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.

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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.

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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?

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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.”

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Onwards & Upwards…

Day twenty three: in a year

Let’s jump forward a year. What would you like to have achieved in the past year?

Piggybacking off of my previous post, below are areas of my life outlined in the seven dimensions of wellness that I want to have achieved (or be close to achieving) in a year:

Social – Reconnect with friends that I’ve grown apart from, hangout with people I’ve met through my young adults group outside of our normal meet up times, and host more gatherings (my social anxiety has got my heart rate up just typing this)!

Emotional – Not take out my emotions/bad days on other people, more yoga/meditation, write and communicate my feelings with others, and see a counselor as needed.

Spiritual – Deepen my prayer life, attend church weekly, and stay active with my new women’s group.

Environmental – Stop getting plastic bags from the store (I am pretty good about bringing in my cloth bags, but could do better), start an herb garden, and refurbish older items around the house or from thrift stores vs/ buying brand new.

Occupational –  I want to continue to grow into my new position at work and take on more responsibilities.

Intellectual – Read more books, become more fluent in Spanish, and complete a crossword puzzle without cheating…

Physical – I want to  have more self-confidence with my changing body as I continue gaining a healthy amount of weight. Build more muscle mass and cardiac endurance

 

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Onwards & Upwards…

Day eleven: regrets

If life stopped today, what would you regret not doing?

Wow, these questions just keep getting deeper and deeper! In short, I regret not being more assertive. I regret not saying “no.” For not standing up for myself in potentially harmful situations because I was worried what others would think of me. My self-esteem has always been pretty low and at times has inhibited me from reaching my full potential (professionally, socially, spiritually, etc.).

I do believe that self-esteem and assertiveness go hand-in-hand. As I become more aware of instances where I did NOT have the confidence, leading me to make poor choices, I feel like I have to “fight” harder not to slip into my old ways. As much work as it is, look forward to becoming more assertive and hopefully having less regrets.

And sometimes, just sometimes, I regret not going to grad school right after I received my undergraduate degree.

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What do you regret NOT doing? 

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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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…

Re-focus

I’ve been having an incredible difficult time staying focused. My mind had calmed a bit after the retreat I went on a few weekends ago, but now it’s right back to going 100 miles a minute. Throughout the day my emotions range from: positive, annoyed, tired, lonely, anxious, depressed – then a brief bout of “okayness”- then back to being unhappy.

To cope with all of these feelings I just want to eat all of the things, which in turns just makes me feel worse – no self-control, low willpower, weak. I’ve tried to establish routines to give my day order/stay on track, but my motivation to adhere to my list is low.

Thinking about something I have to do (even if it’s “fun”) leaves me feeling exhausted even though I know I usually feel better once I’ve completed something. I don’t want to start something because I know I won’t want to finish it (laundry). Charts can be a good guide, but I tend to beat myself up if I don’t meet my goals.

It’s been a series of mini victories/little things that have kept me going.

  • Going to the store (even if it’s one out of several errands on my list)
  • Laying out and reading a book in the sun in the afternoons
  • Being the one to initiate a conversation versus waiting on people to make a move (call/text)
  • Learning to say “no” to people and activities

Things I’ve learned lately:

  • I rely more on my boyfriend for social support than I’d like to be. I love him to death, but want to be able to make myself happy without depending on him to do so.
  • really don’t like being told what to do/receive unsolicited advice/being micromanaged. If I want advice/need help I’m more open to it if I ask for it myself.
  • I do not want to be a teacher like I had been (re)considering. The health care field is, however, looking more appealing.
  • I get jealous a lot easier than I care to admit

Goals for the Week:

  • More yoga, walks, and strength training versus cardio
  • More reading versus social media
  • Less sugar and alcohol (two drinks and desserts)
  • Sort through my clothes/belongings to donate

Onwards & Upwards…

 

Bouncing Back

 

I wanted to follow up on my post from yesterday. Although, no, it wasn’t a “full on, hardcore” binge in my book doesn’t mean that it didn’t impact me. I left the previous post with a few questions and wanted to circle back to show how I handled the rest of the day.

Since my current living situation consists of me bouncing back and forth between two houses, I don’t keep a lot of food on hand because I have been throwing a lot of uneaten food out – and I hate wasting good food. My “binge” began after I ate lunch. I had a healthy lunch full of veggies and protein, but I was still hungry.

*Side note* I was annoyed with myself for still being hungry because I intentionally ate a slightly larger breakfast. I had run a mile before taking my mom to get our nails done (early Mother’s Day present), but I still didn’t feel like my very slow mile warranted a big recovery meal…

I went to get fill up on gas since I was taking my parents to the airport in the afternoon. Still “emotionally” and slightly physically hungry, I swung by the store on my way to pick up ONE of my favorite protein bars. Being financially cautious, I bought two at once, afraid that the sale price wouldn’t be honored if I only bought one (it was a 2/$4 deal). I told myself  that I could save one for later in the afternoon after my workout when I knew I’d be hungry. But just like my “failed” day(s), before I hurriedly ate both before the time I made it back home.

That’s when the loathing, guilt, and shame set in. I knew eating both would make me feel bad, but I ate them any ways.

 

When and how much I’m going to work out?

I wanted to immediately head to the gym after my airport, but I swung by my boyfriend’s house and passed out for almost two hours in his guest bedroom while he worked from home.

What will they have to eat at the meeting? – I already overdid it while I was on the retreat with them last weekend. I don’t want that to happen again.

I showed up (late) to the meeting and wasn’t craving/hungry when I got there. I had had a small snack on the way home. We had a break halfway through where I caved and had some “healthier: salty snacks, but it still irked me that I wasn’t able to measure/count what I was eating and therefore know the calorie content.

I didn’t go out with the group afterwards. I went back to my boyfriends where I thought we were going to work out, but he was exhausted after being up since 3 am to catch a flight. I went home where I had another balanced snack and tea and tried and failed to go to bed earlier.

Healing

Good Things:

  • I didn’t go to the gym specifically to “work off” my day of (in my eyes) unhealthy eating
  • I didn’t beat myself up when I didn’t go to the gym
  • I reached out to a friend earlier in the day to share my feelings

My main takeaway from all of this:

Always have enough healthy foods stocked, prepped, and with me

There is still A LOT more work to be done, but my day could have ended worse…

Onwards & Upwards