Chronic inflammation is connected to anxiety & depression

A little over 3 months ago, I finally made the decision to embark on a sugar free lifestyle. This has ultimately been life changing for me and required buckets of discipline and persistently resisting temptation.

In this post, I will talk about why I made this decision and what changes I have noticed, especially after a lifetime of constantly eating too much sugar.

The following video was hugely inspiring to me but my dear friend ‘Ketodawg’ was the main reason I embarked on this life-changing journey.

I will talk a little more about ‘Ketodawg’ in my next post but for now, please watch this video before reading any further.

Many of you, just like me, have probably enjoyed eating pasta, bread and starchy foods for as long as you remember. Many of you have a sweet tooth and can’t imagine life without sugar or processed food.

In my case, my childhood was filled with sugar. Both my parents had a sweet tooth and they allowed me to eat and drink sugary things as young as 2 or 3 years of age. I preferred drinking chocolate milk instead of regular milk and loved sugary cereals for breakfast. We always had packs of biscuits in the house and I learned to bake cakes before I learned to cook food.

In many households, this was and still is the norm.

Did you know that more than 5 grams of sugar in your bloodstream, can already be harmful to our bodies? Our bodies are not made to carry more than this amount in any given moment.

https://cluelessdoctors.com/2016/09/08/how-much-sugar-is-in-your-blood/

The World Health Organisation advises that we don’t have more than 25 grams of sugar per day.

https://theconversation.com/your-brain-on-sugar-what-the-science-actually-says-126581

If I take a moment to consider what my daily intake of sugar and carbs was for most of my life, I would say it exceeded 200grams a day. I am pretty sure I was already insulin resistant, which would have eventually lead to type 2 DIABETES.

I loved comfort food, so would regularly cook high carb foods such as pasta, rice and potatoes and I enjoyed bakery items, cakes and biscuits daily. I managed to reduce the sugar in my tea from 2 teaspoons to half a teaspoon, but that was still not good enough, as I was drinking 6-8 cups of green tea per day. At my absolute worst, I weighed 72 kilos. I was completely addicted to sugar, had always been an emotional eater and essentially learnt bad eating habits from a young age.

My father developed type 2 diabetes from an unhealthy, overindulgent diet and this is sadly what killed him in the end, at age 70.

For nearly 3 months now, I have been following the Keto Diet which means reduced carbs, no sugar and lots of healthy fats and leafy greens. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. 

The first week I started Keto, I was having intense cravings for all the foods I couldn’t eat. I was reluctant to throw out all of the yummy biscuits that I had brought back from a trip to Greece. I was also convinced that I wouldn’t be able to give up pasta, which was my go-to food most of the time, especially when I was really busy with work.

In the first 10 days of my Keto diet, I experienced Keto flu symptoms just as I had predicted from the research I had done. I reduced my intake of carbohydrates and sugars to a maximum of 25grams per day, which in turn made me feel lightheaded, fatigued, irritable, low and achey. To compensate, I was drinking plenty of fluids so I could feel better. A keto diet can cause you to rapidly shed water stores, increasing the risk of dehydration.

After this initial 10 day period, my cravings for sugary foods had gone and I was getting used to my new lifestyle.

My body had already started burning ketones from fat instead of glucose. This was evident in the fact that I had started losing weight.

The most amazing thing I started noticing was that I was no longer having these afternoon energy crashes, where I felt like I was going to fall asleep. I also felt like I had better mental clarity, less of a ‘foggy head’ and my energy levels overall were hugely improved.

I lost a total of 10 kilos, which I am extremely proud of and I feel much more confident in my body than I used to.

Last but not least, I have generally felt more stable in myself. As I have lived with the effects of CPTSD all my life, I have definitely noticed that I am much calmer and more positive now. This has been extremely important to me, as I never wanted to be on medication for my symptoms.

My friends and loved ones have also noticed that I am much better in myself and have even commented on my skin, saying that I have a healthier glow.

Overall, I would highly recommend cutting out sugar and processed foods.

Since these lead to chronic inflammation in the body, which eventually cause Type 2 Diabetes , Cancer, Alzheimers and ill mental and physical health, it is a no brainer for anyone that is looking to be healthier.

If you suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD or CPTSD I would highly recommend changing your diet, before resorting to medication. A good diet and regular exercise does make a huge difference. I have seen the results myself.

What is your experience?

