Cerebral Palsy. Body Image and Internal Healing.

I’m starting to see a correlation between cerebral palsy and body image, this correlation stems from being in contact with numerous people who live with cerebral palsy through social media. In this particular regard, I’m speaking about having a negative self image.

You may look at the image of me below, and not think that I am “fat” all, but when I look at myself. That is what I see.

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When I look at the sides of my stomach, I think “Ugh gross” then I start thinking or obsessing over what I eat and upping the intensity of my daily workouts. Which is not a bad thing at all. It is a problem though, when you are in the middle of your workout and you can’t stop dwelling on how disgusting you feel and look.

I posted that above photo on instagram a few weeks ago, lots of people said that I looked great, or that we all had those feelings, or even “that’s just skin!” The comments were heart warming and helped me to think more positively.. For awhile, but then I would find myself in the downward spiral of self destruction and sabotage.

My workouts have consisted of lots of burpees, probably two-four hundred every single day. Along with Kettle and Bar Bell lifting. I sweat a lot, recover well but am utterly hungry the rest of the day.  Nor am I afraid of eating my carbs, protein and Beer… My one beer after work.

The engine is constantly stoked, and I’m constantly pushing my mind and body.. But there is this area of my life, that needs change. I’m tried all the thought stopping methods, all the positive affirmations etc. And still nothing helps the crap shoot stop.

After CF today, I came home, ate and then went to wash my stinky self. There I was, looking at my body with contempt. And then I thought, “this has to stop!” Truly the only thing that gets me through life is my faith. So after redirecting my thoughts back to it, I whispered to God:

“God, you don’t want me to hate my body, I know that. Help me to see myself differently, as you do.” At that moment, something clicked on inside of me. I’m not saying that you have to do, as I do, that is something that you have to decide and work through for yourself.

What I am saying though, is that these destructive thinking has to stop, or at least be put in its rightful place. A vast majority of therapists would saying that working out is killing me, and steer me away from it as they would most addictions. But I don’t think that that is the end all be all solution.

Yes, some things might need to change, or pause. But this is less a physical issue, and more a mental, emotional and spiritual issue. And until those issues heal, nothing we change the way we long for.

So! We have to understand that this is going to be a long journey, with plenty of ups and downs and twists and turns. We have to accept where we are at. I know that this is something that will not want to be heard, you might spend lots of time in a wheel chair, and be on lots of meds. Okay, we can work with that, the fact is that we cannot give up.

There are plenty of exercises that can be done from a seated position, plenty of ways to even build stamina too. I should get on making videos regarding these topics. Yet the biggest component is learning to take care of ourselves from a place of love and not so much a “I have to” but an “I want to” there’s a huge difference.

Change your forward thinking: Think less on your image, and think more about prolonged health, mobility, strength and focus. So that we can be the strongest version of ourselves, not so much for ourselves but for others.

The internal healing is more tangible than we believe, more closer than we think. Much like any medicine though, it takes time for the benefits to show up, but rest assured. Through discipline and diligence change will come.

Blessings!

-Brandon

 

 

 

 

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Cerebral Palsy. Body Image and Internal Healing.

Anxiety. Jesus. And How To Cope

Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don’t agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the Passion of Christ. -CS Lewis (Letters to Malcolm)

Anxiety is a very crippling affliction, for me it consists of a tight chest, racing thoughts, anger, fear, dread, panic and intense sobbing when the tears are able to pour forth. It can be debilitating in some sense, sometimes I don’t even want to people around people, mostly I just want to escape to a quiet and peaceful place.

In our modern society, anxiety is either as a mental health issue, and thus prescribed anti anxiety/anti-depressants. On time of counseling of some form or another. I have mixed emotions about it, sometimes when they anxiety is so bad it doesn’t seem like anything helps calm the rage inside me. Honestly, in these moments I turn to an ice cold beer to aid in helping numb the numbness.

I know that there are healthier ways of dealing with it, physically and spiritually speaking. So I’m sorry to disappoint. On the other hand some in the scientific community are saving that the war against anxiety lies within our gut and what we eat. I don’t have with a problem with this idea, other then the fact that some within this community try a pit the physical against the mental and so on. Rarely is it ever both at the same time.

In recent years I have taken a more holistic approach to self-care, being sure that the body, mind and spirit are all taken care of to the best of my human ability. No, I’m not always perfect at it, but I do the best I can by Gods grace. Jesus knew anxiety very well, and was a man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3). To see this, all one has to do is look at his reaction in the garden of gethsemane, His reaction to what was about to come before Him, was not just a physical, spiritual, mental or emotionally one but rather the harshest wave of each of them.

Be that as it may, if Jesus experienced this sort of anguish (which I believe He did) then He is the most vital figure to look at. This is not to imply that others who struggle with anxiety aren’t worth gleaning from,  but because how He (Jesus) understood deeply and overcame triumphantly, our affliction. He is the truest path to peace.

Even when words fail, when everything else fails us. He will not. He will uphold us with an out stretched arm. Furthermore, it is vitally important to note that Jesus does not minimize anxiety as some in our culture do. He knows it, He has jumped head first into the deepest anxiety for you and me.

