August 11th, 2015

Getting Past Feeling Down

by WEGO Health



In this world, no matter what you do you will always run into mental challenges and stressors. When you add a chronic disease on top of that, mental challenges and stressors become inevitable. Coming from experience, I would much rather take on the physical aspects of a disease than the mental and emotional sides of it. I will give you examples and reasons why but first, remember everyone is different; this is just what I went through.


When I was 10 years old, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, only to find out years later it would actually turn out to be Crohn’s, I was misdiagnosed. Both of those diseases are in the category of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, which are autoimmune diseases that attack the digestive tract. Crohn’s Disease can attack the entire tract where Ulcerative Colitis is just in the large intestine. Since I was diagnosed I have, so far, had a total of 13 abdominal surgeries, 2 Ileostomies, countless hospitalizations, procedures, transfusions, and more.  Although these are all complicated physical things, they are nothing compared to the prices you pay mentally and emotionally.


When you have a disease you have a high chance of falling into depression, experiencing anxiety, and feeling guilty and disappointed because things are happening that you cannot help, and those things happen to be affecting all aspects of your life.


Recently I was hospitalized for around a week and my job had decided that due to this being my fourth hospitalization in three months they were going to put me out for a month. I was not happy, I felt disappointed and guilty because I had to leave everything up to my girlfriend to handle and being as prideful as I am, I did not take it well. It was like I was no longer contributing. She worked hard while I sat at home because my disease disabled me and prevented me from doing work.


I pride myself on how I manage my life, my disease, and how I work as hard as I can to make all of my dreams come true, but it is hard when things like that happen.  You leave early from work or can’t come in because of your disease and that feeling in itself is difficult. I always get angry and feel unaccomplished. I can’t finish or do what others can because I am sick, it is not fair.


Before that I was in LPN school and about half way through it I had to have surgery and was forced to withdraw. I have a fear of not reaching my goals, which is why I work hard and stay as positive as I can. I became depressed. The fear of failing and not reaching my dreams settled in and this year I am still not able to go back to school because of being sick and needing another surgery.  I was so angry and for the first time I asked, “Why?”


I believe everything happens for a reason, and I also believe that it is ok to feel those things because it’s a part of life. Getting up and doing as much as you can or finding things that make you happy or calm are sometimes all you can do to feel better. Something I did during my hard times and something I still do is dance. It has been a huge outlet for me. I can put everything I feel at that time into the song I choose and my choreography. Some other things I love to do if I’m feeling up for it include crocheting, writing, practicing yoga and working out. All of those activities are very relaxing and help me find a way to get my feelings out. Recently, I found that talking to someone is a really good way to get through the hard times. I was the type of person who faced everything on my own and only reached out only to my mother, until someone walked into my life and showed me it was okay to talk about it. It helps a lot.

When you feel like you are struggling with difficult feelings and emotions, do whatever it is that relaxes you and makes you happy. You are not alone and you will get past it.


Author Bio: My name is Sarah Rae, I am 22 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I was diagnosed at age 10 and had my colon removed when I was 12, leaving me with a J-Pouch. I am the writer behind Living Life IBD Style, where I share my experiences, stories and positive mental attitude with anyone who will take the time to read it.


Thank you for your time,
-Sarah Rae


August 3rd, 2015

Hit and Run While Clothes Shopping…

by WEGO Health


Hit and Run While Clothes Shopping…

Dear Large Retail Stores, can you find a way to make your stores completely handicap accessible?

I’m a new traveler to electric carts that you find in large retail stores. For most of my 43 years of dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis I have either chosen to walk or just stayed home. I am the owner of a midfoot fusion (yes, my RA decided to eat all the little joints in my foot and then fused all of the little bones together while I wasn’t watching…slow progression my foot) and a fracture of my ankle from a fall I took 6 weeks ago, double trouble.

This is not my first go around with foot issues. I’ve used a knee walker, crutches and a wheelchair. It took me a long time to realize that a wheelchair is a tool to get where I need to go and not a punishment. Now that I have finally gotten to this point without feeling horrible, the world is my oyster, which is why I decided to go clothes shopping with my daughter last week. I’ve used an electric cart before without any issues. I guess I am cart challenged now.