Do you pay attention to what you eat and listen to your body?

Have you noticed any changes at all when cutting out sugar and processed food?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Love Athina ❤

Happy New Year! This is how I have greatly reduced my anxiety levels.

Dear readers,

I hope you have all survived the holiday period and are feeling optimistic about this year. I am very much hoping we will see the end of the Covid pandemic this year and our lives can return to a semi-normal state. I also hope that our mental health will improve and that we will find ways to feel more in tune with ourselves, our needs, our bodies and our minds.

Mental health has been affected so much over the last couple of years due to the pandemic but it has been even tougher for those of us who have had numerous other struggles due to a traumatic past, toxic family members, grief, financial insecurity and other physical health issues.

For those of us specifically, who struggle with anxiety and CPTSD, we know all too well how tricky it is to keep our emotions regulated when we are triggered or scared.

Personally, as a lot of you may already know, I have always struggled with anxiety and low mood. Over the last couple of years however, I have been able to manage my symptoms much more successfully. This has made it easier for me to support others through my coaching and Youtube channel and to also continue to work on my own personal development through more training. Yoga has become a big part of my life, as is walking my dog and trying to keep active. Deep breathing and mindfulness has also helped immensely but the one thing I still struggled with until recently, was getting myself to an immediate state of calm when in the grips of anxiety.

The worst of my anxiety is usually when I travel by plane or when I have to do something that puts me in the spotlight. I also get extremely anxious when I think about losing someone I am attached to. Just before Christmas, I decided to try something completely different and was gifted something that eases anxiety. Although I was rather skeptical at first, after reading so many good reviews about it, I decided to give it a go.

This device is called CalmiGO.

@mycalmigo

CalmiGO is scientifically proven and uses 3 methods to lower anxiety levels:

-Relaxing scent

-Multi-sensory stimulation or grounding

-Breathing regulation (exhalation prolongation)

These 3 methods combined, activate the parasympathetic nervous system and lower stress level hormones.

CalmiGO is drug free and safe to use and if you would like to find out more about it, then feel free to click on this link:

www.calmigo.com/pages/about-me

My experience with using CalmiGO so far has been absolutely brilliant.

After trying this device for 3 minutes as recommended, I immediately noticed a reduction in my anxiety levels.

The most important part of the device for me is that it encourages you to prolong your exhalation. This is scientifically proven to decrease those awful symptoms of anxiety such as dizziness, accelerated heart rate, nausea and chest pain. When we are anxious, we end up breathing much too fast which results in a decrease of PCO2 levels. CalmiGO reverses this with exhalation prolongation. Since prolonging my exhalation was always the trickiest part for me, CalmiGO has been incredibly helpful in getting me to do this successfully. It vibrates and lights up whenever you reach a long enough exhalation, so this helps immensely when you are doing this for 3 minutes or more. Take a look at the photos below for an idea of what CalmiGO looks like and how to use it.

When I ordered CalmiGO, it arrived wonderfully packaged and came with a very detailed guide on how to use it effectively. It came with a little rubber cover and also an easy to use pouch to carry it in. There was also a pack of AAA batteries, a small screwdriver and a pack of 2 scented element attachments. One of these scented element attachments is placed on the front of the device near the ‘on and off’ switch. My preferred choice was lavender but you can also choose peppermint or bergamot if you prefer.

Although there is a detailed guide on how to use it effectively, there is also a tutorial video which you can watch here:

http://www.calmigo.com/pages/tutorial

Since I have found CalmiGO so incredibly useful in my personal life, I decided to collaborate with the founders of CalmiGO and I am offering a $30 discount on every purchase made through their website.

By adding the code COURAGE as a voucher when you add CalmiGO to your shopping cart, you get the above discount on the total price. Go to the link below to gets yours 🙂

http://www.calmigo.com

CalmiGO really is an investment in a life with less anxiety.

For those of you who live with CPTSD or PTSD, CalmiGO will help ground you and if used every day for a month during a time where you are really struggling with panic and anxiety, you will see a huge decrease in your symptoms.

If you have any questions or would like to share your experience using CalmiGO, then please feel free to leave a comment below.

Much love

Athina

Self-evolver

Over the last 9 months, I have been lucky enough to connect with Kayla on her brilliant journey of self-evolving. Kayla is a counsellor who very much enjoys supporting her clients in becoming the best version of themselves, as she also does for herself.

