Kindness to strangers

While pulling into the gas station half asleep one morning, an “incident” caught my attention.

As a car emerged an empty pump, the car sitting at the pump ahead of it decided to gun it in reverse.

That driver then proceeded to fly out of the car and scream at the other cars windshield with both middle fingers up.

Being the bigger person, the other car sulked into the parking lot waiting for an empty pump.

Ummm excuse me but was it really necessary to be so hateful?!?!

Maybe I’m weird (just kidding I am weird) but I would never go out of my way to be nasty to someone.

My heart broke for the mystery person in that car.

I couldn’t help but wonder how their day was going before this happened…

What if they are going through a hard time right now?

What if this incident was one of many negative things that this person has had to deal with recently?

What if this seemingly small incident turned out to be the straw that broke the camels back?

Empathy for this stranger began to overwhelm me.

As the cranky man drove away, the other car cautiously arrived at a pump on the other side.

I stood fighting with myself on whether or not to intervene.

‘Am I overreacting?!’

Something inside me just couldn’t leave and wonder.

After a couple deep breaths I finally amounted the courage to walk over.

The stranger was a tall male with glasses, mid 30’s probably…. completely expressionless.

“Hi! Umm… I saw what just happened with that crazy guy and I just wanted to tell you that his craziness is NOT a reflection of you. That was nuts and inappropriate… I hope you have a wonderful day!!!”

He looked up at me after pausing for a couple seconds.

“Thank you.”

He muttered softly as a small smile began to form.

That moment was everything.

It was confirmation that I made the right choice in stepping out of my comfort zone.

The second I got back in my car tears of joy started pouring down my cheeks.

It was a small act of kindness that felt like 100 bucks.

Have you ever thought of saying something kind to someone but didn’t?

It could be running over to an old lady who just finished loading her car and offering to put her cart away.

It could be complimenting someone on their dress instead of just thinking it.

It could be messaging your number to a Facebook friend after seeing a post that says “I’m done”.

The Bible tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourself.

For some people {or even most people}, interacting with strangers can be extremely anxiety provoking.

I’m fairly outgoing yet this gas station incident had me sweating.

If everyone made a conscious effort to just be kind then this world could be a much better place.

Changing the world starts with changing ourselves.

You can start by simply being the energy you would like to attract.

Please, never go out of your way to be hurtful to others.

You never know what battles someone may already be fighting.

This week I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and do/say something positive to a stranger.

One positive interaction could potentially be enough to save a life.

Together we can make a difference ❤️

Check out my blog Project Identity for more 😊

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When our parents fail at being our parents

The broken child is now an adult.

Finally amounting the courage to seek healing for pain that still affects them to this day.

Disappointed when their parent falls short in mending such wounds.

I’m not sure which hurts worse…

Your mother saying she would choose a boyfriend over you OR her justification when you seek an apology many years later.

I guess the second option just further validated that she in fact, meant what she said all along.

Why can’t our parents just set aside their egos for a minute if it means the well being of their child?

Countless hours have been spent pondering that very question.

Hours spent angry.

Hours spent hurt.

Hours spent beating myself up, trying to figure out what’s so wrong with me that my own mother can’t say sorry for something that brings me pain.

Family members can hurt us way worse than anybody else because they are our blood.

We hold our parents to a different set of standards and expectations.

When they fail to meet those expectations we can’t help but blame ourselves and feel flawed.

“Maybe if I was prettier my mom would love me….”

There is a pit deep in my heart wanting this to just be resolved before one of us dies.

I know that we have had a lot of great times in our relationship…

It’s just,

you broke me

I know that I was a terrible person growing up.

I’m unfathomably sorry for every waking second you had to spend in complete terror because of me.

It genuinely kills me thinking back to the times where I was embarrassed being out in public with you.

I’m sorry for that too.

I am so unbelievably sorry that I’ve corrected myself and am living the admirable life that I am today.

I’ve said I’m sorry and I wish that you could too.

While I don’t believe it is an intentional lack of parenting it creates an emotional barrier until it’s been genuinely dealt with.

We can forgive… we can forget…

But the broken pieces in us will still remain.

In my head it just seems so easy.

Easy to be completely vulnerable for five minutes and say sorry even if it’s uncomfortable.

I’m not looking for a justification of “why” you did it,

I just want to know that you didn’t mean it.

Am I the only person who feels like “I’m sorry but” apologies are sometimes worse than no apology at all?

If you are justifying what you just “apologized” for then are you sure you’re really sorry…?

We unfortunately do not have the power to make people apologize to us.

The pain that comes out to scare us every once in awhile is out of our control also.

If you are reaching for a void from a parent who told you they are “never going to give it to you”…

Take a moment to sit with yourself and grieve.

Physically grieve the pain that this brings you.

A few minutes after you’ve successfully released it ⬇️

Accept the pain for what it is.

And here is the thing,

You are not the problem.

There is nothing wrong with you just because you have a toxic parent.

Deep down our parents love us.

No matter what they’ve said or what they’ve done {or not done} … they love us.

We are all human and have our own ways of living in this world.

Instead of running with the pain try silencing it with the positives.

Be the energy you would like to attract- even when you aren’t receiving it.

Human as we are, it will be a process.

Accept the pain for what it is as it arises in the future.

Don’t prevent yourself from feeling a certain way.

Find a time and a place to step away for a moment and redo the grieving process as needed.

Pray to God and ask to see yourself in His eyes…

It’s incredible I promise.

Remember that your life doesn’t have to end waiting on someone else’s apology.

You are not a reflection of your toxic parent.

Be free from the chains that have you bound.❤️

Your sanity will thank you someday.

Check out my blog for more inspirational goodness ❤️⬇️❤️

www.project-identity.blog

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Depression episodes

My life is pretty freaking close to “perfect” yet I keep having these episodes where I feel like I’d be better off dead.

All of my reasons for living get sidelined and I have the worst kind of tunnel vision.

In the middle of these depressive episodes I surrender control to complete negativity and genuinely feel that I’m not worthy of help.

Positive thoughts are rejected one after the other in an attempt to completely drown in my misery.

The problem with self help tools is they are often difficult to access when you are in crisis.

We are not our best selfs while in crisis.

We are scattered, broken, distraught.

The thoughts pulsing through your brain are so ridiculously foreign to your values yet they won’t go away.

Depression opens its big mouth and swallows us whole.

If you’ve never experienced a depressive episode then first of all… you are one lucky duck!

Depression is not an easy thing to go through.

Imagine your mind being hijacked as a dark cloud moves over you.

Suddenly the impulsive, totally not “you” thoughts take over.

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“This is too much to overcome.”

“Death is the only way out.”

At times this helplessness can feel like too much to bare.

You guys, how do we fix this?!

If you’ve read (An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system) then you already know that I won’t come within 100 feet of a crisis center… “our system”.

Never again will I submit to such insanity.

Instead I will handle these moments of crisis on my own.

Recently, I added a new “tool” to my “belt”.

In a moment when things were calm I identified my number one ABSOLUTE reason above everything for why I could not lose this battle with depression.

What was it?

I pictured my husband telling our children that “Mommy had to go to heaven because she was very sick”.

I felt the pain that they would feel as they grew up without a mother.

That experience was the most gut wrenching, terrible, unbearable feeling ever.

I could never do that to my children if there was ever an option to choose differently.

Depression freaking sucks.

While I can’t completely avoid these episodes, I can enter them prepared.

In the moments when every sense of logic is completely unavailable to me because of my depression and I’m mentally incapable of helping myself…

That image of my children broken into pieces is much more readily available than a list of things that “I’ve got going for me.”

All it takes is one moment, accessing the image tied to my reason for surviving and suddenly the pain that I feel for my children is greater than the pain I’m feeling in the current moment.

For me, it’s helpful that my image isn’t about me.

Depression makes me feel unworthy… unworthy of living…. unworthy of helping myself.

No matter how unworthy I may be, my kids are the most worthy of things in the world to me.

I would do anything to prevent the pain they feel in my foreseen scenario.

ANYTHING.

Including suffering this “hopeless low” so that their hearts never have to break like that.

It’s important to find a “reason” that fits for you and your life.

FIRST–> Tie that reason to an easily accessible image or “snapshot”.

THEN—> Tie that image to the overwhelming emotion that it brings you…

For example, don’t stop at “my kids need me.”

Instead, validate this statement by feeling what your kids would feel if you gave up on them.

Make it something that is deeply meaningful to you.

If you are struggling on coming up with something pray about it.

I’m praying for you too.❤️

I promise you that there are so many reasons for your survival even when your depression is destroying you.

