I’m not a bad person for cutting out a friend who chose addiction

I know I’m not a bad friend.

Still sometimes my heart and my mind collide.

It had been months of no contact when my daughter’s picture appeared on my ex best friend’s profile picture (read to the friend that isn’t a friend anymore).

My jaw hit the ground.

I had boldly and clearly expressed my wishes in this relationship… what did she want from me?!

A tone that sounds so cold but saying goodbye to that friendship was never easy for me either.

I made one of the bravest protests in my life by saying I wasn’t going to do this one way friendship anymore.

Then I just shut off the feelings completely so that I could learn to live with that choice.

It’s just as hard as choosing to leave the one who keeps cheating on you- not because you want to but because you need to.

I want the friendship back so badly but she isn’t in a stage where she’s going to chose to grow up any time soon.

We all have our limits.

This isn’t my rollercoaster.

But that wasn’t always the case.

You see, part of the freaking problem is that same annoying voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering, “you gave up on your friend… those are not your values.”

This voice sits and interrogates me until I’m blue in the face in conflict with myself.

A voice that’s so beyond false I can’t even believe it yet the power it still holds over me is so much more than I like to admit- even to myself.

This process has been constant battles of reminding myself of who I really am and the lengths I went to trying to save the friendship.

I wanted you back so badly and you still picked the drugs- again and again.

It was TWO YEARS of desperately searching for a way to fix this addiction.

I never compromised my values by refusing to enable her.

She mainly kept her distance and disappeared for long periods of time, leaving my mind to fester.

Boy did I make myself crazy in those two years…

I spent more time trying to fix her self-inflicted situation than I gave to my own family.

As a wife and mom to two young children, I feel like that in itself is why I did all that I possibly could have until it just wasn’t enough.

Instead of comforting my husband after a long day at work, I would obsessively google her name to make sure she hadn’t died yet.

While she was shooting up to numb the chaos she’d created, I was living all of it in full strength and it was freaking terrifying.

I did it because that is the type of friend that I am.

After two years of begging, pleading, making myself crazy, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I never wanted to lose her as a friend, but our lives have taken two very different paths.

How many friends from grade school have you grown apart from?

More than you can count probably.

As we grow and change the people that mesh well in our lives change also.

It is completely appropriate to grow apart from people- that’s life.

Putting needles in my arm and nodding out in a motel isn’t really my thing and I think that it’s fair for me to acknowledge that.

I would have helped her get clean but she didn’t want the help to do it properly because she doesn’t want to be clean.

Being fed by a household that enables her every need.

Call me insensitive but as a former addict myself, addiction is NOT a disease that makes you incapable of asking for help.

You have to want help and be ready to put in some insanely hard work… you have to OWN everything and everyone you ever wronged while using.

This requires a great deal of not so comfortable self reflecting.

There is nothing easy about looking in the mirror and doing some serious, heavy self reflection.

It’s not an easy process, and yes I would know because I’VE BEEN THERE.

I came to that dead end where I’d had enough of what I’d made of myself and so I changed.

Until an addict makes it to that road, they will keep hiding behind their “disease”- another reason “they’ve been done wrong in this world”.

This ball is in her court and her court only.

I’m genuinely sad that our story had to end this way.

When she stood next to me as a bridesmaid at my wedding, I never could have imagined this is where we’d be in four years.

I hate that I just wasn’t enough to make you want to get clean.

It kills me that I couldn’t be that friend who helped you get through this dark time.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t help you get back to the sweet person I first became friends with.

I genuinely pray that someday this will all make sense to you.

Saying goodbye was insanely hard for me but it was a choice that I stand behind.

No matter how twisted the story gets through the telephone line, I know who I am.

I’m not the person who just dropped their friend when they started using heroin.

I am a die hard believer in a person who is hiding behind drugs and I refuse to put myself through their negligent choices anymore.

I am a girl who loves her friends SO much that I will NOT bite my lip and settle for anything less than what’s best for them.

I will fight for what’s best for her, with or without her, until the day I die. ❣️

Check out my Project Identity for more empowering content! ❣️❣️❣️

Changing the mental health system

There is a major issue in our world that we are all very aware of yet nobody wants to talk about it.

What am I speaking on?

Mental illness.

Our society is built on the idea of “being perfect”.

Every day we wake up and put on our best faces for the world.

Our social media’s are filled with smiling faces and while I’m not disagreeing that our lives have picture perfect moments, I’m calling bluff on this “perfection” front.

We are human and we are flawed.

Though our reality is a planet full of people who are desperately chasing after perfection.

We are not Jesus.

Instead we have Jesus, to teach us the most raw lessons of forgiveness as we inevitably mess up, time and time again.

And then there’s this thing called life.