Again I say, medicine, therapy, exercise, community etc is not bad, but more than anxiety is the calming serenity and joy that we long the most for.   He will hold you close to His chest, He will hear your cry when no else has a moment to spare.

Know that this moment will pass, it might not pass when we want to. But it will.

Pray,

Journal,

Cry out to God, for He hears you before anyone else will,

Find a few loyal friends you can depend on, in the darkest moments.

Eat healthy, avoid processed food and sugars

Exercise daily, get your body moving.

Go to a counselor if you want to.

Cry. Scream. Slam things if you need to. Just don’t stomach it any longer.

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Anxiety. Jesus. And How To Cope

God Spoke To Me

There I was sitting on the toilet this morning, as I always do. Taking care of the demons in my stomach. Truth be told, I have not been feeling all that great about myself the past few days. For reasons that I do not wish to share on this blog.

But there I was, the few places that I pray are when I am in the shower, working out or on the toilet. I tend to pray more privately these days… As I was sitting on my throne, I was noticing all the negative thoughts coming out from my mind, making their way to my heart.

When I heard and felt a soft whisper say from underneath all of the crap coming out of (non pun intended).

Your my son… 

I know its crazy, and this blog might very well make you think that of me. So be it. For many religious crack heads have said that God spoke to them, well, let me tell you quickly why my experience is different. The words that were spoken to me, can be back up with scripture.

Psalm 2:7

Matthew 3:17

Luke 15:11-32

To name a few, I don’t think this is as crazy, because God speaks to various people in various ways through out the whole of scripture. Further more, the Lord reminding me that I am his son, is far (far) different than some other Christian claiming “the phone rang and that was a sign I was meant to marry this person!”

I know my soul needed these words today, I needed to be reminded of my true identity today. Does this happen often to me? No, but when it does. Its very special to me. Today my hope and prayer is that you know that God loves you, in Christ all things can be made new.

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God Spoke To Me

The Lies I Believe And The Power of Ephesians

Contrary to popular belief, or how social media my portray I don’t wake up with a smile on my face all the time. In fact, some mornings I wake up and it seems as though, there is a spiritual war going inside me. A war against regret, doubt, shame, hopelessness and so much more.

The lies I believe:

You’re not good enough

you don’t have what it takes

nobody actually cares

no women will ever want you

you’ll never be all that you dreamed of being

God hates you

Just give up.

There’s more lies in there I’m sure, but you get the point and maybe you can relate. Sometimes I’m not even sure how these thoughts enter my mind. I could just wake up that way! Wake up feeling like I’m in a fight for my life, my mind, my eternal destiny. I have to be reminded that I’m not hopeless, that the God of the university is for me and on my side. His eyes are ever upon me. The one thing that has caused me to hold on and fight back against all these thoughts, is the love letter of Ephesians. I could easily copy and paste the entire 6 chapters in this blog, but I think I will settle for Eph 1:3-14

eBlessed be fthe God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing gin the heavenly places, 4 heven as he ichose us in him jbefore the foundation of the world, that we should be kholy and blameless before him. In love 5 lhe predestined us2 for madoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, naccording to the purpose of his will, 6 oto the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in pthe Beloved. 7 qIn him we have rredemption sthrough his blood, tthe forgiveness of our trespasses, uaccording to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 vmaking known3 to us the mystery of his will, naccording to his purpose, which he wset forth in Christ 10 as a plan for xthe fullness of time, yto unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained zan inheritance, ahaving been predestined baccording to the purpose of him who works all things according to cthe counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be dto the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard ethe word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, fwere sealed with the gpromised Holy Spirit, 14 who is hthe guarantee4 of our iinheritance until jwe acquire kpossession of it,5 lto the praise of his glory.

I can think of no other writing in the world, that makes my mind and soul come alive in this way. I can think of no other spiritual or religious text that makes me want to put on my armor, grab my brave heart sword (metaphorically speaking) and start slaying these lies in my head. Because Christ has overcame it all for me. He has done the same for you, so that you no longer have to be chained to these crippling thoughts any longer.

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The Lies I Believe And The Power of Ephesians

What DC Movies Have Taught Me

The past few days I have seen two DC movies: Justice League and the new Thor. Both were really good, laced with a good mix of humor and action, but within each movie I find myself being drawn into a deeper meaning, and deeper purpose and pulled from my current reality.

This is what good movies are supposed to do, right? They are meant to engage all the aspects of the human condition. Their meant to make us, laugh, cry, think, scream in terror (if you’re into that) and they’re meant to be a secret escape. Kinda like the movie Last Action Hero, where a kid get so drawn into his favorite action hero, he actually becomes a part of it.

Or in the movie side kicks, when a young protagonist becomes the side kick of Chuck Norris. I know, that doesn’t happen to us. But it almost any Marvel Movie or any action hero installment, there is almost a message of justice (and the longing for it) hope, losing it and being able to find it again. These movies speak of loss and triumph, of death and resurrection.

