Daily Inspiration, Hope for You, Immune System, Matters of the Heart, You are Loved

Depression is Real: How I Snapped Out of It?

It is the joyous season of the year as we begin the first day of December, but I am sure that somewhere out there, there are people suffering, people hurting, people in need, people in grief, people in extreme sadness… That’s the reality of life that which makes us human.

I don’t mean to be the pessimist here in this post, but I want to be the one to break the silence and give a voice to those who are in that seemingly dark pit where there seems to be no way out. And I’d like to do that as I recall my own journey in this shady hollow and more importantly, how I managed to hack my way out from that pitfall.

Three weeks ago…

I am waiting for my turn at a doctor’s clinic as I write this blog. I realized I haven’t written in ages; something that I really love doing.

So much bad news is all around us – the successive mass shootings of innocent people in the US, the death of a healthy young Filipina actress at the age of 41, the war all around the world, the numerous injustices committed to poverty-stricken people… I too am not spared from the bad news – especially about my health; I just recovered from flu and now am having difficulty swallowing due to acute tonsilo-pharyngitis. Oh and I forgot to mention that I had a thyroid scan 2 months ago and the results showed multiple nodules on my right and left thyroids.

Why am I saying all these things? It’s because I want to let people know that I am not spared from having bouts of frustration, sadness and bordering depression. We all have at some point these mixed emotions and the scariest part I guess is no matter how well-meaning individuals keep you company or say good things to you – the reality of having to deal and make decisions on your own is very very very (more emphasis added) difficult.

I do not know with men, but for women, I am almost certain that many will be able to associate with me on these ride of emotions. And the thing that adds injury I guess is when people around us either invalidate the feelings or they themselves do not know how to deal with it. Well, the latter is a better thing to think of I guess.

Now, I don’t mean to sound so hopeless, but I just want to highlight how challenging it really is to suffer from depression. It’s a gloomy feeling much like walking in a very dark and unfamiliar path that does not give you a slight clue where it is heading… a very unfamiliar, scary ground…

So going back to the reason why I am waiting for a consult with an endocrinologist… I am a nurse and am sure you already know that I have done my research already. And I saw that thyroid cancer, which could be the worst scenario for my nodules has a very good prognosis like 92%, which slightly decreased as my second endocrinologist consult said a week ago that it is at 86%. That does not guarantee though that there will be no negative thoughts in my head like, “What if I am part of the 10%?” or “What if the doctor says I need aggressive treatment?” So many questions… It’s actually the border between fear and faith why it took 2 months for me to finally decide for a consult after the nodules were discovered, and another month for a second opinion.

A week ago…

I had another rough week last week as I had bouts of fever, asthma and flu-like symptoms once again. I found myself asking God, “Why God?” “Why does my body have to suffer over and over again?” And then I was crying again, telling God – please heal me already. My body is already very frail and very tired. I am at the end of myself, Lord…

I remember it so vividly in my head, I can recognize the hyped up mixed emotions of loneliness, emptiness, extreme sadness, hopelessness, inability to find my own strength that used to be there. At some point my head was at war within itself trying to compose in saying ‘you know this’, ‘you know the drill’ ‘you know what to do’; while half of my brain recognizes – it just knows but it can’t find the strength to sort it out and do what needs to be done… I was crying alone in the room, wallowing in tears, gasping for air, trying to let out a sound but only groans were heard coming out from sobs of desperation – desperation for God, desperation for Jesus. I was begging, pleading…

Jesus, pray for me…

Jesus, lift me up…

Jesus, comfort me…

Jesus, carry me…

Jesus, be with me…

Jesus, be my strength…

Jesus, forgive me…

Jesus, heal me…

Jesus, deliver me…

Jesus, set me free…

I kept praying those words over and over while reciting Psalms 23 in between sobs.

Then I found myself appreciating the lyrics of the song… Jesus, I’m desperate for You. Jesus, I’m longing for You… You’re all I want…

Then while I was in the sea of emotions, a still small voice said… Irmee, it’s just a decision you have to make… choose Me… be with Me… there was a long pause… and then I did. In a very weak voice enough for me to hear myself, I said – Jesus, I choose You. All of a sudden, it was like a heavy load on my shoulders was lifted up and removed… It was like a supernatural strength lifted a boulder on my shoulders and chest, then the heaviness was gone. It was still painful, but the heaviness was gone. Yes, just like that.