Once you have your reason tuck it safely in your back pocket.

Every so often take it back out to refresh the emotions that are tied to it so they remain raw– do this as often as necessary for yourself.

The next time you are greeted with a dark cloud it may come in handy. ❤️

Love and prayers for those battling this tough illness…

YOU ARE STRONG!

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

Everything is a trigger

I have crippling PTSD and in some ways it defines me.

How my husband puts up with me sometimes is beyond me.

At times it feels like everything is a trigger.

My guard is always up, even when it’s down.

One “mispronounced” sentence leaves me emotionally distraught- the situation is suddenly “serious” and I have to protect myself.

Shutting down, completely dissociating, walking away.

It’s certainly not an easy way to live for anyone involved.

What are my triggers?

I don’t even know.

In the middle of a seemingly normal conversation I’m suddenly running away, thinking my entire life is ruined.

TRUST ME I don’t mean to be this way.

Everything inside of me wishes that my mind didn’t dissect every single thing it ever hears.

Talking to me can be a trigger.

NOT talking to me can be a trigger.

My PTSD makes me feel like people are always trying to manipulate me even when I know that they are people I can trust.

I grew up in an environment where I was constantly being manipulated.

Because of this, my brain has this distorted way of looking at people… looking at the world.

I was able to numb these emotions for a long time with drugs and alcohol but now that I’m a responsible adult….

How can I live without making myself crazy?

My husband knows me better than anyone on this planet.

We have our moments as any relationship does, but I know that he always has my best intentions at heart.

Yet no matter how much I am aware of this it doesn’t change the result when I’m triggered.

This unintentional panic rushes through me as effortlessly as blinking.

It’s like I’m on auto-pilot and the broken little girl in me takes over.

Usually I end up literally walking away in an effort to “escape the conflict”.

I feel out of control in those moments.

Torn between my heart and my head.

In the time alone I sit and negatively pick apart my brain.

This never ends well.

PTSD constantly attacks my sanity.

Is my husband going to get sick of me?

Sick of my baggage?!?!

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you are likely aware that I am quite the optimist.

I do what I do in an effort to help people.

When I begin writing an article I almost never have the answers for my conclusion worked out.

Writing has been a process of solving my own problems.

By doing this blog I am slowly healing myself.

This article is a tricky one though.

How do I change the messed up way my brain thinks?

“Children react. Adults respond.”

Said my brother following a heart to heart we had a couple months ago.

I’d asked him how to keep myself from rambling all the time- something that he has perfected.

Anxiety and attention deficit disorder are not a good combination.

My anxiety has me in a heightened state of awareness all the time.

My ADD has me all over the place.

All. The. Time.

I’ll remind myself before going somewhere to stay quiet… to just focus on something and be an observer instead of the annoying person who never shuts their mouth.

It has been years of attempting without success.

Silence is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

I can’t do silence.

Silence is a trigger.

Hence, why I ramble about stupid stuff all the time.

How do I respond when my brain can’t even figure out how to be quiet long enough to listen?

When I think of that quote I can’t help but feel like it may be useful in managing my PTSD.

If I take a moment to respond then I should have a second to remind myself that my husband isn’t a manipulator- before reacting and falling into crisis.

I’m clearly not a good listener.

I think that in this moment God is wanting me to practice what I preach.

To take a deep breath before responding.

To bare silence.

So I will practice, Lord.

I will push myself even in the moments that it’s uncomfortable.

I’ll be aware of myself and my surroundings.

And with God I can overcome this.❤️

Anyone have good remedies for PTSD?!

I’ve made leaps and bounds with this treatment ➡️ The miraculous treatment for anxiety that’s being kept secret

BUT, I feel like I’m stalling out on this manipulation issue.

Every session I completely dissociate and haven’t been able to truly put in the work!

I’d love to hear any tips and as always, would gladly accept any prayers!! ❤️

Thank you for stopping by and for being my wonderful blogging community!

You guys are THE BEST!!

Visit Project Identity for more 😊👍

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Tell me to eat? I’ll starve myself.

It was my senior year of high school and I was in rehab.

My mom had finally reached her limit of sleepless nights trying to find me.

Give me a curfew? I wouldn’t come home at all.

Ground me? I’d leave anyway.

Age 17 was a rough year to say the least.

I was an absolute mess.

“No you are NOT putting her in a foster home!”

My brother shouted as he barged into my room, hanging up the phone, telling me to hurry and pack my stuff.

I didn’t know what was in store for me but I sure as heck didn’t imagine it would be almost five months until I returned home.

I spent a week at my brothers house while we waited for the news on my fate.

He was instructed to deliver and watch me swallow my Antabuse- as my mom typically did.

Antabuse is a prescription medication for alcoholics.

If you consume any alcohol while taking Antabuse you will get violently ill.

Neither of them knew that I’d swapped the real pills with a lookalike I had found in my Mom’s closet when she forgot to lock her door one day.

Inpatient rehab would eventually be the verdict.

Before I knew it I was stripped of my belongings and sitting in a treatment center.

Everything was out of my control.

Something inside me was burning to act out and the options in doing so were limited.

At mealtimes I would sit at the table in a daze with only a glass of water.

Some days I would feel guilty for drinking the water and purge it back up.

Tell me to eat? I’ll starve myself.

I was 13 years old when I first purged.

My best friend left me… my boyfriend broke up with me.

Life got hard and something in my head told me to go to the bathroom and throw up my food.

The rush it gave me became a staple stress reliever.

Prior to checking into rehab I was already underweight.

In my head writing it off as “not being hungry” or “forgetting to eat”.

Whenever I did consume food, the stressful situation at home would almost always result in purging.

It didn’t really get out of control until everything got out of control.

Subconsciously I was becoming addicted to this relationship with food.

The feeling of my skin tightening around my bones was like a high.

(*actual photo of myself three months after treatment*)

I was alone in rehab while my peers were working on their senior projects and letting out for Christmas break.

That Christmas was hard.

I’ve always loved Christmas but I just felt so unwanted, abandoned, and alone.

I was the only kid in the center that was there without a court order.

“What is going on???” filling the pages of my daily journal.

Life felt like a never ending nightmare.

At the time my brain could never understand that it was my actions that landed me here.

Instead, I spent over a month saturating myself in feelings of worthless shame.

It was a dark time….

Five weeks into rehab and I’d lost a significant amount of weight.

Every day looking more like a skeleton and less like a human.

Tightly fastening my size 0 jeans with a belt so they wouldn’t slide right off of me.

On New Years Eve we were offered a slice of pizza.

This was a real treat and I wanted to participate so badly.

Eventually accepting a piece and racing off to the bathroom immediately after.

This time one of the counselors had followed me.

I’d been caught.

There I sat in the office as the counselor called my mom.

Thankfully it appeared I’d be discharged early and finally able to go home.

Or so I thought…

Instead of my driveway we parked at an office building in the heart of Denver.

“Where are we?!?!”

I asked perplexed.

“You need to talk to someone about this food thing.”

The Eating Recovery Center would be my new home.

At intake the feelings of abandonment began to drown me.

“I don’t have an eating disorder!!!”

I pleaded.

“My mom just doesn’t want me so she’s trying to put me places!! Please!!”

It was time for my “moment of truth” on the scale.

My 5’11” frame weighed in at a whopping 102 pounds.

Considering how tall I am this put me at a BMI (body mass index) of 14.2.

If you are unfamiliar with BMI, 18.4 or lower is considered underweight.

In diagnosing anorexia nervosa they follow this chart:

Mild: A BMI of >17

Moderate: A BMI of 16-16.99

Severe: A BMI of 15-15.99

Extreme: A BMI >15

Nothing I could say or do could get me out of this situation with a BMI of 14.2.

Extreme like everything in my life seemed to be by that point.

At my height, I’d have to weigh in at a minimum of 133 pounds to make the lowest possible “healthy weight”.

That meant I’d have to gain at least 31 pounds before going home.

Suddenly out of every sense of control.

Mealtimes were spent with hands above the table.

The food was fairly good but there was A LOT of it.

Three massive meals AND three snacks a day.

If you didn’t finish every piece of your meal (including butter) in the time allotted then you had to drink a Boost nutritional drink.

Bathrooms remained locked and you needed to be accompanied by a staff member to use them.

On the bright side though, this center was a huge upgrade from the last.

We were able to keep the majority of our belongings.

Meals were prepared by chefs and served on silver platters.

We got to go outside for fresh air multiple times a day.

We could even turn off the lights at night.