When I have a good day I try to take advantage of it and get out. I woke up feeling good so we decided to go clothes shopping, my daughter needed shorts. I didn’t need anything but started looking too. I swung the cart around the first rack of clothes and started dragging it with me.  I thought my daughter was going to have a heart attack. Then I hit the next rack and it nearly toppled on me. Now I’m thinking ok, I’m going to be really careful and yet I ran into another rack. By this time I was pretty frustrated but laughing hysterically. I could not drive this cart without running into everything. Really I didn’t get my license from a Cracker Jack box.

Finally, I stopped and gave the cart a good once over to see what was different. Turns out they made the front and back of the cart larger than the cart itself. It was like driving a car with really BIG bumpers (and I was bumping off of everything). So, I think I’ve got this figured out. I maneuver and dragged a rack with me for about 6 feet. All of the sudden I see this woman following me, I’m thinking stalker, she’s thinking I’m going to ruin her department if I keep this up. I finally get to the clothes rack that I want to look at. I pick out a few shirts to buy and turn around to go and wait for my daughter who is trying stuff on. Magically all of the racks start moving out of my way. I feel a little like Moses and the parting of the Red Sea until I realize the person who is stalking me is actually an employee (there goes my biblical powers) She asks me if she can help me with anything, of course I reply no knowing that I have just moved 75% of her department.

It finally sinks in that security has probably been watching me leave the Woman’s department in a state of disarray, and most likely has been laughing at me in a big way. Something must have been said over their walkie talkies because everywhere I go in the store I have an employee ask me if they can help me (thoughts in my head, no I have lots more aisles to ruin ahead). But that’s the thing, as I headed out of the woman’s section it’s a clear path. I’m wondering how it got so big and then I bust out laughing, I have moved all of the racks and it’s the perfect size for me to fit through (maybe I’m like Moses after all).

As I continued to shop in the food aisles or homegoods aisle the store had large enough aisles to accommodate an electric cart. Why did the women’s department not have big enough aisles? Disabled people do still tend to wear clothes (at least I do). I usually do a lot of my clothes shopping online but it’s a drag if you get it and it doesn’t fit. I wanted to grab a few shirts for summer and I rearranged the whole department for 3 shirts.

While my situation was funny it was also very frustrating. I couldn’t get to the places I wanted to look at. I could have pulled a rack down on top of me, which is obviously dangerous. The racks of clothing were too high to see the price tag or size (I ended up standing way more than I should have). And carts need to lose the bumper in the back and front. I hope they take these suggestions into consideration. I may not be able to walk and shop but I can roll and shop (and spend money). I’m happy to spend my money there but first I have to be able to get to the clothes…

I think I’m going to drop a copy of this post into the suggestions box. Have you ever had an experience like this?


Author bio

I’m Melissa @realitiesofRA, a Juvenile Arthritis patient from way back (I now have Rheumatoid Arthritis, 43 years). I blog at Realities of RA where I talk about Rheumatoid Arthritis (grown up arthritis) and all of the lovely side illnesses that go along with it (autoimmune diseases can never travel alone). I also have a FB page called A Little Bit of Everything – Autoimmune Arthritis and Much More where I post daily updates medical articles and silly memes to keep things upbeat and silly, we all need laughter when dealing with these diseases. I’m on my 97th Rheumatologist, my 5000th week of PT (kidding, maybe) and my 8th surgery in 8 years. Fighting RA is my full time job with no benefits and lousy hours. The rest of my time is spent being a wife to my wonderful husband and the best mom I can be to my daughter with EDS. Come check me out!



July 30th, 2015

Multiple Myeloma – #HAChat 7/28 with host Matt Goldman

by WEGO Health
July 28th, 2015

Staying Positive While Living With Lupus

by WEGO Health

wanda 2


Staying Positive While Living With Lupus


People often ask me how I stay positive when I have so many health issues to worry about. The truth is, I don’t worry about my health issues. I don’t have a lot of control over most of these issues, so I leave the worrying to my physicians. I do the best I can to follow their instructions, and I try to remember the following:

First – it’s okay to be unhappy sometimes. No one, not even healthy people are happy all the time. It’s not that we, as lupus patients, want to be unhappy, but we seem to focus on the things that make us feel that way.