Today…

I woke up today feeling stronger than usual, well-rested from a good long and peaceful sleep. The nodules are still there, but I am hopeful to get good results come January. I am not certain if I will not pass by the same hollow, jaded road again, but this time I have found that inner peace that even when I pass that road again, I know that Jesus is with me. And this morning here’s a word that I received to confirm that.

The Lord is fighting for you! So be still! Exodus 14:14 (GW)

So what keeps me hanging on…? I think that’s the most important question to answer. What do I do? What do I tell myself when I am down and fearful? I tell myself, and this time, I not only know but in fact, recognize and embrace it – that Jesus is with me every step of the way.

So if you or anyone you know is going through this same experience, please feel free to connect with us so we can pray, connect with you or connect you with someone who may help.

Jesus be with you, Who is the reason for this season!

Media Graphic Credits:

Walking into the Unknown: https://ahmed-19.deviantart.com/art/Walking-into-the-Unknown-172649985

Light at the End of the Tunnel: http://justbetweenus.org/faith/devotions/christian-devotions-on-hope/

 

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Cardiovascular System, Circulatory System, Healthy Living, Matters of the Heart

What Lack of Sleep Can Do to Your Heart?


This is a very long overdue post that I have intended to share several months back. So now that I have gotten the time to pick up my pen and write, I want to share my thoughts with you on this post that I read way back from last year. This post is a bit long, but please read to the end because it may save you or someone you know from a serious heart attack.

atnurse
Take Care of Your Heart

This is a repost from a blog in Mumbai, India:

“Ranjan Das, CEO and MD of SAP-Indian subcontinent died after a massive cardiac arrest in Mumbai recently. One of the youngest CEOs, he was only 42.”

What killed Ranjan Das?

He was very active in sports, was a fitness freak and a marathon runner. After his workout, he collapsed with a massive heart attack and died. He is survived by his wife and two very young kids. It was certainly a wakeup call for corporate India. However, it was even more disastrous for runners. The question arises as to why an exceptionally active athletic person succumbed to a heart attack at 42 years of age.

What is the real reason?

Everyone missed out a small line in the reports that Ranjan used to manage with 4-5 hours of sleep. In an earlier interview of Ranjan on NDTV in the program “Boss day out”, Ranjan Das himself admitted that he sleeps less and would love to get more sleep.

Short sleep duration (<5 or 5-6 hours) increases risk for BP by 350% to 500% compared to those who slept longer than 6 hours per night.

Young people (25-49 years of age) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. Individuals who sleep less than 5 hours a night have a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks.

Just one night of sleep loss increases very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL-6). Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (CRP). They also cause cancer, arthritis and heart disease.

Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease. Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 8% increase in heart disease.

What is ideal sleep?

In brief, sleep is composed of two stages: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM. The former helps in mental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding. No wonder when one wakes up with an alarm clock after 5-6 hours of sleep, he/she is mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM sleep).

And if somebody has slept for less than 5 hours, the body is a complete physical mess (lack of non-REM sleep), the person is tired throughout the day and immunity is way down.

In conclusion:

Barring stress control, Ranjan Das did everything right: eating proper food, exercising, and maintaining proper weight. But he missed getting proper and adequate sleep, minimum 7 hours. That killed him.

We are playing with fire if we a sleeping less than 7 hours even if we have low stress.

Do not set your alarm clock under 7 hours. Ranjan Das is not alone.

From: N. Silva (Senior Cardiologist)

My personal thoughts on this:

Instead of talking about how shocking this news was, let me focus on what can be done to avoid it. Personally, when I sleep for less than 7 hours at night; my body gives me a host of negative signals from migraine headaches, stomach upsets, palpitations, chest heaviness to shortness of breath. When this occurs, my automatic self-remedy is to pay off all my sleep debt just how my cardiologist taught me.

How sleep debt works?

So, when I owe myself one hour of sleep for each weekday (Monday to Friday), I add 5 more hours on top of my regular 7 or 8 hours of sleep on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) to pay off my accumulated sleep debt.

Here is a sample computation:

Monday to Friday (6 hours sleep each night) = 5 hours of sleep debt

Saturday and Sunday (8 hours per night) = 16 hours + 5 hours

Total number of required hours of sleep on weekends (21 hours/2) = 10.5 hours

This strategy really works for me because after banking on my sleep hours, I feel refreshed mentally, emotionally and physically, and most importantly, the symptoms are gone.

