Sometimes life gets hard, and all you can do is focus on putting one foot in front of the other. I challenge you to make the climb, put one foot in front of the other if that’s all you can muster and be proud you haven’t stopped. Take rests on the uphill battle so you can lean on those around you. You will make it through the thick of it. When you get to the top and see the view made from all your persistence and hard work it will be so worth it. You will be stronger and prouder for what you endured and overcame. Keep on going, even when it’s hard, and know the hard path your on now won’t last forever. There are beautiful things waiting for you on the other side of this climb 💕💕💕
Two of my personal weaknesses (and major joy sealers) are living in the past and not letting things go. These two things are amplified because of my anxiety. I have to be very intentional and work extremely hard to not do both of these things. At the same time, I have to work hard to not wish for a past that was really good, and live disappointed that whatever is going on currently is not as good as it was. Yes, I know how beyond blessed I am in this life, but everyone has those memories that they wish they could relive. I feel that everyone, at some point, struggles with living in the past, over analyzing, and worrying over what has already happened and cannot be changed. Anxiety makes it very hard not to live in the past. Anxiety makes us more sensitive than the average person, more wishful of a good past when things get tough, and leaves us second guessing each decision, conversation, and event. Moving on and letting things go become extremely hard for us, because we have a hard time forgiving others and in general forgiving ourselves.
As an anxious person, I feel that it is harder for me- in comparison to the average person- to not look back and obsessive over past mistakes. Anxiety makes it hard for me to let go and not fixate on something that has been said or done to me. However, it does no one any good to dwell on my past and hold onto wrongdoings. Dwelling on my past and clinging to the wrongs done in my life will accomplish nothing but stealing the joy out of each moment today…for both myself and those around me. At the end of the day, I have had to learn to let go of the past. There is no reason to hold myself back by something I can’t go back and fix. I have had to learn and focus on the idea that if something is not changeable, it is not worth my time thinking about. This has helped me so much with my anxiety.
Of course I still struggle with not living in the past and letting go of things, however, I have worked hard to not ALWAYS over analyze, second guess, fret, worry, and stress over each situation and decision. Sometimes I feel like I have a full time job just trying to NOT do the above. Anxiety makes it a lot harder to move on, live in the moment, and find joy. However, that does not mean it is not possible to move on, live in the moment, and do so joyfully. Do not let your past hold you back from your future. The mistakes that you have made in the past, and the mistakes others have made that effected you are not things to be worried over. Why? Because worrying about it accomplishes nothing. On the same hand, if you are constantly looking to the good times in your past in comparison to your present, you are holding yourself back. Your present and future are not meant to look like your past, because the happy times coming are meant to be different.
It sounds so simple, to just let go and move on, but it is so hard.
It is hard because as an anxious person, I can find myself worrying incessantly over the many past events- all the way from the biggest most significant events and decisions to the smallest. My anxiety may present itself in many different ways, such as: Why did I snap at someone? I wish I could take it back. In the moment, I may worry that they may hate me now. Yes, realistically I know they probably don’t, but my anxiety makes me feel that way. Why did I say something that hurt someone else? I didn’t mean for them to take it way, and it was not my intention to hurt their feelings. However, I will worry over what I said because I didn’t mean to upset them, and I will feel terribly guilty for making them feel bad. No matter how many times I apologize (even if they accept my apology), I will still feel bad a year later if I let myself.
I may ask myself why someone said something bad about me, or to me. It really hurt my feelings, and part of me might begin to wonder if what they said was true, even when I know deep down it isn’t. I will second guess myself, because of someone else. If I don’t work hard, I can allow others’ words to measure my self-worth. Additionally, others’ decisions and actions may leave me wondering, what type of world we live in now that people are terrible and vicious towards each other. Why did someone intentionally emotionally, physically, and/or mentally hurt someone? They didn’t deserve what was done to them. What is wrong with people that they would do something intentionally to hurt others? Don’t people know that it is so much easier to build someone up than it is to tear someone down, so why do people chose wrong all the time? I might worry and wish I could have done something to help that person. I may go through the conversation or event a million times, reliving it in a hope to see if I could have done something differently that would have helped.
See what I mean with how daunting the past can become if you allow yourself to live in it? If I allow myself, I can spend all my time wishing for a different outcome for all the above mentioned circumstances. However, when I begin down the road of worrying I focus myself mentally. I can’t change a thing in the past. I remind myself that reliving the negative events and things that fall short of my expectations steals the chance I have right in front of me for happiness. Can I change the outcome of what I am worrying over? If the answer is no, then I make myself focus on something changeable instead. My worry and desire to change my past does not MAKE it change. If it is not something that can be changed. I know that I have to let it go and move on. I decided a long time ago that I would focus all my thoughts and all the time I would have spent on worrying over things that cannot be changed on the changeable.
I know that I can’t move forward without moving past my PAST.
So how do I move past my past and let go? Intensively and intentionally working on my perspective, priorities, and with daily forgiveness (for myself and others) and praying for peace. I challenge you to work hard on finding perspective. What does worrying over the past ACTUALLY do for you? Nothing. It is the past and it cannot be changed. It only leaves you sad, upset, frustrated, angry, etc. that what you or someone else decided to do or say cannot be changed. It leaves you wishing for something you can’t have.
You can’t ever get that time back you wasted. You can’t undo what has been done. You can’t go back and re-start your day. You can’t make different decisions for someone else. Going through situations over-and-over again and envisioning what you could have done differently will NOT change anything. It will just leave you even more upset and frustrated the longer you dwell on it. Instead of worrying I challenge you to ask yourself what moving on and forgiving yourself and others can do for you? The answer is, EVERYTHING! It can give you peace back. It can give you a repaired relationship, instead of a broken one. It can give you perspective, strength, and resilience. It can give you enthusiasm and joy in the present moments of today.
You have the power to let your past dictate who you are, or you can allow your TODAY to dictate who you will be. You give your past power when you allow yourself to stay stuck in it. Do not live in a way that will allow you to worry over each decision, event, person, etc. as it happens. I challenge you to choose different, and decide to let it go. Letting go, moving on, and forgiving others gives you EVERYTHING. Worrying over things that cannot be changed gives you NOTHING.
I challenge you to use each situation as a way to GROW yourself. Be stronger than the words and actions that others throw on you. Make decisions and stick by them. You are strong and intelligent, so don’t do yourself a disservice by second guessing what decisions you have made. If you decide after the fact that you would have made a different decision if you could have, then make that decision the next time. Move on. Focus on what a beautiful gift a brand new day is for you. You have been given a blank slate, so use it!
Overcome the worst experiences by learning how resilient you are. If something terrible happened to you, show the world how STRONG you are by surviving it -BY moving on! Show others how amazing you are by learning to forgive yourself and others for what has been done. Take responsibility for wrongdoings, and address (not ignore) your feelings. Choose to not look at only the bad around you, seek out the good. Learn, grow, and improve from your mistakes and the mistakes of others, so that you can LIVE fully TODAY.
I am still working hard on these two things, but I am committed to living LESS in the past. This week I challenge you to let go of the past, and stop reliving it. Anxiety coupled with stressing over your past can steal your peace of mind, joy, happiness, and your self-worth if you let it. Learn to let go of both the big and small things you wish you could have changed, and make a different decision next time. Remember no one is perfect, and each past experience gives us a gift of perspective and betterment- if we only choose to use it.
Until next week,
This week I am writing a piece on being an L.E.O wife with anxiety since it is Law Enforcement Appreciation Week. Huge shout out to all you out there who are in Law Enforcement. As I sit down to write this post this week, I don’t know where to start. I have so many thoughts on the subject of being a Law Enforcement Wife that I want to share. Let me start by saying that every single Law Enforcement Wife/Husband that I know has felt some degree of stress, worry, or anxiety (sometimes a combination of all three) in regards to their spouses’ career in Law Enforcement. That said, for those of us spouses who have the extra generalized anxiety component thrown in, it can be very hard to figure out the right way to manage the stresses of being married to an L.E.O.
I am a proud Law Enforcement Wife, but I had to work extremely hard (still do) to manage the stresses/anxieties that go along with agreeing to the lifestyle of a L.E.O wife. I knew when I married Chris that I was signing up to be a part of the L.E.O world, and it is up to me to make sure that I can set aside my anxiety in order to support, love, and comfort Chris each and every day. Additionally, I had to figure out a way not to add my worry to his list of responsibilities. It would not be fair for me to make Chris worry about how I was handling what he was being called to do. Chris needs to be able to focus on his job when he is working, not on me.
I know we live in a very political world, and I know that Law Enforcement falls into this world. However, I want to be clear that I am not writing a political peace on Law Enforcement. Law Enforcement is a career that toes the line of life and death daily, and it is so hard being the wife/husband at home behind the badge. Those who have spouses/family members in Law Enforcement have countless numbers of missed dinners, missed holidays, missed birthdays and get together. Spouses sleep alone, so that others sleep safely. Our spouses miss time at home with THEIR family to protect YOURS. This is why I want to offer what advice I do have for those of you living the L.E.O life.
I am not interested in the politics, I simply want to discuss openly what anxieties and stresses I feel as a L.E.O wife, and share what tips I use to manage these anxieties. I not only am a L.E.O wife, but I am also a proud daughter of my father who was in Law Enforcement for 30 years. I have lived and breathed L.E.O since my birth, and I am PROUD of all the L.E.O out there.
Below are the things that I have the most anxiety about, and how I best manage it:
Accept their job is dangerous.
It is not a thought most like to have, but accept that their job is just plain dangerous. Do not disillusion yourself that their jobs are rainbows and butterflies, and on the same hand do not overly focus on each and every danger obsessively. At some point, I had to focus on only my trust in Chris. When he checks on for work, do I trust him to take care of himself? Yes. Do I trust that he has been given the right training and tools to do what is being asked of him? Yes. Do I trust that he will always do whatever he can do to come home to me and our daughter? Yes. I let my trust IN Chris take over my stress/anxiety/worry FOR Chris. On days where I am overcome with anxiety for Chris, I focus my thoughts on the belief that he has been given the tools, mindset, training, etc. to handle what he is being asked to do and come home safely at the end of his shift.
