Anniversary of Anxieties

When your heart rate still spikes when you get calls and messages from unknown numbers. Holding your breath every time you open your email or Spam folder. Yet being confused when your therapist mentions that it can be normal revisiting traumatic past experiences. PTSD? No, that is for soldiers and people that survive natural disasters.

Well, yes, maybe I do still wake up from nightmares and find it hard to go to certain places and feel comfortable. I get frustrated that I’m not completely “healed” despite all of the work I have done.

Today marks another year of when I finally got up the courage to leave an unhealthy relationship with my ex-fiance. I am frustrated that I’m not completely “healed” despite all of the work I have done.

This time of year can be challenging. With him not respecting my wishes to leave me alone have escalated over the past few months. I have received so much love and support from family and friends, yet I spend most of my time drenched in anxiety.

I have turned to food and alcohol for comfort. I know that I need to continue gaining back the weight I lost, but become uncomfortable (and frustrated) when the old clothes that used to fall off of me are too snug.

How much longer will this last? I thought he was gone. I thought my unhealthy relationship with food was done.

I have found myself relying more on prayer and taking solace in the saints. Praying for peace, healing, a life of renewal.

Advertisements

Day twenty five:

Well, the final day of this challenge is here with the all important question:

How do you want to be remembered in life?

A positive influencer

I want to inspire others, particularly women to be strong both mentally and physically.

Not to settle for anything or anyone. Ever!

I want to be seen as a holy person, a role model for people younger and older than me.

To encourage others not to give up or quit when times get tough.

When times do inevitable get tough, people will think of me and say to themselves, “because she did it, I can do it!” and they will stay motivated.

inspire

Can you relate to any of these things?

Onwards & Upwards…

Day twenty four: advice

What piece of advice would you give to five year old you? Sixteen year old you? Twenty-one year old you? Right now?

advice 2

Five year old me:

Keep playing. Never stop learning. It’s okay to be shy, but don’t let it stop you from making new friends and trying new activities

Sixteen year old me:

Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not “fat” – don’t be so hard on yourself. Research and visit as many colleges as you can – start soon. Don’t worry so much about what other people think

Twenty-one year old me:

(See above and add…) Don’t settle – on a job, boy, etc. Stand up for yourself and be firm in your beliefs. DON’T GIVE UP. Trust in God’s plan and everything will work out.

Right now me:

Trust the process and enjoy the “now.”

advice

Onwards & Upwards…

Day thirteen: admirable qualities

What qualities do you admire in others?

This question reminds me a lot of question #5: “Think of a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?” so I am going to piggy-back off my previous answer as they are very similar.

kindness

 patience

humor 

perseverance

faith

Admire

admire 3

admire 2

What qualities do you admire in others?

Onwards & Upwards…

Day twelve: (re)connect

Who would you like to connect (or reconnect) with? Why?

This question is easier for me to answer than yesterday’s was. I have been wanting to re-connect with my college friends for awhile, but after traveling to Chicago with my boyfriend to see some of his old roommates I have become more motivated to do so.

I transferred schools after my freshman year and ironically I still feel more connected to about four or five friends I met on the other side of the country than the ones that live close to me now. Maybe because I really relied on them for support after moving so far from home. I was really lucky to fall in with such a solid and fun group of people. Freshman year of college is a difficult transition, but I didn’t realize how special our connection was until I transferred (homesickness) and did not have the same experience at my new school.

UST

I have been back to visit several times. It helps having family nearby to combine trips/travel expenses. Each year it becomes harder to stay close. It is tough when we are all in different phases of our lives – some in grad school, married, working full-time, etc. I hate to use “distance” and “busy schedules” as excuses, but life happens. I do have plans to meet up with one of my friends before I head back home from a family reunion next weekend. Unfortunately it falls on Father’s Day so everyone else already has plans. At least I’m making the effort!

Who do you want to reconnect with?

Onwards & Upwards…

Day ten: afraid

What are you most afraid of?

I think it’s funny how Dictionary.com defines “fear” as a noun – person, place, or thing. When I think about fear, I tend to think about fear in more “abstract” terms. A lot of “what ifs” versus being afraid of heights, spiders, and other phobias. I fear missing out, making the wrong decision, making mistakes, rejection, what could go wrong, the unknown… 

I’ve always been a chronic over-thinker which heightens my anxiety and create problems that don’t even exist (and most likely won’t occur). Lately I have realized just how much my thoughts have been counter-productive. I have actually ended up missing out on certain opportunities because I was afraid on the what could happen and trying to “predict the future.” Now I work on challenging the legitimacy of my anxious thoughts (a lot of rationalizing self-talk), being proactive, and having faith that everything will work out. I will leave you with a few of my favorite quotes about fear:

fear 2

fear 3

fear 4

What threatens your mental and/or physical well-being? 