Life is not peaches and cream people.

Life is a journey full of ups and downs, heart beats and heart breaks, setbacks and stand ups.

As our broken souls chase this fantasy idea of being “perfect”, it’s understandable that we internalize every failure as a flaw.

Life gets hard and we are trained to pretend that everything is fine, that we are fine.

Mental health isn’t discussed in the way physical health is.

And why?

They are in fact, one in the same.

People are so accepting of any body part breaking down, except our minds.

When our minds are broken, nobody wants to talk about it.

Instead our society is still running on this stigma that views the mentally ill as monsters.

People who are mentally ill are weird, unpredictable, dangerous.

It’s the 21st century and the advancements being made decade by decade are monumental.

Advancements in the mental health system on the other hand have been minimal.

If you are genuinely unaware of how bad this situation is, check out An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system.

This is not an isolated incident.

Our mental health system is a freaking joke you guys.

It’s unacceptable.

For anyone who has never experienced mental illness, I hear you.

It has got to be confusing as hell when somebody “can’t just be happy”.

I get that you don’t understand.

Similar to the everyday battles someone with a physical ailment faces, yet also very different.

Our eyes can see why the man with one arm struggles in climbing the rope, our eyes validate this understanding.

When someone’s mind is under attack there is nothing to validate their behavior- nothing that screams “wow, I can’t imagine how hard it must be getting out of bed every morning”.

In turn this equals stigma and grave misunderstanding of the mentally ill.

When our brains are under attack we are left with a world of broken resources.

Mental illness is a tax on the poor.

If you can’t meet the price tag, genuine help is literally non-existent.

There isn’t a logical plan in place to actually help these people.

What needs to be done to change this?

Who are the mentally ill?

The bus driver, your next door neighbor, your best friends brother, your mom.

It’s not just the horrific individuals who commit mass shootings; the “crazy people” being tied down and shipped to an insane asylum in the movies.

Nobody is exempt from getting a mental illness.

Why are people in crisis being treated like animals?

Why are our publicly available crisis centers releasing people crazier than when they were admitted?

There is obvious room for improvement in the system and we need to do this to help our people.

Being suicidal in today’s world is like needing an emergency appendectomy in a world without doctors.

In my mind there are so many things that we could do differently.

Safe havens shouldn’t feel so cold.

I am coming up on one year of doing this blog.

It has been an insane process of self reflection and growth.

I’ve decided that I am extremely passionate about advocating for the mentally ill- people like myself.

It’s a cause that we are all too familiar with but refuse to constructively change.

It sucks being mentally ill in a world that views mental illness as abnormal.

And I’m ready to start pushing for changes.

Share this post if you want change in the mental health system.

If this post hits 5,000 shares, I will personally draft up a game plan and do everything in my power to get it to Colorado legislature.

Who better to brainstorm a solution than the people who know this battle all too well?

Together we can change the way the world views and treats mental illness.

Change starts here.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more empowering content. 💕💕💕

To the friend that isn’t a friend anymore

I’ve had enough.

While I work on bettering myself, you continue choosing to make all of the wrong choices.

The easy thing and the right thing are hardly ever the same.

You’ve been stringing me along like it’s part of your game.

You were once a friend… that is true.

Not anymore.

Looking back at the childhood memories when we were both on the same page…

The laughter, the love, friends for life without a doubt.

We had our whole lives ahead of us then.

Sadly only one of us would make that life count.

I hate that you just don’t care enough to make a change- I’m tired of rooting for a team that isn’t even playing.

What I want for you is very different than what you want for yourself.

You were once a friend… that is true.

Not anymore.

We are grown now.

Though only one of us has truly grown up.

Sorting out my past mistakes as you refuse to let yours go.

Left standing alone trying to plant a garden with your pile of dirt.

I can’t make you be a garden.

You were once one… that is true.

Not anymore.

So here I stand alive and I’ve decided it’s been overdue.

Friends are the family we choose.

And I’m no longer choosing you.

When you change your mind again and want friends instead of drugs

Remember that I’m praying for you, in the place of hugs.

I won’t be there to wipe your tears.

I won’t be there to share your cheers.

This is the end to the childhood friendship that we could no longer sustain.

Whether you choose to get better or not, gone is where I’ll stay.

I’m living in my garden.

Where you wouldn’t come to play.

The gates have closed, the sunshine glows, I finally can see.

That after all we’ve grown apart, I’m better off just me.

We were once friends… that is true.

Not anymore.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more inspiration! 💕

When toxic relationships turn violent

“They give you heaven and they give you hell.”

After graduating high school I moved to Florida to experience life away from home.

A couple months into this experience I crossed paths with a guy I went to middle school with in Colorado.

