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!

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

Xoxo
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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!!

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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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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⬇️❤️⬇️

Project Identity

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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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