About Me

9 years on …. 

Hey everyone.

I hope you’re all doing well.

As this Sunday marks the 9th anniversary of when I had my first symptoms of Dystonia, I would like to talk about how much of a personal struggle it has been since being diagnosed and what such a life changing rollercoaster it has been.Literally with so many ups and downs, this has truly been a life changing experience.  

Looking back back I think and actually this still sticks with me now, the hardest knock was having to admit defeat and give up my career as a plumbing engineer, something I had spent many years working hard for and I was on an excellent wage and really settled in my work , which was going from strength to strength. Very rarely was I reliant on anyone or anything, I was financially  sound and totally dependant on me. It was great. 

I was playing semi professional rugby and my social life was great, one reason being I had no money issues, I was able to go out drinking and on holidays with my friends at the drop of a hat. Things were certainly more straight forward.  No issues ! No stress ! Plenty of money ! Life was good, really good and then BOOM, it all changed. Definitely something that has taken me years, to accept. 

I often hold back and miss out in social time with friends, stag parties, special birthdays you name it. This is something I truly miss, I miss the banter and good crack. My friends are great though, they seem to understand and many of them have supported me to ensure I don’t miss out, which really doesn’t go unnoticed. The holidays I go on are funded by my wife. Without her, I would of not been able to go on holiday, she is my true saviour and allows me the freedom to keep living and experiencing life, without having to miss out completely. I love to travel and experience different cultures, I think travel is one of life’s greatest gifts, it offers us freedom and I am truly lucky that my wife also has the same passion. Without it I’d feel pretty trapped, it’s my escape. 

With all that said I am proud to say I got through it and I am going from strength to strength both personally and professionally. It’s been a difficult and time consuming road. Strating from scratch and delving into a completely new line of work has been tough but it’s also been an exciting challenge and I am really excited for the future. 

I may not be mr money bags right now but let me tell you money certainly doesn’t buy you happiness, yes it definitely helps 😉 but actually what makes me happy is far from financially driven. 

I know that each day I fight the biggest fight to achieve my goals and I am and will continue to smash the shit out if them. Life is truly what you make it and I plan to make mine truly amazing so watch this space. 

Let me tell you something though, that all of my followers and supporters are truly the ones that build me up each day, so thank you for that. I need you all and I am truly grateful for the strength you give me. 

With that said I want to wish you all a great holiday weekend. Be merry, have fun and be grateful for all that is good in your life. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog.

Please feel free to leave your comments or any questions you may have. 

James Sutliff 

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It’s The Little Things That Count.

Hey everyone,

Hope you all had a enjoyable bank holiday weekend?
During today’s blog I would like to touch upon a slightly different subject. As my disability tends to be a focal subject of most of my blogs, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about how I take care of myself and what makes me feel good, bar keeping fit. 
For me personally it can be something quite simple such as wearing nice clothes, taking care of my skin, a little bit of pampering from time and even wearing nice jewellery. It doesn’t need to be espensive or extravagant but just enough to make me feel my best and give me that feel good factor. 
Here are some of the clothing brands that I love to wear and recommend; Liquor N Poker , Farther Sons , Good for Nothing , Sinners Attire , Sik silk, I personally find these brands good value for money, great quality, fashion forward and Most importantly they fit me well, as I sometimes find it hard to find clothes that fit my physic perfectly. It can often be a case of fitting well on the top half and poorly on the bottom half, especially trousers I find that my legs are often too big to get into high street branded jeans. I personally find that high street stores such as Zara and river island really do-not cater for the more muscular physic, because of this shopping can become quite a stressful task. The brands I’ve mentioned above seem to fit me just đŸ‘ŒđŸ» so these are definitely my go to for quality, fit, style and price. 
When it comes down to male beauty products and aftershaves I tend to opt for Bulldog Skincare  , Evo Haircare  and Chanel Aftershave. I really rate the bulldog moisturiser, it smooth and has a great “manly” scent 😝 which somehow makes me feel more comfortable in applying moisturiser. 
I do like to wear the odd bit of jewellery, especially watches, they are definitely my guilty pleasure. I recently got my hands on a Swole O Clock , which I have to say is a very impressive piece of wrist wear. I also have a couple of Michael Kors watches, which I would definitely rate for quality and longevity. 
I’m the first to admit that I am into taking care of myself and make it a priority. Some people like to treat themselves to a takeaway or piece of cake I like to have regular haircuts, massages, thread my brows and have regular waxing treatments, which I must say is great if you train regularly.
I personally think that a persons appearance says a lot about how they portray themselves, it shows a level of self respect. There is no shame in my game 😝 and love looking and feeling good and why not. After all there is no better investment than in yourself. Especially in today’s day and age, I think it is more acceptable for a male to invest more time in their appearance. 
When you live with a disability visible or invisible to me it’s the feel and good look factor that gives you confidence. 
I would like to finish with the quote:

