disability

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 ūüėČ 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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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 ūüėä. It looks like I’m going to Atlanta,USA for my new treatment, sooner rather than later ūüėĪ 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 ūüėĪ. 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 ūüôŹūüŹĽ

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. 

‚ÄčThe 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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‚ÄčAs 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 ūüôƂ̧

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 ūüďĖ goes a long way ūüôĆ
I hope you enjoyed this blog, I would love to hear your thoughts or any questions you may have ūüėä

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‚Ķ

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‚Äôs healthy! When you‚Äôre 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‚Äôt forget about my friends, wife, family and social life either. You can have balance if you allow yourself to.

It‚Äôs easy to become so obsessed that the gym is all you think about. It‚Äôs a great hobby and something you should really enjoy, but just make sure you‚Äôre 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‚Äôm left thinking ‚Äúf***ing hell mate, chill out.‚ÄĚ It‚Äôs a journey against yourself, enjoy it for what it is!

Don‚Äôt 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 ‚ėļ

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¬† ūüėä

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 ‚ėļ

 

 

 

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 ‚ėļ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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¬† ūüėĘ. 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 ‚ėļ

 

Life Doesn’t Stop With A DisABILITY

Hi all,

I hope you are all doing well and looking forward to the Christmas holiday ?

During this blog I wanted to take a moment to talk about why¬†life doesn’t need to stop if you have a disability. I feel that this is an important subject and hopefully when you read this it will encourage you to go and get what you want. Disability or no disability anything you want is in your reach. With a little bit of positive thinking mixed in with some simple lifestyle changes you will be astounded by the changes that can occur.

I completely understand the feeling when everything is against you, you feel¬† completely¬† useless, alone and that¬†you have nothing to give and your disability controls your life.¬†Who’s had those feelings before? Who’s has just wanted to give¬†up? Trust me I’ve had all those feelings and I know it’s a horrible place to be. I’ve learnt the only thing that can get you out of this negative, unproductive ¬†mind set is you and only you. I understand that we are all different, different disabilities, different circumstances but trust me when I say it is possible to be completely ¬†happy with your life and accept all of your disability and the challenges it brings.¬†Hand on my heart I thought my life had ended, I had to give up a well established career as¬†a plumber¬† and heating engineer and also I had to retire from playing rugby.

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But¬†I had to knuckle¬†down and not let my disability control my life and future. Here are a few¬†things¬†I’ve found¬†that help me to overcome manage living with a disability.

  1. Keeping Fit has helped me to battle my dystonia both  physically and mentally. If I feel good I look good, I have confidence and whilst I am training  It makes me forget about my problems for a moment, it gives me a boost and a buzz that then motivates me, its like no other drug.

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2. Balanced diet –¬†I’m a strong believer, you are what you eat. A balanced diet has helped me tremendously. Eating clean and healthy makes me feel more active and gives me a feel¬†good factor. A poor diet can make¬†you feel sluggish and lazy. When you have those feelings it makes you lazy and my opinion can make your situation worse.

3. A close circle of friends- my friends have and will always be there for me¬†through the good and bad times. They will be¬†with you whenever you need them. Take¬†you for who, you¬† are no matter what. For¬† me I’m lucky to have such a close knit¬†circle of¬†friends.

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4. Family are the ones who rally around when the going gets tough. For me, I’m lucky¬† to have amazing in laws and a beautiful wife. Without them I would not be where I am¬†today.

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I have accomplished so much since having Dystonia, I’ve started a new career in the fitness Industry, I have had a chance to model,¬†which I thought I would never do, I have sponsorships from numerous company’s and there’s lots to come in 2017. I’m proud to admit I¬†could¬†not be any happier. I¬†am sure that there are still¬†tough times but this does not deter me,¬†I need to keep on going and sustaining that positive mind set so that I can reach my goals and¬† make my dreams and ambitions a reality.

Never let your disability define you, do whatever you want to and work  every day to  reach your goals.

I would like to finish¬† with¬† the¬† quote the “I’m¬†thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength”

I hope you enjoy¬†this blog and feel free to leave a comment our your life¬† own¬†views ‚ėļ

 

 

Living With Dystonia

Hi guys,

I just want to Start by saying a huge thank you for the positive response that I have had for my first blog post. Every comment means a lot to me and I am just so pleased I can be a positive portal  for those also going through their own personal struggles in life. Hopefully you can also find the strength  and motivation to face your challenges head on from reading my blog posts. I am here to try and motivate, inspire and encourage a mind set that will hopefully stimulate you to find the best of you and use it to its ultimate advantage. After all life is what we make it.

This then brings me to my next blog subject “living with Dystonia” I haven’t really taken the time to explain how I cope with living with Dystonia on a day to¬† day¬† basis . I am very much¬† of the¬† mind set that you are in the drivers seat, you manifest your life through¬†your thoughts and actions, so I guess the relevance to¬†the¬†point I am trying to make, is that I decided a long¬†¬†time¬† ago that I was going ¬†to be¬†in the drivers seat and not a passenger to my own life.¬†I had been dealt this hand and I was going to play this the best of my advantage.

In the early¬†days of¬† having Dystonia I really struggled to cope and what I am¬† now going to¬† tell you, not many people know. Being 23 years of age, at my ultimate peak in life, to then so suddenly having to deal with the huge punch in the face that is Dystonia, it often became very overwhelming. I struggled a great deal. Unfortunately some of my coping mechanisms weren’t the best. I took a dangerous path that could have easily ¬†become very destructive if I had not pulled myself together. I found myself in this a very dark hole and i had nobody to turn to. I was very alone, having no real family network¬†that I could rely on, as Unfortunately my relationship with my farther in recent years has been a difficult one, after losing my mother when I was just 15 years of age. I did not feel I could approach him for a shoulder to lean on. He has supported the best way he knew how but not in the way that I needed¬†so much at the start.

Feeling so alone at this time, I turned to the things that for a moment numbed the emotional pain I was feeling but also gave me a boost of confidence. I don’t think¬†I really need to spell out what I am relating to in this paragraph….. I spent a good year being quite destructive to my emotional and physical ¬†wellbeing and it took a lot of strength and a good hard talking to my self to realise that this is not the path I wanted to take nor that I had imagined for myself. It was time to make a change and face some demons head on. It was at this time accepted “Dystonia”. This was the moment I changed for the better.

Immersing myself into my new lifestyle, keeping in shape has been a great beacon for me. Not only has it kept me in physical shape but most importantly it has kept those dreaded demons at bay.  I must admit I am  slightly obsessive at times  but I would also say and you will hopefully agree, its not a bad obsession to have. On a very serious note my lifestyle and the way I have designed it, is my lifeline.

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Don’t get me wrong not everyday is plain sailing and still have many days¬†of doubt but what I will say is¬†having the opportunity¬† to express myself to you guys is absolutely amazing, I no longer feel alone in my journey with Dystonia.

Here of some of the things that give me strength and keep me moving forward.¬†I am so very lucky to be¬†surrounded by the¬†overwhelming love and support of the ones who care for me the most, without them I would be lost. Sometimes its the simplest things in life that make things clear to me and make me realise how lucky I am to¬†be breathing, healthy and alive. Yes I have Dystonia¬† but so what, Dystonia doesn’t control me, it does not define me and most importantly it does not dictate to me.

So with that said, I look forward to sharing my journey with you all. I hope to give a positive insight into my lifestyle and my coping mechanisms. You can look forward to snippets of my training routines, diet and also what I do with my downtime.

To finish off for the evening I would like to leave you with this quote “surrender to what is. Let get of what was and have faith in what will be”

Any comments or questions are very welcomed. #health