Onwards & Upwards…

Day nine: proud

What are you most proud of?

Most proud of? Another tough question… I think an all encompassing answer would be my strength – both mental and physical. After battling eating disorders for over 10 years, I have kept my maintained my weight the highest it has been in seven years. Keeping the wight on has led to many other gains. The ability to run a 5K and develop muscle mass by weight training are a few physical feats that concurrently increase my mental strength.

proud

What are you most proud of?

Onwards & Upwards…

Day eight: beating fear

When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?

Anxiety is fear. I have anxiety. So much so that I take medication for it. Weaning myself off of it/trying to become less dependent on the pills makes me anxious. There are times when breathing, praying, yoga, etc. still can’t calm my brain. I think it’s safe to say that my anxiety can take over my life. It’s pretty constant, but there are certain situations that cause my heart to race more than others. One of them being group settings. Hello, social anxiety!

fear

The past 5 months I have been making major strides in putting myself out there. I began going to a young adult program at a new church where I knew NO ONE. I started volunteering for a new ministry event that they were putting on and ended up meeting my boyfriend because of it (I like to think of him as my “reward” for making myself vulnerable).

Dating my very social boyfriend means that I have met a LOT of new people. I hate small talk (but I feel like I’m slowly getting better at making actual connections with people) and going to back-to-back group events with family and friends doesn’t seem as exhausting it was in the beginning. However, as an introvert, I still need time where it is just the two if us to recharge.

My boyfriend had mentioned a retreat that he went on several years ago and the positive impact it made on his life. He kept encouraging me go on it as well and to sign up when the next one was announced. I kept brushing it off, telling him that I am sure it’s a great experience, but I didn’t feel ready. Long story short, I ended up going on the retreat last month. I honestly didn’t even want to go. Again, I didn’t know anyone or anything about the format. It ended up being a life-altering experience that I am beyond  grateful that I pushed through my “fear of the unknown” to go.

Though the retreat was wonderful, I still struggle going to our weekly “retreat team” meetings. I am still mentally processing all of the emotions that I experienced throughout that weekend. Hearing other people’s stories each week can be tough and emotionally draining. Listening to them also tends to drudge up issues from my past that I wish would just go away already. But that’s how you grow, right? Facing fear head on. No hiding.

fear 2

Yes, I would be afraid to go skydiving, get a tattoo, and drive in a 200 mph race car. Those are fears – I’ll call them “outer fears.” I admire people who do those things whether they are fearless or it takes them courage to follow through. Just because my fears might be “inner fears,” doesn’t make them any less scary than “outer fears.”

Overcoming both are huge milestones to be celebrated. Every time we do something that we are afraid of (within reason) we prove to ourselves how strong we are and gain the confidence to continue challenging ourselves and moving forward.

When was the last time you conquered something that you were afraid of?

P.S. Thanks for keeping up with my personal growth exercise!

Onwards & Upwards…

Day “five”: qualities

Think of a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?

To answer this question, I am going to revert to one of one my previous posts. The timing is for this post is perfect as I saw Maria and her parents today. Her father, Bill, has Alzheimer’s disease and I have witnessed the toll it takes on her family, particularly her mother. Even when times are challenging, both of these women’s hearts are full of kindness, patience, and humor – qualities that I think are necessary to be a decent human being and to live a happy life. Perseverance and a strong faith are also characteristics that I strive to have. The list goes on and one, but these are a the main qualities that I desire for others to see in me.

quality

What qualities do you admire in a person?

Onwards & Upwards…

Day four: meet

Who would you love to meet? What would you ask?

I was having such a difficult time coming up with an answer for this question – noticing a theme here? I keep over-analyzing all of my answers… I sought the insight of family and close friends and here are what they said:

  • My Boyfriend, J – The Pope
  • Mom- Mother Theresa
  • Dad – Jesus
  • Brother – “doesn’t know”
  • Sister-in-Law – Jackie Robinson

Who I would like to meet goes back to the people and eras that I was interested in as a child. I have always been interested in early U.S. history. The first settlers and pioneer days have always fascinated me. I would love to meet one of the early explorers like Captain John Smith or one of my favorite writers, Laura Ingalls Wilder. It would be interesting to hear their side of the story and what life was like back then.

captain-john-smith

laura-ingalls-wilder

As far as meeting someone living. I would jump to the other side of the pond to meet Queen Elizabeth II. I became obsessed watching “The Crown” on Netflix earlier this year and then went to London in February. She has been through and seen so much in her life. I can’t imagine becoming a queen at the age of 25!

QEII

Who would you love to meet (living or deceased) and what would you ask them?

Onwards & Upwards…