I say, dress to impress yourself. Listen to your inner muse and take a chance. Wear something that says “Here I am!” today. 

I hope you enjoyed the blog. Please feel free to leave your comments. 

James Sutliff

My Determination and Recognition Has Got Me Where I’am Today.

Hi all,

Hope you’re all doing well? 

 First off I would like to apologise because I’v not done a blog for a few weeks. Good reason behind that because I’v had so much going on but in a positive way 😊. It looks like I’m going to Atlanta,USA for my new treatment, sooner rather than later đŸ˜± the treatment I will be receiving is called TMJ Treatment. You can find out further information about tmj via the following link: TMJ Treatment 

You maybe wondering why I need to go all the way to USA? Well because I’v been so open about my Dystonia, showing the way I talk and the problems with my hands. Doing videos and posting them online, on all social media outlets, it reaches a worldwide audience. A nurse in Atlanta picked up my story, who also sufferes with Dystonia and contacted me saying about the TMJ treatment that ultimately cured her Dystonia. She then put me in contact with her specialist, who examined me in London. From this he explained that he can help me also and that’s how it’s all come about getting treatment at hispractice in Atlanta,USA.

 If I wasn’t so open, my story would never had been seen and this amazing opportunity would never of come about. My Dystonia could be cured after 9 long, agonising years. Literally how amazing could that be ??

I’v always said being an open book has got me where I’am today. Opening up to the world showing my struggles has shown how real I’am. It was just too easy to post a picture, with my muscles, tattooes and say I have Dystonia. 

Looking at the picture above would you think I had a Disability ?? 

To be honest I would look at that picture and think not a chance he has a disability, just look at him đŸ˜±. That would definitely be my response when I was younger. I’m the first to admit I was quite naive. 
My determination was to be raw and give people more of an understanding not all disabilities are visible, just like mine. By doing this I was getting a lot of recognition and respect from people with Dystonia because I was bringing a lot more awareness to this movement disorder. I’v had numerous interviews with magazines and online companies on my story, which helped by spreading the word and sharing my story with the world to see. All of my social media outlets were growing, Instagram, Facebook etc because all my posts were showing my victories and battles with Dystonia. It just seemed people were interested and loving my honesty. Amazingly enough over the 9 years I’v have been lucky enough to avoid trolling. This surprised me because my speech is so disorientated, it’s kind of an easy target for online trolls to pick at.
Fitness is my lifeline !! I use it to help me overcome my Dystonia physically and mentally. Companies in the industry was noticing that and wanted me to become afflicted with them. They include Skinny Chimp , UFIT Drinks , Udos Choice , Prep Perfect  , Heck Food and I’m being given an amazing opportunity by YourZooki to start blogging for them.

The moral of this blog is when you think times are hard and you think you’re getting nowhere, just find the determination within you and fight to get yourself out there. Never feel ashamed or embarrassed, believe in yourself. 

I would like to end with the quote.
“Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation.”
I hope you enjoyed this blog. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
James Sutliff

Finally Some Hope đŸ™đŸ»

Hi all,
Hope your all doing well and are having a good weekend?
During this blog I wanted to talk about my recent appointment I had in London with a new Specialist, who had come all the way from Atlanta City,USA for work and a family holiday.
Well on the 9th March, I met Dr Patel at a London hotel in Kensington, so. That he could give me an assessment. Dr Patel specialises in Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, which is one of the contributing causes of Dystonic symptoms. 
When he was examining me he had noticed that my jaw  is out of alignment, potentially a defect that I have since birth but he thinks the continuous bangs to the head and concussions from rugby, may have made it a permanent fixture. I know my hands are affected but it’s all connected. 

