“Keep the Faith and Get Movin’!”

DSCN0195 Ready for a bike ride!

I wanted to write a follow-up to yesterday’s post. I was very open and honest about what I go through when my anxiety rears its ugly head. Today was a much better day. After lots of prayers and an evening run, I was even feeling much better last night. I felt the need to say that because if you or anyone you know suffer from this, then I want you (or them) to know that this does not have to be a life-controlling thing. Although at the time it certainly feels like it is.

I have learned a lot about anxiety over the last year and a half. More than I ever thought I would (or would want to). Having said that I thought I would post some things that I have learned and that work for me and they may work for you or someone you know that may have problems with anxiety. But honestly, it could work for anyone who tends to worry or just needs some improvement in different areas of their life.
So here goes:

1 – Obviously, I have made it clear that faith and trust in God is the most important thing. Praying about everything you are feeling is a big help. Even the smallest or silliest things can be brought to God in prayer. I often tell Him that I am freaking out (l really say that!) and I would just like some peace at the moment. Then the calmness washes over me long enough to get my bearings, so to speak. I will then thank Him and praise Him. He likes to hear that : )

2- Exercise. This may seem like the last thing you want to do when anxiety, panic attacks (or even depression that has creeped in) have taken a toll on you physically. But it is important to stay in motion and rid yourself of all the nervous energy that your body is storing for no good reason. Walking, running and biking are awesome ways to get moving. Start slow and build up. It will make you feel so much better. I promise!

3- Caffeine. (The lack of.) I had to completely stop drinking caffeine. This was a hard one. I love sweet tea…McDonald’s sweet tea to be specific. Oh how I love it! But it wasn’t helping my body at all. Caffeine causes rapid heartbeat and restlessness. Not really what an anxiety sufferer needs. It was hard and still is at times. When 3:00 in the afternoon rolls around and I just want to take a nap, a boost of caffeine would help. But I have learned to adjust.

4- Positive thinking. This one seems like a given and it is. But it is also the hardest to achieve. With anxiety comes a lot of scary thoughts. Thoughts about your health and safety and the health and safety of your family. When the “what ifs’ sneak into your mind, you have to learn to shut them down. When you are worried and faced with a dilemma or decision, instead of thinking about what could go wrong say to yourself, “what if I put a different spin on this?”. Takes practice but it can be learned and is a great help.

5- Breathing techniques. Another one that has to be learned and that I have to practice often. I would find myself sighing heavily or constantly trying to take a deep breath. I would feel as if I wasn’t getting enough air. I then learned that I was actually getting too much air and that my body was releasing too much carbon dioxide. When this happens it can cause a lot of different sensations, such as dizziness, headache and tingling in your body. Learning to breathe evenly will make a huge difference.

6- Learn. Read everything you can about anxiety and panic disorders.. Knowing more about the symptoms of anxiety and the many effects that it can have on your body can be comforting. The more you know, the more prepared you are to help yourself overcome it. I would suggest reading success stories about people who have won their battle with these disorders.

These are just a few of the things that I have found helpful. The most important thing is to remember that this is a very common thing. There are probably a lot of people you work with, go to church with, etc. that suffer and you would never know. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Just remember….

Keep the faith and the positive attitude and get movin’!!

Advertisements

“Guide My Steps”

DSC_1164

I’m good at pretending. I’m good at pretending at work and other places. I act like this horrible cloud that sometimes hangs over me is not full of rain and doesn’t affect me. But inside I am freaking out. My nerves jump, my mind races, my heart pounds and my breath is shallow. On the outside, I act like I have it all together. Anxiety? What anxiety? This girl is on fire! She is on top of the world! *Sigh* If only….

This week has put me to the test. I was perfectly fine for months. Exercising…doing great! I biked six miles on Sunday for heavens sake! Then Sunday night, something changed. It always sneaks up like a bad rash. One day you’re fine. The next day, you are annoyed by this thing that won’t seem to go away. So I sit here feeling like I’m on fire, alright. But only because I am sweating and the panic is rising up in me. So I am writing. Getting it all out in the open. Have you been there? Do you know how I feel? Maybe some of you do. But maybe some of you reading this think I am completely nutso! Not true. I will stand firm in my belief that anxiety does not mean you are crazy. If it did, I would be out of a job and on medication. My mind simply chooses to take a different route with the thoughts that arise. Anything I feel is magnified a gazillion times. Anyone with anxiety will tell you that. The feelings make my stomach upset. I can’t eat. When I can’t eat, my blood sugar gets all out of whack. This fuels the anxiety even more. Ugh…vicious cycle!

So I am trying…trying. I am being tested once again. For if I truly believed, wouldn’t I feel no need to worry? It’s a fine line. Yes, I believe God is in control of my life. Yes, I know He has the master plan, the blueprint of my life and on that blueprint it says “On June 27, Tammy’s anxiety will rear it’s ugly head…hoping that this brings her closer to Me”. He knows the plan long before I do. He also knows that I need to not forget the path that I am on. Some may say that doesn’t make sense. Isn’t the anxiety my own fault? Doesn’t the bible say “Do not be anxious about anything”? Surely God wouldn’t put this on me for a reason, right? In the book “The Anxious Christian”, the author says that anxiety should not be viewed as an un-christian way of life, but as a catalyst that forces us to make intentional choices about our spiritual lives and allows for growth that moves us closer in our relationship with God.

