Wellness Journey: Knowledge is Power

We can’t change, evolve, and grow if we don’t have knowledge. There are many places to find information these days, but the key is connecting to positive and trustworthy sources of information. Bad information from unworthy sources can divert us from our life path and if we aren’t careful cause almost irreparable harm.

I began my true Wellness Journey 12 years ago. There were always challenges and setbacks for me, but in 2008 my world as I knew it collapsed. I entered a period of deep physical, emotional and spiritual challenge as I had never experienced before.

There were several catalysts that brought me to where I ended up. It was as if I had attracted all the forces of negativity and darkness. Their influences on me would overwhelm my ability at the time to cope.

Even in my moments of mental instability I was able to realize what I was experiencing was an upheaval. I had faith that one day I would recover and find healing. My intuition and faith led me to purchase a video camera and capture what I was experiencing.

For around forty-five days in a row and then periodically over the years, I recorded myself and by doing so I now have a snapshot in time which is rich with insights for whomever I choose to share the information with. It demonstrates how far I have traveled on this journey and what is possible for others who may find themselves in a similar position.

Getting to where I am today would not have been possible without acquiring knowledge. I’ve been blessed with many people who have showed up on my path with something to teach me. I’ve learned from reading, studying, teaching others about mental health and speaking.

Every talk I gave, phone call I took, message I responded to and moments I had to reflect, are treasure troves filled with lessons to be able to take this information and help others.

The greatest gift is a transfer of knowledge. Without it – we have no roadmap to navigate our way. The more exposure we have, the easier things become.

Those who are “in the know” hold the keys for others. Whether we choose to give our keys is a personal choice.

Knowledge can be found in many places and forms. It is important to be aware of how what we are learning will help us stay true to ourselves, promote our wellness, ensure our safety and good health and be shared from a place of good intention.

I have learned to gauge everything that comes my way and I try not to judge as positive or negative. Because at the end of the day what I do with the insights I have gained can only help me evolve as a person.

As I move further along my own path of healing and good health, I will continue to share what I know to be true. One of my hopes is to make someone else’s journey a little easier.

Knowledge is the foundation of wellness and everyone deserves to be well.

Kind Regards,

Amy Gamble

Wellness Journey: Healing and harmony

I’m re-reading a book called “No Mud, No Lotus” by Thich Nhat Hanh. My dear friend Bill gave me the book a few years ago. I was in a different place in my healing journey, so the information I was processing about suffering, happiness, acceptance and many other wonderful life lessons is received very different today.

I’m reminded healing takes time.

I loved reading about how powerful staying in the present moment is. Especially striking was not allowing the ghosts of our pasts to victimize us in the present. Though I may have had suffering I don’t have to keep reliving it. I’ve learned to accept it. I don’t have to like some of the things that happened to me as a result of untreated and under treated bipolar disorder, but I can look at it from a different perspective now.

I’m reminded watering the positive seeds are important.

I’m very analytical. Sometimes that means having an overly critical eye on what needs fixed or solved. I’m an excellent problem solver. But sometimes I lose site of all that is right and all that is good.

When I look back with a focus on the positive, I find so many diamonds in the rough. Blessings too overwhelming to count. The truth is for as much trauma and tragedy I have encountered most of my experiences are overwhelmingly rich and pleasurable.

I’m reminded to honor my mind, body and spirit.

I’ve always believed in focusing on mind, body and spirit. I haven’t always practiced it. And this is okay. I accept my imperfections and am aware I will always be growing, learning, evolving and changing. Sometimes we do the best we can and this means we focus on the deepest part of our selves which cries for the most energy, until we find a balance within ourselves.

I’m reminded joy and happiness can come from the little things in life.

I’ve been a big dreamer and have benefited from this kind of mindset. My experiences are indeed so vast, as I have healed I’ve had a chance to focus on drawing upon those treasures I’ve accumulated. But at the end of the day it is still the butterfly showing up on a weed I’m about to cut down, that brings me great joy. The weed still stands for the butterfly to return and the hope of seeing its beauty again brings me happiness.

I’m reminded to find my true aspiration.

Years ago when I first went to college in my journal I wrote I wanted to help people. I pursued a degree in social work. A timeout from college to train for the Olympics took me to a different university without a social work program. But I have learned no matter the profession or what I am doing my true aspiration is to help others. The stronger I become the more energy I will have to give.

And finally I’m reminded to breathe and be grateful for my eyes, my hearing and the opportunity to pursue overall wellness. Any moment I become stressed or anxious or overthinking if I breathe I can ground myself.

I’m sharing this with you as part of my next step in my wellness journey. I know I will always have to live and manage a chronic illness, but I also have come to realize I don’t have to be a victim of it.

Bipolar disorder has not made me weaker it has in fact made me stronger. Perhaps not because I wanted it to or chose it, but it has chosen me and I am empowered to choose how I live in harmony with it.

Wishing you well.

Amy Gamble

My Brain prefers certainty and COVID-19 is not cooperating

The brain likes certainty, predictability and structure. Those things keep our stress response system from being activated. In the middle of a Pandemic all bets are off. If you’ve never had anxiety before and all the sudden find yourself worrying about everything, there’s a good chance you are not alone. Racing thoughts keeping you up at night? Unfounded fears multiplying?

Sitting alone in your car on a drive home from work, where you are deemed an “essential worker” and have been working non-stop since all of the lock downs started, suddenly you feel your chest tighten, your grasping for your breath, your legs are tingling and you think you’re going to die. Most likely you’re having a panic attack.

Mask wearing, excessive hand washing, social distancing, the number of people infected or dying everyday adds to the stress. Add in whether or not your job went away, is not coming back, or you just don’t even have a clue what’s going to happen…this all adds to stress.

In my experience managing anxiety is not an easy task, especially when so many things are outset our control. That’s the first strategy. Focus on the things you can control. We can’t control Uncle Bill’s sudden outrages over having to wear a mask in Walmart, but we can control our reaction to his emotional deluge. We have absolutely no control over politics or anyone’s political opinion, so try to restrain from arguing on Facebook with your friends or family. You won’t change their minds and it will simply add to your stress.

Breath. Sounds stupid, but it really works. Breathing deeply five times and exhaling clears the mind and relieves anxiety almost immediately. It won’t cure you, but it will help make things more manageable.

Take a time out. Walk outside in nature. It’s calming, peaceful and doesn’t have an underlying agenda.

Exercise if only for short moments. Five minutes is better than nothing. Take a five minute walk outside in the neighborhood. Do a pushup challenge with your friends. Find free online workouts you can do from home. Move the body it will help the mind.

Everyday is about taking one small step forward. We can’t get to the end of the tunnel when we can’t see the light. Right now, there’s no light shining. All we know is there’s so much we don’t know. We are living in constant uncertainty.

Be careful what you put in your body to manage these rough times. Too much of any good thing…well it turns into a not so good thing. Too many cigarettes, too much booze, etc. There’s no easy solution to this circumstance.

Take a step back and remember the times you’ve gotten through difficult times. What did you do? How did you think about what steps you needed to take? What helped? Who helped? And smile knowing you made it.

We will live through this time. It won’t be 100% unpleasant nor 100% pleasant. It will be a mixed bag. Stress will come and go. Some people will have it much worse than others. Help someone if you can. Ask for help if you need it.

One day at a time. Find the little joys that make your heart sing.

Wishing you safety and good health,

Amy Gamble