​The videos I’m posting below are to show what he practices can and will help me. This is just a taster and hand on heart the results where amazing. I had improvement both in speech and hands. The hand video is very impressive. 

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​As we stated, this is only the start, I need a mouth guard to wear permanently and I maybe going to Atlanta USA for this but waiting on confirmation.

It’s going to be a long journey but I’m so positive it will work. It’s the most hope I’ve had in 9years. It’s nice and heart warming to have a specialist who wants to help and not being told by the usual Specialist to get use to it like I have been for years.
So there’s a bit of a moral behind this blog. If you are like me and are not happy with what you arebeing told by your Specialists, then don’t give up! I knew deep down my Dystonic Symptoms occurred from a simple explanation and I was right.

I opened up, I showed the world with videos and pictures my struggles,battles, determination and hard graft battling Dystonia physically and mentally.

If anyone is out there reading this blog and have been in the same situation as me where they have no real answers from Dr’s only you can make the change. Just be open about your problems or disability. Being open for the world to see maybe that one person could have the answer your looking for đŸ™Œâ€

We are in a society where sometimes we can only help ourselves in getting the answers we need and from my past experiences, being an open book 📖 goes a long way 🙌
I hope you enjoyed this blog, I would love to hear your thoughts or any questions you may have 😊

Don’t Be So Serious

Hi everyone,

Maybe it sounds a bit strange coming from me not to be so serious, maybe it doesn’t


Of course, it goes without saying I take my diet and training seriously. I’ll always put the work in and do whatever it takes to become a better example of myself than I was last year. But, I don’t take it so seriously that I become a miserable twat!

Thing is, I see a lot of young lads come and go in the gym who take themselves so seriously that they forget about the rest of their life. Balance isn’t just important, it’s healthy! When you’re in the gym it is game face on, all the way until the end. Same goes for your diet, prep your meals and stay on top of that. But, between all of this just chill out a bit and enjoy yourself.

The lifestyle I lead is really fun and rewarding, I wouldn’t have it any other way. However I don’t forget about my friends, wife, family and social life either. You can have balance if you allow yourself to.

It’s easy to become so obsessed that the gym is all you think about. It’s a great hobby and something you should really enjoy, but just make sure you’re spending just as much energy in other important areas of your life. Sometimes lads will ask me so many questions about everything I do like their life depends on it, I’m left thinking “f***ing hell mate, chill out.” It’s a journey against yourself, enjoy it for what it is!

Don’t be so serious about things all of the time, just be serious when it matters. Do you understand what i’m saying ??

PS comparing yourself against others will usually make you feel miserable, so always make yourself the competition. That’s a really good bit of advice that!

I hope you enjoyed the blog and please feel free to leave a comment or question â˜ș

Who and What Inspires Me..

Hi all,

I hope you’re all doing well?

During this blog I wanted to take a moment to talk about who and what inspires me. I feel that this is an important subject to talk about. Even though some of us might think we have a strong mind set, it’s always good to have that person that gives us that little push when we need it, it’s usually someone who you look up to and gives you that little bit of belief and motivation.

I will start with what inspires me. To be honest that’s a pretty easy question for me to answer. Seeing people who face constant daily challenges, struggles and pain and still approaching life with  a big smile on their face and living their life to the best of their capabilities, is what inspires me the most. In understand their struggles and how hard it is to sometimes get out of bed and face the day, so when you can do all of this and still smile then you to me are a true inspiration.

I received this lovely message the other day from somebody who was in a car accident five years ago:

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Receiving messages like this on a daily basis,  is what inspires me. Knowing what I’m doing and achieving In life, whilst battling  Dystonia, is pretty cool and ensures me that my message is doing its work and getting out there.

Okay, onto the next question. WHO inspires me?? Would you say we have our own inspiration? Someone we look up to? Admire? Want to be like?

This might sound really cheesy and big headed but I would say I’m my own inspiration. I look at myself and I feel  proud. I am proud of myself most of all for keeping a positive  mind set, even through the hardest of days and gruelling treatments…

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To me training through the pain that Dystonia causes…

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I dont want to sound like I’m trying to blow smoke up my own arse but I look back over my last eight years the struggles and the  dark times I’ve been through and I can’t believe the position how far  I have come and what I have achieved. I am proud of myself  and it feels good to say this.