I knew that if I didn’t cooperate, I was never going home.

The gig was up (at least for the time being).

Three and a half months later I completed treatment.

Today marks just over nine years since checking out of recovery.

In this time I’ve had more slip ups than I could possibly count, including an excessive exercise phase that deceived me for months.

(Exercise anorexia post coming soon❤️).

BUT I’ve had way more successes than failures and that is something that I’m extremely proud of.

CONTROL played a major role in my eating disorder.

Which is actually sort of crazy to think about because when I’m active in my eating disorder I am not in controlmy eating disorder is.

It’s so easy to forget this.

Recovery from an eating disorder is a lifelong process that requires daily maintenance.

It’s a process that I’m willing to work at!

My life is worth so much more than a number on a scale.❤️

If you are battling an eating disorder I encourage you to read this post ➡️ Meet Nikki, my eating disorder ❤️

Understanding Bulimia sheds a unique light on the complicated illness.

For more on addiction read Running 😊

Check out my blog for much, much more!❤️

⬇️😊⬇️

Project Identity

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Surviving with broken self confidence

“Hi. I was just calling to see if you can tattoo permanent makeup on my face… skin color… to hide my freckles?!?!”

Yes I literally called a tattoo parlor and asked that very question.

Tired of the skin I was born in.

Desperate to change myself.

I used to wear A TON of makeup.

It would take THREE hours of painting my face every morning before being able to walk out the front door.

Never feeling satisfied with the end result.

I don’t know what I was trying to paint…

Just anything other than myself and this terrible face I’d been given.

High school has a weird way of structuring us.

We finish very different people than when we started based off the people and experiences we encounter.

So much time is spent in school.

Time that is crucial in building the foundation of who you are.

If that experience is a negative one, you may find yourself grown and left picking up the pieces.

Graduation was a time of undeniable relief for me.

No longer would I have to walk down those halls and be crucified.

I was free in a world where maybe, just maybe, people would love and accept me.

That freedom did not come without a price tag though.

In the real world,

My lack of self confidence was evident, making me an easy target.

My coping mechanisms were unhealthy, leading me to the wrong people.

(Read Running🍸)

When your core beliefs about yourself have been completely damaged how do you move forward?

For the longest time I was literally unable to repeat the words “I am beautiful”.

Even in the comfort of my own mind… I couldn’t think it.

Part of me felt like it was easier being ugly if everyone knew that I knew that I was ugly.

What does that even mean?!

There is this sense of security in hiding behind “being ugly”.

“At least I’m not one of those in denial ugly people…”

Have you ever done that?

When you have been against yourself for so long you eventually lose sight of how you got there.

I couldn’t say, “I am beautiful”, because I was so completely convinced that I was the farthest thing from beautiful and genuinely unworthy of saying otherwise.

I’d forgotten that my “ugliness” was a belief that had formed in response to my negative experiences in school.

It’s so much easier to take what we are being fed and run with it than to stand up and correct ourselves.

Easier to believe the evil words that people throw at you instead of just loving and accepting yourself for who you are.

As soon as you start believing in yourself nothing else matters though.

My “freeing” moment came when I realized that if I am the only person that is on my side, I sure as heck better make sure I’m an advocate for myself.

The quote, “if you can’t beat them, join them” rings so entirely false in this situation.

Joining them is what we always seem to do…but WHY?!

Why step aside and watch yourself rot…?!

I don’t care how “ugly” you are… you don’t deserve to do that to yourself.

We each have a choice on how our story ends.

The fact is that I am me.

This is who I am.

The only way you can move forward with broken self confidence is by joining the same team as yourself.

Love yourself even when you’ve been given every reason not to.

Accept yourself piece by piece- note that accepting is different than liking.

Make a list of what you are instead of what you wish you were.

By saying, “this is my face” instead of “I hate my freckles”, you are accepting the fact that you were given a face and this is what it is.

When you allow negativity to define you, you are giving up on yourself.

Don’t give up on yourself.

Love yourself.

Encourage yourself.

Strengthen yourself.

At the end of the day, “you” are all you have.

Treat yourself the way you wish other people would treat you. ❤️

Check out my blog for more goodness💝

Project Identity

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Plagued with panic attacks

It was like any other day until it wasn’t.

At work, mid-sentence with a customer when in the snap of a finger my entire world flipped upside down.

I didn’t know where I was or what was going on.

This “wave” slammed into me, clothing me in a dreamlike fog.

It was the most foreign, alarming, out of control feeling I’d ever experienced and I completely panicked.

The customer left abandoned in confusion as I took off running.

Holding my chest to try and keep my heart from exploding out of it.

I was so disoriented, sweaty, and confused.

How would you react if suddenly you just were not in your body and you couldn’t get back in?

“Am I dead?!”

I kept wondering as I raced away like a penguin being preyed.

The black and white checkered floor felt like it was coming out from beneath me.

Finally stumbling outside where unfortunately, “a breath of fresh air” wasn’t enough to bring me back to reality.

I remember literally slapping myself in the face repeatedly attempting to “wake up” from this horrifying experience.

It would be more than three hours and an entire pack of cigarettes before I finally felt like I was back in my body again.

What in the world just happened?!?!

Life from that moment on consisted of constant obsessive worrying that this was going to happen again.

The complete terror of that experience had me in chaos mode.

Life felt like trying to walk around land mines.

Later that evening as I sat down to take my shoes off…

“WHOOSH”

there I was again… back in the “fog”.

I transitioned in and out of this mental state at least once a day after that.

“I’M DYING!!!!!!”😭

I confessed to my psychiatrist at our next appointment.

“The ground keeps coming out from beneath me and I’m all the sudden out of my body and I can’t get back in and it’s terrifying!”

😭😭😭

Her expression lacked the frantic concern that I was anticipating…

“It sounds like you are having panic attacks.”

My rap sheet of mental illnesses just grew.

(Read Life sentenced to medication)

Eight years later and anxiety remains at the forefront of my mental health complications.

I’m convinced that once you experience a panic attack you are “sentenced” to having them forever.

Panic attacks are so unbelievably traumatizing that you will never be the same person after walking away from one.

Consumed with the fact that your world could get turned upside down at any moment, completely unannounced.

You start having panic attacks in fear of having panic attacks.

People with panic disorder live in a heightened state of awareness at all times.

There is a constant excruciating fear that you’ll be ambushed by YOURSELF and unable to take back control.

It’s a terrible feeling.

How can you be of help to a loved one who is having a panic attack?

  • Never tell someone who is having a panic attack to “just calm down”.

If they could calm down, they would. Trust me. Understand that they are completely out of control in this moment and don’t need additional reminders of it.👍

  • LISTEN!

It is challenging to be compassionate about something you don’t understand. Don’t minimize something you have never experienced. Someone who is having a panic attack may ramble and be all over the place. Just listen and offer empathy. Questions and concerns may be addressed once the situation has resolved.

  • Respect boundaries!

Everyone has their own way of handling things. When my panic attacks get really bad I need to be alone. There is enough going on in that moment to handle the presence of another person. Some people might need you to stay. Listen to how you can be of help and be respectful in those wishes.

  • Try to remain calm.

This one might be hard as witnessing someone having a panic attack is not an easy thing to go through. Be the strength that they are so desperately needing in this moment. ❤️

  • Come up with a game plan.

If someone close to you experiences panic attacks have a conversation. Coming up with a game plan is SO IMPORTANT as it will allow these “moments of crisis” to pass less catastrophically.

  • Pray for them with them.

Nothing is more calming during a panic attack than that moment of redirection to God’s voice! Pray a strengthening prayer for them with them. Be genuine. This prayer will make them feel understood in a moment when nothing makes sense. God will help you through this.❤️

If you have panic attacks:

THIS IS A MUST READ!!! The treatment discussed in this article has been absolutely life changing for me! 😬❤️

  • SHARE THIS to your inner circle! 🙌

Awareness is key. Everyone needs to be on the same page! Start the conversation with your loved ones by sharing this article.💌

  • Let’s be friends!! Follow my blog

Project Identity- An inspirational blog❤️ for more tools! 😊 Hang in there!!

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Dear copycat shooters,

I’m sorry that I don’t know any of your names.

The beautiful souls that I grieve in your place consume too much time to pay you any mind.

You’re gone.

It’s sad because this life is beautiful and you just didn’t know how to open up your eyes and fully enjoy it.

I hate to tell you that your “shot at fame” fell short.

Your intended “legacy” destroying every last bit of you.

It’s second nature to misplace your ugly memory.

Filling it instead with the beautiful lives that you have taken.

