Being Me, Not My Anxiety.

anxiety-words

anx·i·e·ty

aNGˈzīədē/
noun
 1.a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
2. a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

 That’s the basic definition of what I deal with on a day-to-day basis. Some days I’m fine other days I’m making up situations in my head of “what if” scenarios and biting my fingernails to the quick. Yes, it’s that serious.

I’ve tried different prescribed medicines but they all make me feel like a zombie & make me want to sleep ALL.THE.TIME. I had absolutely no energy so I don’t take them. I’ve also tried over the counter remedies as well but never feel “normal” on them either so I’ve learned to manage it without medication & again, some days are just better than others.

What do I define as normal? Well, on my good days I’m perky, talkative and I can go into the grocery store by myself or sit next to someone at a red light without feeling like everyone is looking at me and the world is caving in. That’s my normal. My bad? When I just feel groggy, weighed down & when I’m in the isle at Wal-Mart & more than 1 person is sharing it with me & I all the sudden can’t get enough air and start breaking a sweat and feel like I’m in quicksand.

I’ve seen a couple posts on Facebook before about “What People with Anxiety want their Friends to Know” & most of it is true, but not everyone who deals with anxiety deals with the same stuff. So this is me and what I want my friends to know about me & my anxiety.

  • I don’t want to be known as my anxiety. It’s honest to God hard to live with without medication but again, I hate feeling like a zombie so it’s something I just deal with. And my anxiety is not something I like to talk about because sometimes I feel weakened by it. I’m not fragile, so please don’t treat me as I am.
  • I’m not good with large crowds. If you know my church then you know this is a crazy statement but it’s a true statement. When walking into church I have noticed I tend to look down rather than around at the people. Again, that’s not me being stuck up its me being able to make myself a focal point so I can keep myself calm and focus on my breathing and make to a seat without having to rush outside just to feel like I’m able to breathe.
  • I sometimes create situations in my head that are nowhere near true. For example, today I text one of my girl friends to ask her if we were ok because *I’ve* felt tension between us the last few times we spoke. She said we were good & she hadn’t felt anything on her end. I knew that we were more than likely fine but due to my anxiety I was creating something that wasn’t there and working myself into a panic over it. (something that just happens from time to time)
  • I tend to feel left out even when I’m more than included. For example, last Saturday we were out with our Sunday School class, we went to dinner & bowling. I had a lot of fun but as we were leaving my husband gave me the car keys and went back inside to say goodbye to some people he missed and I was just walking behind some other people who I had already said goodbye to. They weren’t leaving me out they had just got a head start to the car, but in my mind I was left out of the conversation they were having. (again, something that just happens from time to time, it doesn’t always make sense but that’s anxiety)
  • I feel the need to be liked. I can drive myself into a panic attack if I feel that I’ve hurt someone’s feelings or if I think about someone not liking me. My husband tells me all the time that it shouldn’t matter what people think & I know he’s right but I like to be liked, my anxiety likes for me to be liked. It’s just part of the deal.
  • Some days I’m an emotional wreck. I can cry at literally anything and I mean anything. For example, a few nights ago Matt shut the refrigerator door just the right way to knock off a snowman magnet that my mom gave me & it broke in half. It’s fixable but I didn’t see that at the time, all I saw was the magnet my mom gave me in 2 pieces and I cried for twenty minutes.

Those are just some of the main things about me & my anxiety. However, I’m pretty sure the worst part about having anxiety is when I’m talking to someone who does have it & they say, “Well that’s just silly to feel left out.” or “Well maybe you should pray about it.”

It’s not silly. It’s a mental disease, it’s not something that I can just “get over”. And I do pray about it. If it wasn’t for God I wouldn’t be able to handle myself as well as I do without medication. I don’t bite my nails as often as I use to, I’ve gotten better at being able to go into grocery stores or Wal-Mart alone and I’ve learned how to help myself calm down when a panic attack does hit in the middle of a public place. My biggest hope is that people will stop treating mental illness lightly just because you can’t necessarily see the effects of it. 

 

 

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Unveiled.

51xvd394uwlOn January 26th I started reading the book The Unveiled Wife by Jennifer Smith (I originally saw the add for it on Facebook & you can order it off her website for $15.99 or you can find the paperback on amazon for $9.99) the tagline of the book was “Embracing intimacy with God and your husband”. I was weirded out by the tagline at first because to me (and come to find out in the book to the author as well) intimacy meant sex. I was wrong. Intimacy is not just a sexual relationship, intimacy & what she means in the tagline is a close familiarity or friendship; closeness.

