neurological

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 ☺

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 ☺

 

 

 

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 ☺

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 ☺

 

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 ☺

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover

Hi Guys,

I just wanted to start by saying a huge thank you for the positive response that I had from my second blog post. Every comment means a lot to me and I hope that I give a positive mind set to others who are going through their own personal struggles in life.

This brings me onto my next blog subject “Never Judge a Book By Its Cover” I just wanted to take the time to explain  how I can be judged because I “don’t look disabled” how are disabilities different from being “visible” to “invisible”.

As we know Dystonia comes in many forms, some of these forms are more noticeable/visible than others. This is  why I always class myself lucky at times, not in the sense I have Dystonia but in the sense that my symptoms may not be as debilitating as others.

My Dystonia affects my mouth, making my speech slurred, disoriented and I struggle bristly with eating. My hands are also affected, which causes some of my fingers to involuntary curl inwards, making it very difficult to do many day to day tasks, such as doing buttons or zips up, sometimes I can be messing about for 5-10 minutes, trying to be patient and do them by myself.

Here are some photos of me receiving Botulinum Toxin Injections, that help to ease my symptoms for a short Period of time but by god are they worth it.

I have found with society today, is if your disability is not visible you can’t surely be disabled? its such a shame that society can be so judgemental and closed minded. I’ve had many times over the past eight years of being told “look at you, your too fit to have a disability.” or that I’ve been told I am a fake. To hear those comments was sometimes very hard for me to take in and that’s why I had step up my Dystonia Awareness and to show the  vulnerabilities associated. By posting videos of my speech and hand therapy sessions, I felt this really helped and gave a insight into my struggle with Dystonia and how I cope.

I occasionally model and keeping fit is a huge part of managing my Dystonia symptoms, both physically and mentally. I train hard and to the best of my abilities because it makes feel  good about myself and in some sense it makes me forget that I have Dystonia.I look at a photo of myself from the past and I think “look how far I’ve come”. That in itself makes me feel so damn proud of myself.

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What ever I say of do  I know there will always be people who will judge, but unfortunately you have to take the rough with the smooth and its my job to make them see differently or educate them on Dystonia. We need to remember that disabilities come in all different shapes and sizes, and try to see the bigger picture. Each of us have our personal struggles to deal with and nobody should ever feel entitled to judge on the basis of appearance. when you go through a life changing ordeal, your mind set does change. I’m the first to admit that when I was younger, before Dystonia I could be very judgemental. I lacked education and was often swept up by societies idea of what’s normal.  it is a shame that it took something like Dystonia to change my  thought process  but it did and I am going to do my best to educate and inspire people to be a little more open minded when passing judgement. Maybe take a step back and think do you  know this person, do I know their struggles, their reasoning or explanations and revaluate. As Buddha said “If you propose to speak, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind”

To finish off the blog I would like to leave you with this quote  ” don’t worry  about those who talk behind your back, they’re behind you for a reason ”

Any comments or questions are very welcomed.

 

About Me

Hello my name is James Sutliff ☺

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