Jumping into a relationship, the passion grew like fire.

Dysfunctional was an understatement.

It started as little battles with control.

We fell hard and we fell fast.

I drank myself stupid every single day.

I had a history of picking guys that became obsessive- The red flags disguised in familiarity.

His burning desire to sustain this dysfunctional relationship resulted in a tightened grip on me.

I worked at a kiosk in the mall and he would creep around upstairs, watching me.

Everyone else could see the madness, but I was blind.

The first time he got arrested was because I wanted to go tan.

He hated when I tanned because they wouldn’t let him go in the room with me.

He couldn’t watch me for 15 minutes of the day and it killed him inside.

“YOU ARE MEETING A GUY IN THERE AND CHEATING ON ME!!!”

He roared.

As the grip tightened, I repelled.

This first incident started with my attempt to to sneak out the door and tan.

He came racing after me, jumping in his car, without shoes or a shirt on.

At the stoplight he put his car in park and started banging on my car window screaming.

A bystander called it in.

“SHOOT ME! JUST SHOOT ME!!!”

He yelled at the police officers as they took him into custody.

After being released from jail he moved right back into my apartment.

Looking back I know I should have recognized the signs.

But lust blinds us…

The next time the cops were called came after a dispute on rent money.

He couldn’t hold a job with his full schedule of stalking me and once again I was left to come up with all of it.

I was almost an entire bottle of Burnette’s in, but no amount of alcohol could erase what happened next from my mind.

Enraged and heated, substances amiss, he snapped.

He grabbed my throat and slammed me against the wall.

Using his grip as leverage he began to lift me up.

I went numb.

The next thing I remember is the way the carpet felt on my face.

He was gone, I was shaken and impulsively called the police.

In the minutes it took for the police to arrive though, I had changed my mind.

I wanted to erase the phone call for help and resubmit to this hell.

So I crawled underneath my bed trying to hide.

BOOM BOOM

“POLICE! OPEN UP!!”

It took close to 30 minutes and threats to break down my door before I surrendered.

I was hiding to protect someone who tried to kill me… like how twisted is that?!?!

I’m writing this because I know that someone reading it will resonate with domestic violence.

You guys, toxic relationships DON’T GIVE YOU HEAVEN!!!

It’s the devil distorting every ounce of sense from your mind.

If just days later my roommates wouldn’t have robbed every last thing I had, I possibly would have remained in the relationship.

I know for sure that at times when things got lonely, times before I fell in love again, that I would have gone back for sure.

That is so ridiculously messed up that it’s not even funny.

Thankfully, I made it out of the relationship before it was literally the death of me.

Don’t settle for toxicity in relationships!

Don’t be blind to red flags!

GET OUT BEFORE IT GETS BAD!

You may be in a toxic relationship if your partner is:

  • Overbearing
  • Abnormally controlling
  • Obsessive
  • Stalking
  • Manipulative
  • Verbally abusive
  • Physically abusive

You deserve someone who treats you like the worthy, incredible, person that you are.

And they ARE out there!!!

Not until you escape your prison, lock the door, and throw away the key… will you find them.

If you or somebody you know is in an abusive relationship, feel free to send me an email!

If love to assist you in getting through this! 💕❤️👇

Alexisvw.projectidentity@gmail.com

Or DM me on Instagram at:

alexisvw.projectidentity

Or drop me a comment below! ❤️👇

Check out my blog, Project Identity for more articles on overcoming adversity! 🌤

Through the ears of my eating disorder

My relationship with food will honestly never be normal.

A lifetime without relapse wouldn’t be enough to change the way I hear the words,

“Wow! What a healthy meal you are eating! Good job!!”

Because instead of hearing you compliment me on my discipline I hear,

‘You are fat so you should be eating healthy.’

And from there it spirals into countless unhealthy thoughts.

I knew that many challenges would come with recovery from an eating disorder but I never thought the way that I hear things would be one of them.

Last week I was talking with my best friend who is also in recovery from an eating disorder when this realization hit me like a ton of bricks.

‘I’m not the only one!’

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if every person who has ever had an eating disorder experiences this to some extent.

Having an eating disorder is like playing a constant game of telephone with yourself.

Your mind is so good at feeding you crap by now that it enjoys manipulating the game.

When living with a brain that is constantly obsessing about food and weight, it can feel like everything is a trigger.

Food is a necessity for survival so you can’t “avoid it” as you can with recovery from most other things.

Multiple times a day EVERY SINGLE DAY you are being tested.

Eating in general can become an anxiety provoking situation entirely.

You are at war with yourself.

And like a sick and twisted death sentence… you must eat to live.

If you have a loved one who has an eating disorder, I’m writing this for you.

Life requires learning other people so that we can all better coexist.

