abuse problems
  • Significant health problems
  • Poverty and homelessness

 

Diagnosis 

Some ways that someone can get diagnosed is though having a physical exam to rule out any physical illness or health issues, test and screenings to rule out any similar disorders and a psychiatric evaluation by a doctor or professional therapist and it’s very important that you don’t self diagnose.

Treatment

“People with schizoaffective disorder generally respond best to a combination of medications, psychotherapy and life skills training. Treatment varies, depending on the type and severity of symptoms, and whether the disorder is the depressive or bipolar type. In some cases, hospitalization may be needed. Long-term treatment can help to manage the symptoms.”

Medications

In general, doctors prescribe medications for schizoaffective disorder to relieve psychotic symptoms, stabilize mood and treat depression. These medications may include:

  • Antipsychotics. The only medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration specifically for the treatment of schizoaffective disorder is the antipsychotic drug paliperidone (Invega). However, doctors may prescribe other antipsychotic drugs to help manage psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations.
  • Mood-stabilizing medications. When the schizoaffective disorder is bipolar type, mood stabilizers can help level out the mania highs and depression lows.
  • Antidepressants. When depression is the underlying mood disorder, antidepressants can help manage feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or difficulty with sleep and concentration.

Psychotherapy

In addition to medication, psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, may help. Psychotherapy may include:

  • Individual therapy. Psychotherapy may help to normalize thought patterns and reduce symptoms. Building a trusting relationship in therapy can help people with schizoaffective disorder better understand their condition and learn to manage symptoms. Effective sessions focus on real-life plans, problems and relationships.
  • Family or group therapy. Treatment can be more effective when people with schizoaffective disorder are able to discuss their real-life problems with others. Supportive group settings can also help decrease social isolation and provide a reality check during periods of psychosis.

Life skills training

Learning social and vocational skills can help reduce isolation and improve quality of life.

  • Social skills training. This focuses on improving communication and social interactions and improving the ability to participate in daily activities. New skills and behaviors specific to settings such as the home or workplace can be practiced.
  • Vocational rehabilitation and supported employment. This focuses on helping people with schizoaffective disorder prepare for, find and keep jobs.

Hospitalization

During crisis periods or times of severe symptoms, hospitalization may be necessary to ensure safety, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and basic personal care and cleanliness.

Electroconvulsive therapy

For adults with schizoaffective disorder who do not respond to psychotherapy or medications, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be considered.

Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic

Coping and support

Schizoaffective disorder requires ongoing treatment and support. People with schizoaffective disorder can benefit from:

  • Learning about the disorder. Education about schizoaffective disorder may help the person stick to the treatment plan. Education also can help friends and family understand the disorder and be more compassionate.
  • Paying attention to warning signs. Identify things that may trigger symptoms or interfere with carrying out daily activities. Make a plan for what to do if symptoms return. Contact the doctor or therapist if needed to prevent the situation from worsening.
  • Joining a support group. Support groups can help make connections with others facing similar challenges. Support groups may also help family and friends cope.
  • Asking about social services assistance. These services may be able to help with affordable housing, transportation and daily activities.

Also, avoid drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Drugs, tobacco and alcohol can worsen schizoaffective symptoms or interfere with medications. If necessary, get appropriate treatment for a substance use problem.

Preparing for your appointment

If you think you may have schizoaffective disorder or that your loved one may have it, take steps to prepare for the appointment, whether it’s with a primary care doctor or a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist.

If the appointment is for a relative or friend, offer to go with him or her. Getting the information firsthand will help you know what you’re facing and how you can help your loved one.

What you can do

To prepare for the appointment, make a list of:

  • Any symptoms you’ve noticed, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for the appointment
  • Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes
  • All medications, vitamins, over-the-counter medications, herbal preparations and any other supplements, and the doses
  • Questions to ask the doctor to help you make the most of your time

Some basic questions to ask include:

  • What is likely causing the symptoms?
  • Are there any other possible causes?
  • How will you determine the diagnosis?
  • Is this condition likely temporary or long term?
  • What treatments do you recommend?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you’re suggesting?
  • What are the side effects of the medication you’re prescribing?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have?
  • What websites do you recommend?