In twenty-five years of living with lupus and educating lupus patients I’ve found the main reasons behind our unhappiness are connected to the following:

1)      First we tend to be unhappy because we are still mourning or have yet to mourn for the things we’ve lost. Yes, we do have to mourn when we are diagnosed with lupus. It is a given that our lives will change. We must mourn our former selves. We are not the same, nor will we ever be. We must learn to live differently, treat ourselves better, find new interests, and change many things about our lives. For most of us, by the time lupus rears its head and forces changes into our world, we have already established patterns in our lives. In other words, we are adults. We fight the changes, and refuse to mourn. That doesn’t work for most of us unless we want to be chronically unhappy. We want things they way ‘they used to be.’

2)      The second reason most lupus patients are unhappy is due to our loss of control. Many patients are type “A” personalities, and as such, we thrive on being in control. Forget it. You aren’t in control any longer. Lupus runs the show. We may not like it, but we can’t change it.

Lupus patients are all the same with regards to these two things. Take heart. There are things we can do that will help us find happiness.

Accept that your life has changed. The sooner you do this the sooner you can enjoy your new life. Change isn’t always bad. Do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Paint. Read. Write. Take a class you’ve always wanted to take. Skydive if you want. This is a new you so be the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Focus on the things you can control. Focus on eating well and on getting the right amount and type of exercise. Plan your days so you can avoid exhaustion. Put first things first – people before things.

You may not believe it but you are the one in control of your emotions. Sometimes being happy is as simple as deciding you want to be happy.



From the life of Wanda M. Argersinger

© 2015 All Rights Reserved

Wanda M. Argersinger was diagnosed with lupus in 1992. She became the Executive Director of The Lupus Support Network, Inc., in 2003 when lupus forced her to leave her career as a network engineer. She has been writing since the age of 6, currently writing two blogs about lupus, and one blog dedicated to life and the humorous things that happen to all of us.

Wanda M. Argersinger, Executive Director

The Lupus Support Network
PO Box 17841
Pensacola FL 32522-7841

850.478.8107 or 800.458.8211


July 23rd, 2015

5 Offbeat Steps to Boost Mental Health

by WEGO Health


5 Offbeat Steps to Boost Mental Health

By Nellie Russell


In the spring of 2008, after having suffered a major psychotic episode, I reached a tipping point on my road to recovery. I had struggled with my mental health, including bipolar, borderline, and obsessive compulsive disorders, since the late 90’s. However, that summer was the catalyst that would set me on a six year inward journey to health and wholeness and ultimately to remission and a life without prescription medication. It’s been a long road for me get to where I am now. Lots of trial and error. Lots of failures, but also lots of successes. Here are the top five things that have helped me get to the good place I’m in today.


1. Ditch The Sugar & Eat Real Food. My body and mind were starving to death. Don’t get me wrong, I ate plenty of food, but WHAT I was eating was slowly killing my health and happiness and I didn’t even realize it. The biggest culprits? Sugar & processed foods. When I quit eating sugar (and grains because they convert to sugar in your body) and started making all my food from scratch, I saw an amazing transformation with my mental health. When your body is not getting proper nutrients and your digestive system is in peril, your brain doesn’t get the things it needs to function properly either. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get educated about the food system and why nutrition and digestive health are so important for your mental health.


2. Declutter the Junk. I used to own SO MUCH STUFF! My space was always a mess, I held onto sentimental items like my life depended on them, and despite my closet being overly full, I never knew what to wear. I moved many times over the course of my six year transformation and that required me to gradually downsize my possessions. That’s a whole story in itself, but ultimately by learning to part with the useless stuff, I made more time and more space for the things that really do matter in life including happiness.