An eating disorder is just another one of those REAL LIFE things to navigate.

Below are some examples of life through the ears of an eating disorder.

Take a moment to intercept this as your loved one.

“Gross! She obviously eats cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!”

‘My worth is determined by a number on a scale…’

“You were too skinny before I’m glad to see you’ve gained some weight.”

‘You are fat now.’

“Exercise is really good for you!”

‘You should be exercising because you’re fat.’

“I’m doing the #%* diet!”

‘You should be on a diet!’

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for doing your part to better coexist!

Check out my blog Project Identity for more! ❤️

What I didn’t know about addiction

When I got sober it was a fairly unique situation.

The day I quit drinking was also the very first day I wanted to quit drinking.

A couple days of seizures on the bathroom floor was enough to start anew.

It wasn’t until recently that I learned how much my personal experience has clouded my opinion on addicts.

To me, alcohol was an escape from myself.

I hated myself.

I hated my life.

Numb was the only way that I could continue functioning.

Alcohol was that door to checking out from reality and entering a world where I just didn’t care.

With booze, life always seemed less real.

I didn’t annoy myself as much when I was drunk.

The bottle was my ticket to escaping the life I couldn’t bare anymore.

My brother had his own struggles with addiction.

It would be years after my new leaf of living that nightmare with him before things turned around.

The only thing more difficult than addiction itself is watching a loved one throw away their life for it.

Your life becomes a living hell while they are escaping this reality with substance.

“I promise you that life in sobriety is fun T!!! PLEASE just give it a try and find out!!!”

I pleaded, for years on end.

The best word to describe myself in this plea would be naive.

Naive to feeling that every addict is running from reality.

Naive to think that my brother just liked being drunk too much to quit.

A couple weekends ago we were visiting my now 20 MONTH SOBER brother for fall festivities!

It’s MY FAVORITE family tradition we’ve created!

Our life is so normal now.

We get together and do things as siblings and I swear those are some of the best memories of our lives.

Day one we went to the most badass park I’ve ever seen! 👇

Day two we went to a corn maze and pumpkin patch!👇

And day three, during family breakfast, we talked about where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.

“Man T… I can’t believe you made it! I’m so proud of you!!!”

I professed.

“I had to stop or I was going to die. I’d wake up with ridiculous anxiety and start having panic attacks. It would feel like I was having a heart attack and the only way to make it stop was the booze. It was like a 24/7 never ending hangover.”

Tears started streaming down my face as I realized how much I hadn’t understood about his addiction.

Here I am, preaching to my brother about how cool life is when you aren’t confused all the time, and he wasn’t even confused…. he was sick.

He confessed the fine line of “sipping and driving”.

In other words he wasn’t drinking just to drink.

At just 29 years old, his body was beginning to show signs of long term alcohol abuse.

His body was reliant on alcohol and was literally shutting down without it.

Longer drives required greater focus and when he was “under-medicated” the withdrawal symptoms were so intense that he would end up pulling over for hours at a time in attempt to stop his heart from bursting out of his chest.

He wasn’t drinking to be drunk- he was drinking to stay alive.

He had punched the ticket but he no longer wanted to ride the ride.

“I was embarrassed with myself for how bad it had gotten. I would have died trying to detox on my own. There was a lot of shame in what it had become and the reality of those choices. It was like drowning and waiting for somebody to save you.”

The day his second niece was born was the day my brother amounted the courage to chase his lion.

“I need this to stop and I don’t know how.”

He admitted to a buddy of trust.

Thank you for hearing him, Carl.

It took ten days in detox before being medically cleared for inpatient rehab.

Detox from alcohol is a serious thing!

My brother put in some insanely hard work as he fought for his life.

**Did you know- detoxing from heroin isn’t deadly (though it feels like it), but detoxing from alcohol can be?!**

20 months later my brother is still prioritizing his recovery as an AA sponsor.

God gave me my brother back and I am beyond grateful for this.

I’m thankful that I have a sibling to enjoy life with.

I’m thankful I’m not living in a nightmare anymore.

I’m thankful for his journey, and the new understanding it has given me about addicts.

We are all different so it makes sense that no addiction is the same.

Every addict is running- our differences lie in what is chasing us.

Thank you for using your story to help others T.

I love you.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more. ❤️

The “devalued” child

“When I was a kid I remember crying in the mirror and feeling so badly that my parents had to have the ugliest kid in the entire world.”

I expressed to my anxiety therapist.

“What happened to trigger that? At the age of 4 or 5 a child doesn’t just come up with these feelings from nowhere… something must have happened.”

She questioned.

“Nothing happened. I’m just ugly.”

It would be YEARS of therapy before unlocking this can of worms.