I want to finish with the quote;

“Believe in yourself & you will be unstoppable.”

I hope you enjoyed the blog and feel free to leave a comment or question  😊

Having A Strong Mindset

Hi all,

Hope you are doing well and are having a good weekend?

I apologise for not doing a blog in the last few weeks, my life has been pretty hectic and upside down in a good kind of way because we are having our house renovated.

During this blog I wanted too take a moment to talk about why having a strong mindset has helped me to mentally battle my Dystonia. Having a strong mindset can and will take you along way, not just in life but on a whole, from how you represent yourself to others and how you overcome obstacles.

Look, I’m not trying to say I had a strong mindset at the start of my Dystonia, it was the complete opposite. With no diagnosis for the first four years and nowhere and no one to turn to, let’s just say my mindset was beyond poor, my mental attitude was weak. I unfortunately turned to drink and drugs. I’m not ashamed to admit what I did. Admitting this, for me , shows how much of a real person I’m and I am not afraid to talk about my wrong doings.

My mind-set and mental wellbeing definitely improved after I was diagnosed. I knew, in my head I needed to make a change as I was spiralling out of control (not many knew that). I’ve never suffered with depression and yes I’ve had anxiety but I think everyone suffers in some way shape or form during their life.

As you know fitness was probably the biggest stepping stone to leading me to getting such a strong mind-set. Keeping fit and looking good made my confidence grow, making me think I could do anything and not let this so called DYSTONIA CONTROL MY LIFE.

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I would probably not be in the position I’m today if I did not change my mindset into such a positive and happy one. Everyday is a battle but one that I welcome and certainly not scared of. I can positively say that I am now in control and I feel great.

When you know deep down your life is spiralling out of control mentally the best place to start is your mind-set. If you can relate to some of the points raised in this blog , you may think how or where do I start! Its starts with you, only you can make the change to be the best version of you, its in there somewhere I promise you that. You just have to dig deep and find the strength and courage.

I would like to finish with the quote ” Every mistake you make, is progress ”

Remember, nobody in this world is perfect, we all have our problems, secrets and issues, its those of use who choose not to let our demands control our lives that truly shine. Go grab life by the balls and be a winner.

I hope you enjoy the blog and feel free to leave a comment or question â˜ș

 

 

 

Being Open About My Disability Helped

 

Hi all,

I hope you are all over your Christmas blues and are back into the full swing of things ?

During this blog I wanted  to take a moment to talk about why being so open about Dystonia is important to me. With  everything I go through talking about my experience  has helped me to get my story across and to help spread  as much awareness for this not so known about neurological movement disorder.

Before I start I would like to ask, do I look like I have a disability?  Would you believe if I told you I did? How are people supposed to look with a disability?

I’ve now had Dystonia for just over eight years and was only diagnosed just over four years ago. So as soon as I was diagnosed I did my research on Dystonia, found out there was not much information and hardly many people including doctors had hear of Dystonia. So my plan of action was to create as much awareness for it as I possibly could.

So me with already being big into fitness and as an ex semi professional rugby  player, it seemed quite natural to turn to fitness to help me overcome my Dystonia both physically and mentally. Trust me when I say this has been the best medicine.

I had my first big break in 2014. I was asked to do an article about creating awareness for Dystonia and I  was going to be featured in Men’s Fitness Magazine . Here is a link to my interview James Sutliff Men’s Fitness Magazine Interview

 

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photo from Men’s Fitness Magazine UK

 

I always felt like I was judged by others because of the way that I looked, to some it seemed hard to fathom that somebody that seemed from the our side to be healthy and fit could  have any sort of disability. I was even judged by other Dystonia sufferers who would not believe it and in the end actually deleted me of all social media.

So since Men’s Fitness Magazine Interview I’ve had numerous interviews, photoshoot’s which has created  a hell of a lot awareness, more than I ever imagined. But I still felt like it was not enough and that people who didn’t know me still did not believe that I had a disability. So I knew deep down I had to be really open with everything, from videoing my hand and speech therapy sessions, photos of me being injected with  Botox and even doing random talking videos showing my speech progression.