Kayla has created this brilliant brand which celebrates those of us who keep evolving and growing in our mental health journeys.

Kayla’s website is brilliant and deserves celebrating.

You can read about 3 self-evolvers’ journeys and also buy some brilliant clothing and accessories that are inspiring and mental health promoting.

You can also become an ambassador for the brand, if you think this is something you would enjoy.

Kayla’s brand is empowering and positive.

Click on the link below to check out it out

Thank you, Love Athina

http://www.selfevolver.co/about

NEW E-BOOK on amazon- DEALING WITH CPTSD TRIGGERS IN RELATIONSHIPS

After the success of my Assertiveness PDF Course, I have decided to release my first E-book/Guide ‘Dealing with CPTSD triggers in relationships’-A helpful guide for both partners.

E-book Cover

This is something I have been working on for awhile and especially because so many of you have reached out to me struggling with your partner’s triggers.

This ebook is available on Amazon Kindle and I am selling it for £5.06 but I am offering the first 15 of you the opportunity to buy it for only £2 by sending payment to my PayPal at athinalarios@yahoo.com.

If you are in need of support in your relationship, then order your discounted copy NOW!

Email me at courageisallyouneed@gmail.com confirming that you have made payment and you will receive your discounted copy!

If you support me on Patreon, you will get this e-book for free 🙂

I will be creating a video on my YouTube channel to promote this e-book but I would very much appreciate a reblog of this post, if you think this ebook would help anyone you know.

I want to help as many people as possible as this is something that I have personally struggled with in my relationship.

To buy the Kindle version on the UK Amazon click below!

Thank you!

Love Athina

Oversharing

Oversharing is something that I have also been guilty of on more than one occasion.

Why do many of us overshare whereas most people only share what is necessary when meeting new people?

In the video below, I explain a little bit about oversharing and why we do it.

Love Athina ♥

 

 

 

The importance of being emotionally intelligent

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

Emotional intelligence is the one part of the human psyche that we can develop and improve by learning and practising new skills.

  • People with higher emotional intelligence find it easier to form and maintain interpersonal relationships and to ‘fit in’ to group situations.
  • People with higher emotional intelligence are also better at understanding their own psychological state, which can include managing stress effectively and being less likely to suffer from depression.

My newest video on my youtube channel, talks about emotional intelligence in more detail.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

How to heal from childhood abuse

A lot of my followers on this blog and also subscribers from my youtube channel keep coming to me with the same question ‘How do I heal from childhood abuse?’.

Although this is something I have already addressed previously, I have decided to actually explore this in as much detail as I possibly can.

I will address this with reference to my own recovery journey and also by looking at research done by psychologists, psychotherapists and trauma specialists such as Pete Walker, Wilhelm Reich, Dr Bessel Van Der Kolk and many more.

Healing from childhood abuse isn’t a simple process. It takes a huge amount of courage, inner strength & resilience. It requires a willingness to become more self-aware of our own dysfunctional coping mechanisms, that we may have learnt from our primary caregivers.

If our parents were high on the narcissism spectrum, we will have endured years of all or some of the following:

  • neglect
  • hypercriticism
  • parentifying
  • infantilising
  • pathological envy
  • blaming
  • patronising
  • mood swings
  • pathological lying
  • aggression or passive aggression
  • gaslighting
  • controlling behaviour
  • emotional blackmail
  • scapegoating
  • silent treatment
  • shaming
  • invalidation
  • isolation
  • intimidation
  • verbal abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • physical abuse
  • engulfment

Living in a household with abuse, causes the child to develop Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Complex post traumatic stress disorder is a more severe form of PTSD and has the following 5 features:

  1. Toxic shame
  2. Self-abandonment
  3. Emotional flashbacks
  4. A extremely harsh inner critic
  5. Social anxiety

Emotional flashbacks are the most characteristic part of CPTSD. They are sudden and sometimes prolonged age regressions to the overwhelming feelings of being abused or neglected as a child. Emotional flashbacks don’t have a visual component. These flashbacks do however include an overwhelming feeling of fear, shame, alienation, abandonment, depression and emotional pain. They can range in intensity from subtle to unbearable.

Toxic shame is the when an individual has an overwhelming feeling that they are flawed, loathsome or stupid. It completely destroys a person’s self-esteem and causes the person to abandon themselves emotionally. This creates a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness.