And God forsaken,

All the time you wasted plotting a terrible crime I’ve got to say it,

It’s so distasteful.

As our nation is experiencing this divide

Watch as your only living memory washes away without a shrine.

You’ve been filed in the group of nameless monsters we dismiss.

You’re not unique.

You’re just the same

As all the ones who paved your way.

Now please return back to the dark where you will now forever stay.

You are nothing and I’m done wasting my breath on your dismay.

❤️

{In loving memory of all shooting victims~ the ones we all remember}

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Freedom from trauma

After experiencing trauma certain aspects of life will never be the same.

For someone who was assaulted in a yellow room that smelled like pine needles… the color yellow, the smell of pine needles, both could potentially be enormous triggers.

Trauma can be anything.

While rape and assault are the most commonly talked about the possibilities are literally endless.

If you’ve had a severely disturbing experience you may be carrying around the burden of trauma.

How do we move forward after experiencing trauma?

Read on to find out ⬇️❤️⬇️

Sometimes the most unlikely memories are the ones that mess us up the most.

The first significant trauma that I can remember was when my childhood “best friend” woke up one day and decided she didn’t want anything to do with me anymore.

I never even knew how badly that experience affected me until just recently…

My brain had literally convinced itself over time that we just grew apart.

Until last summer when my family made a trip back to my childhood vacation spot- Grand Lake, Colorado.

Our previous visit there was over fourteen years before.

The “best friend” I just mentioned came along with us on that last year.

Casually talking to my mom about memories from this beautiful place as we grabbed an ice cream cone at a familiar shop.

“I remember when we got back and Tori wouldn’t talk to you at all. She was completely ignoring you.”

No…I didn’t remember that actually…

As ice cream dropped on my shirt I responded,

“What are you talking about?!?!”

With the transition into middle school we just grew apart.

Or so I thought…

“I came up to her after volleyball practice and her dad ran up and yelled at me to stay away from her.”

Suddenly this memory, which my brain would have clearly rather forgotten, was piecing itself together.

The sounds…the smells….all of it came crashing down on me.

The distant memory suddenly felt like it was yesterday.

One minute I was just a kid without a thing to worry about… the next I’m left with only questions about people… questions about the world.

How could I have possibly forgotten that?!?!

I’d like to introduce you to the human brain.

Capable of so many things… including shielding us from trauma.

It’s not uncommon to completely blackout a traumatic experience in fact.

That is our brains way of “protecting” us.

I don’t remember what happened in the following days or weeks but I do remember that life got really hard after being abandoned.

Moving forward I had a difficult time making friends.

People were so mean.

From there it was what seemed like an everlasting downward spiral.

I guess it’s easier telling people that you “grew apart” from someone than saying “my best friend didn’t want me anymore and she never told me why”…

While this memory was immediately available to me it changed over time like a game of telephone.

Regardless, the awareness of my trauma would be a major step in my healing.

Life after trauma 💔➡️❤️

A twelve year old is blindsided by her best friend, abandoned without an explanation.

If you were the twelve year old, what beliefs do you think you would form about yourself and others as a result of that situation?

  1. People will leave me without reason.
  2. People I trust are going to hurt me.
  3. I am not in control.
  4. I am unwanted.
  5. There is something wrong with me.

Trauma almost always comes tied with a negative core belief(s).

You are no longer physically reaping the pain of the traumatic event… instead the pain you carry is the baggage of the negative belief this trauma gave you.

Trauma is the event.

Negative belief is the result.

My “best friend” left me when I was 12.

I’m almost 27 now.

“Learning” this new information about my childhood filled in a lot of the puzzle pieces that I thought had been lost forever.

In the years following the abandonment, I’d turn to alcohol and drugs to try and fill the void that my friend left in me.

Like dominos, I would face trauma.

Eventually leading to “textbook traumas”, assault and rape.

As ridiculous as this sounds, sometimes I feel like the abandonment was the worst trauma of them all.

Maybe if it had happened a couple years later….after I’d already successfully finished transitioning into a young woman…. maybe it wouldn’t have been so catastrophic.

But the way it all ended up playing out was the perfect combination to completely damage me.

It is so important to deal with our traumas.

Until you deal with them they will ruin you.

There is a sense of peace in the clarity I have now of why I am the way I am.

My marriage has grown in this knowledge as well since my husband is aware and involved in this reconditioning process.

While it will be a long road of re-training my brain and my beliefs about myself, at least I’m on the right road.

Below are the steps I’ve taken to experience freedom from trauma⬇️❤️⬇️

1) Identify the trauma.

This is the experience that negatively affected you. The “what”.

2) Identify the negative belief(s).

WRITE THEM DOWN- they are much easier to correct that way!

3) Correct the negative belief(s).

FACT CHECK YOURSELF!

Trauma leaves us with unrealistic beliefs about ourselves.

Often times our negative beliefs are exaggerated.

See below how I corrected mine from the example above.

⬇️❤️⬇️

Negative beliefs

  1. People will leave me without reason.
  2. People I trust are going to hurt me.
  3. I am not in control.
  4. I am unwanted.
  5. There is something wrong with me.

Corrected statements

  1. SOME People willmay leave me without reason.
  2. People I trust are going tocould hurt me.
  3. I am not in control OF OTHER PEOPLE.
  4. I am not wanted by ONE person.
  5. There is something wrong with me. I am uniquely me.

It’s literally crazy how changing a couple of words can completely alter the quality of your life.

I totally get that sometimes you feel too broken to accept the fact that it’s not your fault that this happened to you.

This is a process and as any process it will have ups and downs.

I’m definitely more sensitive than the average person when it comes to feeling like people may abandon me.

That sensitivity is a whole lot better than the years I spent convinced that everyone would leave me though.

Invest in yourself and your well being.

Be courageous and tackle your traumas.

I promise that there can be freedom after trauma.❤️

Check out my blog for more inspirational goodness⬇️❤️⬇️

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Why everyone should do “family breakfast” on Sundays

Happy Thursday everybody!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying your week!

❤️😊❤️

You guys,

I have to tell you about this thing my family does…

it’s amazing!!!

Actually it’s somewhat of a new tradition for us BUT after the very first one… we were hooked!

Family breakfast

So what is family breakfast?

Just as simple as it sounds actually!

Family ➕ breakfast = family breakfast

One day my five year old was sitting at the table eating breakfast and as I ran by to shovel another scoop of cereal down my throat she said,

“Mommy are you eating breakfast with me?”

I’m sorry…what!?

You mean actually sit my butt on a chair while I eat instead of running around like a crazy person trying to get stuff done?!

It felt pretty absurd at first to be completely honest.

If I’m not running around, how will everything get done???

Skeptically lowering myself into a chair.

That morning was one of the best mornings I’d had in a long time.

❤️

When the next Sunday rolled around there I was again… eating my breakfast sitting down.

This time we invited Daddy and baby sister to join us!

Andddd… the rest is history!

Now EVERY Sunday we look forward to “family breakfast”.

We attend a Saturday evening church service, so “snazzing” up our favorite breakfast foods after sleeping in on Sunday morning is what we call “family breakfast”.

Bacon, eggs, hash browns, fruit, COFFEE, plus a sweet entree are what our Sunday mornings entail.

Wonder no more what to do with the 20 butter braids taking up all of your freezer room.

My mouth is watering as I write this.

I’m a sucker for breakfast food you guys…

Now I get it to eat the best of them once a week!

Yes please!!!

Not convinced yet?

Here’s a little more:

  • Family breakfast is the one time a week when I get to start the day with my entire family all sitting down together.

Many of us do family dinner but not family breakfast.

It’s a different type of bonding.

In the morning we are rested and our emotional capacity is full.

Mornings are the only time all day that I function with a “normal” level of anxiety.

It’s the only time I’m emotionally able to give my full self to my family.

There is literally nothing quite like family breakfast.❤️

  • It’s a great meeting place to discuss upcoming plans for the week.

Soccer? Doctors appointments? No school on Friday?

What is on the schedule for the upcoming week?

Family breakfast gets everyone on the same page 👍❤️👍

  • We learn more about each other every single week.

We have one of those question card games that we received in a chick-fil-a happy meal.

Questions are like, “If you could go anywhere where would you go”.

It’s a great conversation starter and you are always learning new things about each other!

  • It includes my favorite foods and my favorite people.

Breakfast fans rejoice! 🙌

I do in fact, each bacon once a week…. 🥓🥓🥓😳

  • Family breakfast opens the door for more structured family activities!

