The truth about my mental health.

For me this post is a long time coming….three years to be exact!

It is with great pride and personal joy that I share with you that I have been in counseling for over three years and I am not ashamed!

After my divorce and battle with cancer, my mind went places that were unstable, unhealthy and scary. My line of thinking was often more emotional than rational and I consistently reacted to those around me as opposed to responding to them.

I knew I had to make a change and so I sought counseling. Oh my goodness…..the word ‘Therapist’ sends many people into a panic. As though I am practicing some sort of new age technique and pumping myself full of mind numbing medications.

This far from the truth: I had to realign my thinking to a more healthy and whole perspective. I needed to learn and develop coping skills to deal with the reality that ‘life is hard.’ I needed to acknowledge the negative coping techniques I was using and replace them with healthy ones!

Glass half empty: I had to face a lot of icky stuff about myself and those around me I love.

Glass half full: I had to face the fact that what I was doing wasn’t working and seeking help from someone who did know successful techniques! That is a huge step!

Why talk about this right now? Well, in our society we are inundated with all sorts of stuff, info, articles and videos via social media BUT so often the important topics get drowned out by all of the noise. MENTAL HEALTH IS AN IMPORTANT TOPIC.

There is no shame in seeking help! There is also no shame in talking about the help you are getting and the best thing I can do is share my story!

My counselor has shown me techniques that make me an awesome person! As she puts it she has helped me equip my emotional tool Box! I am proud of the steps and progress I have made to become an emotionally confident and stable women but at the end of the day I still remain someone who continuously makes mistakes (I made a super big one this week….hurting someone I love very much) The difference between three year ago me and now is before I would choose not to address my weakness, the hurtful words I said and instead wallow in self pity. Now I know I made a mistake, apologized for my thoughtless and hurtful words, learned from my mistake and understand that I have to accept any collateral damage or repercussions that may have resulted.

That is ok!

If you or someone you know may need help for a mental illness please tap the link below for more resources!

http://www.radicaltransformationproject.com/list-mental-health-resources/

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A single word perspective

5d7cdf3bca7c59241fe96343e5d44fc0.jpg

Like many 20 year old women, years ago I developed this elaborate ritual of creating some sort of phrase or mantra with which I was certain defined who I wanted to become, things I aspired to do, or characteristics I wished to embody. It usually went something like this: that I may be like the moon, a reflection of something brighter……blah, blah, blah.

Like most 30 year old women, my elaborate ritual fell to the wayside.

Four years ago, I simplified the process to one word. Simple. Effective. For me it works. I put a lot of thought into the word and seek to make it purposeful. I hope you enjoy my selections!

2015 – Intentional

As I entered 2015, I desired to be more intentional with my words, my thoughts, my actions, etc. I wanted to emulate the scripture below by simply not listening to the word of God but living it out intentionally!

James 1:22-23 “But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror. For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was.”

2016 – Strategic0822fa3c3825ff91da1401f93f0add28

I entered 2016 broken. My marriage was in ruins. I was dealing with a second bout of cancer and accepting the bitter truth that divorce was the best way forward for my three children and I……I hurt. I entered the year making strategic choices that I believe set the kids and I up for success. It was a really rough, scary and difficult year.

2nd Corinthians 4:8-9 Sums it up perfectly!  “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Yes, it was a hard year but I never gave up!

7ac4cfc90f1951150b8912e42304e09d2017 – Fruitful/ Sow

In the beginning I started 2017 with ‘Fruitful’ but quickly realized my error. To be fruitful in my life, I needed to sow seeds. Seeds of Kindness, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-control.

I set a goal where twice a month I intentionally sowed seeds: I would write a card of encouragement to someone I felt needed it, I blessed my children’s teachers with a chocolate treat or gift card, or even somethings as silly as putting away all the carts in my grocery store’s parking lot!

Looking back, I see how each years word create a foundation for the next years word. I couldn’t sow my seeds successfully if I wasn’t’ intentional and strategic about how and where I sowed them!

Looking back I realize now, how amazing this season was, as I unknowingly exhibited to my children the importance of the fruits of the spirit and how to sow those seeds in the busy everyday-ness of life.

enjoy

2018 – Enjoy

As 2108 makes its grand entrance, I want to Enjoy every moment!

Enjoy the little things!

Like my children snuggled in my lap during a movie!

Enjoy the big things!

Like our future trip to Yellowstone National Park!

Enjoy the blessings and appreciate the struggles.

 

 

now

To Enjoy the now!