I remember one night Chris came home and told me that he had a gun pulled on him. I had a little mini-panic attack let me tell you, but I was so proud and thankful that I was holding my husband safe in my arms. I was proud that he had handled the situation correctly, and that he put someone away that was a danger to others. Those that serve in Law Enforcement have answered a calling to provide for those who cannot provide and protect themselves, and that is something to be extremely proud of. What they do each day matters to a great many people. Yes, I wish he had not been put in that situation BUT I was so proud that he did not hesitate and that he handled it right. I held him a little closer, and a little longer that night. I was more grateful for his presence, and I was reminded of what is truly important in my life.
Another thing that helps my anxiety, is finding time to work on my perspective. I make sure to take the time to focus on how much more the dangers outweigh the positives of what my husband does for all of us each day. Did he take a drunk off the road that could have wrecked someone’s’ life and ripped a family apart by grief? Did he stop someone from texting while driving that was not paying attention to those around them? Did he get the drug dealer off the street, or stop someone that was on their way to harm another? Did he answer a call and help at 3:00 AM when someone had wrecked, was alone, and was scared? Did he come home 4 hours after his shift ended because he was waiting in a crisis with someone who needed him? The list goes on and on of how much GOOD my husband does.
I am proud of my husband and how well he does his job. I am so proud that he is BRAVE enough to willingly sign up for a job in Law Enforcement. I am proud that he cares for the safety and well being of the world around him. In moments where the dangers of his job seem to overwhelm me, I remind myself that God will hold Chris in the palm of his hand, and deliver him safely back home. I know God will guide Chris to make the decisions that will keep him safe each day. I believe and have faith in not just Chris, but in GOD. I have to pray, every single day for Chris’s safety. I have to surrender my worries to God, and have faith in Chris.
Expect that Plans will NOT go as Planned.
You planned a nice day trip somewhere for a Saturday morning? Nice, it’s probably not going to happen if your husband is working night shifts with late calls the night before. Inevitably, he will get called out and not be home until 6:00 am. Trust me, that planned dinner out with friends that has been on calendar for the past month will ALWAYS come after an early call or later call, and your spouse will be too tired to go. You planned to take your spouse with you to an important doctor appointment for your daughter (hmmm not speaking from experience he-he) when you know it will be an hour’s long appointment? Not going to happen with an unscheduled training that your spouse is required to attend. It’s his scheduled day off, but they need back up for a situation? That honey-do list isn’t happening, because he’s going in. Holidays…. don’t even go there (he-he). Plans are NOT plans when you are married to an L.E.O.
This is very hard to accept, and even harder when you have anxiety. Why, you might ask? Because one thing that I usually use to help manage my anxiety is careful planning, so that I feel prepared. This doesn’t pan out well when it comes to my husband’s work. Instead, I make up two sets of mental plans. One where it works out with my husband there, and one where I have it worked out if he isn’t there. Doing this allows me to be mentally prepared. I have had to learn to roll with changes and let go of the need to feel in control. Accepting that things will change and plans will not always work out, has helped me with my expectations, and has kept me from being disappointed in Chris (it’s not his fault when his jobs demands these things of him).
If you have kids, expect that you will sometimes carry all the responsibility (try hard not to be resentful).
Whew, this one is a big one. It is hard when you are on your own carrying all the responsibility for your kiddos. Anxiety and feeling overwhelmed with responsibility can easily go hand-in-hand. I can feel anxious just knowing it is JUST me, and knowing that no matter what the situation is I am the one that will need to handle it. Does my daughter have a stomach bug? Is she not sleeping? Does she need a new bottle, but is almost asleep in my arms and getting up will wake her up? What about making dinner? It is not always this hard, but I raise these examples to show that I am responsible for my daughter 100% of the time without any help when Chris is on night shifts/has been called out. Also, my anxiety can be worse at night and when I’m alone, so mentally preparing myself as best I can and managing my triggers ahead of time is extremely important with not feeling overwhelmed when it is just me and my daughter.
Accept and expect that when your spouse has been called out/is on night shifts, you are going to be in single parent mode. Your spouse will roll in about the same time you are getting up, getting your kiddos up, and trying to make it out the door on time to get to work and daycare. Then, by the time you get home after work it will be time for them to check on, and you will be in charge of dinner, lunchbox packing, bath, and bedtime.
A LOT of the time you will be solo parenting, and frequently it will be unplanned. Let go of the frustration that they are not there to help. It is not their fault or your fault, it is simply their work. As spouses to an L.E.O we knew what we were signing up for when we married them. No, that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier when it gets tough, but sometimes reminding yourself that it is neither of yours fault does help. Know that you are doing the best you can do, and that at the end of the day it will all have worked out. Instead of allowing yourself to think of all the stress in regards to being a single parent, I challenge you to think instead about all the strength it is teaching and giving you.
Be understanding that just because your spouse is checked off from work that they may not be mentally checked off when they get home.
Anxiety constantly makes us overthink and overanalyze everything, including the people closest to us. This includes our spouses. I used to be the worlds worst (still am sometimes) at getting so excited when Chris was finally home. I wanted him to be 100% mine from the minute he walked in the door. I wanted to talk to him, hear about his day, tell him about mine, etc. If he wasn’t just as excited and eager as I was, I would have hurt feelings. I would overanalyze his mood and worry that he didn’t want to be home with me (insecure much?). This was my anxiety talking. I knew that Chris loved me very much, and that he wanted to be home. I also knew that because of his reaction he had more than likely had a hard day.
Chris and I learned early on that he needed time to mentally check off from his work when he got home. We also agreed that he would communicate better by telling me when he has had a hard day, so that I can be more understanding of his needs when he got home. I now give him time when he gets home to unwind and undress before I expect him to really be present with me mentally or emotionally.
Our L.E.O spouses need time to mentally let go of their day before they can be our spouses. Their days are so much harder than most anyone else’s. Did they have to notify the next of kin to the death of a family member? Did they have to work a wreck involving a family, kids, or teenagers? Did they have to respond to a domestic call? The list of things they might have encountered in their day goes on and on. Think of how hard it would be to turn this off in your brain if you were in their shoes, and allow this understanding to give your spouse a bit of a break. Love them through the hard times, and understand sometimes they just have to bring home their work.
Until next week my readers, and HAPPY LAW ENFORCEMENT APPRECIATION WEEK!
What we say to ourselves is so much more important than what others say TO us. It is what WE chose to say to ourselves that makes up what we believe about ourselves. This is why I decided to write about the power of using positive affirmations. I am a firm believer that positive thoughts generate positive feelings. When I tell myself positives about myself, I am uplifting myself and in turn making myself a better person. I CHOOSE to believe the words I tell myself. I CHOOSE to accept these affirmations as truths. I CHOOSE to see myself through better eyes. I give myself permission to LOVE myself.
When anxiety hits me full force, I find myself talking myself through each anxious filled situation. I am constantly telling myself that it will pass, I will be okay, God has got me in his hands, I am going to make it through this, etc. I converse with myself and conversationally pray all the time. I take ownership of how I process what I am feeling. I may not be in control of actually having anxiety, but I am in control of how I handle it. What I chose to tell myself during these moments is extremely important.
Instead of combating my anxiety with positives, what if I instead decided to say that I will not make it through this, I am all alone, it will not be okay, no one else understands, etc.? I will tell you the answer. I would be allowing myself to stay stuck in that terrible anxious filled state. I would not be in a position to like myself. If we feel bad about ourselves then we allow negativity to run our lives. For the anxious person, negative thoughts makes anxiety even worse.
A positive mind will give you a positive life, even through the worst of situations. I look at my anxiety as a difficult road that I am traveling. Just when I feel like it is smooth sailing going 60 MPH straight towards my destination, boom, I hit a pot hole. I decided long ago that instead of allowing myself to be lead down this ever changing road, I would instead chose to take control and lead myself along the road. I take the time to pack all the equipment I need to make it to the end of the road, and I plan how to manage the bumps in the road ahead of time. It may not always be an easy travel, but it always tends to lead me to each of my destinations with a more grateful heart.
For the road, I pack a piece of equipment that is always with me, my mind. I shape my mind with positive words and beliefs. On this journey of living my life with anxiety, I choose to be happy and positive regardless of how difficult life may become. I want to share with you how I have learned to love, accept, and enjoy myself in spite of my anxiety. I wrote down 40 positive affirmations that I use to remind myself of how amazing, blessed, loved, and helpful I truly am.
40 Affirmations for the Anxious Mind:
I challenge you to tell yourself these things too, or better yet make your own list of affirmations that you can say to yourself. Remember, you are who you THINK you are.
Until next week,
Setting realistic expectations, and only accepting responsibility for myself and my actions is a super hard thing to do. As simple and easy as it may sound, it’s not. It is so hard letting go of expectations that have not been met, and learning to not worry and stress over things that are not your responsibility. However, learning how to do this has really helped my anxiety.
If I don’t stop myself, I can feel responsible for the actions, words, and ideas of other people. I can find myself apologizing on someone else’s’ behalf. I can wear myself out trying to correct others mistakes. I can find myself trying to write a wrong that I didn’t make. I can stress over something someone else did that I flat out can’t control or change. If I don’t work hard to only prioritize and accept my responsibilities, I can add a lot of stress, disappointment, and anxiety to myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
It is also so easy for people to slip into the habit of making unrealistic expectations, which leaves you constantly disappointed in how life actually plays out. I’m not telling you to not have any expectations and goals, because these are very important to have. What I am telling you, is to make sure the expectations you do make do not expect more than can be fulfilled. I feel overwhelmed most of the time, so adding other peoples’ responsibilities and unrealistic expectations, when I shouldn’t, is a sure fire way to make my anxiety worse.