Don’t hesitate to ask any other questions during the appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask several questions, such as:

  • What symptoms have you noticed?
  • When did you start noticing symptoms?
  • Have symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • Have you thought about or attempted suicide?
  • How are you functioning in daily life — are you eating regularly, bathing regularly, going to work, school or social activities?
  • Have other family members or friends expressed concern about your behavior?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
  • Has anyone else in your family been diagnosed with or treated for mental illness?

Be ready to answer these questions so you’ll have time to go over any other points you want to focus on.

 

My experience with Schizoaffective Bipolar 

I experience paranoia that someone is going to harm me or that I’m being watched by video cameras inside my apartment. I hear voices saying how useless and worthless I am and that I’m better off dead or that my mom knows she should of have had a abortion with me. I sometimes feel that people can read my thoughts.

This is a sample of what the voices can sound like to me. Listening to this video might trigger you or those around you. Maker sure you’re safe. It’s best listened to with headphones on for full effect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vvU-Ajwbok

I also experience mania where I feel like I’m on top of the world and can do and achieve anything. I jump from subject to subject or from activity to activity. It’s almost like being on to much caffeine and not being able to control it. After mania is usually a fall on the opposite end where I feel worthless and it’s hard for me to do basic functions like getting out of bed or looking after myself

I survive this with fitness, mindfulness, therapy, and medications.

If you believe someone might be suffering with schizoaffective or any other mental illness please urge them to seek help and let them know they have a support system.

 

oi0OCgU

If you or someone you know is suicidal please reach out to them or reach out for help. You can call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255

or text “HOME” to 741741

 

Sources 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/schizoaffective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20354504

Home

https://www.crisistextline.org/

 

 

Suicide Attempt Survivor and what that means

When someone attempts suicide it can change them. It can change them in a positive or negative or both. It can change how people view and treat them. It can make people watchful and scared. It can make the person who attempted feel they lack privacy. It can cause people to start blaming them or criticizing them. A lot of emotions and actions can occur.

When it comes to someone who has attempted suicide there should be open dialogue and patience to try to understand what might have led to that point. Patience to understand what might be going on in their head.

I’m not sure how many times I attempted suicide. When my mom found out about my attempts for the first time she broke down in tears. Another attempt happen later in my life and my mom cried once again. My boyfriend at the time called the ambulance upon learning that I attempted to overdose on pain pills. The thing is I didn’t want to die necessarily. I just needed the noise to stop. The emotions to stop. The feeling of paranoia and sometimes emptiness to stop. I didn’t see another way out.

There are times I feel blessed that I didn’t succeed in taking my life. There are other times where I wish I wasn’t here or wasn’t even born at all. Dealing with a mental illness daily can be draining. I wish I could put how bad it can be in words. The thing about attempting suicide is that for some the thought can pop up at any given moment. When something doesn’t go right I can just end my life. Treatment isn’t working I guess it’s time to check out of life. I know as I got older that suicide would never truly end my pain.

I have been attempting to raise awareness about mental health and try to work with my own mental illness. It’s strange that I’m 28 now and I didn’t think I would live to turn 18 years old. I was sure I would be dead before than. Now I’m piecing together a life that I want to be proud of. After you attempt suicide and survive you feel a bit lost on what to do next. You question your purpose in life.

I’m hoping to keep people away from ever experiencing any of this. I don’t want anyone to attempt to take their own life. It will solve nothing. I know it’s easier to say this but I still struggle but I want to keep fighting. I want to keep trying to build a life I’m happy with. I think others can do the same. Even when I’m in the darkest depths of my mind I want to keep trying. It can be a bit scary for me to post about certain experiences but I want others to feel they aren’t alone. Sometimes I wonder if I’m making sense to people when I speak to them and when I make posts.

I want to share what it’s like to battle with your mind and to stop the stigma surrounding it. Maybe once we open up conversation more people can seek out help and they won’t feel so alone. They won’t feel that ending their life is the only option. I know that some days it can be hard to get out of bed but we must keep moving forward. We must keep fighting to live and create a good life for ourselves.

