Looking beyond the storm

Today, during my bible study, I was reminded that we need to look behind our storm, and not allow Life’s circumstances to push us off track. There are always going to be external conflicts that will threaten our inner peace, and we must work hard to look past the conflicts and find happiness with what we have already received. 

As an anxiety sufferer, I have found it incredibly prudent to protect what little inner peace I have on any given day. There are days when my anxiety is so high that I only have peace the size of a mustard seed. However, on those days I cling to that seed of peace and focus on my blessings. I have a wonderful husband. A loving family. A great job. Three snugly dogs. Whatever it may be, I think about that instead of my anxiety. I cannot, and will not, allow anxiety to take over my life again. I have been given an incredible life, and I want to always remember that. 

We can work together and encourage one another to stay positive in dark times and find the joy in each moment. Don’t ever give up hope. Each day we have is a blessing.

Love you all! Have a wonderful night! 

Why should I be grateful?

This past Friday, I wrestled with some high levels of anxiety. On a scale from 1-10, I was sitting between a 7 and 9 the entire afternoon. It was a truly uncomfortable day, and one I would not care to repeat. However, in spite of the difficulties I experienced, I was able to carry on and push through the anxiety. I had my friends and my students to take my mind off it and help me refocus. 

Having the immense amount of anxiety on Friday triggered some memories of thoughts and discussions I had shared with my WordPress family. I have posted in the past about how I am thankful and even grateful for my anxiety disorder. I felt compelled to revisit these statements after experiencing severe anxiety. Are those words just something I said during a time of anxiety remission? Or did I honestly mean them? Anyone looking in on my struggle would understand completely if I became bitter or upset about it. Why not just choose that path? 

After much contemplation I came to the conclusion that I  truly do feel grateful for my disorder. Even during those times when it is difficult to focus on anything other than the fear building and pushing down on my chest. I am thankful to be able to relate to those around me who are having the same struggle. I have helped so many of my students learn to accept their own anxiety, and that in itself is more than enough to bring the thankfulness in my heart to full bloom.

For all of you struggling with acceptance, just know that your pain will lead to someone’s healing. It won’t always hurt. It won’t always feel hopeless. Don’t give up. Push onward. 

Love you, all! 

I know what it is like

i know what it is like to feel utterly helpless. Lost. Out of control. Panicked. As if the world is passing by in a blur, and no matter how loud you cry out, no one hears you. You just want the pain to stop. To leave so you can feel normal again. Like the person you know you really are. In those darkest moments you wish you weren’t around. You would trade anything just to be someone else so you won’t feel the pain anymore. I know. I have been there.

Let me tell you: it gets better. Don’t be ashamed of what is going on, because you are not alone. Reach out and tell someone. I did, and now I can go an entire day, or even week, anxiety free! You can do it too. Just don’t give up. 

A better me

Over this past year I have written a lot about the many years  I spent fighting with myself, and God, about my anxiety. I hated it. Felt weakened by it, and was angry I had been “cursed” with such a burden. I was even more upset by the fact that He never took it away. I spent years trying to find out what I had done wrong and as a result my suffering felt endless.

However, this year I have finally realized that it is not a curse. It is a true blessing. A blessing that I never noticed until now. I am able to use it to help those around me who suffer from the same affliction. I have become more passionate. More loving. More understanding. And more thankful because of my anxiety. I feel that I have become a better me because of it. Anxiety is not who I am, but it will always be apart of who I am. It is something I have embraced because I must first love myself before I can truly love those around me.

I am not saying that anxiety is easy, because it is not. I have very painful days, but in those moments I try to remember that I will overcome. I am stronger. I am better. I have finally been able to embrace the strength that God has given me to overcome! 

Anxiety doesn’t mean you are weak 

I struggled for years with the idea that my anxiety disorder made me a weak person. A bad Christian. A shameful woman. I felt I had done something wrong and needed to be forgiven day after day for it to be alright. However, no amount of prayer, conversation or willingness would make it disappear. I began to feel like a failure. As if God didn’t and couldn’t love me, and I didn’t love Him, which I desperately did. 

Many times throughout scripture, it says to cast your cares. Do not worry. Be anxious for nothing. Since I was unable to cast my cares it made me a bad Christian. Right? Wrong! My disorder has NOTHING to do with my faith or my worthiness as a woman.

 I spent many years feeling guilty and ashamed, but I now see that it was in vain. The chemicals in my brain do not define me! The decision to love Christ and those around me cannot be judged on the fact that I carry the burden of an anxiety disorder. I am so much more than that. 

God uses everything we experience in our lives to help others, and my anxiousness is no exception. Now that I have fully accepted it as a part of who I am (just a small part not all of who I am) I am finally able to see how He has used it as a blessing. 

A part of me is sad that I felt guilty for so many years, however I believe I am not alone in this struggle. Many of us feel ashamed of our mental disorders because some small part of our mind thinks we did something wrong. I am here to tell you that you have done nothing wrong. You are perfect! In fact, you are stronger because of your disorder! Embrace yourself for all that you are! 

Change our thinking

Perhaps we should change the way we think about our hardships. Instead of seeing them as something that holds us back, I say that we view them as what catapults us into our futures. Our struggles are what shape us into the people we are today. Would like be infinitely better without hardship? Yes. A thousand times, yes! However, to get a beautiful photograph, it must first be a negatice. It then goes through the long process of development, and only after that can it be turned into a photograph. 

This is a fantastic metaphor for our lives. We will always face hard times, however, to overcome them we must keep the bigger picture in mind. The pain we feel now, during development, is NOT the end result! It is only refining us to become what we are created to be! To be strong and courageous and a light to those around us. 

Remember that when you experience pain, you are growing into the person you are meant to be! 

Taking Anxiety to the Dump

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just drive to the dump and drop off our emotions? Bury them under mounds of dirt and compact them deep down into the ground with giant trucks? Unfortunately we cannot throw our emotions into a giant put, but we can face them. We can tackle them head on and admit the truth of our struggles. It may seem scary, but in truth, if we buried our problems they only get worse. Once we expose our pain, we can begin the healing process. 

I was reminded of this when my husband and I went to the Landfill today and I was thinking how nice it would be to leave my anxiety with all the junk we left behind. 

Have a fantastic day and remember you are stronger than your pain! 


Freedom in acknowledgement 

Over this past year, I have learned that admittingI have an anxiety disorder to others, as well as myself, has created a sense of freedom and lightness within my emotional wellbeing. I have always been ashamed of my struggle because I was under the impression that others would think I was weird or broken in someway. However, I am finding that everyone has a hidden the struggle and people tend to be accepting of them.

I don’t recommend going around telling everyone you meet your secrets, but if the time is right and the relationship is secure, I believe it is ok to open up about your struggles. The support I have gained, and the amount of people who have admitting the same struggles, has been overwhelming and wonderful! 

Remember, you are not alone in your fight! We are in this together!