What does this mean? Do not expect for your husband to roll out the red carpet and red wine when you had a bad day, if you didn’t tell him. He’s not a mind reader. Do not expect your relationship to play out like a Disney Princess love story. Real life relationships are not perfect. Do not expect to never have problems in your relationships. You will have bumps, struggles, and hard times and you will find strength and a deeper love in your relationships by working through the imperfections of your relationship together. Do not expect everyone to always like you, or always agree with you. Someone is always going to disagree with you, and there will always be someone who just doesn’t jive with your personality. That’s okay, don’t base your self-worth on others. Do not expect someone to do, say, or think something just because you would. Do not expect your child to sit quietly for a few hours just because YOU decided to take them to something that is too much to expect of their age.
Learning to make realistic expectations and understanding that I am only responsible for myself has been extremely freeing, and in turn helpful with staying on top of my anxiety. I can only ever be responsible for the consequences of MY actions, MY behavior, MY efforts, MY words, MY ideas, and MY mistakes. I work very hard not to add the weight of unrealistic expectations and others responsibilities, and it has helped me tremendously. I made a list of the 12 most important thoughts that I use to prioritize expectations and responsibilities (that help my anxiety) and listed them below:
1. Do not expect others to live, respond, and react the same way that you do.
People are all different. Yes, we would all love it if everyone just did it “our” way, but that is just not possible or realistic. Everyone has walked a different path, so everyone will live, respond, and react differently to different situations. If you walk into each day and circumstance prepared that others are not going to 100% align with everything you say and do, you will be a lot happier because you won’t feel that pang of disappointment and anxiety when you realize they aren’t thinking or responding exactly like you. Accepting that everyone is different, and not expecting otherwise, will help you stop feeling so insecure, attacked, and frustrated. Expect and plan for these differences. In turn, this will set-up you up to be disappointed A LOT less.
2. Do not expect people to treat you the way you treat them.
It would be nice to always get back what you put out there in this world, but that is not always going to happen. Do what you do because your heart tells you too, and do not expect for everything that you do to be done back for you. People are NEVER going to give you back 100% of what you give to them ALL the time. It is hard not to feel letdown when a family member, friend, or co-worker doesn’t do for you what you willingly do for them. However, I challenge you to think about what things they DO do for you. Are they doing things for your that are equally loving, giving, and helpful but just not exactly what you do for them? We all show love differently, but you will miss out on being able to see this when you expect people to treat you in the exact same way that you treat them. Do what you do for others for YOURSELF, and be grateful (not impatiently expecting) when others do back for you.
3. Accept that you are only responsible for yourself.
You can WANT as much as your little heart and mind can want that someone will make better choices and change, but you can’t make them. You are not responsible for someone else’s’ choices. Let go of feeling responsible for others, and let go of the expectation that someone will change. You are NOT responsible for the actions, choices, words, etc. of someone else. The only person you can change is yourself, so focus all of your energy on that instead. Put all the efforts you have been putting into worrying over others into worrying over yourself. Accept responsibly for the things you have done. Make yourself into the person you want to be. Who knows, in watching you work hard on improving yourself you might very well inspire the people who need inspiration and improvement to change themselves too.
4. Put aside, permanently, the expectation you have for yourself, and others, to be perfect.
I know I wrote on this last week in my self-care tips post, but let go of feeling the need to be perfect and do everything. Perfection is simply unattainable. Learn to be content doing a GREAT job-not a PERFECT job. If you focus on perfection you will only stress yourself out, feel like you have not lived up to your expectations, and you will obsess over everything. You need to let go of your need to be perfect. Do not expect it of yourself or of others.
5. Do not expect others to always understand you, your mood, what you need, or what they need to say.
You may think, in the moment, that someone should just know you well enough to understand everything from each of your moods to all your needs. However, that is TOO much to expect of anyone. Be understanding that even someone who loves your dearly and knows you very well still may not know what the right thing is to do/say given a situation. They might not be able to gauge your mood correctly, and they can’t read your mind. Instead work on clearly communicating with them about how you are feeling, what you need, and what you need to hear. Communicating with them about what you need eliminates the frustrating gray area where you wait for them to figure it out, and they wait for you to explain what they aren’t getting. Remember that the important thing is that they care because they are there.
6. Remember that people’s words, even if they may hurt your feelings, are a reflection of them NOT of you. Other peoples’ words are NOT your responsibility.
If someone says something, even if it is hurtful or untrue, that is their business. They are the ones that will have to live with any consequences their words may have. Their words are THEIR responsibility. If someone says something hurtful, remember that this shows you a lot about them as a person NOT you as a person. They may be hurting and lashing out, they might want to paint a picture of you according to an agenda they have, they may be defensive of their opinion because it is not the popular one, they may just want you to be brought down to their level, they may not even realize what they said was hurtful because they think differently, etc. and the list of reasons someone might speak hurtfully goes on. Instead of staying upset, I challenge you to instead pray for them. Embrace the chance to let go of the hurt, move on, and pass that responsibility to them. Do not dwell on their words, because they are not your own. Do not worry someone may believe something untrue, because the truth will always be uncovered with time. That person made the choice to say something, and that is NOT your responsibility.
7. Do not expect others to always agree and disagree the same as you.
It is so easy to feel attacked when someone presents a different opinion as yours. This is especially true, because we are constantly wearing the responsibility of making many different decisions and having many different opinions when we are being a wife, mommy, daughter, friend, professional, co-worked, employee, etc. Instead of getting your feelings hurt, responding defensively, or shutting down anxiously when their opinions differ from yours, I challenge you to try to see the big picture. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they are not just trying to make you look or feel bad, but they are just trying to do the same thing you are which is advocate for what they feel is best. They want to share their ideas and opinions to better the world, too. Their opinion is not a personal attack of yours if it is different…it is just simply, different. I challenge you to look at their opinion and see value. You are being presented with an opportunity to learn tolerance of differences as well as a new perspective, so embrace it.
8. Stop feeling responsible for others mistakes.
People make their OWN mistakes. Do not accept ownership of mistakes other than your own. You are not responsible for other people’s mistakes, or the consequences their mistakes may bring them. This is such a hard one for me to not do. I have a really hard time watching people I love and care about fail. Yes, I know every mistake is an opportunity for them to learn. No, it does not make it any easier to see them fail and struggle with the consequences. I hate seeing them hurt. I feel their pain, and I fight the feeling of responsibility that I could have done something differently to help them not have made that decision. I should have pushed harder, I should have tried to get through to them in a different way, and I could have helped them make a better decision by doing x, y, z. I have to constantly remind myself that if someone makes a mistake that is their fault, their responsibility, and they ALONE are responsible for the consequences. Also, remember to focus on the changeable. Things that have already happened can’t be controlled or changed, so instead focus on things that are yet to come.
9. I am not responsible for other people’s beliefs and attitudes.
Do you know someone who is always negative, and can’t seem to find the good in a situation? What about someone who, no matter what you do, is not going to be happy? It may be a family member, a friend, a colleague, or an acquaintance. It does not matter their connection to you, because it is important for you to know that their beliefs and attitudes are NOT your responsibility. Let the stress of that person roll right off your back. You do not need to be bogged down with their attitudes and ideas. If you have done everything that you can to try to help them be happy, loved, and content and they push you away then do not feel like you have let them down. Somewhere along the line they have decided not to TRY and see the beautiful, and they have given up. Somewhere along the line they have decided NOT to be happy. You are NOT going to be able to help everyone. You are NOT going to make someone suddenly positive if they have not already made the decision that they WANT to be that way. Yes, you can help them try to see the beautiful and wonderful in the world around them again, but they are responsible for making the CHOICE to want to see the world differently. Helping others is an entirely different thing than feeling like you are responsible for how that person believes and acts.
10.You can’t be in control of everything.
Being in control is something that my personality craves. However, I can not always be in control of everything. Accepting that I am not always able to be in control has been very freeing. I am not in control of my day going down the drain when I get a flat tire (who can control that happening), and I am going to have to just go with the flow. I do not need to go back and re-make the bed just because my husband left a crease in the middle of it. I do not need to have everyone on MY schedule just so that things can be done MY way. You simply can’t always be in control and the sooner you accept that, the better you will feel. Take that pressure right off your shoulders. You can’t control everything, and sometimes you just need to sit back and relax and have faith that things will all work out on its own. Let go of controlling all the small things, and allow yourself to just let life happen.
11. Life isn’t always fair.
It would be a wonderful thing if life was always fair, but unfortunately it’s not. Expecting life to be fair all the time will constantly set you up with frustration and disappointment. Sometimes I want to tap life on the shoulder and say, “Hey there, I completely understand that life isn’t fair. You don’t have to keep teaching me that lesson over-and-over.” Life is not fair when good things happen to bad people, when someone too young dies, when people are treated differently because of who they are, when you have to struggle daily with a personal battle that someone else doesn’t have, and when consequences are different even for the same crime, etc. Instead of fuming in anger. Breathe, and refuse to be upset. DO not allow yourself to feel the victim when life is not fair, instead show people how strong you are by standing tall and being the amazing person you are in SPITE of life not being fair to you. When I feel life hasn’t been fair to me, I stand TALL and I stand DETERMINED to achieve anyways.
12. Do NOT compare yourself to others.
Do not compare yourself to others, JUST DON’T DO IT! We are each unique and different with our own amazing things going on. The second you compare your relationship to someone else’s’ you find ways to be disappointed in something you were happily content with moments before. You will hold yourself back from doing things you should do by trying to be like the thing or person you are comparing yourself too. The minute you compare your beautiful curvy body to the skinny body on the cover of the magazine and pick out differences, you let yourself see flaws. Constantly comparing steals your joy and self-worth right out from under you. Don’t do it. You are AMAZING in your own way.