The word ‘enjoy’ comes from the Latin word: Gaudere meaning rejoice. Because of the words origins I have chosen the scripture:

This is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it! Psalm 118:24

To rejoice and enjoy something means one has to be present….in our society where one is always on the go, cell phone in hand and social media posts making demands….to be present and enjoy is a difficult thing but to enjoy the now is certainly somethings I am going to do!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The power of a memory

weathered door

I walked up to the home that provided so many wonderful memories of my childhood with hesitant expectation. Much about the home was changed. However, I could close my eyes and see the covered porch with Grandma’s wicker couch graciously adorned with her crocheted treasures. I could slowly inhale the smell of wood chips mixed with musty papers, as I peaked my head around a corner and I could still hear the creek of the white wooden gate…..even though all of those are nothing but a memory.

 

The gate and delightful picket fence has since been taken down. The covered porch also torn down, probably for safety purposes and Grandpa’s wood shop was put back to it’s original purpose as a garage; with it’s lackluster typical garage smell.

abandonned-farmhouse-in-black-and-white-bruce-ritchieI sighed as I opened the door and stepped inside.

Later that day after wandering the small quaint home, I talked with my dad about how hard it was to see the house after twenty years. He shared with me that it felt strange for him, as well. He reminisced about how different times were back when He, my Grandparents and his siblings first moved into the home: no indoor facilities, no indoor plumbing, five people in small two bedroom home and none of them felt the lesser for it. Then he spoke of how the homes amenities progressed during his high school years.

I think on the progress the home has endured these many years and relish the thought that this lovely home holds so many beautiful memories for me.

What does one do when the power of a memory is consuming?

imagesI can honestly say that my heart broke as I walked through my grandparent’s old home in it’s newly refurbished state. My grandfather had made the most delightful cubby/cabinets in the wall across from the kitchen for my grandmother to store her stash of margarine containers; the margarine containers and the cabinets are now gone. My grandparents bedroom – remodeled into a laundry/bathroom. The shed that my grandfather’s kittens would burst out of into his slowly rising rows of sweet corn secretly taking delight as the kittens tumbled and bound along….it is empty and grass has covered the space where his well-kept garden once grew.

I tell myself I am ok, that the power of this memory and the effect it has on me is only temporary but I must admit that I am stunned over the vast emotions surrounding these memories.

I miss my grandparents. I treasure the idea that my grandmother would have gotten a real “kick” out of my oldest son’s one liners, how my grandfather would have cherished my middle son, especially since their hearts are tuned so much alike and that both would have laughed at my daughters silly four year old antics.

Those fleeting moments when I think about seeing my grandparents again or the daily thought of seeing my best friend, Maren. Well, it is in those moments I reconsider my viewpoint and conclude that I, myself am oh so very blessed. Blessed to have a salvation in Jesus Christ. Blessed to know that this world is not the end,  I will see those I love again (and probably even a few I may wish not too.) In those moments I understand that blessed assurance gives me hope and peace.

In an ever changing world, full of powerful memories having a hope rooted in an ever present, faithful and loving god is amazing!!

Proving yet again in the oddest of ways that I am so beautifully blessed!

Things left unsaid….

My divorce has left me bitter, hurt and more importantly healing. miss-peopleIf I could sum up how I feel in this stage of my life it would be the following:

I miss my husband. My kids miss their father. But I don’t want him in my life.

After this weekend, when I received the unexpected news that he would not be coming up to visit the kids but he hoped to visit at Christmas, my heart hurt for my kids.

The self-help articles, google searches….they don’t tell you about that.

Those are things left unsaid.

Those articles, self-help articles and blog searches neglect to tell you that you will feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness. I can see how people jump back into relationships before they are ready….its so incredibly lonely.

Again those things are left unsaid.

welfareWhen a friend from my youth posted something like this:

Anger flared inside me and I want to respond. I want to be mean, condemning the person of their thoughtless, narrow minded post.

I want to respond with FACTS like:

Many people stereotype welfare receivers as spending the money unwisely, but data shows that for families receiving assistance, 77% of the budget is used towards basic necessities such as housing, food, and transportation (compared to 65% for families not receiving assistance). Entertainment only accounts for 4.4% of the budget.

Children are more likely to be on welfare than adults, with 38% of kids aged 5 and under living in households that receive public assistance. Almost 35% of kids aged 6 to 10 and 32% of those in the 11- to 15-year-old range are on welfare.

Oh and how much of these welfare benefits are these people superfluously spending….Some states are more generous than others when it comes to food stamps but on average, families get just over $133 per person each month. (THAT’S RIGHT….$133 per person per month)

Let me recap for you...The American worker is spending on average $133/month for mostly children and single mothers to eat, receive medical assistance or get the training they need to prosper in life.

