Coming to Terms

I believe that coming to terms with ourselves takes time. It may take an entire lifetime, but it something we must strive for or else we cannot grow in love. It has taken me years to come to terms with my anxiety disorder. Years to love myself, just as I am. If we cannot love ourselves, how can we expect to love others? We cannot.

Each day is a learning experience and I strive to make the most of each precious moment. In the past, I have prayed over, and over, for God to take my anxiety. To lift the burden from my shoulders and let me just be “normal”. For years I was angry with Him because anxiety continued to haunt me. I felt as if my faith was not strong enough. That I wasn’t praying correctly. Or, perhaps, I was doing something wrong. I constantly stayed in prayer in hopes that he would take away the thorn in my side. However, He had something different in mind for me. Something bigger than myself. He showed me that my anxiety is not a burden.

I am now seeing that my anxiety is part of who I am. There is nothing wrong with my faith, and it certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t love God. My prayers have shifted in focus over the years and I now ask to see how I can use anxiety to help others instead of asking for it to be take away. I never imagined that my disorder would be helping those around me. I never thought it could be a positive thing! Now that my perspective has shifted, I can now see it as a blessing. It is part of who I am and I can finally accept that.

Whatever your burden is, see if there is a lighter perspective. Is there a way it can be used to the benefit of others?

Thank You for Your Understanding

I just wanted to take this time to thank all of you for all the support and kindness you have given me on this blog as I have revealed some of my darkest moments to you. In the beginning, I wanted to be sure to be completely honest in hopes that I could help at least one person no longer feel like they were traveling this anxious road alone. Had I been able to find that one person, maybe I could have come to terms with my anxiety sooner. Regardless of how I discovered my own disorder, I do not regret anything that I have gone through in the past because it has made me who I am today, and I have been able to use these experiences to share with all of you!

Thank you again for being so kind and loving! You continually give me strength to share my journey with all those who need to hear it.

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Knowledge is the Key to Health

When it comes to mental health, knowledge is VITAL! With mental wellness being invisible to the naked eye, lots of strange stereotypes and misconceptions have circulated. It is so important for those of us who struggle with a mental disorder such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, and others, to learn about what we are dealing with. I found that when I was diagnosed with anxiety, I felt instantly lighter! I knew what I was dealing with and I could fight back! My anxiety wasn’t going to win!

Take your power back! 🙂 Gain Knowledge!

Adventures in the Desert

This afternoon, my marvelous husband and I took a quad ride into the desert behind our house. Normally, we take our bigger utility quad and ride together, however, today we decided we would each ride our own. I don’t often drive mine because it has been low on gas, but we put some in today because I was itching to drive!

As we drove out into the vast openness of the valleys, I took in the grace and beauty of nature. There is just something about riding out into untamed country while on a quad that just opens my eyes to the beauty of it all. I felt like I was apart of nature. I was rolling and twisting with the dirt path. The wind tugged at my cheeks and my heart soared as I jumped over crevasses left behind from the rain.

I remember about a year ago I was riding out with my family and began to notice that I carried a lot of anxiety on my chest. I noticed that the world around me was so peaceful and beautiful, however, my chest was tight and I felt as if the true grace that surrounded me couldn’t penetrate my soul. It was the first time I started to realize that my anxiety was bigger than I thought. I was not only occasionally having anxiety, I was carrying it with me at all times. I was starting to accept that something was not normal. It was a huge step.

As I rode today, I reflected on that incident and felt so proud of how far I had come in the last several months. I can assure you that I never thought I would feel relaxed to the core. I always thought I would have weight pushing down on my chest. I always thought I would live on the edge of panic. I am here to tell you that you DO NOT have to live that way! There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Does this mean that I will never experience anxiety? No! I have episodes to this day. However, it no longer controls me. I control it!

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Out of Town!

I am out of town for another training these next few days and it feels good to be somewhere new. It has been a lot of fun being apart of all these grants where I get to travel  around Arizona. It is a great experience because last year at this time I was badly able to think about going 20 minutes in the car because of my anxiety. What a difference a year makes! Cheers to being healthy!

Long Days Test Our Endurance

Today was a rough day because I was not feeling very the greatest. I found myself very grumpy and rather short with my students. However, I told them I was not feeling my own bubbly self, so they took pity on me! That’s why I love those kiddos!  Several times about just going home, but I wanted to push through. I found that once I finally got on the other side of not feeling well, I realized that I made it and I was ok! Last year I had several panic attacks because I felt sick, so it was wonderful to be able to press on without having one. YAY!