I wish I could say I knew the all the answers for how to make this happen but I don’t. I do know that ending your life won’t be the solution. That’s what I tell myself at least. I am a suicide attempt survivor and you’re not alone.

oi0OCgU

If you or someone you know is suicidal please reach out to them or reach out for help. You can call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255

or text “HOME” to 741741

 

https://www.crisistextline.org/

Home

55713650_866608743684562_8187729291484594176_n

Craving cigarettes and hitting a mental wall

I didn’t think I would be the type of person that started smoking cigarettes. To be honest I never understood why people would start if the knew the harm it caused.

To be honest I was feeling pressured and stressed from dealing with borderline personality disorder, schizpaffective, and bipolar. I was also dealing with low self esteem and self worth. On top of that my weight was getting out of control due to unhealthy eating, little activities, and the medication I was on at the time.

I thought that one or two cigarettes would be fine. After a while I was smoking about one pack a day and sometimes a little more. I was becoming a chain smoker. It was putting a strain on my fitness and my running. Starting my exercise and fitness journey helped when it came to me finally deciding to quit smoking.

Running is one the things that is helping me stay away from cigarettes. I don’t want to ruin my progress. I also don’t want to ruin my health and what I’m attempting to improve. I haven’t smoked a cigarette in 9 months. June will make 1 year without smoking. Unfortunately I still have cravings. I still want to go buy a pack of cigarettes a smoke one if I’m stressed or feeling overwhelmed.

I worry sometimes that I won’t be able to fully be smoke free but I’m trying my best. I’m trying to take it one day at a time. I know that quitting smoking has improved my running and my cardio workouts. I don’t feel as tired and I can breathe easier. I try to remind myself of this when I’m having cravings. The first week of my quit was the worst but I made it though and now I’m close to 1 year. A motto I use is not another puff no matter what. If I was to smoke a cigarette I will have to reset my quit date. I would hate to have to lose all of that progress.

When I have a craving I will go for a run, bike ride, walk, workout, or even play Just Dance. Working out can release endorphins and it can help a lot with cravings.

Recently I have been focusing more on my mental health. Sometimes I feel drained just trying to get though the day. It feels that I hit a mental wall but I think posting to my blog would help me if I stay consistent. I also started training for crisis text hotline and I hope to be able to let others know they aren’t alone. I want to be able to support others.

Some days it’s hard for me to just be productive but I’m just taking it one step and one hour at a time. I’m also exploring my faith. Currently still identify as Christian. Sometimes this does help me with my anxiety. I don’t know if that’s a weird way to see it or not but for me it’s helping.

Currently working on accomplishing goals like streaming Just Dance and games on twitch, possibly starting a YouTube channel to raise awareness about mental health, volunteer text crisis as a counselor, fitness goals, participate in the great cycle challenge, take medication and see my therapist and doctors as well as look after my mental health.

Also practice more self love and self care and spend time with my cats and the ones I love.

 

 

 

End Mental Health Stigma

savingPNG

I’m super excited that I will start my training as a text crisis counselor March 25. I think our mental health is just as important as our physical health. We should encourage others to seek help and break the stigma surrounding mental health.

I’m diagnosed as borderline personality disorder, schizoaffective, and bipolar. Having these mental illness can make daily life a struggle sometimes. It can sometimes make me feel ashamed. I refuse to feel ashamed about dealing with any of this. I want to share my experiences and help others.

I hope that doing this counseling it helps me deal with my mental health more as well.

 

If you would like to find out more or would like to volunteer you can find information here https://www.crisistextline.org/

Race Odyssey – Little Rock Marathon 2019

I worried and was nervous about visiting Little Rock. I am happy that my fiance was going with me for support. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find where the events were being held or being late. I didn’t get lost for the most part getting to the fitness events.

This would be my first physical marathon. I did complete the Garmin Virtual marathon last year in October and finished around 6:11:00. Driving to Little Rock was fine and the Fitness Expo had my head spinning. I wanted to buy everything. My fiance purchased some goodr running sunglasses, a cup, cliff energy blocks, and running gloves. If I had more money I would have brought home a bunch of fitness gear and t-shirts. I will be better prepared for the expo next year. I also wored my Gixo 5k and 10k race shirt during the Little Rock fitness expo.

52859684_304949436880313_4572000709590908928_n

We were able to enjoy some good food and first time going to a restaurant called Twin Peaks. Also was able to go to Marcos pizza which is one of my favorite pizza places. Unfortunately closed down where I live in Texarkana. If you can visit Twin Peaks restaurant. It’s great and food is delicious.