While there are inevitably going to be some bad apples in the bunch, many of the people who get help from welfare programs do so as a short-term fix while they take steps to improve their financial well-being.

I am what my friend would consider a welfare recipient and without it my kids and I would starve. (I would love to say I am exaggerating but I am not)

BUT maybe this is something that is better left unsaid.

Why? 

silenceBecause in the midst of my pain, hurt and healing….It is ok! It’s ok for my friends to post something based on their view point…even if I find it offensive and hurtful. It’s ok for google not to have all the answers. It’s ok!

In an age where everyone’s opinion is highly valued and revered. I truly appreciate that mine isn’t.  I don’t like to give my opinion often and I only give out to those who are truly seeking it.

Truth is opinions and feeling are often indicators not dictators. Both are often swayed based on many different aspects and neither should be resolute.

I guess despite my hurt heart, my frustration over my ex-husband…..I am kinda glad that somethings are better left unsaid.

The power to commit

committ Have you seen on Facebook or in an ad on the internet….Scripture Tattoo’s? Well a friend of mine challenged me to a thirty day memorization challenge.

10 Scriptures Tattoo’ed to your forearm….change  it out every three days and you have the potential to learn 10 new verses.

I understand the importance of memorizing scripture and jumped at the challenge.

Proverbs 16:3 was my first memorization challenge.

It probably wouldn’t have been a big deal. The scripture is easy and applicable right? But that’s all sunshine and rainbows…..till the words I am learning get tested?

And yesterday?

Well, that was a POP QUIZ. and guess what? I FAILED!

Thru a series of unfortunate events….I lost it. My dignity (Spewing horrible words of frustration, anger and resentment) I know there is a scripture for that.  I lost my pride. (Having to accept help from someone who has helped me so many times….i am to a point of embarrassment tinged with a touch of shame.) I lost face…in the sight of my kids, family and God. (They saw a side of me they’d never seen. A bitter, damaged person spewing awful things)

As I sat last night, still stewing over the day’s occurrences. I heard it. That still small voice.

“Anne? You are choosing to look at this through the eyes of bitterness, anger, and frustration. Try looking at it through the eyes of grace.”

So I did. I took off my blinders and put on the glasses of grace.

I saw people who love me so much that they would be extravagant in their love. Such a beautiful picture of grace.

“Anne?” 

“Yes, Lord?”

“Their love is simply a reflection of my love for you. I love you!”

Extravagant is defined as lacking in restraint in spending money or resources.

Stop: Right here!

This is the point of my post today. What if I, You, your mom, etc….committed to God whatever we did, a life goal, a daily task or the path of the day itself? What if by doing so, we allowed God to establish the plan, put in motion a way of getting it done? Then because of his extravagant Love for us…..God gets to do his thing! You know flex his awesome God muscles by teaching a life lesson on grace? or Bless you in ways that does nothing but point you to his extravagant love? or paint for you a beautiful picture of his unfailing grace?

Truth is I don’t commit to the Lord my plans often. I seize my day on my own. Create plans according to my purpose and will. I need to seize the power to commit. It really is that easy.

For me, my Tattoo Challenge has already been a success but this is only day 2 of a thirty day challenge.  I look forward to the next verse and whatever lessons may come!

 

 

Sailing through life adjusting my sails.

Two years ago.

My last post was two years ago.

There seems to be a bit of irony in that observation because it was two years ago life for me went all pear shaped. I could go into an overly detailed account of how life got out of sorts and the why…but what good would that do me or you, the reader, for that matter?

13963085_10208520075854236_6223786624205612538_o
Physically and emotionally scarred but ready for healing!

Instead, here I am two years later beautifully blessed and still blogging!

Instead of sharing an overly detailed account of these last two years, let me tell you what an over comer I am.

After two surgeries, countless tests and lots of sleepless nights….I overcame cancer!

After twelve years of marriage to a man who had a severe drug and alcohol addiction….I chose to walk away from an abusive marriage.

After eight years of being a stay at home mom….I am working towards a career to provide for me and my three amazing children.

Life is hard. Life is often unfair. Life doesn’t always make sense and in life the good guy doesn’t always win. In life being a good person doesn’t mean that good will always come to you BUT…..In life you have a choice.

sailboat-wallpaper-19You can make adjustments to your sails and sail in the direction the wind is going. Or you can fight the wind; ending up exhausted and worn.

I have chosen to adjust my sails.

Adjust my attitude. Adjust my job prospects. Adjusts my financial situation. Adjust my relationships. Adjusting my view of God….lots and lots of adjusting! Fine tuning myself so that I can get the most out of the breeze that is carrying me. In all of these adjustments I am rediscovering myself and that is such a neat thing!!