Years of wondering if I was raped or abused as a child and just blacked out the entire thing.

Years of silencing that fear with my proclamation of ugliness.

‘At least if you understand that you are ugly you aren’t ugly and in denial…’

Confidence has never been my strong suit.

It wasn’t until my anxiety therapist gave me a list of books to look into that my life started making sense for once.

While she never said it directly, all of the books had a common theme.

Borderline personality disorder.

The second I looked up the definition, I felt my mom’s picture should have been pasted right next to it.

It was her exactly.

My mom has borderline personality disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by the following behaviors:

  • Intense, highly changeable moods
  • A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones- often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors (spending sprees, substance abuse, binge eating)
  • Extreme emotional swings
  • Hostility
  • Lack of restraint

In my case, “a pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones- often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)”, my brother is the idealized and I am the devalued.

With this newfound knowledge about my mom, it has been an emotional rollercoaster the past few months.

Growing up in a home with a parent who has borderline personality disorder is an extremely traumatic thing to go through.

The fact that I never even understood this piece of myself for the first 26 years of my life completely blows my mind.

There is no denying that all of it makes sense.

Anger, sadness, frustration.

Every emotion showing its colors in myself at this new revelation.

‘Is therapy making me crazier?’

Instead of my mom just removing herself from my life all together, I grew up in an “I love you, go away” environment.

There was a constant push and pull.

Actions that were justified by clothing me in shame and guilt.

Our father, whom I got along with best, was away from home making the money.

The way I internalized my moms behavior as a child was processing it as a personal flaw.

The almost comical “obsession” (idealization) she had for my brother was a stark contrast to the way she treated me.

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

The constant push and pull from a person in trust is enough to destroy someone entirely.

My feelings were never heard or validated.

I was always wrong, she was always right.

My attempts at having a voice were converted into backlash.

Growing up in the care of a parent who had borderline personality disorder distorted my self worth at a very young age.

The devalued child feels unworthy of love- even from themselves.

You get used to always being the one at fault.

To this day I overuse the word “sorry”.

I am sorry.

Sorry for any way that I may be bothering you with my presence.

It’s been hammered into my head that I’m a nuisance.

My mom loves me and I know that.

I don’t believe that she ever intended to hurt me.

Yet there is still a part of me that hates her.

A part that wants to give a voice to the child who didn’t have one.

A part that wants to say, “F you” and never talk to her again to pay her back for that broken little girl looking in the mirror.

Except I’m not going to go out like that.

Yes, this understanding has been quite the rollercoaster… but it’s one that I’m glad to be riding.

Without understanding myself I would never have the means to fix anything.

I can’t change my mom.

And I will probably never get an apology from her.

But that’s okay.

THERAPY TAKES WORK!

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

But it’s the only way to obtain justice for myself, for the little girl in the mirror.

I know that someday all of this hard work will pay off.

I will love my mom forever and while I can’t guarantee it’s the end of the outbursts, I can agree to forgive her.

Holding firm in my boundaries while staying true to my values.

I’m choosing to live my life in love instead of hate.

I’m choosing to accept the things I cannot change and changing the things that I can.

Dear little girl in the mirror,

You are beautiful.

Have empathy for your mother even in the times that it’s hard.

You don’t HAVE to do so, but CHOOSE to do so.

Forgive your mom.

Live your life in love.

Learn to love yourself the way God loves you.

Your moms behavior has everything to do with her and nothing to do with you.

Remember that her outbursts are professions of her pain rather than expressions of her feelings towards you.

Don’t forget to be there for yourself.

You are worthy.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more. ❤️

Rain rain go away

Rain rain go away

The rain just won’t stop pouring

Rain rain go away

You’re so freaking annoying

Rain rain what did you say

I really must be going

Rain rain go away

The forecast calls for storming

Rain rain go away

I need some help please save me

Rain rain go away

I haven’t been behaving

Rain rain go away

God are you there I’m sorry

Rain rain go away

Is this really my story

Rain rain go away

Your light is there it’s glowing

Rain rain go away

By praying, You can show it

Rain rain go away

I need you Lord I know it

Rain rain go away

Together we can beat this

Rain rain go away

You’re all I ever needed

Rain rain go away

The voice of Jesus humming

Rain rain go away

The changes they are coming

Rain rain go away

My God, He’s so forgiving

Rain rain go away

My life is so worth living

Rain rain go away

My God, He’s always near

Rain rain go away

With Him I’ll conquer fear

Rain rain gone away

The sun is finally here

Check out my blog Project Identity ❤️ for more!

I hate meds

The other day I texted my husband and dropped the bomb yet again.

My meds aren’t working.

I finally freaking admitted it… to my husband and to myself.

Aren’t working like how?!

He wrote back.