Additional Tips on How to Improve Sleep

“Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you’re awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habits—known as “sleep hygiene”—that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.” Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Here are “Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep” according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and WGBH Educational Foundation:

  1. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Chemicals that Interfere with Sleep
  2. Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep-Inducing Environment
  3. Establish a Soothing Pre-Sleep Routine
  4. Go to Sleep When You’re Truly Tired
  5. Don’t Be a Night-time Clock-Watcher
  6. Use Light to Your Advantage
  7. Keep Your Internal Clock Set with a Consistent Sleep Schedule
  8. Nap Early—Or Not at All
  9. Lighten Up on Evening Meals
  10. Balance Fluid Intake
  11. Exercise Early
  12. Follow Through

These tips are all self-explanatory and my guess is, everybody already knows most of them. So if you ask me what’s the most important one? It is the follow through; meaning, you have to start somewhere and then continuously and consistently do it every day. You may find difficulty following everything at the start, so what you can do is follow one suggestion after another and whatever works for you, be committed to doing it religiously.

Lastly, here’s one thing that was not mentioned on the list, but works effectively for me; I spend some quiet moments alone in my room to either read a favorite book, to have small chat with my husband or best of all, to say a short prayer of thanksgiving for all the day’s accomplishments.

I do encourage you to take a self-evaluation of your sleep pattern and make the necessary adjustments on your sleep hygiene; also, share this with your loved ones or someone you know who can benefit from living with a strong and healthy heart!

Media Graphic Credits:
It’s Your Heart—Take care of it: https://alanfitness.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/its-your-heart-take-care-of-it/

 

Bible Everyday, Daily Inspiration, Hope for You, Marriage Matters, Matters of the Heart, Mommy Diaries, You are Loved

Love? What is it?

It’s the last day of the month that we all popularly call the #lovemonth so I thought it worthwhile to write about something that everyone is so hooked on – LOVE. So, LOVE? What is it really?

atnurse
LOVE? What is It?

Being in the social media era, I curiously searched what Google has to say, and here are the first few searches from the thousands that came up:

From Wikipedia:

“Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection to pleasure. It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction and personal attachment.”

From Psychology Today:

“Love is one of the most profound emotions known to human beings. There are many kinds of love, but most people seek its expression in a romantic relationship with a compatible partner. For some, romantic relationships are the most meaningful element in their lives, providing a source of deep fulfillment.”

From Merriam Webster:

“(1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (maternal love for a child) (2):  attraction based on sexual desire (3): affection and tenderness felt by lovers (After all these years, they are still very much in love.) (4): affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests (love for his old schoolmates) (6): an assurance of affection (give her my love).”

Having listed those definitions above and if you ask me, my personal definition of love is this:

“LOVE is something that is too great, too deep and too beautiful too be fully understood. Love is not for the weak of heart, but for the strong. Love is for those who are willing to discover it’s many expressions until they reach the highest extent that any individual can fully give or receive within his or her lifetime. Love cannot be humanly speaking, fully comprehensible…” Irmz

Why did I say that? Isn’t LOVE the reason why some men in their limited capacity to understand it are driven to addiction or obsession? Men and women alike long for this feeling to satisfy their emotions – their souls; that in some instances forces them to commit unlawful, criminal and illicit acts just to satisfy it. All because, they lived to believe that love is something to be received – something to be taken from others.

In conclusion, and to bring some light to this profound thing called love, let us ask the One who authored it, after all GOD is LOVE. 1 John 4:8

What is Love?

atnurse
What is LOVE?

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version

So there you have it, the definition of LOVE in it’s highest form. May I also add and put emphasis on it that we can only draw this kind of love from God. Nowhere in this world can we search for it, and no one person – let me repeat that again – NO ONE PERSON has the capacity to give it all to us, but only a weak expression of it in part; and only if that person has also received the same from none other than JESUS.

atnurse
Bible Everyday, Cardiovascular System, Circulatory System, Daily Inspiration, Digestive System, Infectious Diseases, Matters of the Heart, You are Loved

I Am Back!

Praise God I am back!

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The last two weeks had been a very challenging time for me and my family. I was discharged from the hospital last Sunday, March 1 due to dengue and enteric fever. Who would have thought I would have 2 diseases at the same time? After discharge, I was advised to take at least 7-10 days of rest, and I took it very seriously. I spent the whole of last week sleeping, eating and relaxing. I needed to do that so I can completely recover. I finished the last dose of my medication on Tuesday, March 3 and was out to meet with some dear friends yesterday. I am definitely back!