We don’t have to fight it alone

As I have been reflecting on my anxiety journey, I have realized my healing process would not have been as successful without the love and support of my family and close friends. When dealing with any sickness, mental/emotional/physical, it is vital to surround ourselves with people who can support us when we are feeling weak. When left alone, our minds wonder to dark places and we can retreat into isolation. I speak from experience.

When I first started battling my anxiety, many years ago, I did not understand what was happening to me. I only knew that I did not feel like myself  and I wanted to be as far away from people as I could. I was embarrassed about what I had become, and I did not want them to see me withdrawn and over-shawded by sickness. As I look back now, I realize hiding was the worst thing I could have done. Had I been able to reach out, perhaps I could have saved myself years of worry. I do not regret any of my journey, because it has molded me into the woman I am today, but I wish I would have been strong enough to reach out to those around me.

You may currently be in a situation where you feel  ashamed or embarrassed about what is going on in your life, and you feel that reaching out to others would be the ultimate humiliation. I can personally tell you that I know exactly how you feel. Mental disorders can be a dark and lonely struggle. Even though there really isn’t a cure for mental disorders, it doesn’t have to mean you have to live your life in the shadows. Take the first step towards healing and reach out to someone. There is no shame in admitting you can’t do it alone. There is more strength in seeking help than fighting alone.

It will get better. This is not the end. You are strong. You are a fighter. You will win!

Wait out Anxious Moments

Over the past few days I have been waiting for a gift I purchased, for my husband, to arrive in the mail with anxious anticipation. I had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that something was wrong. It seemed to be taking an exceptionally long period of time to receive the gift, so I checked again online to track the item. The tracking invoice stated that the gift had been delivered two days ago, yet I had not seen it. At this point in time, my anxiety was climbing towards a 10 out of 10, and I didn’t want to loose a personalized wedding anniversary gift to a complete stranger.

Upon more investigation, I discovered that it had been shipped to the address I had lived at when I first moved to Arizona. I hadn’t lived there in over two years, so I started to panic. I called the Post Office, and the man was very kind, however, not overly helpful. He confirmed that the package had been delivered, which meant it wasn’t lost in the mail. I

now had images of some random person keeping my personalized gift and displaying on their mantle and admiring it! The rational part of my brain told me this would be odd, because not many people have our names and wedding date in combination.

My husband reminded me that my old roommate, who owned the house, could still be renting it out. So, I sent her a text. While I was waiting I felt anxiety’s icy fingers wrap around my chest and start to squeeze. It took all the strength I had to fight against it. I kept telling myself that it would all be ok. If I never got the package, there was nothing I could do about it. Anxiety kept trying to take over, yet I kept up the self talk. This internal battle raged on for what felt like forever, when finally I noticed my phone had a new message. I clicked on the little green SMS icon and opened the text. It was from my old roommate! It said that she had my package and I could come pick it up at any time! I couldn’t believe it! God was really looking out for me!

As soon I told my husband the good news I felt the grip of the anxiety lift off my shoulders! Had this incident occurred 6 months ago I would have been anxious for days. I have felt myself grow so much in the ways I approach my anxiety in the face of struggle. I am glad that I kept up the fight against allowing it to overwhelm me, because had I not, my day could have been spent in an endless cycle of worry about something that was far beyond my control.

If you are in fight against a mental disorder, don’t give up! You will be able to beat it! Reach out those around you. You are strong, and you are most definitely NOT alone!

Panic attack free!

I am beyond proud of myself and the healing journey I have been undertaking over the last few months. I hit a huge milestone today! I needed to buy groceries and I decided to go to Walmart, since I needed to pick up my Christmas Cards. When I was ready for check out, I noticed that only 2 lanes were open and there were several hundred people at the store. The line was nearly 15-20 people deep! My natural reaction would be to leave the cart, groceries and all, and sprint as fast as I could back to my car. However, I fought the urge to flee. I waited in line for at least 30 minutes and not once during that time did I get anxious! I couldn’t believe it! All of my dedication to wellness is finally paying off!! Last year at this time there is no way I could have stood in line with that many people.

Remember that if you are in a place of hopelessness, that there is always time to heal. There is time to grow and learn to live with anxiety or depression or any other mental illness. Do not write yourself off! You are strong!