Not working as in not being able to handle dramatic confrontations… not working as in telling you I hated you like a psycho…😔

My meds haven’t been working for awhile.

Finally, I’ve reached my breaking point with them.

If you’ve ever taken medication you are likely familiar with that terrible feeling when you begin noticing the meds aren’t a good fit.

You fight with yourself on if it’s even worth all of the stress and anxiety that comes with changing.

The last time I changed my meds I ended up in a crisis center on a 72 hour hold.

Since “regaining stability” on a new antidepressant, irritability and impulsivity have been the most noticeable side effects.

However, in comparison to landing in a crazy house, these side effects seemed manageable.

At least until I found myself shouting those insanely awful words at my poor husband…

“I hate you!”

In that moment I knew I’d have to bare whatever fate was headed for me as I gear up to make yet another switch.

I love my husband more than words and the fact that those terrible words could even come out of my mouth absolutely kills me.

Who is this crazy person I’ve become on these pills that are supposed to be making me “normal”…?

I hate everything about this.

I hate that this chemical substance, that I put in my body, is powerful enough to change my values… to change who I am.

I hate that I feel trapped as this person who I don’t want to be and I hate that there is no easy way out.

I hate watching myself destroy everything that’s important to me while sitting on the sidelines in my own life.

If you read Life sentenced to medication then you are already aware that I had my identity stripped of me as a child.

I’ll never forget that very first psychiatrist visit- almost 20 years ago.

Ironically, what I have lost sight of, is who I was before being signed up for this mess.

More than anything I want to meet myself.

I want to be able to wake up in the morning and just be normal like everyone else without taking a handful of pills that don’t even work.

I want to feel completely in control of the things I do and say.

I want to know who the hell I am underneath all of these stupid pills.

There are only two things that I’m sure of.

One- if I skip my pills for a day I feel like a hungover, quivering robot who can absolutely not function.

Two- I freaking hate medication!

YES, medication is definitely required for some people.

Maybe I am one of those people…

I just wish so badly that I could have made that decision for myself.

Having done so would make this lifestyle feel much less out of control.

As I sit here watching my life play out in front of me from behind a glass window, there is one thing I wish for my readers.

While my identity may be long gone, I hope it wasn’t all for nothing.

I pray that some way, some how, this post can reach a parent who is on the fence with treatment options for their child.

I pray that if possible, this post can be enough to convince someone to just let their child be a child…

If you feel like medication is the only option, DISCUSS IT THOROUGHLY WITH YOUR CHILD.

Allow them to have a voice in the decision making process.

Let them know all of the risks involved and that this could potentially, be a life sentence– as it was for me.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more ❤️

Difficulty saying “no”

On a daily basis I land myself in situations that I don’t necessarily want to be in.

How?

Because I don’t know how to just freaking say “NO!

I’m an interesting character.

Anxious, goofy, and don’t forget that lovely “resting bitch face”… 😐

But no matter how “odd” or “different” I may be at first glance, deep down I am one of the kindest people you will ever meet.

I’m an empath.

If you ask me it’s a double edged sword.

While I love being able to offer compassion to those in need, sometimes it can be hard keeping myself afloat when I’m constantly drowning in everyone else’s emotions…

As an empath I feel with people.

Some days I feel solely responsible for ensuring happiness in what feels like all of the world.

It’s not a duty that I was assigned but rather one I must accomplish for my own emotional well-being.

How does this play into everyday life?

In many ways, but today I’m addressing one in particular.

Difficulty saying “no”

Empathic personality or not, I think many of us can agree that saying “no” can be challenging at times.

I just recently learned that apparently, you don’t have to give people a reason of why you can’t do something…?

Wait, what?!

This realization won’t be changing anything over here though…

As refreshing as that seems, it’s not really my style.

I’m more of the, agree to do something because I don’t have balls to be honest then send myself into an anxious frenzy dreading whatever I just signed up for, type of person. 🙄

A couple weeks ago I was getting ready to prepare dinner when the doorbell rang.

Peeking out the window, spotting a woman who appeared to be around my age with a little boy.

My enthusiastic five year old selling us out from pretending to not be home.

It turned out to be our across the street neighbors who we had never met before.

The little boy was going to be starting kindergarten at the same school as Karissa (my daughter) this year.

How crazy that we had no clue about each other until just now!

As excited as I was about all of this the timing couldn’t have been worse.

I’d been talking myself off the ledge all day as my anxiety had been through the roof.

Also in the process of scaling back on an anti-depressant that was causing me to sweat excessively (… TMI sorry! But I have a point I promise!!)

It had been one thing after another that day and I was one wind away from completely losing it.

To make matters even worse I didn’t have a bra on.