Me and my fiance both had a difficult time trying to get to sleep early. Saturday morning was the day of my 5k race. There was excitement and music and clear guidance for where we were supposed to be. I didn’t intend to set  new PR or place in my age group for the 5k since I had the marathon the next day. I decided to run without listening to music so I can absorb everything without distractions. It was cold but bearable. Loved the atmosphere. Also was showing my love for Nuun. Nuun hydration definitely helped me with my training.

The night before my marathon we went to Twin Peaks one last time. I looked at the turn by turn for the race and realized the bridge we passed during my 5k was the bridge we have to run over twice. I almost backed out of the marathon.My fiance encouraged me that I could do this. I was full of energy when I woke up the next morning. We packed up our stuff and checked out of the hotel we were staying at.

53110841_305342476841009_6951329634281586688_nAbove was the outfit I wore for the race. When people say they live in hilly places I thought they were exaggerating until I was dealing with Little Rock. So many HILLS.

I dropped off my gear and kissed my fiance and left when they let us know that coral D could come outside. He was going to watch me on the tv screen in the room. He was tracking my progress via the app.  Excitement was in the air. The weather was far from idle but that made it more challenging and fun. I decided to stay by the 4:25:00 pacer. It was cold and raining.

I loved how people cheered for us and how I was able to connect with a few runners and chat with them during the event. There was a girl with a pizza costume, alien themed costumes, elvis, superman, etc..There was a woman in a inflatable unicorn costume, stationary cyclists, people cheering from their homes, lots of aid stations, and funny signs. We passed though beautiful trails, the school the Little Rock 9 attended, and it was a great way to explore. I also beat my fear or me and my fear at least held hands when I ran over the bridges.

It started hailing, strong winds, and tons of hills but I wouldn’t change anything. It also snowed a little. I wanted to try to finish in 4:25:00-4:30:00 and I ran non stop for 20 miles but my body told me to slow down. I decided that I just wanted to finish under 5 hours. I was able to achieve that goal. During the race my hands became cold again. As I neared the end I ate more oranges. The oranges tasted like heaven. The more I got closer to the finish line the more excited I became. When I heard them call out my name and when I crossed the finish line I was filled with such joy and excitement. Received my medal, challenge medal, and ate some pasta from a cup.

The encouragement I received from other runners was contagious. I just kept encouraging others as well. I can’t wait to do more marathons. I am wanting to do a ultra marathon next year January 26th. I have received encouragement form the running community online, family, run4pr coach, and Gixo.

Running and completing this marathon made me appreciate even more what my body is capable of. It also helped me realize that I should enjoy my running journey more and that I shouldn’t have a set year to qualify for Boston. I still want to qualify but I will take it one step at a time and enjoy the journey. I appreciate all the volunteers and everything it took to put this event together.

Alexis – Live coach on Gixo app and promotes self care and self love

29356367_10104694396179221_638751848866969291_n

 

Jasmine – Hello and thank you for taking time to answer my questions. Can you briefly introduce yourself to everyone?

Alexis – My name is Alexis Craig and I am a Fitness Coach for Gixo.

 

Jasmine – What initially got you into fitness?

Alexis – My brother was in a car accident and became a quadriplegic. He is paralyzed from the neck down. Even though the doctors said it was impossible – a fitness trainer taught him to walk again. This was so so inspiring to me and made me see fitness as a way to really help people improve their lives.

 

Jasmine – How did you start working for Gixo? What do you enjoy about working for Gixo?

Alexis – I started working for Gixo at the very beginning. Before that I was a self-employed fitness trainer for a decade, with no intention of working as an employee. But when I heard that Selina Tobaccowala was involved, and that the mission was to actually help people in an affordable way – I could not resist getting involved. I love working with the Gixo team – it is a really creative, kind, and intelligent team… but my FAVORITE part of working for Gixo is meeting the teammates. As a personal trainer I mostly work with people who can afford to pay me over $100 an hour. It frustrates me that health and fitness that actually works is often so expensive. It’s great to be able to help people all over the US and the world who I would probably never otherwise meet, and at a much much more affordable price.

