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Self-help, Stress

The impact Prednisone can have on our mental health and how to cope with it

8. April 2021

Long-term use of corticosteroids could affect our mental health and wellbeing.

Manifestations can be as diverse as lupus itself. You may have more frequent mood swings, you may be more emotional, you may feel depressed, you may sleep poorly, you may be more forgetful. These feelings can pinball back and forth in quick succession and seem to come about for no reason and without provocation. A lot of doctors will talk about the physical side effects, but not the psychological ones. I don’t want to scare you. Prednisone is one of the drugs that can literally save our lives.

It is important to know what may happen to you. Always consult your doctor if you see some changes in both your physical and mental health. Any little thing matters.

Not everyone who takes Prednisone has psychological problems. Knowing that this can happen to you is the first step in coping with them.

The second step is to learn to recognize when they happen and understand that they are not necessarily connected to a situation.

Other tips for coping:

  • Mindfulness and calming techniques – this is probably the most difficult of all. You can be one step ahead of the game if you practise these even when you feel fine. Become aware of how your body reacts to stressful situations. Learn to stop a stress reaction by counting or taking deep breaths until you feel more relaxed. Many people benefit from meditation, prayer, whatever you call it, it is a mind-calming technique that can go a long way.
  • Positive Thinking – you can practice positive thinking every day. Try not to think of the worst-case scenario right away. Instead, think about the positive outcomes, the ways you want things to work out.
  • Be open – to yourself and to your surroundings. Tell the family, friends and colleagues that mood swings can also stem from treatment. You may be surprised at how understanding people can be.


My journey, Self-help

Urinary Tract Infections

9. February 2021

It can be difficult to live with lupus. Especially when you feel like you are attracting everything the wind blows you way. Have you also noticed that a certain part of your body gets attacked more often than others? Mine is the urinary tract. It seems to be the most vulnerable.

Let me summarize what antibiotics for urinary tract infections you should avoid at all costs, what alternatives you can try out and foremost how to prevent these common infections.

Antibiotics for urinary tract infections to avoid:

  • Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim cause lupus flares. I was recommended to put it on my list of allergies so that every doctor knows not to prescribe this medicine.
  • Doxycycline also worsens the symptoms of lupus and should be avoided by luppies.
  • In addition, I am allergic to penicillin, i.e. cannot take penicillin, clarithromycin, ciprofloxacin, cefixime commonly prescribed to treat UTIs. If you are allergic to a certain active substance you have to avoid all medicines in this group.

What helps me get over the inceptive infection? There are actually several products.

  • First warning signs – very mild but strange feeling when I pee – I use homeopathics made by my doctor. You can disagree with this approach but it helps me in these initial stages.
  • If I overlook the first signs and they become more apparent – the feeling of not completely emptied bladder several times in a row, frequent urge to pee – I alternate between two herbal products – one is a mix of several herbs to help with UTI and the other one is with Tropaeolum majus. These work the charm quite nicely. You can look for products that contain cranberries, Veronica officinalis, Tropaeolum majus. Before you try any of these, it is good to consult with a medical professional whether they are suitable for you.
  • When I ignore the previous signs and the infection spreads – burning sensation when peeing, smelly urine, or swimming in a lake right after my period, I go for my urologist’s recommendation. These drops contain also hyaluronic acid, D-mannose, and extracts from Tropaeolum majus and Epilobium parviflorum.
  • Only when the above-mentioned remedies don’t work, I see my doctor and we set on a journey to find something stronger for me.

However, the most important although I am writing it at the end, is prevention. I try to prevent UTIs at all costs. They are uncomfortable, they hurt, they take forever to heal and I like feeling good, healthy. So, what do I do?

  • I read the signs of my body. It takes time and practice but once you master it, you’ll realize that your bodies tell you everything.
  • I don’t sit on cold surfaces. My grandmother taught me not to sit on the ground in the months that have an -r in them. Not that I follow it to the letter, but I rather stand or sit on a pillow.
  • I keep my feet warm. I wear socks and slippers almost all year round. My feet just get cold easily and it is an easy way for me to get a UTI.
  • I wash myself down there often and keep my underwear dry and clean. Also “dirty” bacteria can cause UTIs.
Self-help, Stress

The one thing that is keeping you from achieving whatever you want.

3. January 2021

Wasn’t 2020 the best year to change? What better reason to set your priorities straight than the year the world pandemic started?

What did you resolve to start doing last year? Did you start sourdough baking? Did you start meditating? Did you start your own business? Did you start valuing your health more? Did you go for all your annual checkups? Did you exercise more? Did you take up yoga? Did you start reading more? Did you call your family and friends more? Did you learn a new IT skill? Did it last until 2021? Are you able to continue doing to what you set your mind to?

If yes, good for you.

If not, I hear you. Do you wonder why it is not working out for you? Do you wonder why some people succeed and you do not? Do you wonder what they do differently than you?

The answer might surprise you. The answer is actually super easy. It is all in perception. Whaaat?

It is all in perception. It is how we perceive change. Do you say you MUST change your diet? Do you say you MUST exercise? Do you say you MUST engage more on social media if you want to build a successful business? Do you say you MUST meditate to calm down? Notice the pattern. It is soooo difficult to change when the change is forced. It is soooo difficult to change if we HAVE TO restrain ourselves.

What if, just for the sake of an argument, before you decide you MUST change, you actually stopped for a moment and thought about what it was that you really wanted.

Let me give you an example: People say you MUST meditate to calm down. So when people say it, it must be true. You start and you realize that your thoughts are running like crazy and you can’t seem to get ahold of them. People say when your thoughts start running, just start over. So you start over and over again and it is just not working. Now you start thinking why meditation isn’t working for you. How come everyone does it and you can’t seem to grasp the idea?

If you stopped for a moment and inquired what it is that you really want, you might actually find out that meditation may not be for you at the moment. You actually calm down much more when you go out for a run.

Let me give you another example: You realize that you are an emotional eater. You MUST change your habit otherwise you will never face your true issues and on top of that you may end up fat. Just thinking about changing this habit is making you anxious.

If you stopped for a moment and inquired what it is that makes you actually want to reach for that extra cookie or go to a fast food restaurant, you may realize what your true issue is. You may find out that you usually eat when you’re stressed out from work deadlines and you feel you’re behind.

Let me give you one more example: You want to stop smoking. You MUST stop smoking. It is just bad for you. You are having a really hard time because some members of your family smoke, some of your friends smoke, some of your colleagues smoke. When you are stressed, you just go for that cigarette.

If you stopped for a moment and inquired what it is that is actually making you go for that cigarette, you may find out that it is just a social addiction and you actually don’t like the taste of cigarettes.

It is all about perception. It is all about how you perceive your truth about the particular habit. When you look deep down, you may find out the actual reason why something is not for you at the moment, or why something isn’t working out for you.

I know, easier said than done. BUT practice makes perfect J The more you are mindful of everything you do, do more you do it, the easier it gets.

Dr. Jud Brewer’s research inspired me to write this article.