Last Sunday during family breakfast my five year old goes,

“We should go with Daddy to his haircut then go to the park after!”

Ummmmmm…

How will the house get cleaned?!

News flash…

The weekend is only TWO DAYS.

I need to stop treating Sundays like Mondays!

Anyone else guilty of that?!

I was very skeptical at first but family breakfast turned into family DAY and…

We had a freaking blast.

So be it if my Monday workload just doubled.

Monday’s are Monday’s.

The kids had an absolute blast and I must admit I enjoyed the dose of vitamin D as well.

  • If your Sunday morning schedule is hectic👇

Do family breakfast in the way it works for you.

Bagels and coffee after church?!

Conversation instead of music in the car while enjoying a snack on the way to stop one of twenty for the day?

Family breakfast is whatever you make it.

  • If Sunday is just a plain old terrible day for you👇

Choose the day that works for you!

You need to have family breakfast once a week I’m seriously telling you…

  • Not a breakfast person? 👇

First off I’m not sure if we can be friends…. 😳 just kidding!

But breakfast is good for you.

DO FAMILY BREAKFAST!

  • No family? 👇

Have family breakfast with your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Invite Betty next door over for coffee and bagels…

I promise you after the first few times it won’t feel so awkward.

You may even decide you like Betty so much you want her at family everything.

You and your dog?

Fine!

If that’s literally all you can manage then do it!

Just remember to put away your cell phone in a safe place 👌

Spike needs your undivided attention!

Family breakfast is all about starting your day with intentionality.

I’ve seen the benefits of this and they keep on coming.

So please, try family breakfast this weekend.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know how much you loved it ❤️

Normal I am not!

How did I turn into this high energy family breakfast enthusiast?

Probably not how you’re thinking…

Check out my blog for inspirational goodness!

👇❤️😊❤️👇

Project Identity

An inspirational blog about overcoming adversity.

Mental health. Addiction. Eating disorders. Broken homes. Trauma. HOPE! ❤️

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Loss by suicide 💔

Nate was a lot like me.

Loud, goofy, awkward.

Thoughtful.

We went to high school together but never really got to know one another until a job at Starbucks landed us together six years later.

It was nice to see a familiar face on the first day of a new job.

Nate took me under his wing and within no time our shifts were spent in tears from laughing so hard with each other.

I thank God for those memories.

I’d only been working at Starbucks for a couple months before Nate left the company to focus on Uber and his dog walking business.

Every so often one of us would reach out through Facebook and discuss meeting for pedicures.

We never got the chance to do so.

It pains me that I didn’t know how much he really needed me.

My career at Starbucks lasted another year before leaving to have baby #2 and be a stay-at-home mom.

Being a barista was getting increasingly unbearable thanks to preeclampsia!

Every shift my feet would swell painfully HUGE and I wouldn’t be able to get my shoes off when I got home.

Finally in my last week at Starbucks-miserable was an understatement.

There were not many things that made me smile at that point.

And then, in walked Nate one day with a pink gift bag in one hand and a box of diapers in the other.

The super pregnant barista was finally smiling.❤️

That’s just the person that Nate was.

He was the sunshine.

The silly friend who always went completely out of his way to make other people smile.

I was leaving church when I opened the message nobody wants to receive,

“Hey girl I hate to tell you this but Nate is gone. They found him face down in a parking garage with a single gunshot wound in the front of his head.”

Excuse me what did you just say?!?

So many emotions pulsing through me.

What was going on?!

Where was I?!?!

In an instant my world went black and white.

Battling with my mind while searching for answers.

A murder?!

A freaking murder?!?!

I was in such a state of shock that I literally tried convincing myself that it was all some kind of social experiment or prank.

My mind just couldn’t believe it.

Until I walked into his funeral service and instantly shattered.

This was all for real and I couldn’t deny it anymore.

I wish he could have seen how many people came to say goodbye to him…

People who loved him overflowing into every inch of the large room.

His brother’s speech would kickoff the service and offer some answers in this tragic madness.

“Nate had depression.”

Confessed his brother, speaking at the start of the service.

Wait what?!

Depression?!?!

You couldn’t be talking about my Nate?!

No way!

Absolutely not!

He was always so happy!!!

And then it hit me.

Every person has their own way of trying to keep their head above water.

Severe depression is a serious condition.

It’s a debilitating kind of loneliness.

Nate… I’m sorry.

Sorry you were hurting. 💔

Sorry that the pain was too bad to continue on suffering the blow.

I had no idea you had depression… and I’m sorry for that too.

I’m sorry that you’re gone.

And I’m sorry for the finality of all of this.

I miss you.

I love the moments when you say hello as the sun blanketing me… the snowflake landing on my nose.

I wish your story could have ended differently.

Rest In Peace my friend.❤️

In loving memory of Nathan Flanagan💐

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Understanding Bulimia

Bulimia is an eating disorder that may live closer than you think.

Why?

Because people who have bulimia are generally of average or above average weight!

I sat down with my best friend and asked her EVERYTHING about her experience with this complicated eating disorder.

This is Brittany’s story. ⬇️❤️⬇️

  • You are so normal… how did this all start?

“Restricting and excessive exercise were the start. I had a strict 1,200cal/day diet. The catch was that if I went even just five calories over then instead of stopping I would just keep eating because I “already screwed up”. Like out of control eating. THEN I would panic and exercise for hours at a time like 3x a day. I could do homework while I ran on the treadmill so it was a sustainable behavior in college.”

  • What is this type of behavior called?

“Bulimia non-purging type with excessive exercise.”

  • What were your beliefs about yourself during this time?

“I thought that having a good body was the only way people would like me. My self worth was completely wrapped up in my body image. ‘I am as worthy as the shape of my body.'”

  • When did your eating disorder behaviors begin to change?

“After graduating from college I didn’t have the time to workout 3x/day.I had a full time job.

Every day became a ‘mess-up day’

Over time it turned into less restriction, more binging, more purging.”

  • Describe what a “binging episode” is like?

“When you’re binging you feel like you’re in a dream- like you aren’t really there. You lose all control and all ability to feel. There were times I likely consumed over 10,000 calories in 30 minutes. As soon as you REALIZE what’s going on and what ALL you’ve eaten, you totally panic and go to purge. You never get rid of ALL the calories you binged though. It’s a vicious cycle.”

  • What is the name for this type of behavior?

“Bulimia.”

  • Was it fairly easy to keep your eating disorder secret?

“Absolutely. I hid it for eight years. I would keep stashes of ‘binge food’ so I could binge and purge without people noticing that huge amounts of food were gone.”

  • When did it reach a point where you decided to seek help?

“Eventually I went to a therapist because I was gaining so much weight and freaking out. I gained 40 pounds in 6 months. That was the only reason I ended up asking for help.”

  • Was seeing a therapist the only form of treatment you did?

“No. Shortly after starting with my therapist, we decided I’d need to start treatment at The Eating Recovery Center.”

  • How was your experience in treatment?

“Initially it was really hard. Almost everyone in the center had anorexia. They would get frustrated if I wouldn’t finish my meal because they didn’t understand why someone of my shape was struggling. There is a shame associated with Bulimia…It’s like your eating disorder is not valid if you don’t look a certain way.”

  • How are you doing now that you’ve completed treatment?

“Binging is very rare now- maybe once every 3/4 months. Purging is addictive though and much harder to get rid of. When you throw up it releases dopamine. It’s an instant anxiety relief when I’m overloaded.”

  • What are your feelings about your eating disorder now?

“It’s FREAKING HARD to get rid of! I have a lot of responsibility now. Recovery is a weird word to me… I don’t know if I’ll ever fully recover and be able to live without these food obsessive thoughts. It’s a process that requires daily maintenance.”

  • How did control play into your eating disorder?

“Binging is such an out of control experience. Once you realize how out of control you were while binging, you panic and want to take back control by purging. Bulimia is a constant battle of control with yourself. It got extremely out of control at one point and eventually led to my entire world coming out from beneath me. I’ll admit that it’s ‘freeing’ not being in that chaos anymore. I feel in control of my eating disorder now.”

  • What do you want people to know about Bulimia?

“It’s sad that there is a shame surrounding binge eating. People don’t look at it as a life threatening problem. Anorexics are typically forced into treatment because they are so thin. Bulimics have to find the courage to seek help because the warning signs just aren’t there. You can die from bulimia. Even if someone looks healthy they may be lacking nutrients. When you binge it’s typically all junk food. When you purge it releases nutrients. That can mess with your mineral levels among other complications. Throwing up your food is not a healthy behavior no matter what size you are.”

