Friday, December 2, 2016

ACE Study

In therapy yesterday, we talked a lot about my past.  When I say my past, I don't necessarily mean my past of 2 years ago, I mean my young childhood.  I was confused at first why she was asking about my childhood, especially at the ages where I couldn't even remember anything. I finally decided to ask her where she was going with this discussion. Thats where the ACE Study came in...
The ACE study stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. This study is one of the largest scientific research studies of its kind.  The focus of this study is to "analyze the relationship between childhood trauma and the risk of physical and mental illness in adulthood." Over decades of this study, researchers were realizing the strong relationship between the level of traumatic stress in childhood and poor physical, mental and behavioral outcomes later in life.
My brother had cancer when he was younger. It was very hard on my family, and even harder on him. He is the strongest person I know, and he has always been my hero.  Now, he is cancer free, 17 years I believe (I could be off a year or two)! Amazing though, right?
Well my therapist began asking me how this effected me.  The good in me responds, oh I was fine, I didn't go through anything compared to what Alex went through.  But she digs deeper and wants me to tell her truthfully, how it effected me.  I was so young, I don't remember much. All I remember is how much I was shuffled around from babysitter to babysitter, hardly ever being able to be around my family.
"Ahhh.." she says. Having a family member who is ill and feeling emotional neglect is two of the huge conditions someone would experience in an Adverse Childhood Experience. Although I may not have felt the emotional neglect, especially that young, being passed around from babysitter to babysitter and being around my family very little is a potential subconscious emotional neglect.
Going through this at my age made me extremely independent.  I even potty-trained myself! Now, I am still extremely independent, but I hurt inside, a lot.  I hurt inside when I feel like I need to ask for help, when I do not get things done, or if I do not feel proud of yourself.  See how something that happened to me in my childhood has effected me so much today? Along with feelings I have, I also have depression. One of the things that is examined in ACE Study.

This article explains the ACE Study a lot... give it a read, it is very interesting

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mind Does Matter

I stumbled across an article today and it really hit home to me.  As a former professional athlete, I can say I have had my fair share of injuries.  I have broken my wrists countless times, fractured my hip and pelvis, fractured my L5 in my back, tore my labrum in my hip, sprained my ankle (oh gosh I don't even want to know how many times), and of course have had a LOT of concussions. Injuries are something that almost go along with being an athlete. In the scholarly article that I read, it talks about the psychological effect of an ankle injury in sports.  I think this article can be related to all types of injuries, not just ankle injuries.

"The most common reactions to the injury were fear, pain, shock, misadventure, frustration, disappointment and hope," (Mittly, 2016). This article analyzes a study that was done to determine how much the mind plays a role in injury.  The results of the study were no surprise to me... "Results confirm our previous hypothesis, that for the earliest return to play injured athletes need psychological rehabilitation and they require psychological interventions as well as social support in the post-injury period. The team physicians and coaches should acquire communication skills, motivational methods and relaxation techniques to enhance support," (Mittly, 2016).

I could not agree with this more, that mind really does matter when it comes to injuries.  In my previous injuries, I admit my mind always took over.  I not only was so fearful to reinjure myself, but I was so frustrated that I had to take time off from my sport.  I was also always extremely disappointed in myself for not being in the right shape to avoid injury. I think it is very important for all athletes to seek psychological help when they get injured, not just rehabilitation for that injury. The mind is capable of many things, even if you do not even realize it.  

As someone with a psychology major and a former professional athlete, focus on your mind and everything else will come into place.

Check out this article! It is very interesting

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I feel as if I was reborn after this past weekend.  Not only do I feel more like myself than ever, but I found the drive to do things again.  I haven't had motivation like this in a longggg time. Some people may say Tony Robbins seminars are a scam, but I believe they are what you put into them, and I took A LOT out of the Unleash the Power Within seminar I went to!!