My sweet neighbors unaware of when is a good or a bad time for me unless I of course would just verbalize that, right…?

Right.

Just not for ‘Miss unable to express how I really feel’…

Aka ME.

“Do you guys want to come in?”

😑

There I sat bra-less and awkwardly dripping sweat on the couch…

When I’m awkward, I’m really awkward.

Instead of clamming up I start “word-vomiting” to this stranger about every and anything.

I don’t know how long we sat there but it felt like nine days.

The finale was Karissa slamming her finger in the door while they were playing.

She was screaming at the top of her lungs for at least five minutes while we continued visiting with our guests….

Eventually we exchanged numbers and tentatively planned a play date for a couple days later.

‘Man why am I so weird…? 😣’

Spray painting myself with embarrassment and shame.

Internally fighting on how to handle this “situation” if we did in fact, confirm this play date.

She was so nice and the kids had totally hit it off…

The empath in me told myself to just, ‘be a good neighbor and mom’.

But my anxiety is selfish.

Every time I tried reasoning with myself my pulse would soar, skyrocketing until I was so freaked out I continued brainstorming my escape plan again.

The morning of our plans I woke up to a text from her.

Crap.

The plans were no longer tentative.

A panic attack draped over me as I impulsively began typing…

Stopping myself to focus on slowing my heart rate as a tear fell down my cheek.

My first impression was an absolute train wreck…

This girl was cool, pretty and sweet…

There was no way that I could show my face right now, especially with my meds so out of whack.

What if I started sweating again… or rambling AGAIN.

I’d already told this poor woman my entire life story while pouring with sweat and bra-less…

Everything about this situation sucked.

The stress of it all was too much.

I sent the screenshot to my husband as I began venting my frustration:

Be honest?!?

I had no one to be angry at but myself.

Simply saying “no” could have avoided this situation entirely.

He was right…

but I can’t say “no”… remember?!

So I prayed about it and eventually, this is what I wrote….:

Oh my gosh I was actually honest…😳

The moment I hit ‘send’ on that text I felt like 80 pounds was instantly lifted off my back.

It was the strangest thing.

I was honest….and nobody died.

Even better?!

HER RESPONSE! 😍❤️:

This simple display of honesty strengthened our friendship in such a special way:

You guys…

This experience taught me so much!

If you struggle with saying “no”, like I do, I encourage you to give this a try.

Honesty is in fact, the best policy.

Thank you Lord, for teaching me things. ❤️

Check out my blog Project Identity for more great stuff 💕

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The moment that made me SO distraught I ALMOST put my hands on a child… 💔

*This blog does not condone violence against children or violence period. The following is the raw emotional story being told as a reminder that we are all susceptible to reaching our breaking point.*

The playground- a child’s wonderland.

Of course my five year old was thrilled when our campsite backed up to one this year.

Less than 50 feet away without an obstructed view.

At last, I could relax while simultaneously keeping my child entertained! 😍

Or so I thought…

Karissa is the tiny, little, perfect human who changed my entire world.

Read My untraditional fairy tale for more on my introduction to motherhood.

💕👶🏻👧🏼👱🏽‍♀️🧔🏽💕

My baby will be SIX years old in just over a month!!! 😳

Where has the time gone?!?!

I feel like with my first child I was trying so desperately hard to just keep her ALIVE that I was unable to really ENJOY every minute of it.

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time I was a 20 year old alcoholic.

After eight years of recklessness, my sobriety didn’t come without a price tag.

I’d been branded by the trauma of my past…. now without anything to numb it.

But this baby was ‘the one thing that would never leave me’

She was SO worthy of my sobriety.

I’ll never forget that confusing moment when we closed our car doors to leave the hospital with our firstborn.

We shared the, “Are they really just giving us a human and saying, “Here you go! Good luck!‘?!” face…. ha.

When my Sassy little one year old, Havynn (pronounced Hay-ven) was born, it was the same insanely beautiful moment but one that I was definitely more prepared for.

This time, I’d have the tools…

The experience… to not lock us up in an apartment for almost a year- attempting to ensure that nothing would ever happen to her.

My anxiety and depression became redundant after the delivery of my first.

Not only was I a new Mom, I was also in my first year of sobriety.

My image of the world was that of the life I submitted myself to at my worst.

Sunlight…fresh air…both were contributors to deafening panic attacks.

Some days even opening the blinds would seem like “reckless behavior” to my crazy mind.

If we never went outside then nothing bad could happen…

Hiding so that “the evil in the world” wouldn’t break in and hurt us…as it once had.

Havynn has had a much different upbringing.

I learned a lot in the process of doing it once.

Through trial and error, “navigating the ropes” of motherhood.

It’s a process of constant learning.

Learning which rules are worth the battle and which ones are just plain stupid.