“I’ve learned that my emotions are what they are but they aren’t controlling me anymore. People with eating disorders try to suppress their emotions. You are aloud to feel the way you’re feeling. Accept your feelings for what they are. Try to weigh the consequences of “just doing it once” and be aware of how quickly it can spiral out of control. I said, ‘this is the LAST time!’ more times than I could possibly count. Re-establishing your individual identity apart from your eating disorder is really important. My eating disorder is named Nikki.”

(Read more about Nikki by clicking this link, Meet Nikki)

“Nikki isn’t putting the blame on something else. Nikki is silencing my own thoughts and separating them from my actions.”

You can find more information on eating disorders by clicking the link below.

⬇️❤️⬇️

EATING DISORDER HELP

Follow my blog for more eating disorder posts❤️

Project Identity❤️

😊

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Running

Burnette’s pink lemonade vodka was my drug of choice.

My painkiller.

Escaping is exhilarating…

So we run.

We escape.

The first time I got drunk I experienced feeling accepted for the first time in a long time.

Things got really hard when I started middle school.

Everybody hated me and I could never figure out why.

Constantly seeking out “imperfections” to correct so people would just be nice to me.

Alcohol and drugs filled that void when I couldn’t fill it myself.

So I chased it.

Associating my behavior with “just being a teenager”.

Normal teenagers don’t get DUI’s or spend months of their senior year in treatment though…

The emotional freedom I experienced while under the influence quickly developed into a need.

I needed to be accepted.

I couldn’t take another day, another minute, of this life in full strength.

It was miserable.

Draining.

Impossible.

“Running” became an obsession.

The deep seeded need to feel loved and accepted would eventually lead me to drugs and just about anything I could get my hands on.

Marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy.

All were used regularly by the age of 16.

I always told myself that meth and heroin were where I’d draw the line because they were “crackhead drugs”.

While I never tried either of them, I’m sure if the opportunity would have ever presented itself, I would have snagged it in an instant.

The escape was worth any consequence at that time.

I remember an instance when I couldn’t get anything but was so desperate to be numb that I attempted getting high by smoking oregano.

In case you were wondering, it didn’t work.

Today I’m happily clean and sober!

Read more on how I got here by clicking the link below ⬇️❤️😊❤️⬇️

My untraditional fairy tale❤️

Today I’m left only with the debris of my bad choices.

My PTSD is through the roof.

Traumatized by the person that I used to be.

What could I have done differently to avoid all of this?

Operating properly today because of preference.

I prefer calm.

I prefer safe.

But I can’t say that the “safety net” I have today applied to my 14 year old self.

I didn’t feel safe then.

Middle and high school were a living hell for me.

Every day waking up with a pit in my stomach knowing I’d have to deal with people and the evil that they threw at me.

That pain was only temporary and I am safe now.

While it may have seemed like too long to hang on at times… I survived.

I don’t think I would enjoy life the way I do today if I hadn’t been through what I’ve been through.

If you’re running on empty right now because of bullying or addiction,

Please take the following letter to heart.

…This could be you too.❤️

Dear 14 year old self-

Things will be okay.

Eventually.

They are going to get worse before they get better.

A lot worse.

Hang on.

Remember that you control how this story ends.

Never rely on other people for happiness.

Learn to love yourself and one day you will have the world in your hands.

A beautiful family.

A husband who loves you.

Invaluable knowledge and strength.

A story that could potentially change lives.

❤️

This situation is temporary.

Don’t fight it!

Embrace it to the best of your ability.

Know that it’s worth the wait.

The ones who are ripping you to shreds will go through their own loneliness while you prosper.

Forgive them.

Pray for them.

One day you may even help them.

Two wrongs never make a right.

Be the energy you would like to attract even in the times you aren’t seeing results.

God won’t ever give you more than you can handle.

These years are a “boot camp” for the path you will lead someday.

As terrible as this very moment feels right now, it will all be worth it.

Your adversity is God’s opportunity 🌪🌪🌪🌈

The harder the training, the greater the “role” in God’s plan.

Unfortunately for now, you’ll have to wait it out.

Don’t give up.

There is a Man upstairs watching over you.

I love you.

Hang in there❤️

What is God training YOU for?!

Channel your adversity❤️

Follow my blog for more! 😊❤️😊

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Life sentenced to medication

“The doctor says I have depression.”

My eight year old friend stared at me perplexed as I gulped down a handful of pills at our sleepover.

It was rather confusing to me as well.

After my dad “disappeared” one day, things changed.

My mom had to go back to work.

She was terrified that the end of her marriage would somehow destroy the lives of my brother and I.

But I wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last eight year old dealing with a broken home.

One day my mom loaded us into the car.

Even my wildest dreams couldn’t imagine the importance of this day.

It was a day that would affect the rest of my life.

Following a long drive we arrived in front of a quaint little office building tucked neatly behind trees.

The interior was decorated like a cabin home.

It was quiet.

I sat innocently in the waiting room and began flipping through a magazine.

Eventually a man emerged from the large oak doors and after speaking with my mother, it was my turn.

“So… How are you?”

He offered.

“Good.”

I said quietly.

“What brings you in today?”

An odd question for my eight year old self.

“Ummm. I’m not really sure…”

He continued,

“Your mom informed about the situation at home. I can only imagine how hard that must be.”

“Ummm. Yeah I guess.”

“What are your thoughts on your Father’s drinking behaviors?”

He solicited.

“It can be scary at times. But he’s gone now.”

“Yes. Can you explain to me what’s happening…?”

“Ummm. I don’t know. My parents don’t love each other. They never did really. I was sleeping over at my friends house and when I came home my Dad was gone.”

“Mhmm. Yes. And how does that make you feel?”

At last he had poked me hard enough to unleash the stream of tears he’d been seeking all along.

“It’s fine.”

Responding as he handed me a box of tissues,

“It sounds like you have depression. You can manage your symptoms with medication. I am writing you a prescription for some today.

And that was it.

Looking out the window on the drive home- completely oblivious to how that prescription would change the way I lived my life forever.

These trips to the doctor became routine.

Every visit resulting in a new handful of medications intended to “fix” me.

In a matter of months I was “diagnosed” with three more “conditions”.

The doctor was constantly adding medications and never replacing them.

Each visit solidifying “I am crazy” and “I am broken” in my little head.

Eventually it reached a point when I was taking thirteen prescription medications.

If I wasn’t broken to begin with, I surely would be now.

I was a pharmaceutical guinea pig.

Maybe that’s the reason that to this day I have this deep seeded belief that I’m not normal.

That I’m defective.

That I need to swallow pills to function like other people.

18 years later I still take medication.

I have a handful of mental health conditions which vary based on the doctor you ask.

Currently I take 4 different medications which keep me right at the edge of sanity.

I’ve established as much of a “freedom” from medication as possible.

My body has been relying on meds for so long that I need them to just feel “okay” now.

I don’t know who I am without medication.

There are times I still wish I could get the chance to meet myself.

My real self.

Times I feel that I’ve been robbed of my true identity.

How would my life would be different if my adversity was categorized as “life” instead of a “flaw that needs fixing”?

Maybe I would end up with the exact same prescription cocktail after all, even if I’d never become dependent on meds as a child.

The problem is that I’ll never know.

Parents- If your child is going through a rough time PLEASE weigh ALL of your options before jumping into a treatment plan.

Don’t commit to a permanent solution for a temporary problem.

I’m not disagreeing with medication.

I’m not blaming anyone.

I’m simply giving a voice to my eight year old self who didn’t have one.

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An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system


I was in crisis.

Suddenly the seemingly perfect life I’d been living was in total havoc and I just freaking lost it.

I needed help.

Time away where I could sit and talk with someone to work through my problems.

That is what happens at those inpatient mental health places…right?!

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This actually wouldn’t be my first experience with the mental health system.

In 2011, I was put on a 72 hour hold after firemen broke my window to rescue me following a suicide attempt.

You can read more about that experience by clicking the link below ⬇️⬇️⬇️

https://project-identity.blog/2018/04/02/my-untraditional-fairy-tale/

This story leaves you hanging however in regards to the system.

The only thing I really remember from that experience was sitting in a dark room, completely isolated, only to be released in my hospital gown three days later.

There may have been other issues in protocol based on the severity of my condition at the time.

That was also 2011.

By 2018 they surely had new measures in place to give those in crisis a safe place to go….

“Alexis. Are you a danger to yourself?”

Well knowing that my response would decipher my freedom, I finally amounted the courage to say the word.

Yes.

Life as I knew it was suddenly out of my control.