I hope these 12 ways to prioritize expectations and responsibility help you gain perspective, and help you let go of some of that unnecessary anxiety.
Until next week my readers,
This week has been a hard week. Everyone has hard weeks, whether they are anxious or not. I am no different than the millions of other people walking this beautiful world who have also had a hard week. It is important to learn how to take care of yourself when this happens. What is important is not focusing on how hard, stressful, or upsetting your week may have been. Sounds easy, right? Nope, that is a super hard thing to do especially when my specialty is stressing and worrying (thanks anxiety).
Unfortunately, it is not easy to let go of the bad and my anxiety makes it all too easy to fret, obsess, and worry over everything (even when something is already done and I can’t change it). I have to consciously remind myself (and I challenge you to do the same) that it has already happened and there is not one thing I can do to change it. I can’t change what someone else did or said, and I can’t change my reactions or actions in response to someone else either. What’s done is done. I have to accept what has happened and move on, or I will be stuck on it for weeks. I have to have perspective, too. Perspective that this one little 5 day work week is so small in comparison to the hundreds of days that I have spent having GOOD weeks. The GOOD does outweigh the BAD and that is important to remember.
It is important to focus on what you can do to get through it, get over, forgive, and have a better week next week. One way to get over problems, forgive others, manage your anxiety, and have a better week next week is to remember to set aside time to prioritize yourself. Do what you physically, mentally, and emotionally need to do to find peace and happiness. This is called taking the time to care for YOURSELF.
Self-care is extremely important for overall health, especially mental health. I can’t say this enough….if you don’t take care of YOU then there is no way you can handle what is expected of you mentally, physically, or emotionally. Your life, obligations, stresses, and anxiety will run rampage until you invest in YOURSELF. Although this post is geared towards using self-care to manage anxiety, it is also a post to share things that ALL people need to do to help themselves be the best versions of themselves, anxious or not. Every single person needs to be reminded to take care of themselves, prioritize, and recharge so that they CAN be the best versions of themselves, not just for others but for themselves.
In the world we live in we are often times too focused on helping others (sometimes before we help ourselves), being perfect, fretting over decisions we cannot make for others, worrying over outcomes we have no control over, over achieving, being what the world wants us to be (even if it means sacrificing who we are), etc. Instead we need to be focused on helping ourselves and learning to control ONLY what we are able to control. I want to be the best person I can possibly be, and I want to be as happy, non-anxious, and peaceful as I can be in this crazy wonderful life of mine. Why? Because when I am bettering myself, when I am happy, and when I am peaceful then I am a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. Self-care makes me ABLE to be a better person; the person I WANT to be.
This said, I put together 12 Self-Care Tips that I use to help stay on top of and manage my anxiety. I hope these tips help you take care of yourself (anxious or not). I challenge you to INVEST IN YOURSELF!
1.Take care of your body’s basic physical needs.
Avoid high amounts of sugar and caffeine, exercise, and get enough sleep. You will be AMAZED with how much making sure you are doing these basic (simple) things really helps you and your anxiety.
2.Let go of perfection.
You are AMAZING, but you will NEVER be perfect. You can do ANYTHING, but you are not able to do EVERYTHING. And you know what? That’s okay! Let go of feeling the pressure to be perfect and to do everything. It is simply unattainable. Learn to be content doing a GREAT job-not a PERFECT job. If you focus on perfection you will only stress yourself out, feel like you have not lived up to your expectations, and you will obsess over everything. You need to let go of your need to be perfect.
Take the time to go get your nails and hair done, go for that massage, and buy yourself that new dress if it makes you feel FABULOUS. I am not telling you to spend all your money on pampering yourself (don’t blame that monthly budget on me he-he), but I am telling you to invest some of that money into YOU, especially if it makes a big difference in how you feel.
4.Be aware of your emotions/feelings and actually process them.
Acknowledge what you are feeling and know that it is important for you to understand what you are feeling and why. Do not distract yourself from dealing with your emotions. Process what you are feeling, and find a person or a technique that will help you deal with your emotions/anxiety in a HEALTHY way.
I know that I don’t always feel like getting together with people. However, if I just MAKE myself get up and go get together with others I feel great because I did. It is not always easy pulling myself out of my yoga pants and t-shirt (and did I mention shower he-he). But… just getting dressed like the adult I am and getting a good visit in with family or friends is enough to make me feel much better 9 times out of 10. I always feel better after a good visit with someone, and I am always grateful that I dragged my tush out of the house.
6.Enjoy a cup of tea/coffee.
Do you need a few minutes each day that you can really look forward to? I REALLY look forward to making my second cup of coffee at 12:30 after I get back from lunch duty. I sip my coffee while catching up on e-mails or talking to my co-workers, and I really love having that small window of time be just for me and my coffee. Set aside 10-15 mins to make and enjoy that cup of coffee/tea and just sit. Sit and read your devotional, sit and be in silence, sit and visit with a friend, sit and catch up on something, etc. Whatever you decide to do with this time, allow yourself to look forward to it, and give yourself permission to do nothing but relax.
7.Make goals and work towards them.
It is important to grow in this beautiful life. Grow your relationships, grow your experiences, grow your finances, and grow as a person, etc. Make goals and work towards your dreams. Make a plan to accomplish your goals, detail how you will achieve it, and work towards it. You will feel energized and excited to have a plan in place to accomplish something YOU have decided is important. You will feel even BETTER when you achieve it.
8.Get to know yourself.
Spend some time alone doing what you enjoy. Think about what you could be doing that you would really enjoy. Get to know yourself. For me, I really enjoy sitting in the sun reading my book. I always feel so content and relaxed when I get a chance to do this. Figure out what it is you enjoy and DO it. I knew I enjoyed writing, but couldn’t think of a way to do it. Yet, here I am. I thought about what would make me happy, and developed the plan to start this blog .I am so glad I got to know myself, and am doing what I know will make me happy. On the same hand, figure out what you don’t enjoy and learn to say NO.
9.Try something new.
Trying new things allows you to look forward to something, and become excited about something new and positive in your life. Try that new type of food, try to complete that art craft, plan to do something new as a hobby, or find a new place to visit, etc. The world has endless new opportunities that are at your feet to try. What’s the worst that could happen? You could decide you really didn’t like it. What’s the best that could happen? You may fall in love with something new-it’s worth the risk!
10.Invest in, and work on, your relationships.
I can’t begin to emphasize how important relationships are. Having people I can turn to when I need them is a HUGE part in helping me with my life in general as well as my anxiety. You are better when you are loved by others than you ever are alone. I want people that I can call on to celebrate this crazy life with me, and people that I can call on to help me through the thick of my problems. I also want to be there for those that I love and care about. Therefore, I take the time to invest in the people I have in my life. Prioritize and invest in the people who love and invest in you. Invest time and energy into your marriage, even when you are dragging and just want to lay down. Take that 5 extra minutes to sit together and talk! If you have a few spare minutes call that friend back and connect with them, you’ll feel better for doing it. Is there someone you really enjoy but haven’t spoken with in a while? Check in with them, make plans to get together, and enjoy their company. Having people in your life that you can rely on and have help you through the hard times and celebrate the good times is what MAKES your life enjoyable and bearable. Take the time to invest in them!
11.Learn to pray.
I know I wrote about this last week, but praying is a WONDERFUL thing. Learning to pray is instrumental in feeling content, forgiven, and recharged. I pray for those that I am worried about. I pray for peace and reassurance when my own worry takes over. I pray to be forgiven for the things that I have done, and then I give myself permission to forgive myself. Pray helps me let go of things that would normally bring me down.
12.Work out your finances.
Money is something that a lot of us stress over. Money shouldn’t be as important as it is, but it necessary for a lot of things. Money is necessary for your power, car, home, healthcare, food, etc. Money can be a huge factor in making your anxiety worse. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your finances, take the time to sit down and write out a plan that will get you where you want to be financially. You will feel better for actually planning and feeling more in control than you would have felt just ignoring it without a plan to fix it. Invest in yourself by working to eliminate this as a potential stress.
I hope these tips help you, and I challenge you to INVEST in yourself!!
Until next week,
The Power of Using Prayer to Conquer Your Anxiety
I know I have shared numerous tips and tricks that I use to manage my anxiety. This week I want to share, in more detail, the one that I feel is most important and helpful.
Prayer is the number one thing that I do to help me with my anxiety. I pray conversationally all day long. If I am anxious over a to-do list while I am driving home, I pray to have a peaceful mind. I pray for perspective. Is that to-do list really worth me getting stressed over? If I am anxious about driving somewhere by myself (usually long trips), I pray the entire way asking God to see me to my destination safely. I ask him to take away my fears and worries. I pray when I feel overwhelmed, and when I feel like I need to be reset. I pray, pray, pray, and pray!
I rely on God to see me through situations that I feel I could never figure out on my own. I ask him to help me manage my fears, doubts, and worries. I ask him to see me through my lowest points. I ask him to love me, even when I feel unlovable. That’s the beauty though, he is there TO be asked.
I am not meant to feel alone, because I never am. I am not meant to handle it all by myself, because God will help me handle all things he sends my way. I am not meant to carry around all the past things I have done wrong, because I am meant to be forgiven. I am not meant to focus on my anxious thoughts, because I am meant to give those to God in prayer. I am meant to have peace, love, and happiness, because that is what God says that I deserve.
When my anxiety hits me full force, all I have to do is open my heart and ask God to take away my worries, fears, and negative thoughts. When I turn to God, he does as I ask. He may not always answer me the way that I want, but he does always answer. God stands by my side, calms my mind, and takes on the majority of the negative anxious thoughts that are plaguing me. God is resilient and never gives up on me.
I feel blessed that I have someone who willingly loves me even knowing deep, dark, terrible things about me. God is invested in me. God will see me through anything, because he loves me. God will see me through everything, because HE needs me to be the person he created me to be. I have things I need to do for him here in this beautiful world.
