New Year Resolutions as Told by an Anxious Individual

January 1st inevitably brings discussions about how we can better ourselves for the upcoming year. Loose weight. Quit smoking. Stop eating sweets. Go to the gym more. These are all great goals, but I want to make sure that we do not forget that change comes from the inside out. 

This year, instead of focusing on ways we can improve our outside, we need to focus on strengthening our inside. My life long struggle with anxiety has taught me that if my mind is focused on negativity and fear, my outer-self will reflect those thoughts.

I have wasted MANY years praying for God to take away my anxiety. I desperately wanted to be “normal,” and not struggle with fear of everyday activities others seemed to have no issue with completing. I  longed to be able to wake up in the morning without my chest tightening at the thought of getting out of bed. I wanted to sit in the middle of a U shaped booth without having a panic attack. These thoughts and wishes are all very valid, however, they were not helping me on my path towards healing.

During 2015, God taught me that I must first accept my anxiety before I can live my life in peace. That peace does not mean that I will no longer have anxiety. This type of peace is centered around understanding that I will have anxiety for the rest of my life, but (and here is the key) it’s ok. It is apart of who I am. Does it suck? Absolutely. Does it make me any less of a person? No. In fact, I have written many posts about how anxiety has made me a stronger than I ever could have been without it.

Over the years, I have learned techniques to cope with my existing anxiety such as yoga, journaling/blogging, daily bible study, and medication. These strategies have not eliminated my anxiety, but they have helped me gain back control of my life. Anxiety no longer controls me.

This year, as my New Year’s resolution, I am going to work on loving myself – just as I am. Anxiety and all. I am not going to put myself down or try and wish away any of my faults. I am going to work accepting myself and seeing myself as the beautiful creation I was made to be.

I encourage all of you who struggle with self acceptance, to work on the same resolution. You are perfect! Just as you are. Flaws and all. It is what makes you who you are, and who you are is wonderful.

Happy New Year, and may 2016 bring you happiness.

Mental Disorders and Societal Expectations

Last week I was incredibly turbulent emotionally, and I am experiencing a little carry over of those emotions this week. I notice that I am continuing my thought patterns and that is not leading to positive thoughts. So to help express and release these thoughts from my mental cycle, I am going to share a particular inner argument that has been plaguing me…

I have been struggling with popularity of the stereotypes that accompany mental disorders. I have noticed that anytime someone is arrested, the news report always includes the fact the person is “mentally ill”. I hate this because slapping that label onto a negative situation automaticlly adds onto the already previlent stereotypes of mental disorders. What the news doesn’t often tell is is that there are millions of people who work hard everyday to overcome those stereotypes and move beyond their disorders.

Why is it that society has to slap on an “mentally ill” label on anyone who defiles the law? It almost seems that the society has already decided that people with mental disorders are corrupt. Bums. Thieves. Murderers. Scum. Do some people who suffer from mental illness do terrible things? Yes. Does that mean that everyone with a mental illness is going to eventually do something terrible? No!

So these have been my thoughts and I have really been struggling with with this the last few weeks. How can we expect to break the stereotypes of mental illness when we continue to connect it with negative connotations? We need to start spreading the word about the truth and showing the positive people that live a full life everyday in spite of their disorder.

Thank you for listening to my rant – I feel better already! 🙂

Be an Arrow

In life we will experience difficulties and hardships. It will not be easy, by any stretch of the imagination. As many of you know, I have wrestled with an anxiety disorder my entire life and have had my fair share of ups and downs as a result. I use to pray everyday, multiple times a day, for God to take it from me. To give me any other affliction except anxiety. However, He saw a bigger plan. I now see that my anxiety allows me to help others who are experiencing the same pains as I do. I can relate and help them feel less alone. Less afraid.

I came across a beautiful quote that compared life to an arrow. It talked about how an arrow can only shoot if it is pulled back. And in the process of being pulled back it prepares to be launched forward. This is a perfect example of our lives. We have to remember that “being pulled back” or the downs in our life, doesn’t mean that our life it is over. It only means that we are about to be launched into an amazing future!

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The difference a year can make

My spirit feels light

No longer oppressed

By the constant pressure

Anxiety brings.

I can feel emotion again

Worry no longer dominates

My mind is free

From its grasp.

A year of healing

365 days of cleansing

I never imagined

I could feel so good!

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Together, we can beat it!

When we feel at our lowest, that is when we must push on. When there seems to be no hope; We MUST continue to move forward. Mental illness is tough, but we are tougher! We have to be able to take control of our illness and show it who is boss! It is time to take back control! We can do it together!

You are not Alone

If you are someone who has a mental disorder, like myself, I am here to tell you that you are not alone. Over this past year, I have been learning that more people  have been experiencing the same thing I have than I ever imagined! It is sad to think we have all kept silent because we are afraid that we will be ridiculed. Many of us have suffered years in silence and have been too timid to tell those around us what is really going on.

You are not alone! Reach out. Tell a friend. Write a blog. Whatever medium you feel most comfortable express your feelings and struggles because people will reach out and be there for you. You do not have to struggle alone.

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