Choice

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Those thoughts.  They creep in quietly without me even noticing.  They are the thoughts of shame and guilt.  They are the thoughts of “I wish I…”  They are the thoughts of “why?” They are thoughts of “I should…”

It would be very easy to give in to them.  It would be very easy to ruin my day, week, month with them.

But I am making the choice.  I can choose to allow the thoughts ruin things, or I can choose to let them pass with-out giving in.

Today I am making the choice to let them pass.

There are a lot of things that I don’t understand.  I hate being sick.  I hate having an anxiety disorder and depression issues.  I hate that these things affect my life so much.  And I could easily let those things define who I am.  Today, I am choosing to recognize that the illness is part of my life, but it isn’t ME.

God has a plan.  He knew that I would have to quit my job again.  Sometimes I feel that He allowed me to get the job and struggle so that I would just stop trying to do something that I am not meant to do.  It’s hard because I WANT to be a teacher.  I WANT to be able to handle a full time teaching position.  So I kept trying, and I kept trying.  Well now I am done trying.  It’s no longer something that I can handle, and I have to be okay with that.

So now the question is, how can I use the abilities, gifts, and passions for teaching in other ways?  That’s the part that I’ll have to figure out.  I trust that God will make that clear in His time.

For now, I am choosing to see the amazing blessings in my life and be thankful for where I am.

I am now a stay-at-home-mama.  I have wanted this so much, but I kept pushing myself back into teaching thinking that was what I was “supposed” to do.  Now I know what I am supposed to do.

More importantly, I know what I “get” to do.

I get to pick my kids up from school every day.  I get to go to class parties.  I get to help the kids with their homework every day.  I get to read with them every night, and I get to sing them to sleep.  I get to do fun advent activities with them.  I get to color in coloring books with them.  I get to watch movies and drink hot chocolate with them.  I get to serve my husband by keeping the house clean and the laundry done.  I get to cook dinner and bake my favorite foods.

I get to focus on being and staying healthy.  I get to spend time in the Word every morning.  I get to go running each day.  I get to go to and serve in Celebrate Recovery.  I get to focus on growing and becoming the person that God created me to be.

Some of these things I could have done while working full time, but with my severe anxiety every day, it wasn’t happening.  Every moment of every evening was focused on finding relief from the anxiety that I couldn’t control.  Now, every moment of every day will be focused on being healthy and loving my family.

I am making the choice to love life right where it is, and be thankful that God has a plan for all of it.

Better Things

This song is my life right now.  I’m learning who I am, and I’m not afraid to share who that is.  I trust that God has a plan for all that has taken place in my life, and I am willing to be whoever it is that I need to be to glorify Him.  I believe that this coming year is going to be a good one after this year has been so hard!  Better things are coming!

Chains of Guilt

guilt

These past few days of outpatient therapy have been so good.  We have talked about self-esteem, how to change your self-esteem, positive qualities, identity, and guilt.

The guilt part was because I brought it up.

You see, I have a cycle.  I get a job, I’m excited about it, I do really well right at first, then I fall quickly because of severe anxiety.  I then find that I cannot handle the job (because of the severe anxiety and panic attacks), and I resign.  Once the excitement of being able to breathe again wears off, the guilt sets in.

That’s where I am right now.

I feel guilty.  I feel guilty because I have quit, yet again.  I feel guilty that I’m not providing financially.  I feel guilty that I have left my students.  I feel guilty that my co-workers are having to work a little harder because I left.  Guilt.  Guilt.  Guilt.

After talking it out today, I realized something: I have a choice.  I can choose to carry the weight of my guilt, or I can choose to “get over it” and enjoy life.  Enjoy being the wife I need to be to my husband.  Enjoy being there for my kids.  And most of all, enjoy the process of truly taking care of myself and getting/staying healthy (mentally/emotionally/spiritually).

If I’ve learned anything through this cycle, it’s that I have tried to jump into something my body can’t handle too many times, and it’s time to not feel guilty about taking care of myself.  I will be a better wife, mom, daughter, friend because of it.  I can be who God created me to be when I truly decide to take care of myself and be okay with it.

Today, I am choosing to not feel guilty for it anymore.  I am who I am, and I can’t change that.  It’s time to start living the life that I am supposed to live.  One of freedom and liberty.  Not the chains of guilt that hold me back.

My New Journey

Mountain Road

I don’t know how to start.

These past 5 years have been so up and down.

5 years ago on November 30th, I lost my only sibling (brother) to a gruesome suicide.  I had my third baby (in less than 4 years) a few months later.  We moved 4 1/2 hours away a few months after that.  I’ve taught in different schools, trying desperately to have some semblance of a “normal” life (whatever that is).  I have battled severe depression and anxiety.  I ended up in the hospital (inpatient) last winter and had to quit my job.  I received intense counseling, new meds, and started Celebrate Recovery.  During that period of time, I felt like a whole new person and that I could do anything.

I was wrong.

I started teaching at a new school (again) this fall and immediately started struggling with depression and severe anxiety (again).  I was coping with it in unhealthy ways.

It all came to a “head” this past week when I had two panic attacks with-in a few hours.  I had to leave work not long after I got there on Tuesday because of this.  I made an appointment with my doctor (well, the nurse practitioner) who told me if I wasn’t better the next day, I needed to go into the hospital for an assessment.  I went to my counselor later that day and she wouldn’t let me leave until I made it clear that I would go ahead and go in.

I went in the next day and they told me they suggested inpatient (again).  Robert and I talked and felt that outpatient would be sufficient.  So, that’s what we decided to do.

So, I’m back in the hospital (outpatient), and today, after a lot of prayer and seeking counsel, I quit my job (again).  This time I have decided that I need to take several YEARS to recover and heal.  I have a lot of work to do.  Next year I might sub at my kids’ school, but until then, I’m just going to focus on healing and being mama and wife.  I’m starting to realize that teaching full time may be a thing of the past for me.  It may just be something that I won’t be able to do anymore.  I can’t say that I’m okay with that today, but I trust that if it is God’s plan, He will give me peace about it.

Another thing that I need to do is figure out what is important to me.  I have been “quiet” for a while because I felt that was expected of me.  But that’s not me.  I feel that it is important to be open, transparent, and real.  If I had cancer, or epilepsy, or diabetes, or any other kind of illness, it would be socially okay to share.  So why is it not socially okay to share about mental illness?  It’s all something that we don’t choose.  It is all illness.

This is my story, and I feel it is important to share.  Not just for me, but because I know I am not the only one struggling in this life.  So many are scared to share because of the stigma of mental illness, and they feel alone.  So much of what is shared on social media is fake- it’s only the good.  I am here to share the real.  Life is hard.  But God is good.  He has a plan for it all.  He can take a hard situation and use it for good.  I trust Him and His plan.

I follow an organization on Facebook called “To Write Love on Her Arms” and advertised this shirt:

towriteloveonherarmsIt was a good reminder to me that my story is important, and I do have the courage to share.

Here I am.  Me.  The real me.