The process of finding yourself

Is there a part of you that feels like you don’t really know who you are?

As I read through old journal entries dated from childhood to adolescence, there is a common theme to them.

“Who am I?”

“What is my identity?”

This confusing sense of identity has been a constant in my life.

I know myself but I just feel like I’m missing something… who am I really?

The moment I “lost myself” is not an incredibly clear one.

My best guess would be the transition into teenage years.

When you are struggling to fit in, you keep trying on different masks until you find one that people like.

I never found that mask but I did find alcohol, which always took the edge off of the excruciating feeling of living in my own skin.

Tired of failing at being accepted for who I was, I stopped trying completely and pursued the next best option- numbing.

When I was 13, I achieved the feeling of being completely numb for the first time.

Alcohol became my best friend.

When I was drinking, I just didn’t care.

I didn’t care that I was ugly.

I didn’t care that nobody liked me.

I didn’t care that life was racing in a blur around me when I was supposed to be growing into a decent young adult.

The negative choices I made in my adolescence are what robbed me of my identity.

I freaking gave up on myself, gave up on finding my mask.

I chose to hide behind the emptiness of covering up my pain with substance.

Now in my adult years feeling a void in establishing my personal foundation.

I missed all of that and so now, that I’m mature enough to go and try on masks again, I’m figuring it out one mistake at a time.

Life is crazy you guys.

I took a risk when I chose to find myself.

Self reflection isn’t the easiest when you have a battered past.

“I want to go back and relive my worst traumas!” Said no one ever.

But those traumas are literal chains that will keep us bound until we face them.

In the process of finding myself, parts of the old me had to die.

The haunting shadows of the scariest memories of my life felt like a reality again for quite some time as I sorted through it all.

I got a lot crazier before I got better.

I’ll never forget my very first session with my anxiety therapist.

I was two months pregnant with my second child and had already gained 20 pounds.

It was the first time I had eaten like a normal person after an Exercise anorexia 8 month spiral.

I had stopped taking 4mg of prescribed Xanax a day cold turkey because I didn’t want to hurt my baby.

Every day was one big panic attack.

She asked me to say aloud,

“I am beautiful.”

And I couldn’t.

Instead anger and tears erupted in defense of my self deprecation.

We spent three years poking and prying, in which time I became completely nuts.

The first phase of finding myself was filled with anger and blame on others.

In that time I irrationally pointed the finger and blew up on my mom multiple times.

I would call her and be freaking out, sometimes even yelling, about something that I was understanding for the first time.

These memories stemmed from my grieving mind fiercely and emotionally believing that I had been done wrong.

It was a long going, deep seeded outburst of emotions I was just coming to terms with for the first time.

I found out that my Mom has Borderline Personality Disorder.

Her symptoms of the mental illness distorted my perception of myself.

I wasn’t actually “the ugliest kid in the entire world”, and if we are being real, I can’t blame her for the fact that I never found myself.

The first part of finding myself required facing some heavy shit so that I could live a better life.

The second part of finding myself was a beautiful blossoming into who I was always supposed to be.

Like a butterfly spreading its wings for the very first time, I broke free from the hell that had been consuming me.

The process of finding yourself is a journey of understanding that you are the only one who can change your situation.

The moment you decide to own responsibility for everything in your life, is the moment you become a butterfly. 🦋

It’s worth the process.

Check out Project Identity for more inspirational content and resources. ❣️

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. 💕💕💕

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. ❤️

Meet Heather, my anxiety therapist

Define “therapy” in a single, brief statement.

Was your definition associated with a positive or negative perspective?

We are all individuals who think, feel, perceive things differently.

For me, therapy is a lifeline.

I never imagined myself as someone who would be so “dysfunctional” that I’d need therapy for the rest of my life.

And I’m not that crazy.

I’ve simply found a therapist whom I trust and whose opinion I value.

The first time I sought anxiety therapy my assigned therapist was a man.

He was nice but we never really established that bond needed to make progress in my trauma saturated background.

Round two I was placed with Heather.

Instantly I felt right at home.

My personality needs a therapist who isn’t tiptoeing around political correctness.

I need someone who is real, raw and genuine.

Someone that I know I can trust with my deepest darkest secrets.

Heather has been that person for me.

As my therapist for a little over two years now, most weeks I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

Therapy is me time.

It’s the only time all week that I get to converse with another adult without a million kids hanging off of me.