I need to be able to make this world a better place in whatever way that he calls me. I can’t do that if I am a hot mess trying to desperately handle everything on my own. I can’t do that if I am so anxious I can’t function. I NEED to rely on someone stronger than myself. God will always work to help me be a better version of myself, and he will always work to help me overcome things that could drag me down. Why? Because God loves me and is counting on me to do what he needs done.
That said, I decided to write down what my typical prayer is each day. Given the day, it may look a little different. It may be broken into three separate prayers depending on if my one year old interrupts (he-he). I want to share my prayer with you in case you would like to use it, too. My hope is that maybe this prayer will inspire you to pray your own prayer. NOTHING is too much to ask of God and there should be no shame about what your needs are.
I challenge you to turn towards God and actually TALK to him. Tell him your worries, fears, and doubts. Let him shoulder your pain, stress, and worry. Ask him to help you change, if that’s what you feel you need. Ask him to see you through a challenging/overwhelming circumstance. Ask him to take on your worries, doubts, and fears. Ask him to carry what you feel that you cannot. It is okay to ask him to help you carry your load. You have someone there banging on the door ASKING and PLEADING to help you, so let him!
My Daily Prayer for My Anxiety
Lord, I pray that you will take me through this blessed day, and help me to make good decisions and face my troubles along the way.
I am thankful for my family, friends, home, and health.
I appreciate all you have given me in this life, and I appreciate the love that you freely give to me today.
Make me strong enough to overcome things that want to bring me down.
Open my mind and heart to you, and allow me to accept, without guilt, your protection, love, and guidance.
I ask to wear you as my armor, and use you as my shelter today.
I ask you to please forgive me for the sins of yesterday, so I can start fresh today.
Help me to leave the past in the past, forgive myself, and move forward without the weight of things that have long since been forgiven by you.
Please cleanse my mind and take away all thoughts, fears, and worries that will hold me back.
I ask you to help me trust you, without fail, in all circumstances, even when my instinct is to fight for control and trust only myself.
I ask that you help me be better than I was yesterday, so that I may be able to accomplish what your will is for me today.
Please protect my loved ones, help those that are sick, and comfort those who are hurting.
As your servant I ask you to use me today, Lord.
Use me to help others, and use me to help make this beautiful world a better place.
I ask you to work within me so that my fear will not hold me back from things you need done.
You have asked me to be anxious for nothing and instead pray for everything. Help me do this, Lord.
I ask that you remind me of your presence, and the safety your presence brings when fear, worry, and anxiety threaten to overtake me.
Stay by my side, so that I know it will all be okay.
Relax my body and my mind, so that I can the person you have called me to be.
I ask you to remind me that there are more positives than negatives in this beautiful life of mine.
I am rooted by my hope and trust in you, Lord.
I ask you to bring me peace and happiness on this blessed day, in Jesus name I pray.
Until next week,
It is hard to seek out the positives of anxiety, but through looking at my life I have been able to see that I have learned many wonderful life lessons BECAUSE of my anxiety. I have talked about how my anxiety taught me a tremendous amount about unconditional love. In this post, I want to share another positive that came out of my having anxiety. My anxiety has made me a better teacher. Yep, you heard me right. This blaring problem and constant battle of mine has made me a better teacher. Anxiety has made me better at my job, and I am thankful.
Over the years my anxiety has shaped me into a person that is now full of concern and empathy. I am hyper aware and sensitive to the needs of others. Now, I’m not saying I was a person incapable of concern and empathy before my anxiety. However, I will say that my perspective of having experienced anxiety first hand has made me into this person that now cares about the needs and worries of others more fiercely than I ever could have without having hit the lows that I have hit.
I am not perfect. I have faults. I still have a lot to learn about teaching. I have a lot of room for growth as a person. Nonetheless, I am proud to admit that I have grown in a truly positive way every day, because of the experiences I have had with my anxiety.
As a result of my anxiety, I want to understand what someone needs when they are hurting. I do not want this just because I was raised to do the right thing, but because my heart literally hurts when I see others going through what I went through. My experiences make me desperately want to help others. I want to help people who feel misunderstood and alone. I want others to know that what they are going through is something others have gone through as well.
So, how does my anxiety make me a better teacher to my sweet little sixth grade students you might ask?
1. As a result of my anxiety, I am extra sensitive to the moods of those around me. I am able to figure out my students’ moods and emotional needs pretty easily. This means that I can help them feel more understood, content, safe, and cared about by being aware of their emotional needs. A student that feels understood, content, safe, and cared about will be ABLE to work on their academics.
Prior to my anxiety, I thought kids just needed to pay attention and do what the teachers asked them to do without excuse. End of story. That’s what I was expected to do in school, and I did. The only reason we had school was because we needed to learn, right? I still think kids need to pay attention and do what the teacher has asked them to do. However, I am more understanding that a kid who is more emotionally secure is a kid that CAN focus and complete their school work.
Think about this for a minute. If a student isn’t made me to feel secure, safe, and understood while they are at school they will not be able to focus 100% on their school work. My anxiety has given me an extra sensitive tool to use at school to help my students feel secure, safe, and understood, which in turn helps them enjoy coming to school. As a result, they typically work harder and learn more.
2. I can understand the constant fight to turn off their little minds when streams of thoughts are distracting them from what they should be doing. Let me say here that Middle Schoolers always have “other” things on their minds. However, I feel that I am more understanding when they aren’t able to turn off other thoughts, because I have been there. I am understanding when they are not able to focus, because they have a million things running through their minds.
Are they worried about practice later? Are they concerned about going home and needing to get chores done? Do they have to babysit their siblings later on? Are they traveling? Is money tight and mom and dad have been fighting? Did their friends say something bad about them? The list of questions that might be running through my students minds goes on-on-on. I still expect them to learn when they come to school. However, I recognize they may need to be given a chance to calm their mind and cut out the extra thoughts, so that they can still get the assignment done.
I help them WANT to pay attention and learn what I am teaching. I try even harder to help them see value in what we are doing, because I know how easily distracted they can be with various worries and thoughts. I try to help keep their minds from wandering by helping them see that what we are doing needs their undivided attention. I have had to get VERY creative and VERY hands-on with my lessons to do this, and this has made me a better teacher.
3. My anxiety helps me understand their worries and the millions of what-if scenarios that run through their little minds, because they have run through my mind too. I understand their sensitive insecure natures and their need to feel accepted, understood, and not alone. How do I understand? Because I have been there and felt those things myself.
4. For my anxious students, of which there are many, I can truly relate to them. I remember how hard it was for me to work when my anxiety was at its peak. How can I ever expect a ten or eleven year old child to complete their work when they are not mentally in a place that will let them do their academics? I work hard to create a space catered to helping students enjoy learning while being prompted to stay calm and relaxed. In a lot of instances, not all, I understand what they need to hear and how to present things to elicit the least amount of stress. I know what would have helped me, and I want to do that for my students.
5. I have learned from my anxiety and with being a teacher that while I have a curriculum to teach, I also have little hearts to look after. Both are extremely important and both directly relate to one another. I take these jobs seriously.
6. I have learned to slow down and take the time to invest in my students, because I want my students to invest in ME and my CLASS. Oftentimes, my students need to be reassured about their what-if’s, worries, fears, and anxieties. I can see the same stress in my students that I have lived with.I want to share an example of how my anxiety has helped my students by sharing the below conversation that I had with one of my students two weeks ago. No, I do not always respond correctly and I am not a perfect teacher. However, I do feel like I am in a position to be better for my students because of my understanding of my anxiety.
“I get it kiddo, I promise I really do. Tests are hard and stressful, but you will do great I just know it,” was my reply to a Sixth grade student of mine who was talking to me nervously about their upcoming test in Science.
“Mrs. Scerri you don’t understand. My mom will be so upset with me if I don’t do well. I mean what-if my teacher thinks I’m dumb because I end up failing the test, what-if I don’t remember what I studied and my teacher doesn’t think I really did study…and I did I really did! What will happen if I do badly on the test and it makes my entire grade go down? I thought I was ready, but there are 40 questions on this test. What-if I don’t get done and have to turn it in incomplete.”
I was ready to respond routinely by saying, “If you do your best and try your hardest you won’t let anyone down. You will do great.” While this is TRUE, it was not what my student needed to hear. My student needed to be reassured about her what-if’s, worries, fears, and anxieties. I saw the same stress in her that I had surrounding tests when I was a child.
My sweet eleven year old student had come to me with the same worries for each test this year, and she came to me with the same level of stress no matter the subject or length of test. Instead of responding quickly when she came to me again like I sometimes want to do in order to save time, I decided to take a few minutes and really talk to her.
In that moment, I decided to invest in her. I will be the first to admit it is hard to find a balance between prioritizing the long to-do lists and having these conversations. Teaching four classes a day and trying to stay on top of all my darling sixth grade students in no easy task, and doesn’t leave me much time for extra conversations.
In that moment I thought to myself, Ginger, you dealt with test anxiety from Elementary School all the way through College and you can help her feel better if you just take a minute. Take that extra minute and talk with her, she needs it and will do better academically once she has talked it through.
I thought about what I would have wanted my teachers to tell me. I thought on this for a minute and told my student the truth. I would have wanted a teacher to take the time to talk me through my anxiety, and I would have wanted my teacher to talk to me truthfully about what outcomes could come from whatever I was worried about. I would want to look at the outcome, and realize that it was going to be okay no matter how it turned out. I would have wanted to be reassured.
I told my student, “You know what kiddo, it probably is going to disappoint you mom if you don’t do well on the test, but that will be a disappointment that passes quickly. Your mom will love you regardless of a Science test. Have you talked to your mom about how stressed you get about taking tests? Maybe talking with her with help her understand you better, and she might even be able to help you figure out some tricks on how to take the next test without so much worry.”