3. Let Some People Go. I’ve ended many short and long term relationships in the past couple years, both romantic and platonic. Ending toxic relationships are a huge step in maintaining your health and happiness. The people you choose to spend your time with should lift you up, not drag you down. When they start to contribute to the destruction of your well-being and quality of life what is the point of remaining connected to that person? Here are some ways to identify and detach yourself from toxic people: “Breaking Up with Toxic Friends”


4. Get Offline. Over a year ago I deleted my Facebook account and got rid of my smart phone. One of my best decisions ever. I also took a two week digital detox away from all computer use and it was a total eye opener. I realized during the first few days of being offline how incredibly addicted I was. I found myself having physical and emotional reactions as if I had quit a drug cold turkey. It got easier though, and eventually started feeling really awesome! So I never went back to the world of Facebook. Privacy is a gift that many people take for granted and one that can greatly impact your mental health for better or worse.


  1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Seriously, whatever you’re worried about, you can most likely classify it in the “small stuff” category. The main idea behind this one is to BE HERE NOW. I wasted so much time dwelling on the past and stressing about the future, all the while throwing away my happiness in the present moment. The past is finished and you will never be able to change it and the future is never guaranteed. All you have is right this moment. Learning to be mindful and accept life as it comes will help you to ride the waves of emotion that will always be present with life, no matter what diagnosis you’re facing!



 Author’s bio

Nellie Russell is a holistic health & lifestyle coach, writer, and Editor-in-Chief at She has a passion for positive health and happiness and strives to share her message of hope to the mental health community and beyond. As someone who has lived most of her life with the severe symptoms of bipolar, borderline, and obsessive compulsive disorders and successfully broken free from their clutches, her mission as a coach is to teach alternative methods of mental, physical, and spiritual health care that are not solely dependent on conventional psychiatric treatment. You can connect with Nellie online at

July 21st, 2015

Epilepsy and Depression – #hachat 7/16 with host Tiffany Kairos

by WEGO Health
July 14th, 2015

Breaking the Stigma Associated with Mental Health

by WEGO Health


More than one out of every 100 deaths is by suicide. That is more people than die in car accidents [source]. And more than 80 percent of Americans diagnosed with clinical depression are not getting any treatment for it [source]. Studies have shown that one of the key barriers to people seeking treatment is the stigma associated with mental health.

My name is Miriam Ament and I am dedicated to breaking the stigma associated with mental health through my organization, No Shame On U.
More than a decade ago, I went through a major depression. I faced stigma and isolation from some friends and relatives who didn’t know how to handle me or the situation. When I was at the worst point in my depression, a good friend of mine called. “I only want to talk to you when you’re happy,” she said, “so let’s not talk again for a while.” I never heard from her again.
Fortunately, I was able to successfully treat my depression with professional help.
Two years ago, through a charity auction, I had the opportunity to go to lunch with legendary actress Glenn Close. She founded a mental health organization and was very open to talking about it. I had never spoken about my history of depression with anyone who was not already aware of it, but I felt compelled to tell Glenn my whole story. She was amazing to talk to and it was so freeing.
Shortly after our meeting, I earned a Fellowship from JCC PresenTense Chicago. I launched No Shame On U so that no one should be ashamed to get help in the Jewish community and beyond. My goal is for the people who need the help, to seek it, for family members and friends to know how to provide proper support and for lives to be saved.
Last October, I was interviewed by WGN News for a segment they were doing on National Depression Screening Day. For the first time, I talked publicly about my mental health history and, as scared as I was to open up, I knew that my story had the potential to impact an untold number of people. The segment led to a cover story for another Chicago publication, helping further the reach of my story beyond what I ever imagined.
As a result of the media exposure and NSOU’s social media presence (more than 14,800 Facebook followers), many, many people have reached out saying the impact No Shame On U has had on them. One of the more touching comments I have received after responding to someone was, “Thank you, so much, for your informative and potentially life-saving reply!”


No Shame On U is disseminating information daily to raise as much awareness as possible. In addition, we are planning an inaugural event this fall where we hope to reach even more people. If you or someone you know is going through a rough time, please know that you are not alone. If you are in crisis, or know someone who is, please call 24/7 hotline: 1-800-273-(TALK) 8255 OR text 741741 for a 24/7 crisis text line – a live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly OR go to for 24/7 online crisis chat.



For more information, please go to, or @NoShameOnU.