 

Jasmine – What are some of the Gixo classes you teach? Do you enjoy using Gixo when you’re not coaching?

Alexis – I coach pretty much every class that Gixo has to offer. My favorite to coach is Gixo yoga. I feel like I get just as much of a benefit out of the experience as the teammates in class do. When I’m not coaching, sometimes I just drop into Gixo classes just to say hi to my friends who are in class – either coaching or working out. I also love using Gixo as motivation to help me get moving to walk or run… without it I find running TORTUROUS.

 

Jasmine – I like to promote physical activity. I also think it’s important to promote self care and mental health. How do you practice self care and mental health? How can exercise help with this?

Alexis – I think it’s great that you promote fitness and self-care and mental health together… I am all about it. For me the key to self-care is really staying present to what is going on inside me. I use my physical body to tap into my emotional body. When I need to make a decision – I feel into my belly. When I need to calm down, I consciously relax my shoulders. When I notice I am clenching my glutes – it generally means that I am trying to overly control a situation. The mind-body connection is really powerful — and exercise and yoga are a really great way to learn the language of the body.

 

Jasmine – What advice would you give someone who wants to make fitness and healthy nutrition a habit?

Alexis – This is a great question. Honestly I think someone who wants to make health a habit is automatically on the right track. I find that a lot of people are so focussed on the outcome that they want to achieve that they try to take shortcuts rather than creating a habit to last a lifetime. Fitness and health is a life-long practice. It is an ultra-ultra-marathon… not a sprint. There are no shortcuts. Creating habits is the key. Practicing kindness toward the self is also essential. If you want to build a body that you love – you have to love the body you already have. The other things that people overlook is that it is really important to surround yourself with other people who are on the path of health and fitness as well. And – it has to be fun. Don’t choose a path in fitness that you hate. Don’t commit to workouts you dread. Figure out what activities you are so excited to do you can’t wait to start… even if they aren’t as hard core or “effective” as whatever the fad workout of the moment is. The most effective workout is the one that you actually do.

 

Jasmine – How can Gixo help people achieve their fitness goals? What are the advantages of having a live coach?

Alexis – Gixo is awesome for so many reasons. It is SO MUCH more fun to workout in a live class than it is in to do a workout video by yourself. The community I was talking about that is so important is basically built in to the app (and the Gixo Teammates facebook group). Gixo also gives people access to a trainer who really knows their shit – and for a super cheap price. This is really important, especially for people who are just starting to workout – or just getting back into it – or whose body has changed a lot. Having a trainer there to actually guide you helps you know what to do if you need to modify an exercise to be appropriate for you… and it helps you to stay true to your intention to finish the class because you know someone is actually going to notice if you don’t. The trainers never shame you or call you out in a mean way – it’s just knowing that someone will actually see you give up that often keeps people going. Plus the trainers are funny and encouraging and inspiring… so you just want to be there. In general Gixo helps because it’s not just an app – it’s a way to connect with actual people for real support in real time.

 

Jasmine – Thank you for answering my questions. Your commitment to fitness and encouragement on my journey and others have been amazing. Any advice or tips you would like to give people getting into fitness? Anything else you would like to add about yourself?

Alexis – My advice to people getting into fitness is that everyone starts somewhere. The first step to being really good at something is totally sucking at it. I guarantee that nobody in class is thinking anything bad about you – even though you might be thinking bad about yourself. The advice that I think people who are just getting started on their fitness journey need is – start small. Don’t try to be all extreme and go on a crazy diet and do some extreme workouts. Start with doing a little something every day. Change one little thing at a time. That way it is sustainable and can be a change that lasts a lifetime.

 

I really appreciate Alexis taking the time to answer my questions. I have been a part of the Gixo community for a little over 1 year. The coaches are there to help and motivate everyone. The community is friendly and encouraging. They have HIIT, running, treadmill, kickboxing, strength training with and without weights, yoga, pilates, etc.. As of this blog being published I have completed 610 classes. Gixo has helped me love running and motivated me to spread my love of fitness even more. They don’t try to compare your progress and will help you modify exercises when needed. If you want to try Gixo for free you can use my code Jazzy. 

If you have any questions regarding Gixo feel free to leave a comment and I will help you the best way I know how.