After reading this book I feel like the author and I are friends, I feel like I KNOW her on a personal level rather than just author to reader. The way she was able to open up about her story is amazing to me. The vulnerability, the strength, the courage. I absolutely enjoyed the read!

After reading the book I’ve realized there are things I can improve on in order to have a more intimate relationship with God and my husband. God is a friend like no other, we all know that. However, I realized that I’m guilty of not talking to Him as a friend. I pray to Him in formality & I don’t mean that as I pray because I “have to” or anything like that but I am guilty of forgetting that I don’t have to bow my head & close my eyes to talk to God. I forget that I can talk to Him while I’m driving down the road or sitting at my desk at work or any other place or time of the day. And that’s not how it’s suppose to be. God is someone I have direct access to as being saved and rather than only talking to Him in a formal prayer is not how it should be.

God wants us to talk to Him like He’s a friend. Even though He knows our heart I am positive that it pleases Him when we come to Him and talk to Him about what exactly is going on. The same way with our husbands. Matt is quick to read when something is going on with me, even when I try my best to tell him I’m fine, he knows better. But of all the people in my life I should WANT to talk to God and my husband. I shouldn’t try to hide what’s going on from those two. Ever. Once you began trying to hide stuff in your relationship with God and your marriage it severs intimacy and damages the relationship.

I have also realized that I tend to keep my feelings bottled up in my marriage at the fear of making sure I seem like I have it all together..even though there’s laundry piled up (in 2 places), the dining room table has become a catch-all that still hasn’t recovered from Christmas & I’ve lacked on cooking dinner the past few weeks, luckily my husband is good in that department & all the others but I keep telling him, “I’ll do it” rather than letting him help me or getting upset when he just goes ahead and does it because then I feel bad because he did it all. That’s not how it’s suppose to be. We are each others help mate. We are a team. Just because I prefer to be the one to do the laundry doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world if he does a load or two just to help. But I’m really bad at letting go of that “control”.

In this book the author talks about her husbands struggle with pornography and hers. A struggle that he was open with before they got married but a struggle that she didn’t have before they got married but curiosity as to why he was addicted tempted her and when she became addicted she kept it hidden for the first year and half of their marriage. Matt and I don’t have a struggle with pornography but we do have a struggle with sometimes paying more attention to our phones or tablets than we do each other which is why we did the week unplugged. (you can read more about that experience in my previous blog, A Week Unplugged) But even when we don’t think it’s a big deal it can be damaging our intimacy as husband and wife but as friends because we are neglecting each other. Getting on Facebook and playing the games on your tablets/phones is not a sin but can be if you start idolizing them and that’s where we were. Between the week unplugged and reading this book it opened my eyes to the fact that not only did I put those things over my husband I put them over God. Because instead of scrolling through Facebook for hours on end I could have been reading my Bible or doing a Bible study to strengthen my relationship with God. Do I still get on Facebook? Yes. But I address it in a different light. Use to I would keep it open on my computer at work all day & I felt like I had to post something, anything at least once a day-something to get “likes”. I don’t anymore. Our week unplugged ended on Sunday & I have posted a few funny things and some pictures but it didn’t bother me to not get 10+ likes or anything like that and I’m not thinking about what’s going on in the Facebook world ALL DAY. It’s unhealthy and the week unplugged and reading The Unveiled Wife helped me realize that anything over God and my husband is not only a sin against God but it’s unhealthy for my marriage.

When I finished the book last night I told Matt that my goal was to be more unveiled. Not only with God but with him as well because that’s initially what brings us closer together. I’m guilty of letting my anxieties hold me back from being completely open with him. I want to be a good wife so bad that sometimes I put myself into overdrive and act like I have it “all together” when really on the inside I feel all over the place and God as well as Matt are who I should talk to about it rather than trying to hide it so I don’t look like a “bad wife”. That is one of my biggest fears, being a “bad wife” and the devil knows that so when I’m having a bad day he plays off those fears & anxieties. I should be able to take those to God and talk about it with my husband and get through it rather than bottle it up. I should be able to release some of what I think are “wifely duties” and let Matt help me. He’s not only my husband, he’s my leader, friend, and helpmate.

“Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:16

A Week Unplugged.