“I just don’t think she will understand,” she said.
“Would you just try talking to her, for me?” I said.
“Maybe, but Mrs. Scerri what if my teacher thinks I’m dumb? What-if I don’t remember what I studied? What if I run out of time?”
I was glad that my sweet sixth grader was going to maybe talk with her mom, but she had already moved on to going through the rest of her list of worries related to her upcoming test.
Trying to head off her other worries I said, “Well I don’t think your teacher will think you are dumb just because of a test. Your teacher will know how hard you work during class every day and think that maybe you just don’t do well on tests. I know all your teachers know you are hard working and that you understand most of what you learn, so they won’t ever look down on you just because of this one test. I know it’s super hard to think positive when you are worried, but instead of worrying about the what-if of not remembering what you studied try to say to yourself that there is no way for you to forget it since you did such a good job preparing last night. Try to believe in yourself, kid, and don’t talk yourself out of knowing things that you know. You’ve got this.”
“What-if I run out of time, and then I’m late for my break or my exploratory class? “She asked.
“Have you ever run out of time before, and not been given the chance to finish your assignment during the next class period?” I asked.
She thought about my question for a minute and said, “Well, no.”
“Look, kiddo, if you work hard and your teacher sees you are using all the time to do a good job, and you just don’t get done with the test she is going to give you time to finish your test at a different time. Don’t stress about something that hasn’t happened yet, especially now that you know your teacher won’t ever put you into the position of not having time to finish tests. You’re always going to be given the chance to finish your tests and assignments, and your teachers aren’t ever going to have you turn it in incomplete. Take your time and use as much of it as you need.”
This whole conversation took a whopping three minutes, and in those three minutes I saw that her what-if’s had been played out and addressed, and her worry seemed to be going away by the minute. In that moment, I felt proud that I had been able to help by investing in her the emotional support she needed. I feel that prior to my anxiety I would not have been as patient at walking through each of her concerns, however, because I have walked that anxious path I wanted to help her feel better. I wanted her to understand she was going to be okay. I wanted her to know that she could do amazing, because she was! My anxiety has allowed me to WANT to be this way with my students, and that folks has made me a better teacher.
I challenge you to look at your job, relationships, hobbies, etc. this week. What do you do? Is there a silver lining to your anxiety that helps you be better at your job, in your relationship, in your hobby? I want to ask you to do something very hard this week. Find a positive aspect or outcome of your anxiety instead of a negative.
Until next week,
*Disclaimer: I am in no way a medical professional. The below recommended vitamins and minerals are things I found and now use to manage my own anxiety, however, before you take any of the below vitamins please discuss with your doctor. Use my recommendations at your own discretion.
Anxiety is something that I had to work hard to figure out, and I still haven’t figured it out one hundred percent. I don’t think anyone ever does. I have had to really research and look into anxiety, try new tips and tricks, as well as use coping skills in order to manage it to the point that I am now.
One of the easiest things to help me manage my anxiety is simply taking care of my body’s basic nutrient and vitamin needs. In the midst of researching, I found a lot of information on being aware of what nutrients your body needs to be the best it can be physically, mentally, and emotionally. I would have never thought that vitamins and supplements would make that much of a difference, but they really do. Upon researching, I decided that I needed to know if I was getting proper nutrients, and if I had deficiencies. I became intrigued with the idea that certain vitamins could really help with my anxiety. It sounded too good to be true, but it wasn’t.
Vitamins and minerals are extremely important for your body’s overall health and function. In my research I found vitamins that make a big difference in both mood and anxiety. I also found that some vitamin deficiency’s result in rapid heart beat, nervousness, and fatigue…hmmm, I remember thinking… that sounds oddly like my anxiety. Is my body making my anxiety worse, because I am not being aware that it needs a certain vitamin?
It was fascinating to read that you can manage your mood and anxiety simply by taking a vitamin pill, or by eating a lot of foods that are rich in a specific vitamin. When I first started having anxiety, I was unsure of what I could do that would actually work. A dear friend of mine recommended looking into and researching vitamins and minerals that help with anxiety, and man am I glad that I did. There is a very real connection with what vitamins our bodies need and how that relates to anxiety. Do yourself a favor and check to make sure you are getting the vitamins below.
This is my number one recommendation for a vitamin that I use weekly to manage my anxiety. Seriously, I can’t talk enough about how awesome magnesium is, and how much it has helped me manage my anxiety. If I can’t sleep, I take magnesium. If I feel anxious, I take magnesium. If I know I am going to have a stressful day that might bring out my anxiety, I take magnesium. If you are deficient in magnesium it can cause weakness, fatigue, nervousness, and rapid pulse; all of which make your anxiety much worse. If you are deficient in magnesium this can bring on an anxiety attack when you otherwise wouldn’t have had it. It not only works to manage and stay on top of your anxiety when you take magnesium daily or weekly, but if you are in the midst of a panic attack or having a particularly anxious day you can take it to help calm down in that moment. I use Natural Calm, and it is amazing.
I know most people think of calcium and associate it with their mom trying to get them to drink their milk for strong bones. However, lots of things in your body depend on calcium to work properly. Your heart, muscles, and nerves need calcium to function properly. Guess what else calcium effects? Your mood. Calcium is important for regulating our mood. Calcium acts as a natural sedative with calming and relaxing effects. I get the Natural Calm (my magnesium supplement I mentioned above) with added Calcium. This lets me kill two birds with one stone. These two supplements combined in my daily Natural Calm dose help me manage my anxiety extremely well.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant, and guess what? Antioxidants are super important for your body, and they even help you manage anxiety symptoms. Vitamin C helps to combat stress and repair the damage that is done to your body by stress and anxiety. Drink that orange juice, eat that kiwi, or take that Vitamin C tablet. Vitamin C also helps keep you healthy by boosting your immune system. Get your Vitamin C people!
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a mood and energy booster. That means if you are deficient in Vitamin D it can make you more tired, it can effect mood changes, and can make you irritable. Yikes, right? All of the symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency make anxiety worse, and can spiral you into anxiety even if it was under control. So get your tush outside and soak up some sun, or take yourself a Vitamin D supplement.
5. Vitamin B
Vitamin B helps the body make the hormone serotonin, which influences mood. If you do not have enough Vitamin B in your body, your mood will be effected. This of course directly effects your anxiety. Take that Vitamin B!
Probiotics are good for you in so many different ways. Maintaining a healthy amount of gut bacteria, which is what a probiotic does, helps your body have a healthy response to chronic stress. Probiotics have also been shown to promote good mental health. Pick out a good probiotic, and start taking it.
7. Fish Oil
You need fat. Yep, you heard that right. Get your fat! The right fats are extremely important for you to have, so make sure you get them into your diet. I take a Fish Oil each day. Fish Oil, Omega-3, is the basic building blocks of the brain and nervous system, so taking fish oil helps maintain a healthy level for brain function.
These are the seven vitamins I take on a daily or weekly schedule to help with my anxiety. I feel powerful making sure that my body is equipped with what it needs to help me conquer and manage my anxiety. Knowing that my body is fueled with the right things to help my anxiety is extremely important. I would love to hear the vitamins or supplements that you may take to manage your anxiety.
Until next time,
Anxiety can make you your worst version of yourself, and leave you feeling utterly defeated and not understood. It is easy to look at the many negative things that are associated with anxiety, and allow yourself to be frustrated and angry that you are restricted by something that you can’t control. Living with anxiety is hard. Heck, it is hard living with anxiety even though I have figured out how to manage my anxiety to a point where I can live successfully and fully (without medicine). I still have my bad days. It is tiring and hard having to be consistently intentional with staying on top of my anxiety.
Sometimes, it is difficult to try and find the positives in your life if you are overwhelmed when dealing with your anxiety. I have found that positive silver lining though, and I have to share. I have learned a beautiful, and unexpected lesson through looking at my anxiety. What is this silver lining you might be wondering? Love, unconditional love. Love and support beyond what I feel I deserve.
I have found a deeper appreciation and love FOR my loved ones by watching them love me the way they do. I am at my absolute worst when anxiety overwhelms me, and you know what? My husband, mom, dad, sister, friends, etc. still love me in SPITE of my anxiety. Take a moment and think about someone who loves you through your anxiety. Do not worry that you wish they didn’t have too, just take a moment to feel the peace and security that their love brings you. They love you so deeply that it does not matter what version of you that they see, because they are going to love you regardless.
It is easy to love someone when life is easy and your relationship is simply able to be centered on love and happiness. It is easy to love someone when everything is good, but it is when everything is falling apart that love is hard to give and even harder to receive. In the hard times being loved means so much more, because you are shown the extent and depth of someone’s’ love for you through their free choice to stay by your side. You see the depth of their love in that they are committed to you and they are not going anywhere. When someone loves you through your worst you know they love you DEEPLY and UNCONDITIONALLY. This is a beautiful thing to realize, right?
With my anxiety I have shown sides of myself that I am ashamed of, but I am still loved by those in my immediate family and by my friends. They may not particularly LIKE my state of anxiousness in that moment, but they still LOVE me regardless. I have been crippled by fear and worry and unable to do things that I need to do for myself, however, they have helped me by simply still loving me.
It is a comfort to me when I am feeling overwhelmed to I not have to worry if my husband is going to walk away, leave me, or become so frustrated that I am no longer worth it. I KNOW that he will be there always no matter his frustration level, and I know that he will always love me. I know that he will always want to help me, and he will always try to support me. My family and friends will be the people that I turn to, and in some cases lash out towards (I hate looking back and knowing I did this to someone who loves me). However, they will be the people that hold me and love me through whatever I am feeling in spite of how I may lash out, act, or react.