The walls melted beside me as the EMT’s laid me on a stretcher and wheeled me out of my doctors office.

You guys I’m a pretty normal human these days.

I don’t go out.

I don’t get in trouble.

I’m a mom to two beautiful little girls.

Call me basic.

Yet however “basic” I may be, I still managed to land myself in a crisis center on a 72 hour hold.

This could be anyone.

So what exactly happens to you once you get turned over to the system?

Is our mental health system enough to “fix” people?

See if my experience changes your opinion.

2018 inpatient mental health experience

After completing a gene test, it was determined that my antidepressant wasn’t a very effective choice for me.

Ready for better management of my depression I decided to make the switch.

The catch?

I’d have to ween off my current antidepressant for three weeks before starting the new one.

This is actually protocol as taking multiple SSRI’s increases your risk of developing serotonin syndrome.

Two weeks in and I was feeling just fine!

“Maybe I don’t need this antidepressant after all!”

Until on week two, day five, when “life” happened.

Laying on the bathroom floor staring into space.

Every once in awhile reminding myself that I’m a mom and I need to get my butt out there and suck it up.

Only to inevitably explode tears in front of my children and end up back on the bathroom floor in effort to shelter them from my “crazy”.

Terrified of the system after my first experience, I attempted to sleep it off.

Fast forward to the admittance of needing help at the beginning of this article.

Here is what the next 72 hours had in store for me.

10am: EMT’s come to my doctors office to take me to the hospital.

10:30am: I arrive at the hospital. A guard is placed at the door of my ER room to keep an eye on me. Sitting still, sobbing quietly, trying to not distract the nurses from tending to actual emergency care.

12pm: A urine sample and blood work are finally collected and sent to the lab. I still have yet to talk to a therapist. Regret starts sinking in.

3pm: The medical tests came back normal. I’ve now been cleared from medical and an order has been submitted for me to speak to a counselor for placement.

9:30pm: Just shy of TWELVE hours in the emergency room staring at a wall. What did I sign up for? AT LAST the counselor is here to do the assessment. Following a stack of paperwork, the decision is made to send me to a crisis center. Now more waiting while they search for an available bed. The nurse said this can take up to 24 hours.

11:30pm: A surprisingly short (2 hour) wait time until I found placement. But wait there’s more…. time to submit the pre authorization for insurance. I was told once again this could take up to 24 hours. Please get me out of here.

1am: Once again I’ve “lucked out” as insurance only took an hour and a half to respond. How people could be stuck helpless in the ER for DAYS possibly… I can’t even begin to fathom. Can I speak to a therapist yet?

1:30am: EMT’s arrive to transport me to my new “home”.

2:15am: I have finally arrived. However, it is the middle of the night. I guess I won’t be seeing a therapist today.

Note: This entire ridiculous day was enough to make a person crazy. I was over it. This definitely was NOT what I was expecting. There were not therapists on duty to help me through it. The panic attacks were unbearable. I had missed the window for medication distribution so I’d have to manage without the pills that help me sleep at night. I felt so trapped and out of control. Everyone was sleeping so I couldn’t even cry it out like I so badly needed to. Choking on my tears, hyperventilating, trying to be quiet.

It was the ultimate depressive low.

5am: Finally I decide to try and sleep after my attempts at escaping were unsuccessful.

7am: Time for breakfast. I was able to fall asleep for a little over an hour. 😫

8am: Medications are given. If you haven’t seen the doctor yet, no meds. Even if you brought your own medication in the original bottles with your name on them. My body is literally so used to taking my medications that if I miss a dose my skin gets all flushed and I feel like I’m dying. These symptoms adding to my already full load of problems.

9am: Group therapy. Essentially, working through coping skills. It’s incredibly hard to focus while I’m still overflowing with the problems that got me in here and the fact that I still haven’t been able to talk to ANYONE about them.

10am: Free time. Either read a book if you brought one, color if that’s your thing, or lay in the dayroom and sleep like 90% of people did.

12pm: Lunch.

1pm: Group therapy.

1:30pm: THE DOCTOR FINALLY CALLED ME! Andddd, my visit with her was a whopping 5 minutes. At least the order had FINALLY been put in for my meds. I’d have to wait until evening medication distribution to get them though.

2pm: Free time. More day sleeping…

4pm: More group therapy… still can’t focus.

5pm: Dinner.

6pm: Visitation.

7pm: Group therapy… again.

8pm: Medications. Which thankfully included me this time.

9pm: Bed.

This routine was the same schedule every day. The only difference the following day was that I FINALLY SAW A THERAPIST. For a ten minute one on one session. ONCE.

So, if I ever found myself in a mental health emergency again, would I make the same choice in asking for help?

As much as I hate admitting this, absolutely not.

The mental health system failed me.

I 110% left feeling WAY worse than I did when I got there.

You guys, how is this our system?

How is it that treatment for someone who is suicidal doesn’t involve any quality one on one time?

Why was the day filled with free time and taking naps (which is terrible for depression) while activities involving exercise (great for depression) didn’t exist?

Shouldn’t it be a priority to get severely mentally ill patients their medications in a timely matter?

Our broken system has psychiatric patients using emergency care rooms as waiting rooms… potentially for DAYS based on some of the wait times I was given. Is it really the best idea to tie up our EMERGENCY ROOM nurses with mentally ill people they can’t help?

I’m not sharing this as a salty ex-patient trying to make something out of nothing.

I’m sharing this because this could happen to anyone.

Depression doesn’t discriminate.

This is the system your children, your grandchildren, THEIR grandchildren may need to use some day…

I’m sure that there are options, for extremely wealthy people, to fly somewhere and have an actual therapeutic experience.

But what about the rest of us?

What about the suspects in these shootings that we keep saying need mental health treatment?

This is OUR mental health system and if people are leaving crazier than they came in, IT’S NOT WORKING

If you are appalled by this article SHARE IT!

Not enough people are aware of this sad reality.

Let’s expose the system for what it is.

It unacceptable.

Make your voice heard.

Follow my blog for more great stuff! ❤️

Project Identity


The songs we sing ourselves

For me,

Songs are pieces of advice.

Invaluable wisdoms being shared.

The rhythmic displays of art typically offer the listener some kind of a message.

Let’s all take a second to individually address the songs we sing ourselves on a daily basis.

  • What type of song do you find yourself singing most often?
  • Are you a “glass half full” or a “glass half empty” type of person?
  • How do you handle adversity?
  • Where does “self love” rank in your values?
  • Do you spend a lot of time beating yourself down? Worrying? Living in regret?

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The purpose of this personal “inventory” taking is not to fault you for your wrongs.

By stepping back and assessing our “wins” and our “losses” , we learn to give ourselves what’s necessary to keep us running smoothly.

My song this morning,

Today is another day filled with things simply out of my control.

I will choose to sing myself loving songs of encouragement as needed.

Songs filled with everything I need in the present moment to work with myself instead of against myself.

By committing to singing myself the proper songs everyday and as needed,

I will begin realizing that I do in fact, have an ally,

and that person is myself.

Song

The WordPress word of the day.

Click the link below to find out how YOU can participate❤️

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/song/

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Bullying is everywhere

Bullying consumed so many years of my life.

Beaten down by the harshness of this at times, ruthless society.

One minute I was 12, enjoying hours in the lake on a partially deflated water trampoline with my best friend.

The next I’m 13 and my best friend just woke up one day and didn’t want me anymore.

I was never given an explanation.

After that things got really bad for me.

Below are some pictures of myself in different stages of middle/high school.

Each photo is accompanied by an actual comment said to me in that time frame.

Bullying is everywhere

“You are ugly”

“You are weird”

“You are too skinny”

“You wear too much makeup”

“You should just kill yourself”

Statements cemented into me.

Cruel comments, shaping my core beliefs about myself.

Middle and high school are HARD!

If you are not “perfect”, people will go out of their way to destroy you.

Dear victims of bullying,

You are not ugly.

You are not fat.

You are beautifully, uniquely, you.

There is nothing wrong with you.

In fact,

As someone who has been in your shoes…

I promise you that this situation is temporary.

I know years of battery can seem like TOO much sometimes.

There will be days when you feel like you just can’t do it anymore.

HOLD ON.

People CARE about you.

Things may get worse before they get better

Remain strong.

The Lord won’t give you more than you can handle.

Come to Him in your times of weakness.

Remember that it can’t rain forever.

“I am free from the chains that once bound me”

Life is in color again.

The hurtful people from my past are nothing more than my past.

Senseless words will not define me.