Everyone and everything is so connected all the time that we become consumed with technology, social media & all the garbage that comes along with it. & lately it’s just been down right mean. So my husband and I decided to try something out. Our Preacher mentioned doing a social media fast in his sermon a little while back and I even mentioned doing one to my husband during the election stuff because honestly it was out of hand, from everyone. Everyone being rude, mean, and disrespectful to others and their opinions. Not one person being innocent in the whole scheme of things and well I was just sick of it. But at the time Matt didn’t feel that it was necessary.

For Christmas I got him the Resolution for men and Courageous studies. He started with the Resolution first because it was one he had been wanting. Ever since he started it I can really see a change in him, not that I thought he needed to change and that’s why I bought the study, I bought the study because it was one he had mentioned wanting to get. But since he started that study he’s more attentive to me and the ways he can help and he’s a lot more calmer. Listens to actually hear what me or anyone else is saying rather than just listening to respond.

Last week he said that he wanted to do something different, something to help us refocus and get closer to God and each other. I was intrigued, we both attend church, he does a Bible study in his personal time and goes to Men’s Bible study every other week at church, I do a Bible study in my free time and I’m currently reading The Unveiled Wife with Uninvited on the “next” list. So I was thinking maybe he was thinking Couples Bible Study, because I’ve been reading about a few that I’d like to do in the future and I’ve mentioned them to him but he said that he wanted to take Preacher Keith’s advice, and mine and do a fast but go further than just Facebook. He wanted to unplug (aside from having our phone’s for emergencies or if our parents wanted to talk to us). He said that he wanted to do away with Social media, TV, any music not Christian and tablets when we’re at home together. He was for sure I wouldn’t be able to stand it, because I like Facebook for all the baby pictures, funny memes and stuff like that. I don’t like to discuss politics with people nor do I like to see all the news posts regarding politics, Black Lives Matter and all the other garbage they feed us. But I do like to see what my friends and family are up to. So we talked about it, prayed about it and did it.

  • No social media. That’s right. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. None of it. If it’s too much of a temptation to have the apps on your phone but not get on them then uninstall them from your phone.

  • No TV. I know it sounds extreme but at the same time, there’s so much negativity on the news, cuss words & inappropriate things in pretty much everything you watch or political garbage on every other channel. Just turn it off.

  • Only listen to Christian music. Whether it’s 106.9/91.3 on the radio or a specific band/singer channel on Pandora/Spotify/Google Play. Just Christian music.

  • Put down the electronics. When you’re at home for the evening with your spouse/family actually be with your spouse/family. Put the phones, tablets, or whatever else down. (Of course keep it turned out & volume up for emergencies but don’t have it glued to your hand.

What I got out of it:

We can actually have a good time without the TV or cell phones and tablets in our hands. On Valentine’s day he went ALL OUT, I mean ALL OUT with his culinary arts degree skills! He marinated pork chops for 4 hours, then pan fried them, he made twice baked-bake potatoes, and brownie cheesecakes-from scratch, that’s right, from scratch!! And we ate it by candle light at the dining room table not to mention he bought me roses, a new Bible & a book I’d been wanting, it was amazing! And even better, we were actually able to enjoy each other and the meal without the distraction of cell phones or tablets or any of that. It was just US & it was nice. 🙂

We’ve been able to actually have conversations. Sometimes we get so caught up in the technology in our lives we neglect the ones around us and we don’t even realize it. I can be looking at Matt, talking to Matt but if he’s looking at his phone he doesn’t fully hear me therefore causing him to miss something I’ve said. Vice versa. & whether we admit it or not it hurts our feelings and hurts our relationship. This week has taught me to pay attention to him when he’s talking so I hear EVERYTHING he’s taking the energy to say.

I don’t NEED to post my life on Facebook to feel good about my life/myself. I’m very guilty of posting things for likes. To see how many people will click “like” or “love”. But what this week of being unplugged has taught me is that I don’t need to brag about my life on Facebook, post everything I’m thinking or feeling to see if other people agree or not or post a million pictures of myself and wait for the “likes” to roll in to validate my worth. I have a husband who loves me, my mind and how I look regardless of how many likes my picture/post gets on Facebook.