At its worst my anxiety has made me need constant reassurance, want to plan for everything (no you cannot ever plan everything), stress out over things I shouldn’t, over-analyze everything from each conversation to each relationship I have, fearful of being alone, terrified of long drives by myself, worried about traveling, etc. and the list continues. I am not a pretty sight when I am stressed out, or when something does not go as I planned. I am not a pretty sight when I am not able to do something I needed to get done, at which point I proceed to worry anxiously over my “to-do” list until the next day when I can finally get it done. I am not a pretty sight as I get more-and-more stressed the closer I get to a long drive by myself. Anxiety in and of itself is N0T a pretty sight.
I know it has to be hard being the spouse, family member, or friend of someone with anxiety. It has got to be difficult being part of my support system that sees me in total freak out mode hearing the same worries and situations over-and-over again. I know it is hard wanting to understand my anxiety, but not being able to. I know it has got to be hard to love someone when they are crying and feeling overwhelmed and they don’t know why, or what they can do in order to fix it. I know it has got to be hard to love someone that can’t turn off their anxiety, so they can just feel like themselves again. I know it has got to be so hard to love someone who feels undeserving of love, because they feel like a mess or a burden.
Anxiety makes it HARD on support systems, family, and friends to understand those of us who suffer from its affliction. But you know what? My support system LOVES me through each situation no matter how hard it is on them. They have learned what I need from them to calm down and manage my anxiety, and they want to help, not out of obligation, but out of love for me.
The fact that we have people that love us through all our problems, faults, worries, and fears teaches us how blessed we are to have them and be loved like that. I know that it makes me want to do better, not just for myself, but for my loved ones. I know that everyday I wake up thankful for my husband who easily forgives me for my outbursts. I am thankful that, most of the time, he understands what it is that I need to hear and what I need to do in order to feel better. I am even more thankful that he doesn’t make me feel bad about myself, how I have reacted, or what I am feeling. Because of his love, I am able to wake up with a regretful and grateful heart to ask for his forgiveness if I lashed out at him. As a receiver of his constant love, I am aware that I want to be deserving of his love. I wake up with the perspective to do better FOR him because he deserves for me to be the best version of myself; he deserves to be loved like he loves me.
Through my husbands’ unconditional love and the love of others, I am inspired by how great love can be. My anxiety has allowed me to understand how much each person in my support system loves me if they are all willing to stay by my side, shoulder my pain, and work towards my goals like they are their own. I love them each so much more, because I know they will never love me less. This ladies and gentleman is the beautiful silver lining of my anxiety. I can look back at my worst moments and know just how loved I am, because of the people standing by my side through the thick of it.
The next time you find yourself overwhelmed with the negatives of anxiety, I challenge you to think about the people you turn towards that willingly help and love you through your anxiety. Appreciate them and know that you are loved beyond what you can comprehend. Accept their unconditional love, because you are deserving of it and know that you will get through this. You are loved unconditionally, and that makes it all so much better.
Until next week,
Happy Easter morning to everyone! As all your homes wake up to coffee, Easter Bunny baskets, and candy remember to reflect and start fresh today. I challenge you to forgive yourself for whatever troubles you, and let the past rest. Let go of the stresses and the weight on your shoulders of not moving forward. Jesus gave us forgiveness of our sins when he died on the cross and then arose from the dead. It is a disservice to not use his forgiveness. It is a hard thing to forgive yourself when you feel you have done wrong or not done enough, but do it. God freely forgives you and wants you to forgive yourself. Challenge: Forgive yourself, forgive your neighbors, and let go of the past. You will thank yourself for it,and so will your anxiety!
For those of you suffering from anxiety, you know that it is hard turning to others for support. For those of you who are the people that someone with anxiety leans on, it can be so hard to know the right thing to say and how best to support them. Therefore, I have decided to write this weeks’ blog on the things that people should NOT say to someone with anxiety. If you suffer from daily anxiety I challenge you to talk to you husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, etc. and tell them the things they may say that simply do not help you. In some cases their words may trigger your anxiety to be even worse.
If you typically confide in people that love you, trust me when I say that they WANT to know what they can say or do to help you. They just don’t always know what that may be. YOU need to help yourself by letting others know what they can do, what they can say, and what things you may need to support you. YOU need to do this for your loved ones, so that they can help you live your life as free of anxiety as is possible.
I know that I have been fortunate with an extremely supportive family and group friends who have actively wanted to help me through my journey living with anxiety. However, even with my amazing and supportive family and friends they have each said things along the way that have made me feel worse about myself in a time when I was already struggling. I know that they do not do this in an intentional way to hurt or dismiss what I am dealing with, but sometimes it happens and they are unaware of what their words have done to me. It is important to remember that those NOT suffering from anxiety may have a hard time understanding what you are going through.
Please know that in no way am I being negative towards the people that do not suffer from anxiety. I am not being negative about the things they may say. I am just wanting to share with both anxiety suffers and their support systems what responses I have received personally that made my anxiety worse instead of better. I hope that these statements facilitate communication and awareness. So without further ado, below are 10 things you should NOT say to an anxious person and why.
1. Just relax. Calm down.
I can practically hear my husbands’ voice saying these words to me as I type. I can also hear my heated response, “If I could JUST calm down or relax I would.” It is so hard when you are wound up tightly, stressed, worried, and in the midst of extreme anxiety. It is even harder to hear someone tell you to just relax and calm down. Do you know how desperate we are to do both of these things? Anxious people would love to be able to just flip a switch and turn all the anxiety off. Anxious people would love to just instantaneously be able to calm down or relax at the recommendation, and it is frustrating being aware of what you need to do and not being able to do it. We know that we SHOULD relax and SHOULD calm down in the midst of our anxiety, but often times we have an extremely hard time in the moment doing these things. Instead of saying these words it would be best to say something validating. Try to say that you understand they are needing a few minutes to calm down, you know that what they are experiencing is hard, and that you are there if they need anything.
2. Just stop thinking about it.
I promise you that if someone could just NOT think about it they would gladly do this. Unfortunately, the more someone tries not to think about something the more they obsess over it, and are unable to get it out of their mind. It may be tiresome and hard for you to understand the need to talk through everything, but letting them talk through whatever is worrying them will be much more beneficial for them and in the long run you.
3. Just get over it, and let it go.
If it was as easy as just telling themselves to just get over something and move on, then I assure you they would have already done it. It is not easy to just get over something when you have a lot of fear, worry, and stress involved. Instead, offer to help them come up with a plan that they can follow in steps to address and let go of their anxiety.
4. You’re allowing your anxiety to win, and in turn are bringing anxiety on to yourself.
Anxiety is NOT our fault, we do NOT choose it. Not one person I know would choose to bring anxiety on themselves. Trust me when I say, we already know that in some ways we are contributing to own anxiety, and we don’t need reminding that we are making it worse. I will be the first person to admit that YES I have often fed my anxiety by giving it power over me. Your mind is a powerful tool to overcoming your anxiety, however, if you are in the thralls of anxiety then you feel as though your mind and body have betrayed you. You already feel like your anxiety has won, and you don’t need to be told that YOU let it happen.
You are probably self-aware that anxiety just kicked your tush. You feel overwhelmed with your mind and body not responding correctly (without anxiety), and it is frustrating to be told that it is your fault how your body and mind are reacting to the world around you. You can’t help responding to fear when you are afraid of a situation, you can’t help responding with panic when you feel overwhelmed, and you can’t help your body’s physical reaction to a perceived threat. Those of us who suffer from anxiety are aware that we contribute to our anxiety, but we don’t need reminders from others that we might be bringing it on ourselves by not being strong enough to overcome our fears.
5. It’s just a phase, you’ll grow out of it.
Even though this phrase was said to me out of love and with hope that anxiety would not be a permanent battle that I lived with, it was still so frustrating to hear. The better phrase would have been, “It will get better as you grow and learn to deal with your anxiety.” Yes, life can kick your tush and throw a lot at you at once and cause temporary anxiety that you can overcome with better circumstances and time. However, for someone that suffers from generalized anxiety this statement is incredibly frustrating.
Generalized anxiety is not a phase that you just grow out of. You might work incredibly hard to build up management strategies that work against your anxiety most of the time in order to have a better future, but anxiety will still always be there to some degree. Accept that your loved one might truly have to live with anxiety for LIFE. No, it is not something you ever want for someone that you love to live a life of anxiety.
Accepting that they need to prepare themselves long term is important. If you tell them it is just a phase and the phase never goes away, they will be even more anxious and scared that it is not going away. They will forever wait for a day that their anxiety magically phases out of their life, and unfortunately that does not always happen. It is better to accept that they have anxiety, and try to help them understand it and learn to live with.
6.Snap out of it, it can’t be that bad.
Tough love brought this phrase out of a family member when they felt helpless and unable to “fix” what was happening to me when I first started having panic attacks. Forcefulness of wanting to get me back to myself was not going to miraculously take me back to my old non-anxious self. If I could have just snapped my fingers and found myself at peace, I would have done it. It was hurtful being told to snap out of it, because I knew in that moment they were incredibly frustrated with me on top of the fact that I was incredibly frustrated with myself for a reaction that I couldn’t control. I also knew there was no way they understood what was going on with me. This one little sentence made me feel so misunderstood and alone.
It really was THAT bad. Not only was I scared and confused with what was happening to my body and mind, but I was physically and mentally not able to be whom I NEEDED to be. I felt like I had been robbed of myself when my anxiety started up. Not only did I WANT to be back to normal, but I couldn’t function like I NEEDED too. I was not over exaggerating when I felt too scared and worried to drive. I was not over exaggerating when I felt like I was truly having a heart attack when a panic attack would set in. I was not over exaggerating the heightened fear, stress, worry, and utter panic I felt each time anxiety gripped me. It made me feel ashamed that someone would think I would exaggerate what I was going through and how it was affecting me. After this statement was told to me, I flat out refused to talk to anyone (DO NOT DO THIS IT IS NOT HELPFUL). I was embarrassed and ashamed and isolated myself, which was not healthy. This single phrase kept me from getting the support and help I needed for months.
