established 10 august 2009

Monday, November 21, 2016

What If?

Recently, I went to a fireside about mental health. A lot was talked about, including anxiety for a short time. For myself, realizing that I deal with anxiety didn't come to light until this summer after a panic attack. So pretty recent - and the more I've thought about the more I realize it ps been around as long as I can remember, just like my depression. It became even more apparent while I was at the fireside. The speaker taught us that people with anxiety disorder ask the "what if" question a lot.

Whoa. That hit home. "What If"? - I do that. A lot. The example I thought of right away was in my relationship with Adam. Especially when I have something important to talk to him about.

I begin to think of worst case scenarios where we end fighting, arguing and hurtful words are said that can't be taken back. The emotions I experience through these terrible imaginations feel completely real that at times I can literally feel a panic attack emerging to the surface. I have to slow down, take a step back and continually tell myself that this imaginary, angry Adam I've made up in my head, is not real.  I have been doing this for as long as can remember with not only Adam but others I love and care about in life. Family, friends, teachers and countless others. It is literally, the way my brain reacts to stress.

Surprisingly, I felt compelled to share some of these thoughts to dozens of strangers at this fireside. My heart was racing and then my hand was up in the air and words starting spilling out. When I was done sharing, I couldn't believe what I had just done. Ironically, my anxiety was high for about the next hour.

For myself, and many others, anxiety is not just a thought process of ridiculous scenarios that aren't going to happen but it is a feeling that overtakes my entire body at times. I feel it - intensely. It consumes the body as if its pulsing through my veins. My heart is pounding and my mind is racing. My hands shake and my words stutter. Its hard to cope with at times but I'm usually able to get out of it by myself some way. Music tends to help a lot.

If you don't deal with anxiety, it's likely you know someone who does. You may be wondering or have wondered in past. I can't tell you how to fix someone, because honestly you can't. But I can tell you how to help. Don't seek out to fix the problem. Sympathize. And if you can empathize, all the better. But don't talk to them to try and fix what is wrong. We just need to know that you're listening. That you care. Tell us you know its hard. That what we are going through must suck. Tell us we're strong. That you believe in us. That we are capable. When we feel alone and that no one truly understands what we are going through, tell us - tell us that's not true. If there is one thing we should believe, it is that we are not alone. That there is one who knows our exact pain, sorrow and the feeling of being incapable of handling our own emotions. That one is, Christ.

Jesus Christ felt every kind of sorrow, loneliness, ailment, hopelessness and all other earthly pain we endure in the garden of Gethsemane. Our loving Savior has perfect empathy. When we forget, we need to remind each other of his perfect love.

Anxiety is difficult. Crippling at times. It shouldn't be disregarded as an attention grabber. Those who suffer from anxiety, you've probably had at least one experience where you opened up about your anxiety to someone. Maybe it was the first time so they could be informed or maybe you told them in the moment you were feeling anxiety take control. And they said "Well don't." "Stop it." Get over it."
"You're fine." This hurts. And may have turned you off from wanting to share anymore. I get that. I really do.

But remember, if we try, it can get better. Maybe we won't be cured in this life time, but we can feel better. We can take control. Maybe not alone. We need help. So get on your knees often and plead for the Savior to watch over you. To help day by day until one day, you will feel His strength in your life.

In the month of gratitude, work hard to find that joy in your trials. Seek out what you are grateful for in this life. Thank your Father in Heaven. Let's make our weaknesses become strengths with our Saviors help. One day at a time.

Our anxiety can make us better people - if we let it. We can find joy in our trials. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Gratitude in Dark Moments

This morning I have seen a lot of negativity floating around, mainly on FaceBook, due to the election. To be honest, it's quite tiring. So, in hopes to shed some light and hope in this moment of darkness for many, I want to share my gratitude.

Adam, my dear husband. My most true friend. You have always tried to understand me for who I am. From the first time we met, you have shed your light upon me - lifted me up with your spiritual thoughts and hope. You have let me discover who I am for myself - even though, you've always understood what kind of person I am. Our friendship is one that only comes once or twice in a life time. And I'm so grateful to be my best friends wife. Adam, you are truly an example to me. Your hard work and humility are wonderful to witness. I wonder in awe at your knowledge of gospel principles and doctrines. One of my favorite things to watch is you playing with our boys. Helping them discover something new. Kneeling with them at prayer at night. Giving them hugs when they need comfort. Showing them how to respectfully treat and love your wife. I'm grateful for your worthiness to give me blessings when I need comfort and guidance. I love going to the holy temple of our Savior with you and feel of His spirit with you by my side. I love you, Adam. Not just until the end, but through the eternities.

Alister, everyone you come into contact with, you bring joy into their life. They always tell us how much they enjoy your loving personality. People are surprised with your polite attitude. And you always seem to know how to make others laugh. From a very young age, like 3 months old, you have loved to make others smile and laugh. Your personality is similar to my own, so it times, I know it is hard for us to understand one another. But your example of love and forgiveness and acceptance is beautifully pure. I hope and pray that you will always be this way. I have so many wonderful memories of just you and me. Taking you for walks on lovely fall mornings in Cedar City. Rocking you to sleep when you first came home and feeling scared because I had never held a newborn until I had you. I knew nothing about babies or how to raise one. I was terrified that I would not be a good enough mother for you. I still worry about it. But you taught me what it was to truly love someone before even knowing them. You gave me a glimpse of Charity.

Corbin, from the moment you were born, I knew you would be like your father. I knew that you and I would have an easier time understanding each other because of it. I don't think there's anything wrong with this - it is just that way. You have fiery personality. One that I think makes you a little misunderstood. But, that's alright, you just feel a lot and have a lot to say. You know what you want and aren't afraid to voice it. I admire that about you. You seem to have a special love for being outdoors. Your example of wanting me to read "The Jesus Book" (The Book of Mormon) each night has helped my own love for the scriptures grow immensely stronger over the last couple of months. You too, make others happy with your vibrancy and talkative personality. While bringing you home was less scary, I worried that I wouldn't know how to divide my time equally between you and your brother. Especially because your a mommas boy. (Which I love). But watching you grow to love and admire your big brother has been nothing but joyous.

You two can and will do great things for others in this world. Both individually and together. Keep the Lord close, pray often and always read the scriptures with purpose. The Lord with never forsaken you or leave you to wonder alone if you heed to his words. Both through scriptures and His prophets.

My family and the restored gospel of my Savior, Jesus Christ are the things I am most grateful for in this life. They make my life full and bring light into my own dark moments.

I love you all so much.