This experience was like a horrible nightmare for me because I never thought I’d fill in the shoes of a patient. I am so used to being the nurse telling my patients, “sorry this is gonna hurt a bit” or that “ma’am its important do this for your health”. Now I am on the receiving end, and the worst part was, to be woken up almost every 2 hours because of my vital signs, medications or blood extractions!

Despite all the troubles though, this past 2 weeks was also a time for many realizations. It made me see that there is so much to be thankful for: my dad and mom, brothers Ronald and Ruel and their wives who ask for updates at every chance they get, my sister Ingrid and her husband Mon who traveled a long way just to check on me, my in-laws: mother in law, brother in law (Rey) and especially my sister in law, Marissa and her husband Kuya Ariel who arranged everything from the time of my admission until I was discharged from the hospital, and my Victory Greenhills family who never stopped covering me in prayers during my ordeal. I truly thank my God for all of you!

Most of all, I would like to honor my husband for all the love, care and nurturing he lavished me with, in spite of the sleepless nights, painful back and legs and his own health failing. I love you even more; you are God’s hands here on earth for me.

And, to the One who is my strong tower, whom I owe everything and who has kept me safe – I will praise you in whatever circumstances! You deserve the glory not because You answered our prayers, but because You are You.

atnurse
For you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Psalm 61:3

Let me tell you about my lowest and weakest moment on the second night at the hospital when I felt a strong sense of desperation. It was after my platelet dived at 41 at 4PM on the first day then soared high at 190 at 7AM the following day. I was so ecstatic and overjoyed because of the sudden shoot up of my platelet, but only to be utterly disappointed because at 3PM it dived again at 83. I was out of reason because my medical knowledge of the disease was that once the platelet recovers, it will continue to rise until it reaches its normal level. The doctor was also doubtful so she ordered a screening test and that was when we found out that I not only have dengue but I also tested positive for enteric fever. Dengue is a viral infection while enteric fever is bacterial. I felt like the whole world just crumbled. I felt a sense of dread because both illnesses can cause bleeding, and with my state, I knew it can happen anytime. That night I pleaded with God and asked so many people to pray for me. His Word kept me company and gave me the spark of hope I needed. I am so glad I memorized this chapter and have kept it locked inside my heart. It lulled me to sleep as I recited His word over and over in my head…

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A psalm of David:
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in the path of righteousness for His Name’s sake. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (‭Psalm‬ ‭23‬:‭1-6‬ NIV)

Bible Everyday, Daily Inspiration, Hope for You, Marriage Matters, Matters of the Heart, Successful Living, You are Loved

My Kind of Guy

Are you looking for love? I am sure that just like me you have been betrayed, taken for granted or have been broken to pieces when the person you loved the most failed you.

atnurse
Me Thinking

In this season, a lot of people are desperate for love, and sometimes do foolish things thinking it is for love. Allow me to tell you about someone I met who turned my life around, and made me turn 180 degrees from the broken pieces of my past.

Let me begin by telling you that there is no such thing as hopeless…

As a young woman, I had a few of failed relationships. I thought that if I loved truly, it would be given in return. That if I become loyal and generous in love, my partner would reciprocate and do the same. I was wrong and not only in few occasions. In fact, I learned that if you give too much, men tend to abuse it and ask for more. As a result, I ended up broken, devastated and low self esteemed. I thought, I would never find someone who would truly love me unconditionally.

I was wrong.

You might think I am talking about my husband. Well, yes and no. My husband of course, is my greatest gift and my lifetime bonus from heaven! Human as he is like me, however, he fails me as I fail him, he misunderstands me as I misunderstand him. We both have our own shortcomings.

I am talking about someone who disproved me that taking love, asking for acceptance and demanding for intimacy will make me feel complete and happy. He made me realize that it is by giving love, showing genuine acceptance and working towards intimacy that will give me greater joy. It is not in asking, but in giving that I can truly be complete.

This guy’s name is JESUS. When I truly understood what He did on the cross, my whole mindset about life and love changed. He died for me. He gave me a clean slate when He stripped me off of all my sins. He gave me His righteousness and now overflows me with so much grace and love. Something that I never knew before and have never experienced in the past. The love that He gives me just spills like an overflowing stream, something that I can give away freely without fear of running out.

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I challenge you today to seek Him and to experience His love, so you never have to feel alone again. You have got to get to know Jesus to understand why I am so crazy in love with this Man!

Media Credits:
He Loved us First: http://proverbs31.org/
Loved: http://livingoncloud9ine.blogspot.com/2014/01/1-john-419.html