So in order to get through this, I must believe there is a purpose. Otherwise, I will just sit here and drive myself nuts thinking I am doomed to live this way the rest of the week/month/summer/year/my life! I will put my trust in Him and continue to pray myself right out of this situation. I know He is there and will guide my steps and see me through. He always does. We’re tight like that.

I’m starting to feel a little better already : )

“You Deserve It”

DSC_0601

You did not choose me, but I chose you (John 15:16)

The night before last I went for a walk/run after dinner to burn off some anxious energy. I had had a long day at work and needed the therapy. I was gone around thirty minutes and when I came home Callie told me she had a surprise for me inside. She had washed the dishes, cleaned the doors and windows and cleaned the house up a bit. It was very sweet and thoughtful thing to do. I told her how much I appreciated it and she said “Well, you deserve it!” I had to smile because she had never said that to me. But then I had to wonder why she felt that way. I had been a bit irritable earlier because I was anxious and hungry. She knew this. But just as I forgive her ever-changing moods, she forgives mine. Why? Because she loves me and I love her.

Greg has said those same words to me as long as I have known him. Whenever he does something sweet or kind and I thank him, he says “You deserve it!” I know he has said that to me a thousand times in the last three years and yet it still is hard for me to accept at times. He knows my life has not been perfect. He knows I try so hard not to worry and to overcome so many things on a daily basis. But he still thinks I am deserving of all he has to offer. Why? Because he knows how much I love him and he loves me the same.

The dictionary describes the word deserve as “to be worthy of, qualified for, or have a claim to reward”. That sneaky little word in that description always trips me up: worthy. If I deserve something, does it mean I am worthy of it? I struggle with that quite often. Past mistakes and flaws always seem to rise to the forefront when I hear that word.

The same doubt sometimes creeps into my mind even with my relationship with God. I am always surprised when He answers my prayers. I know that sounds ridiculous and it is not because I don’t believe He is capable or responsible for the outcome. It is because I sometimes wonder why He would choose to listen to me and my needs when I haven’t always led my life in a way that is pleasing to Him. I don’t always feel worthy or deserving of what He gives to me in return for what little I give to Him. But isn’t that what John 3:16 is all about? “For God so loved the world….”

He loves us despite our mistakes. I love this quote from one of my favorite Proverbs 31 Ministries speakers, Micca Campbell:

“Before we were born, God knew all about us. He knew what we would fear, the troubles we would face, and the mistakes we would make. Yet, He chose to love us anyway.”

God knows that I try so hard not to worry and He knows that I am making a daily effort to give full control to Him. He too, knows of my ever-changing moods. He wants me to understand that all He has to offer is before me for the taking. I just don’t always see it. But He forgives me for my flaws. Why? Because He loves me and I owe everything to Him.

 

“Don’t Be An Eeyore”

Sunday morning before church, I was thinking about how people have different outlooks and mindsets about their lives. I am, from time to time, in the company of people who just don’t seem to be able to be happy about anything. Recently, it was someone I had never been around before, but this person just put a damper on everything. I suppose at many times in my life I have been that way as well, but I always try to not let it get the best of me. Going through the moments of anxiety and depression that I have faced, I have learned that a good attitude is essential for my well-being. Sometimes I fail (ahem…last night) but I really try my best. It’s hard for me at times to be around people whose attitudes could potentially bring me down. Not to say that I’m not there to listen if someone has a problem or needs help, but those in general who have a lot but can’t seem to be thankful for it.

During our Sunday School lesson at church this weekend, we discussed this very topic. We were asked if we, or people around us, were Eeyores or Poohs? As we all know, Eeyore is the sad, little donkey in the beloved Winnie the Pooh books who is the only guest at his own little pity party, day in and day out. He never has anything positive to say about himself and is quite the pessimist. Pooh on the other hand, is lovable, caring and always there with the right words. He advised Eeyore once to not just sit in his corner of the forest feeling sorry for himself…to go out and seek people and ultimately find things to be grateful for.

100_2944

An “attitude of gratitude” (thank you Sharon Dunn) can change anyone’s outlook. Yes, life is hard sometimes but if you were to sit down at the end of every day and count the blessings before you and imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have those blessings, how much more grateful would you be? God has blessed you in many ways. If you are reading this, you are alive. Blessing! If you are reading this (even with glasses on) you have your eyesight. Blessing! If you had shelter from today’s rain…Blessing! If you ate breakfast, lunch, dinner…Blessing! If you spoke to someone today, spent time with someone today, went to work, drove your car instead of walked, said I love you, heard I love you…Blessing!

Thank God every day for what you have and He will bless you in so many ways. Changing your attitude to one of thankfulness, will draw people to you, not make them want to turn away. It will show on your face, in your walk, your conversations, everything you do. As Joyce Meyer says, “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”

Choose to be thankful today. Start with thanking God, then thank others around you for all that they do for you. Don’t just sit in your little corner of the forest…

and don’t be an Eeyore!

Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known
throughout the earth – Isaiah 12:5