July 10th, 2015

Travelling with Chronic Illness #HAChat with Health Activist Maya

by WEGO Health
July 1st, 2015

WEGO Health Team Member Spotlight

by WEGO Health

tk2Title: Senior Vice President, Strategy

Explain what you do at WEGO Health!: I’m responsible for moving WEGO Health in new strategic directions that ensure that the company delivers high value to Health Activists, the marketplace, and employees.

How have Health Activists affected your outlook on health? I am inspired by Health Activists’ passion, intellect, and the fact that they’ve taken matters into their own hands. Being around them has changed how I take care of my own health and my family’s health. We no longer take matters for granted.

If you had one super power what would it be? Why?  I have no idea what super power I’d like to have.  It’d probably has something to do with denim.

read more »

June 30th, 2015

7 Tips for Starting a Family Yoga with Kids

by WEGO Health


I’ve been practicing yoga for almost 12 years. Even when I was pregnant, I tried not to miss my yoga classes and did simple poses and breathing exercises. As every mother, I want my children (3 and 5 year olds) to be healthy and happy. That’s why I had no doubts that I would practice yoga with my kids. There is no reason to explain to an adult how good yoga is for your body, mind and soul. But how to explain this to a child?

When I started my first family yoga classes, my kids didn’t look too happy about it. They felt bored doing poses and meditation. I had nothing else to do but to invent my own way of practicing yoga with kids. Now, yoga is their favorite pastime. How did I do that? Here are my small tricks.

1)     There is always a place for music!

To start with, I did short breathing and relaxing exercises outdoors, using my mobile phone to play calming music. If you have little kids, you barely have time to go deep in technology and learn how to download music from the Web onto your phone. That’s where I got help from Free Musicbox. It’s a simple app that has almost all kind of music you need. In my case, I use #yoga hashtag to find music I need.

2)     Sing songs to make kids relax

Besides that, we sing songs at the beginning and at the end of each class. I briefly explained to my kids the meaning of Om and now every time we practice yoga together we include Om Shanti in our class. My kids like to sing; it makes our training more peaceful and relaxing.

3)     Learn poses with fun

Children learn super-fast, but you need to help them learn numerous yoga poses. I use Yoga Pretzels, a set of special cards with yoga asanas to teach my kids. Before starting the poses, I let my children choose the cards and then we practice the asanas they’ve chosen together. Don’t forget to make sure they do their 4 count breath through the nose in and out.

4)     Call fantasy heroes to help you

There is an issue I faced was that my daughter didn’t know well her right and left. I tried to put stickers with corresponding letters on her arms, but it looked rather boring for her. After some time, I came up with another idea. Ashley is into Disney princesses. Her favorite are Jasmine and Elsa. So I printed their faces and again put on Ashley’s arms. The trick worked fine and now instead of saying “raise your right arm”, I say “raise your right Elsa arm”.

5)     Play games to keep asanas in mind

One more great way to learn the poses is a simple game. We sit in a circle singing when I suddenly name one of the poses and choose who’ll show me it. One of my kids then stands up and demonstrates us the asana. In a couple of classes they learned perfectly all the necessary poses and now compete who’ll do it better.

6)     Add new poses and games to each class

My children like to learn something new and perform difficult tasks. That’s why I try to include a new challenge – a new pose in every class. Their favorite poses are balance asanas, especially the crow pose.  Of course, when you start practicing this pose, you should assist your kids all the time and watch them attentively.

7)     Talk seriously in a simple way

Kids are curious about everything and are very impressible. Be ready to answer their questions but in a simple way. During each practice I talk to my kids about basic yoga principles. Yesterday we began to discuss Ahisma, or Non-Harming, a huge topic and it’ll for sure last for many classes. Since we have pets at home, we talked about the importance of being kind to animals. Then we spoke about how it’s important to help other people and animals, especially when they are weaker than you.

At the very same evening, a couple of hours after this talk, I saw Freddy, my son, helping Ashley to fix her favorite toy. Well, I couldn’t help smiling and I was extremely proud for my kids.

Author’s bio

Alice Koval is a freelance blogger and a happy mother. She is passionate about yoga, healthy lifestyle, and early childhood education. Talk to Alice on Twitter.