These are all eternal and divine things, that I believe are inside of us all. Things that science by it’s self cannot explain on its own. These are good and holy things that we should not simply dismiss, nor should we chalk them  to be mere chemical reactions in our brains.

I think that for myself, I want to (try) and let myself watch a Marvel movie, or something like it. One) just to let myself escape the hardness of this world, Two) to not lose hope, the fact is, is that sometimes when can be so aware of our own reality. That we become numb to hope, change, truth, justice, love etc.

That we embrace a sort of nihilism without even knowing it. So my challenge to you, is to let yourself get lost in a DC movie, I think our souls depend on it in a way. And let getting being lost in these movies propel us to be the hero in someone else’s life.

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What DC Movies Have Taught Me

The Hell of Depression and The Will To Keep Going.

Living with depression sucks, it’s not a new topic for me to write about, nor is it something that the overly positive like to discuss. Talking about depression can be like a sudden down pour on a sunny day. As I feel depression start to creep back into my life, I find myself trying to do everything I can to keep it a bay.

I make sure that I’m eating healthy as possible. Getting adequate amounts of sleep and staying consistent in the gym. As well as staying disciplined spiritually, spending time in prayer and quite contemplation, reading books that water my soul.

But you know what? There’re days when having depression just simply sucks. There’s days where I am far from optimistic and very negative. The other day at the gym, my attitude was horrible. My heart was so set on doing heavy back squats, but I was met with a wrench in my system… Tempo squats… I had never done one up until this point, it felt so new and weird to me.

I tried to keep (or rather fake) a good attitude, I did the best I could to stick to the prescribed workout. But my mind and body were not having it. I mean, I quit during the last set and nothing was clicking for me on this day. My mind was full of shit thoughts. I didn’t want to be at the gym, I didn’t want to do this workout…. I just wanted to do what Brandon wanted to do.

I wanted to run away, and be as far away as I could from the human population. Those thoughts, feelings and emotions are still with me even in this moment. I’ve tried getting all the anger out through fitness, it helps for a moment, but still I feel the only that would help these feelings inside me would be letting out a scream that would cut through the expanse of the universe.

It’s a bit of a stretch I know, but it’s true. What is helping me the most right now, is that it is okay to want to scream, punch things (preferably a punching bag and not a person or wall), cry, run, sprint, lift heavy things, scribble in a journal whatever it is. The point is that you don’t have to stomach the feelings, thoughts, emotions that depression brings.

Stomaching these things only makes things worse. If you have a crappy attitude, acknowledge it, apologies for it if you have to, chalk it up as a bad day if you have to. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from it.  If you are a friend, mentor or coach and you have someone like this in your life. Know that they are going through a rough patch, don’t take it personally, don’t fire back.

Rather, lovingly motivate them and remind them that this one day or season isn’t the end for them.  Listen to them, hear them out, scream, cry do whatever it takes. But don’t give up on them. Remind them that you they are loved, remind them of their worth and potential, remind them that one day or season doesn’t define them.

In the words of ChurchHill, if your going through hell, keep going.

Keep going…  I don’t care if it takes awhile to get going… I don’t care if you have to fall out of bed, get going.  You might even need sometime to rest, but get up and keep going. If you have a routine, stick to it regardless of how you feel. It will keep you from sinking deep into yourself. It will keep your head above water.

We can rise above and conquer, this hell of depression doesn’t have to win.

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The Hell of Depression and The Will To Keep Going.

Talking About The Prodigal Son’s

We all should know the acclaimed story of the prodigal son, but if you don’t, in summary the story or parable depicts two sons. One older and one younger. The younger son wakes up one day and demands that his father would give him his share of the estate. He demanded it, he didn’t say “father, can you please give me my share of my estate.” Maybe he had something grand in mind for his future, but he didn’t. Rather he took the money and burned a hole through it all.

Before you know it, he found himself wanting to eat the same food that the pigs ate. Then, he makes up his mind to go back to his fathers house, only this time he will come home armed with a great speech. One that tugs at his fathers heart. But little did he know, that his father stood night and day watching for his son. And he did what fathers didn’t do at the time.

He ran toward his son, wrapped him up in his arms and kisses his face over and over. It was as though he was mad with love for his son.  His father puts a ring on his finger, a fine robe and even throws a party for him. And never once mentions his sons transgression.

The older brother doesn’t take so kindly to his fathers reaction to his youngest son coming home. He even says “I’ve been loyal to you for years and you never through me a party!” Not many talk about the older son, but we must, because his reaction is also our reaction in our own lives. Or at least it is for me, it’s my response when I feel I have been nothing but loyal to others and assume that I get nothing in return.

In all honesty, I am both sons, I run away from my fathers house and love. And make a mess of my life, yet he keeps taking me back over and over again. He runs to me, wraps me up and kisses my face over and over… But I am also the older son, when I feel God has wronged me, thus sin rises up inside me which screams “You owe me God!”

But I so quickly forget that he has already given me everything…. everything…. And so much more awaits me after this life. Let us combat our prideful, arrogant hearts lest we forget about how much our father loves us and has given us. Who takes us back over and over. 

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Talking About The Prodigal Son’s