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Recent Botox Injections

 

Its only probably been over the last year where I finally believe that people who don’t know me personally, now do believe that I actually have a disability. I find it mind boggling that I had to prove and show evidence of my Dystonia for everyone to see and to finally be accepted. So overall its the best thing I did being to open with everything.

I would like to finish  with  the  quote the “Don’t worry about those who talk behind your back, they’re behind you for a reason.”

I hope you enjoy this blog and feel free to leave a comment our your life  own views â˜ș

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Modelling Found Me

Hi all,

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas with lots of eating,  drinking and socialising with family and friends?

During this blog I wanted  to take a moment to talk about how I got into modelling. I feel this Is a good topic to talk about because I had no intention of getting into modelling and especially because I thought my disability would restrict me from doing so. Its all about positive thinking and being determined, if you want it, go for it.

So in 2014 I was going to apply Men’s Health  front cover competition,  which they used to hold yearly. I was doing the competition for myself and to show having a disability you can still achieve anything but I found out they where stopping the competition, I was gutted  😱. So I needed to rethink what I could do, so I decided on training and dieting as hard as possible for a photoshoot (which I paid for). So I did some research on photographer’s and decided on the very talented Alex Wightman Photography 

Edit from Alex Wightman photoshoot –

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Well what can I say since the photoshoot its been amazing, I’m involved with well known companies within the fitness industry. Only  recently I had a photoshoot with skinny chimp who are the gym clothing company I represent.

Edit from recent Skinny Chimp photoshoot –

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Best of all in September this year I had a location photoshoot in Marcella, with the amazing Jules Godfrey Photography 

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To this day now I still don’t class myself as a model but I’ve given some amazing modelling opportunities, this year especially and I hope it  will  go from strength to strength.  Anyone who reads this and wants to get into modelling my advice would be to just go for it and don’t  be told any different.

I would like to finish with the quote ” I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say ” Because of you I didn’t give up ”

I hope you enjoy this blog and feel free to leave a comment â˜ș

 

About Me

Hello my name is James Sutliff â˜ș

On the May Bank Holiday of 2008 my life took a sudden, unexpected change. After a normal night out with friends, drinking the usual G & T, I returned home, went to bed as I usually would and slept well. I woke up as I normally would and then I started to feel a little unwell, I put this down to a hangover. I took a small nap, to wake up to something that changed my life in an instant. I found that my speech was badly distorted and slurred; thinking this would pass I carried on as I normally would do. A couple of days later the problem seemed to worsen, so a friend took me to the hospital, where I was admitted straight away. I underwent test after test, to the doctor’s confusion. On paper I was a healthy 24 year old man. Doctors were baffled by what had happened to me and could not finger point a cause or diagnosis. Still almost 9 years on I still have no clear cause why this has happened.

I was put under the care of a neurological specialist, whom I saw every 6 months, just to be prodded and poked at. A year had passed and although I still had my speech problem, I was carrying on my life as I normally would do
.then the problem directed itself into my hands. I noticed that my thumb on my left hand was starting to become painful and tight and I found it increasingly hard to use, to the point where it eventually closed fully. Over time a couple of my fingers on both my left and right hands did the same. Working as a plumber by trade I found it increasingly hard to continue doing my job, I no longer plumbed as a living. Although I found it very hard going from a drastic wage decrease I found work as labourer. I work with a great team of lads and they help encourage and build my confidence each day.

Finally in the year of 2012 I was diagnosed with dystonia. Finally I had name to this thing that had been ruling my life for so long. I started to read up on dystonia – it is a debilitating disease that can affect your life completely, no matter how minor the symptoms.
My dystonia is treated with botulinum toxin injections and regular hand therapy. The combination helps to relieve some of my symptoms such as pain, stiffness/spasms and range of movement. I am able to grip gym equipment more freely, with a better range of movement; the toxin also helps to relieve pain during training.
Always being keen on the gym, I had always been in pretty good shape but I wanted to prove that my goals and dreams were still achievable, although having a disability. For the past four years I have dedicated myself to the gym. I am working hard to try and raise awareness for dystonia and also to help encourage anyone out there who may have disabilities, confidence or self esteem issues or anyone who generally wants to keep in shape14289825_10207079786577991_5226741626281818903_o