7.You’re just too sensitive.
Anxious people are sensitive. Yes, we worry over everything and take everything to heart. Yes, we have to actively work on under-reacting instead of over-reacting to almost everything, but it is NOT because we are sensitive that we have anxiety.
8. Don’t be paranoid.
To an anxious person, being paranoid is COMPLETELY different than anxiety. We do not want to be told that we are paranoid, it makes us feel terrible about what we are thinking and feeling. Yes, we might need to go over something a million different ways in our minds and stress over fearful factors in our surroundings. However, that does not mean that we are paranoid. What we are feeling in that moment of fear, or that moment of stress is very real to us for whatever reason that our mind and body tell us.
9. There are a lot of people that live with worse anxiety, and they don’t react like you do.
Perspective is an important thing and can teach you a lot, however, do not compare one persons’ problems to another persons’ problems when it is not you walking in their shoes. Comparing someone to someone else only invites feeling of in-adequateness and self-judgement. Just don’t do that to someone you love and care about.
10. I don’t know what you want me to do about it.
This one is frustrating both for the person living with anxiety and for the confidant. It is hard hearing about the struggles for the millionth time from someone you love, and not feeling like you can actually DO anything to help them. I know it gets frustrating not feeling helpful, but know that you are helping just by listening to them. Listening and being present is doing something about their anxiety.
**For suffers of anxiety, remember your loved ones are desperate to try any tactic they feel will help you. Try to remember they come from a place of love even when they are forceful, harsh, or hurtful (not talking about verbal, emotional, or physical abuse as those are completely different circumstances and should be addressed).***
I hope these things NOT to say help all people touched by anxiety. I would love to hear your thoughts on this weeks' blog.
Until next week readers,
Mornings can be a great opportunity for quite time to reflect. It can be hard to set aside time, but I challenge you to do it. I find that reading scriptures centered around overcoming my fears and anxieties are very important to setting myself up to tackle my upcoming weeks. These are some great scriptures that help me get the right perspective to overcome my fear, worry, and anxiety. I challenge you to remember that God has got you in his hands at all times. 💕
I used to be the worlds worst at not being able to tell someone no. I still am sometimes, not going to lie. I was your girl if you needed someone to do something for you. I would literally pile myself high with all the extras that others needed help with. I was the one that everyone went to when they needed a shift covered, because they knew I couldn’t say no when they asked me. I would share my notes with people who didn’t make it to class, go watch kiddos for someone even when I had other plans, and rush over to help someone even if it meant I was not helping myself. I was the person that would agree to serve on multiple boards and committees and agree to fundraisers and events just because they needed extra hands. I agreed to all sorts of plans all the time, and stressed myself out over being able to keep them. I was overrun with not being able to say a single word…NO.
Now, you might be wondering why a grown women such as myself might have had a hard time saying no. If you feel like you can’t understand why one little word is so hard to say, then you don’t understand the life and mind of an anxious person. It’s not that easy to say that one little word when you are an anxious person that analyzes, frets, and second guesses every person, decision, relationship, facial expression, event, etc. Yes, my anxiety is manageable NOW but it hasn’t always been.
For the anxious worriers of the world who are scared that they will hurt someones’ feelings or let someone down when they say that one little word, you will understand that NO is a very really hard word to say. Anxious people do not want to see the face of someone that they feel will be disappointed, because it means they will constantly worry over it. Anxious people will truly fight the urge to try to make-up with that person for what they feel was a let down when they said no. In reality, saying no to doing something for someone might be a let down to that person that really needs the help. However, that does not mean that they feel let down with you personally. Remember that people! Yes, that person might actually need help and be upset not to get it. No, that does not mean it was your responsibility to help them. Remember, if someone does get upset because you say no, more than likely they are not upset at YOU they are upset because of THEIR situation.
An anxious person might also feel like they need to volunteer to do something in the future for that person, if they do say the dreaded NO word. Why? Because they will want to fix the feeling of the previous letdown. You might hear an anxious person say that they can’t this time, but that they want to help you do x, y, z the next time. This is their way to feel better about having to tell someone no. With perspective and understanding of my anxiety, I am aware that I do not have to fix or make-up with anyone for saying no. However, it took a lot of intentional practice for me to combat the guilt I felt with saying no to the logic that it was okay to say no when I needed to. I taught myself that I did NOT need to feel bad about telling someone I couldn’t do something.
As an anxious person, I learned to develop the right perspective in order to not overload myself with others’ favors. Of course, I WANT to help others as much as I can when I can, but not at my own expense. Remember people, you are the only person in the whole world that can 100% have your best interests in mind at all times. This means you have to look after yourself and make sure you are not stressing yourself out or over exerting yourself mentally or physically.
I had to learn to not feel guilty over needing to tell others that I wanted to help but couldn’t. I had to learn that I needed to put myself (and my family) first sometimes and that it was OKAY to do this. Invest in yourself people. If you are already stressed and overwhelmed trying to manage your OWN stuff, then do yourself and others a favor and say no to THEIR stuff. How can you possibly help them if you are overwhelmed with what you have on your own plate?
Next time you are asked to help with something, I challenge you to ask yourself these questions:
Prioritize what YOU need to do, and then see if there is any wiggle room for time to help others. Say NO if you simply can’t help do that favor. It will be okay. You are meant to do a lot of things….but NOT everything. If your BFF calls and asks you to pick-up her kiddos on the way home, and you are going the opposite way for an appointment you need to be at do NOT say sure (unless of course it’s an emergency…but those are completely different). If it is going to cause you to change your plans, and add on extra stress, then just say that you would love to help but just can’t this time. You can say no in a polite way.
Even though I still say yes a lot of the time, it has helped my anxiety tremendously learning to say no some of the time. I now usually only say yes to things that I WANT to do and can do without extra stress.
I challenge you this week to stay strong and say no. It was the best thing for my anxiety when I learned to use that two letter word.
Until next time readers,
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, have faith, I will not fail you or forsake you, and I will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
I have had a hard time staying faithful and true to this Bible verse these past few weeks, because life has been too much. I feel like telling the referee that I need a timeout. The stresses of my daughter being sick, life in general, and anxiety have left me a poor version of myself.
My anxiety leaves me with a need to be in control of my life, to understand what is going on around me, to doubt and question, to have order, to be successful, to be able to plan and manage, etc. I notice when I get stressed or overwhelmed, I can lash out in anger or frustration. I don’t mean the hitting and cussing kind of anger (seek help if that’s the boat you’re in)….I mean the snapping at you because you looked at me wrong anger.
My anxiety demands planning, order, and control. Normally, I am able to use my own tips I have found to manage my anxiety. However, when extremely stressful life events leave me thrown into situations that are not plannable, not orderly, and leave me out of control it feeds my anxiety like gas to a flame. Is it fair to those I lash out towards? Absolutely not, and moreover, it always leaves me feeling terribly ashamed of myself.
This week has brought another round of Urgent Care, Emergency Room Visits, and Doctor Appointments for my daughter Eleanor. It has been so frustrating to not be in control, and not know what is going on with her. Elle has had a fever of 105-106, congestion, stomach issues, wheezing, and a full body rash. I have been assured that this has nothing to do with her previous sickness, but my anxiety leaves me questioning this as well.
We have been told it is the Endovirus, Rosella, and an Ear Infection. Do I trust these diagnosis? Nope. Why? Because until today, there has been no blood work and there were no tests that can conclusively tell me 100% that (insert virus here) is actually the cause of her problems. My anxiety makes it to where I NEED to know 100% what is wrong with my sweet baby. I am the one meant to make decisions for her and protect her and I feel like I am failing. I can’t just take the word of a doctor without proof with something as important as my daughter. I need to feel reassured that we are on the right track.
How is it that my baby who was just in the ICU three weeks ago with the Flu and Pneumonia is now extremely sick again? This time is even harder, because we simply don’t know what is wrong. What is causing a 105 fever and a full body rash???
I am overwhelmed. I am stressed. I am unsatisfied with what the doctors are telling me, and I don’t trust in them since they have been wrong throughout this week. My mind goes from best possibilities to the worst as far as a diagnosis. I have had to miss work. I have had to put a smile on my face and breathe deeply to try to see the positives.
It is HARD being an adult, people. It is HARD being a parent. It is HARD doing both while living with anxiety.
I am not saying that my life is any harder than others, because everyone deals with their own demons whether openly or silently, and guess what? They are all different demons, because we are all different people. However, I can speak from the perspective of someone with anxiety and say that it sure is not easy to keep your head above water in such stressful times.
How do I cope right now, and how am I still trying to go about my life as normally as possible?
I followed my own advice. I prayed, breathed, reduced sugars and caffeine, I though positively, I reached out to others and let them help me, etc. I’ll tell you a secret. It was so hard accepting help even though we needed it. Were these things enough? No, of course it was not enough with the stresses of my daughter having two major life threatening illnesses in the past two weeks on top my anxiety. But am I making it? Yes, I am. Well….at least I am trying and that is something!
There’s the key people. The second that you stop trying, you give into your worries, fears, anxiety. Yes, life can suck (inhale greatly) sometimes, but you know what? So long as you keep trying to improve yourself, see yourself through a situation better than you did the last time, and find those negatives and try to replace them with positives; then you have never truly let your anxiety win. I know that I have both strengths and weaknesses, and I have to trust in God to help equip me to face the challenges of today and tomorrow. I need God to help me be brave. I need God to remind me that he is with me wherever I go, and that he has got this. I have faith that He has got my husband, myself, and my daughter in his hand of protection. I have faith that he will see us through. If you can’t trust yourself to see yourself through hard times…trust in him.
I challenge you to be BRAVE and to never stop trying to improve yourself and your circumstances.
Until next time!
Hey all you awesome people reading my blog. I'm Ginger and this blog chronicles how I live my life fabulously with anxiety.