Most importantly, I feel more connected with God & my husband. For the most part, social media is fun, I love the funny videos of dogs & cats and people falling, I do. I love seeing pictures of my friend’s kids and their families, I love seeing my family post stuff that I don’t get to see often. But sometimes the negativity seems to flood that out, and what goes into your mind comes out. All these hate filled posts about the President, politics, people just tend to take it too far on the idea that they’re right and it’s offensive and hurtful some times. Besides, the most important person is God and I should not feel more connected with people on Facebook then I do Him, same goes with my husband. I shouldn’t feel more connected to the people on Facebook then I do my husband. It’s should be God, Matt, Family, and so forth down the line. Not, Facebook, God, Matt. And I know I’m guilty of putting Facebook first at times but that’s what this week has really shown me. I don’t NEED it to have a good life. I don’t NEED to be so involved in people’s lives that I know what they had for dinner or that they were stuck in traffic for 2 hours that morning. It’s nice to read people’s posts and all that but another thing this week has brought to my attention is that, if you post EVERY little detail of your life on Facebook what do you have to talk about to people when you see them?

My advice to people is, disconnect from the world and what’s going on with everyone else & reconnect with your family. Matt & I have been together for almost 3 years, married since October 1st & I’ve never felt closer to him than I do right now. It’s awesome. 🙂

 

Soul Stitches & Our Mission.

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A little over a year ago I found myself unemployed after a misunderstanding (on my bosses part more so than mine, honestly). After 3 years with the same company I was sitting on the couch at home with my laptop searching for jobs. I even got so desperate I applied at retail stores in the mall. I was set to get married in less than a year & our “wedding fund” was slowly being drained by bills. I still lived with my parents and their house had never been cleaner & I had gotten a head start on spring cleaning/pre wedding move declutter in my room but I was out of work and felt useless not being able to find something. I needed a hobby. So my fiance took me to Wal-Mart bought me 2 cheap rolls of yarn & a “how to” book & video on crochet with 4 different size hooks. My mom knew how to crochet and with her help and the video & book I learned to crochet. I immediately fell in love with it because it gave me something to do. Working on a project helped me keep my mind right that God would eventually answer prayers and I’d find work.

A year later I’m working full-time as an office manager and I have a business where I sell my handmade crocheted items. (beanies, scarves, blankets, etc.) And I love it. When talking to my fiance (now husband) about wanting to start-up a little side business to sell my items I picked the name Soul Stitches because crocheting is something that comes from my soul, my love for it, my love to share it with other people, it’s all from my soul. It genuinely thrills my soul to hand make something for someone and know that it’s a one of a kind piece and stitch by stitch it was made just for them. On my business cards is my favorite verse, Proverbs 31:25, “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Matt picked that for the back of the business card because of what I went through to get to where I am. I felt weak being out of work and unhappy. But crochet gave me an outlet for those bad feelings and now here I am. 🙂

When we started Soul Stitches it was because we needed the little bit of extra money to put back in savings in case something happened to one of the cars or the dogs or something. That was at the first of January this year. Now, at the beginning of February and we’ve had more orders/success than we imagined with the start-up of our little business and with the good Lord’s blessings we’re in a sound financial situation to where we honestly don’t need the money we get from Soul Stitches like we did when we first started it. It’s an amazing feeling. 🙂

My reason for telling you that is to tell you this, a few months ago our Pastor brought up to our church a town in Africa called Mozambique, it’s just outside of Malawi where we currently support a missionaries ministry. Mozambique is where God has laid on our Pastor’s heart to reach out to next. They have contacts in Malawi who have been given land and they are in the starting process of a church  building. When my Pastor and his family go in June they will have to hike into the village they are going into and tent camp because there’s really nowhere for them to stay. My Pastor wants to start a spiritual fire in Mozambique, my husband and I…we want to be a match that helps the fire burn!

For weeks now we’ve talked about how to be apart of it, we don’t feel like God has called us to be missionaries, but we both have a heart for missions and we want to help. And we have decided to use Soul Stitches to support the Mozambique ministry rather than keeping the profit for ourselves. We have prayed about it and talked about it and feel that’s what God would have us do and after talking to our Pastor yesterday we’ve confirmed our plan.

So going forward, when we sell something, we will take out the money to replace the yarn that made it and the rest of the money will go to the Mozambique ministry, we will keep none for profit. I cannot put into words how excited I am that God has allowed us to do this and I’m excited to see the work that God will do in Mozambique!

If you are interested in Soul Stitches please find us on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/SoulStitchesByKendra & please pray for us as we continue on this journey!