One of my biggest take-a-ways from this was the power of your mind.  What you focus on really makes a difference in life.  For example, for the last 7 months, I have focused on the fact that I had a career ending concussion.  I focused on how much this concussion limited my life, caused pain mentally and physically, and sunk me into a deep depression.  Because this was my sole focus in life, I was consumed by it that I was 'being' it.  I had no chance to get better from my concussion because that was all I thought about.  It is amazing how redirecting your focus can make you feel so much better.  I was told I am not aloud to be in loud environments, jump or do anything with high intensity. Well guess what, at UPW I sang on the top of my lungs with 10,500 other people, jumped up and down thousands of times a day (no joke, my fitbit can even prove it), danced like no one was watching, and had NO HEADACHES. On top of no headaches, I wasn't dizzy, sad, lightheaded or even experiencing vertigo.  Why do you think this is? It was simply because I didn't focus on my concussion all weekend, my focus was what Tony Robbins was teaching us, and how I can implement those teachings into my life.

So what do I plan on doing from this day forward? I plan to focus on the things I want to improve.
I am constantly going to focus on the fact that I am beautiful, because dammit I am!!!!! I am also going to focus on being healthy and becoming MORE healthy (see how I am keeping this all positive). Lately, I am going to focus on growing my essential oil business and being a good person overall.  Nope, none of these focuses have anything to do with a concussion, so see ya never concussion symptoms!!!!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Unleash The Power Within

I am currently at an experience of a lifetime. I was so kindly given a ticket to Tony Robbin's Unleash The Power Within seminar this weekend. It is a 3 1/2 seminar to help UPW! For those of you who don't know Tony, look him up, because you should! This seminar couldn't come at a more perfect time in my life, for I need some guidance and motivation to find again who I am!

Yesterday was the first day, and I already feel like a diffferent person. The focus of the day was to turn fear into power. We were taught how to recognize fear and handle it the right way! In fact, to top off the night, all 10,500 of us walked on FIRE! You heard me... we walked on FIRE! It was both a metaphor and a fun activity, to help get into a peak state and conquer fear. It also helped us take the first step into a new journey of our life!

I cannot wait to share with you all everything that I'm learning and what I have been taking away! There is some unbelieveable information that I would have never learned if it wasn't for this amazing opportunity! Grateful is an understatement of the feelings I have right now!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How Nala Saved Me From the Depression

I stumbled upon this article where a women claims getting a puppy saved her from depression.  I got my beautiful black lab, Nala, about a year and a half ago.  One of the major reasons I decided to get a dog was because I heard that dogs are a wonderful emotional support and can be great for individuals who suffer from depression.  Since the second I brought Nala home, she gave me even more of a reason to live.  It was the best feeling ever to come home, or even wake up to a dog that is so happy to see you all of the time.  Nala is always full of so much happiness and energy, it rubs off on me.  I brighten her day, as she does mine.  Nala also has even been so amazing when I have bad days.  She will simply lay with me, cuddle and give me lots of love.  When I cry, she will literally give me a hug and I know she is telling me everything will be okay.  Though dogs are a lot of responsibility, it is such an amazing responsibility.  I love my Nala and cannot wait to have her by my side for years and years to come.

Check out this article, it is really good!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Love Your Brain

Concussions are something no one should ever mess with.  I know just a few years ago and beyond, concussions were nothing more you "ringing your bell," and it was very easy to just get back into the game. Today, more and more research is being done with concussions and they are becoming more an more serious.  Concussions are NO different today than they were back then, the only difference is we have more studies and information on them to know they are serious.  Concussions are classified as a TBI, a Traumatic Brain Injury.  The more you get, the more dangerous they can be.  In fact, the more concussions you get, the more susceptible to another concussion you are. Concussions are scary, they are dangerous, and I do not think anyone takes them as seriously as they really are...