The inner critic is the internalised punishing voice of our abusive parent. If we had a parent who was a bully and constantly called us names such stupid, pathetic, too sensitive, ugly etc, then we will have this voice within us, even if our abusive parent isn’t in our life anymore. It will be a habitual inner bully that punishes us instead of supports us.

Other symptoms of CPTSD are:

  • Feelings of loneliness and abandonment
  • Fragile self-esteem
  • Attachment disorder
  • Developmental Arrests
  • Relationship difficulties ( Fear of forming relationships or forming relationships that are too dysfunctional)
  • Hyper-arousal / extreme flight/fight response
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Oversensitivity to stress
  • Dissociation
  • Exhaustion
  • Body armouring  (which involves tensing of muscle tissue whenever stress or emotion is experienced. To protect itself, the body takes a defensive, tight, and stiff stance. On a tissue level it enters into a muscular holding pattern that resists change and release. Unexpressed emotions such as anger, fear, and grief are common causes of this phenomenon. This was first described by psychologist Wilhelm Reich).
  • Impulsivity
  • Inappropriate anger

 

The stages of recovering

To recover from abuse and trauma, we must first educate ourselves on a cognitive level. We must understand that we most likely suffer with CPTSD and that it isn’t our fault that we are suffering. We have to put the blame where it belongs – to our abusive primary caregivers.

Secondly we must find a qualified therapist/specialist coach that will help us with the very difficult task of shrinking the inner critic. The inner critic can be a very difficult part of recovery to tackle, as the negativity from this critic has become automatic over our lifetime. It may take a long time to stop the inner critic from affecting us. Constant awareness of when the critic is present will help us stop him in his tracks and try and replace the negative criticisms with positive affirmations and self-compassion.

The next step in recovery is verbal ventilation and the very painful process of grieving our childhood losses. Verbal ventilation is when we speak in a way that releases our painful emotions with a safe person. Grieving our childhood losses means that we actually allow ourselves to cry, be angry and really feel the deep pain of not having had healthy parents. Grieving can take a long time and can sometimes last for a couple of years. In grieving, it is important for us to also grieve our loss of self-esteem and safety.

Once we have successfully grieved, we then must deal with the feelings of abandonment via somatic healing and via learning how to become self-compassionate in moments of depression or anxiety.

Lastly, we will need help with dissecting all our defences, especially those that no longer serve us. We may have picked up defences and behaviours from our abusive parents that are dysfunctional and we will now need support in stopping these defences and practicing more healthy ways of coping.

A very important part of recovery is to learn how to be patient with our progress, as sometimes it isn’t straightforward. Recovery is a journey and self compassion is crucial.

A great mantra according to Pete Walker, is

‘Progress not perfection’

Expecting perfection in recovery isn’t going to help us move forward..

Progress however is key!

Thanks for reading!

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Relocation back to the UK and new Youtube video – ‘Signs you are dating a narcissist’

After a long absence, due to my recent relocation back to the UK from Germany, I am ready to start working again and embrace the world of change and healing.

I have just created a new video for my youtube subscribers and I am very grateful to be back home, so I am able to take on more face to face clients. Although Germany was very international, not everyone I encountered spoke English well.

Now that I am home, it is truly lovely to be able to communicate effectively and clearly and to not have to worry about the language barrier. There are many more opportunities for me in the UK and I am very much looking forward to getting involved with charities that support narcissistic abuse survivors.

In this new video, I talk about the most common signs that you are dating a narcissist.

If you have had experience dating a narcissist, then you will relate to this video. If you are currently in a relationship and feel undermined and confused, then this video might help answer some questions.

If you need support, then please feel free to contact me or another mental health professional. Leaving a relationship where the other person may be a narcissist, is not the same as leaving a healthy relationship. It has to be done very carefully, with reliable support and a clear plan. Victims tend to develop signs of C-PTSD and can suffer greatly with depression & anxiety.

Some narcissists can become dangerous and physically abusive.

The relationship dynamics although similar in most cases, can have unique circumstances, where the abusive partner may also be physically or sexually abusive. In worst cases, the abuse is so severe, that the narcissist may even kill their partner.

Last but not least, trauma bonding makes it very difficult for the victim to leave their abuser so the right support is absolutely necessary.

Please share this blog post or video, if you think it will help someone!

Thanks for reading and watching!

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.