In the times when life feels like “too much”,

Remind yourself,

“The bigger the storm, the brighter the rainbow”

Don’t miss witnessing your rainbow

I promise you it’s worth the wait ❤️

#SuicidePrevention #Truth #Encouragement #Positivity #Hope


Dear friend I lost to addiction

Losing a loved one to drugs or alcohol isn’t an easy thing to go through.

It’s a different type of loss.

When someone dies there is a sense of finality.

When someone loses their life to addiction it’s emotional war for those caught in the crosshairs.

You guys, this opioid epidemic is seriously getting out of hand!

I remember just YEARS ago thinking heroin was like THE WORST drug of all drugs and nobody EVEN I knew would ever do it!

Let’s all just laugh at my old self together right now.

This sad reality came up and punched me in the face one morning when I got the news that my best friend was a suddenly a heroin addict.

It’s been a long, difficult road since then.

A little over a year into it I’ve finally realized I’m not in the drivers seat of this car.

This friendship has been running “one- way” for too long.

The WordPress word of the day today is “Haul”.

For my entry, I’d like to write a letter to my ex best friend as we transition into this finality in our friendship.

When I think of the word “haul” the first thing that comes to mind is “abundance”.

You move stuff; you haul LOTS of stuff.

My display of the word “haul” is by “freeing myself” from her burdens that I’d been hauling.

If you are a blogger, you can find more details to create your own post by clicking the link below!

⬇️😄⬇️

dailypost.wordpress.com/challenge-instructions/

Dear friend I lost to addiction,

I’m sorry.

Sorry that the awesome times we had together came to a screeching halt.

It makes me sad

That you never got to enjoy this beautiful life to it’s full potential.

I hate admitting

That the pure horror of this past year is slowly tainting the greatness of the ten before.

I thought I’d be enough.

To save the lost 13 year old I first met who gave up on looking for their place in this world.

You’re beautiful.

And you always have been.

The world lost a great person.

I lost my best friend.

There are days it still kills me.

Days my mind still tricks itself into believing I can fix you…

I didn’t just leave.

I will always love you but I can’t watch you kill yourself.

I bleed the pain that you’re numbing.

I hope that someday you will understand.

I still pray for you.

Find the Lord, He’s been looking for you.

You are in control of how this story ends.

A couple days of hell are worth a lifetime of happiness.

Goodbye for now.

I’m rooting for you❤️#Addiction #Inspiration #Haul #HeroinEpidemic #Loss #Friendship #Goodbye #Life #Inspire #Praying #LettingGo #Recovery


The miraculous treatment for anxiety that’s being kept secret

Anxiety.

Just hearing the word used to make me uncomfortably anxious.

At last, I’m able to type those seven letters in sequence without becoming completely unhinged.

Before I get to the WHAT, I’d like to address the process of getting here.

The one “miracle” treatment that gave me emotional freedom took eight years of misery to even hear about yet it’s been around since before I was born.

Anxiety affects SO MANY people in this world.

What are all of them doing to maintain their sanity?

My first panic attack was the most foreign, AWFUL feeling I’d ever experienced.

After the first one they just kept on coming.

All. The. Time.

I was having panic attacks because I was so afraid of having panic attacks.

(More on that story in- Plagued with panic attacks ❤️)

“The floor keeps coming out from underneath me”

I confessed to my psychiatrist one day, anxiously awaiting my death sentence.

“It sounds like you are experiencing anxiety”

Anxiety?!

You mean I’m not dying?!?!

I was given a prescription for anxiety medication and left the office feeling relieved that this chaos would stop happening to me.

If you’ve dealt with crippling anxiety like myself, I’m sure you’re laughing with me at that last comment.

Boy did I have a lot to learn about anxiety.

Eight years later here is what I’ve got.

Anxiety medication is a double edged sword.

Unlike many other medications, benzodiazepines, or “anxiety meds”, are only short term treatment options that build tolerance with regular use.

Symptoms are decreased initially but before you know it, the dose is no longer effective.

In turn, your doctor bumps up the dose.

Again. Again. And again.

You will reach a point when the dose needed to treat your symptoms is more than a doctor can write for you.

I found this out the hard way when my daily 1mg of Ativan reached a whopping 3mg of Ativan AND 4mg of Xanax a day.

Clearly an insane amount of benzodiazepines for someone to be taking on a daily basis.

Most doctors would not even go that high today except in extreme cases- like mine.

My anxiety was so bad that even at that ridiculously high dose of “benzos” I was still in and out of the emergency room for “heart attacks” on a monthly basis.

So when the day eventually came that my doctor told me I’d have to make this ineffective dose effective, I panicked!

Surely there were many other options to treat people with anxiety after the inevitable medication cap…

Kind of.

It took a long time before I could find options for coping with this madness.

Eventually I was referred for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Basically a therapist who you vent to and work through coping skills with.

CBT isn’t very effective in treating the panic attacks that you don’t see coming

In my case, exactly what I needed help with!!!

I wasn’t making any progress and after a couple months of it I decided the time and money spent going there just wasn’t worth it.

I was sentenced to a lifetime of panic attacks and there weren’t any options to cure me.

Over a year was spent in complete agony.

Every day was consumed with trying to stop my body from telling me I was dying.

Trying to find the right way to spread out my now ineffective medication to keep me from freaking out.

There were days when I dreaded waking up because I knew I’d have to try and manage my anxiety all day.

Eventually I ended up getting pregnant with my second child.

Benzodiazepines are not recommended during pregnancy

In total panic of hurting the baby I stopped taking all of my anxiety medications cold turkey.

Getting off benzodiazepines is absolute hell

Days were spent on the bathroom floor SCREAMING.

Stopping benzodiazepines gives you intense withdrawal symptoms including increased anxiety and panic attacks

At my wits end, popping Benadryl like candy to try and keep my head above water, I decided some crutch was better than no crutch.

Back to CBT I went.

This time around I had a new therapist who after reviewing my background recommended something called EMDR.

If you’ve never heard of it then join the crowd.

“Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” is what it stands for.

Apparently it’s been around forever and has a ridiculously high success rate (as high as 100% success in some trials) in treating trauma.

Originally developed for veterans suffering from PTSD, EMDR works by filing traumatic memories PROPERLY into the brain.

My anxiety therapist said that the panic attacks that hit you like a bus stem from traumatic events shoved deep in our subconscious, resurfacing to be properly dealt with.

Traumatic events are well, traumatic.

It’s not uncommon to partially or completely blackout a traumatic event.

Even if you do remember most of what happened, you probably keep that memory far, faaaaar away!

That is our brains way of shielding us from the trauma.

A past trauma can cause a great deal of discomfort to revisit.

Successful completion of EMDR desensitizes such memories along with their symptoms.

So how does it work?!

Bilateral stimulation is used in a therapeutic setting while revisiting these horrific memories.

There are a variety of different mechanisms for the bilateral stimulation.

I use a light bar along with the hand buzzers, similar to the one pictured below- minus the headphones.

A buzzer gripped in each hand.

The light moves from side to side, on lightbulb at a time, coordinating vibrations with the side the light is on.

Sessions are very intense.

They always conclude with “containing” the disturbing memories and settling calmly in your self made “safe place”

This safety is reinforced in a few shorter sets of EMDR.

You leave the appointment calm.

That’s it.

Your brain does the rest of the work on its own.

After a couple sessions, the once cringeworthy event becomes nothing more than a memory.

It’s like magic.

While still currently undergoing therapy to cover my extensive trauma saturated past, I am 110% confident that once I’ve completed every target I will have COMPLETE control of my mind again.

The progress I have already made is absolutely mind blowing.

I HAVEN’T BEEN TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM FOR A PANIC ATTACK IN OVER A YEAR.

I have an emergency supply of 1mg Xanax that I rarely need to use.

This much progress with so much to still work through is absolutely incredible.

Once hopeless, now flooding with hope.

It should not have taken 8 years for me to hear about EMDR.

With such high success rates you’d think doctors would recommend EMDR over the short term solution of medication.

That wasn’t the case for me.

Let’s work together to get the word out and change the standard.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE and give a voice to those who need real long term help.

Use the hashtag #EXPOSEEMDR ❤️

SO MANY lives could be reclaimed if people KNOW THAT THIS IS OUT THERE and it works!

If you feel like your life has become prisoner to anxiety I encourage you to find a therapist who does EMDR asap!

Freedom from anxiety is possible.

I never thought I’d say this but I’m proof of it.

For more information on EMDR click the link below ⬇️❤️⬇️

EMDR Institute

❤️

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Project Identity