I hit my head in January.  I followed standard concussion protocol to get back to snowboarding and thought I felt better as time went on.  Yes, I had headaches here and there, but what athlete doesn't get headaches sometimes?.. Or at least that is what I told myself. I thought I was ready to compete in my first competition of the 2015-2016 season, so I traveled to Canada and competed.  Little I know this would have been the biggest mistake of my snowboard career.  Trying to ride the snowboard-cross coarse that I was supposed to compete on was nearly impossible.  My balance was off, I felt like I couldn't move my body the way I wanted it to, I felt as if I was in a fog and my reaction time was way off.  I took a few falls, never hitting my head, but I knew I was never going to be okay after this competition.  When I returned home (back to Colorado) I started having constant headaches, nausea and vertigo.  The vertigo was the worst, I could barely get out of bed without feeling like I was going to fall over.  I couldn't do anything, whether it was read, write, cook, stand up or even go on a walk, for more than a few minutes at a time.  Most days I felt to sick to get out of bed.  I was simply in a mental fog. On top of how bad all of these symptoms were, they made me more anxious and depressed than I had ever been in my life. I didn't heal properly.  

I had a difficult time communicating with my friends and family what I was actually going through.  It seemed as if I couldn't describe anything I was feeling because everything was so bad.  When I finally saw a doctor, I realized how serious my condition was.  What I think is most serious about concussions is there is no real treatment for post-concussion syndrome. Rest as much as you want and hope that in time, you will heal.  My doctor told me some suggestions for rehab, including vestibular therapy, wearing sunglasses everywhere, avoiding any physical activity, limit uses of cell phones and other electronics, take constant "breaks," but most importantly, rest.  As active as I have always been throughout my life, resting may have helped heal my brain, but it did extreme damage to my mind/emotions and my mental state.  I sunk into a deeper depression.  I lost not only the sport that I loved and was so passionate about, but my life.  I couldn't do anything I loved for a unknown amount of time.  Working out, yoga, being outside, snowboarding, running, hiking, mountain biking, boating, dancing or even playing with my dog were activities that I could no longer do.  I cannot explain how heartbreaking it was/is for me to not be able to do the things I love.  

It's been about 10 months since my concussion, and I am still unable to do many of the things I love.  I JUST began slowly working out, which excludes lifting, running and doing anything that brings my heart rate over 140 bpm.  I cannot do anything that puts me in danger of hitting my head again, so that means no mountain biking, but I can bike... no fun snowboarding, just causal riding and still no more intense playing with my dog.  I admit, even though I can do some of the things I used to love so much, I hardly have any motivation to do them.  I have so much time throughout the day to workout and do some of the things I am able to do, but I find myself everyday dreading a workout or forcing myself to go.  This is so unlike me, I used to love working out. I was addicted, and would go many times a day if I could.  I don't recognize this new Brooke sometimes. I know that time will heal, but I can only hope that time will give me more motivation and happiness when I am able to do the things I used to love.

For now, I am determined to now dwell over the things I lost.  It is time for me to find new passions and adapt to these new passions.  I have not lost faith that I will be reunited with my old passions, but the only way for me to grow and be a happier and healthier person is to find new passions.  What are these new passions. This is my focus for the next week on my road to there..


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Grief & Loss vs. Depression

I took it upon myself to see a psychologist.  No I am not ashamed of it, no one who ever goes to therapy should feel ashamed.  Everyone is human and everyone goes through tough times.  From previous experiences, therapy has done wonders for my emotions and my life, so I decided I need to get back into it.

I want to share my biggest take-a-way from therapy today. I have depression... that is something I have known and done a great job accepting.  I accept that I have depression, but I am currently working on not letting it define who I am.  It is not "my" depression, as I sometimes refer too, it is "the" depression. Simply by changing the reference from 'my' to 'the' makes depression a health issue, rather than a part of my life.

As I thought about the depression in my life, I was asked by my psychologist whether the emotions I am currently feeling about my recent stop to my snowboard career was a trigger to the depression or simply an emotion of grief and loss.  It took me a while to think and realize the answer to that question.  Aren't the too the same thing? In my situation, they are not.  The grief and loss of loosing my snowboard dreams are a separate emotion from the depression. There are different ways to heal from depression, just as there are different ways to heal from a loss or grief.  My goal now is to heal and deal with my grief.  Once I work to handle this, the depression will slowly fade.  I plan to allow my self to feel the loss and grief, let me emotions flood if they need, and talk about the pain I am feeling.  Once I accept this grief, I can work to move forward, find new passions and be on the road to there....