Using that knowledge as you start again with your second.

You trust yourself more…

You know that you’ve done this before and that YOU CAN do it again.

It’s a comforting feeling of success that helped me in seeing life more realistically the second time around.

Proceeding with confidence now.. my kids are experiencing a lot of things for the first time together.

I can make plans, but only God can make them happen.

Back to the camping trip. ⛺️

Havynn didn’t go camping with us this year.

Karissa was playing her heart out at the playground as I began chopping veggies for foil packets on night two.

It was Friday so kids to play with were finally arriving!

Peeking over my shoulder every couple of seconds to check in on her when I overheard the boys at the playground yelling,

“YOU ARE DIRTY!”

Said one of the boys, as he threw a handful of dirt and rocks in another child’s face.

The boys, who appeared to be around ages 5 and 7, were playing distastefully rough for my liking….

I didn’t have a good feeling about them and didn’t really want my child over there.

Taking measure to avoid overreacting, I ran it by my husband.

“Babe I don’t think those boys are playing very nicely….”

And contrary to my assumption he brushed it off… 😳

‘Okay I must be overreacting.’

…right?

As the sun began to set we welcomed our friends who had just arrived.

I excused myself of “security keeping” for a minute to greet them when my mom’s frantic voice struck down on me like lightning.

HEY STOP IT!! THEY ARE HITTING HER!!!”

My baby is in danger

The world went red as reality washed away around me.

My heart shattering like never before as I chased my daughters cries…

How was this happening?!?!!

I peeled my screaming daughter off the ground….

It’s a feeling that no one prepares you for

The pain in her eyes igniting an uncontainable RAGE in me💔

The boys were attempting to flee as I forced them into a halt.

“DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT RUNNING!!!!”

I demanded, in a tone capable of setting off car alarms.

They paused and gazed up at me with sheer terror painted across their faces.

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!?!?!”

I was sweating… screaming….shaking.

There was nothing I wanted more in that moment than to make those boys experience the same pain that they had put my child through.

It was a foreign, overbearing outburst of pain that could have ended completely catastrophically.

I thank God for giving me control that I didn’t have in me at that moment.

Control to not KILL two children- something I never dreamed of ever needing control for.

“Take me to your parents, NOW!”

I hissed.

My husband caught up with us as I hysterically caught him up to pace with what was going on.

We were headed for parents who were nowhere in sight, even with all of the commotion going on.

Were these parents even going to care…?!

Their physical lack of presence and the fact that their children are beating other children up didn’t give me a favorable first impression.

Everything about this situation made me angry.

Fifteen seconds into our mission we were intervened upon by a bystander who defended that they were “probably just playing”.

Karissa was too shaken up to verify what I had not seen with my own eyes.

Taking a deep breath as I whispered a prayer.

“I didn’t see what happened so I’m not going to waste any more time on this…

Violence is absolutely unacceptable and it will not be tolerated.

Remember that someone is always watching.”

I declared, as we turned to go back to camp.

Advice I needed to hear myself as well.

Per Karissa’s request, we would wait to discuss the incident until we got home.

If the boys were at the playground, we would go to the river or animal farm instead.

When the time came to have that heart to heart, she confirmed that the boys had punched her multiple timesnot playing but in an effort to hurt her.

That admittance made me break into a million pieces all over again.

Tears poured down my cheeks as I held her tightly, apologizing repeatedly for failing to keep her safe.

Karissa is thankfully doing just fine.❤️

She remains the little “angel in my ear”,

Lord…what do you want me to learn from this?

This was an experience that required some self reflection after.

Inflicting the same pain on those boys would have accomplished nothing aside from creating an even bigger monster inside of them.

I saw a side of myself that I didn’t know was in there.

A side angry enough to almost put my hands on someone’s child.

Please remember that it’s not fair to judge how someone reacts in a situation until you’ve been in that situation yourself.

I’m telling you this because THIS COULD BE ANYONE!

I’ve never really imagined how I would react if this type of thing happened but even if I had, my prediction wouldn’t have been accurate.

Planning lacks emotion.

There is literally no pain worse than when your child is in pain.

When I agreed to bring a life into this world I also agreed to do absolutely everything in my power to keep them safe.

I’ve learned that no matter how hard we try to keep our kids safe, their safety is never guaranteed.

We can make plans, but only God can make those plans happen.

It’s not worth wasting your life trying to avoid all risk…

Your story has already been written and your future is inevitable.

Instead of hiding from your fears, pray about them.

Exercise caution as appropriate but live life FEARLESSLY.

That is something that you ARE in control of.

Amen🙏

Check out my blog Project Identity for more❤️

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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 ❤️⬇️❤️

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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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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. ❤️

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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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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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