I get to sit and unload all of my crap to someone that I don’t have to worry about offending… someone who has nothing but love and good advice to throw back at me.

Therapy is the place where I can navigate my troubled past while taking the necessary steps to improve myself.

A therapist is like that friend who has never done you dirty in the most one-sided relationship ever.

When I feel like bitching about stuff that’s stupid… there she is.

And the stuff that’s not stupid?

There again.

Heather is there to talk about everything.

She’s there and she cares.

Yes, I’d be lying if I said that therapy isn’t hard work at times.

While we’d all like to just pretend that our worst moments never happened…. they did.

If you never deal with your “junk” then it will haunt you in the form of panic attacks eventually.

We can’t run from trauma.

We must be courageous and face it head on- with those badass little friends called therapists in our back pocket.

And even when you’re feeling good, GO TO THERAPY.

Our mental health requires just as much conditioning and maintenance as our physical health.

If you quit your diet and started eating cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner then it wouldn’t be long before your health took a plunge.

All of the crap you put up with on a daily basis?

That is the “cake” of your mental health.

So one last time, define “therapy” in a single, brief statement.

Did your opinion evolve after reading this…?

For me, therapy is simply choosing to not eat cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

If you are struggling with trauma, mental health, or even nothing at all (psh…ha!), I encourage you to find a therapist who is a perfect match for you.

Find your Heather.

Take control of your mental health and reap the rewards of doing so. ❤️

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

Revisiting the memories I would rather have forgotten

“Maybe you should just stop doing the blog if you aren’t able to make any income from it. It’s just so negative….ha. You are always talking about about weird stuff. People must think that you’re nuts!”

This blog has been an absolute rollercoaster.

Some days I ride the high of feeling like I’m helping people while in turn freeing myself of my “baggage”.

Other days I feel like an idiot and wonder why I’m wasting all this time for nothing, until it spirals so far out of control that I about quit.

“Should I really post that?”

“How are people going to react to this?”

Will anyone react to this…?”

The truth is that it would be SO much easier to just go about my life and pretend like all the years of chaos never even happened.

Easier to pretend that I’ve been this “normal” person my whole life…

Easier to bury my skeletons than to go searching for them in attempt to resolve the trauma that they’ve branded me with.

My blog is called Project Identity because I hope to uncover what I feel are “missing pieces” of my identity through the process of this project.

In terms of adversity, I’ve had a very wide range of it.

Mental health, eating disorders, sexual abuse, dysfunctional families…. YOU NAME IT!

By revisiting these traumas, my goal is to sort through my life and figure out who I really am.

This is NOT in any way an attempt to glorify or normalize the things that I’ve done.

Im not sharing my deepest, darkest secrets with YOU to win sympathy or to place blame on others for things that have happened in my life.

My intention IS to help others by saying,

“this is where I was and look where I am now.”

An attempt to find the answers for survival after adversity– answers that I don’t necessarily believe that I have, yet somehow…. I made it.

And the story isn’t over.

People don’t just overcome something and live happily ever after.

With time, the book you just closed will start revealing itself in your next book.

Growing up in a home with a parent who has Borderline Personality Disorder left me runningself medicating with drugs and alcohol.

The consequences that I received for such behavior opened the door for a newfound battle of control with food (read Tell me to eat? I’ll starve myself).

All of the above rooting me in distorted self worth and eventually leading to rape and suicide attempts.

Recovery from both addictions simultaneously greeted me with crippling anxiety and PTSD- symptoms I now have to face head on, without a crutch.

I don’t believe that God dealt me these cards by mistake though.

Why?

Because I shouldn’t even be here right now.

The moment my life turned around was also the lowest, darkest place I’ve ever been.

My desire to live was gone, but God had other plans.

Just weeks after multiple failed suicide attempts and hospitalizations, my polar opposite walked into my life and we ended up pregnant.

I wasn’t living for me anymore.

A tiny human who would love me forever was too good of an offer to pass up.

God took the life I couldn’t handle anymore and replaced it with one that I could.

He wanted me here because He knows my heart.

My adversity is God’s opportunity.

His opportunity to change more lives.

This is why I do what I do.

I write about my rawest moments because frankly, life is raw.

The world needs more raw people, too.

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!

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 💕

Love what you’re reading?!

You can support this blog by clicking the link below😃❤️

Xoxo
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The moment that made me SO distraught I ALMOST put my hands on a child… ðŸ’”

*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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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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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