Facing Raw Emotions

“You know what truly aches? Having so much inside you and not having the slightest clue of how to put it out.” ~ Karen Quan

It’s time for my raw emotions to surface to all of you who are reading my blog. I had titled my blog, “Journey into Happiness” because I was (and still am to an extent) on a path to finding my true happiness within myself. I am constantly learning new things about myself and personal goals I want to achieve. One of my goals for the past several years is to tell my story of mental abuse, disappointment, deaths, affair and most importantly finding who I was as a person.

I knew I was Kathy’s daughter, Shirley and Bob’s granddaughter, a niece to my aunts and uncles, a cousin, a friend, a wife, Ali and Ashlan’s mom, someone who volunteered at nonprofits, church and my girl’s schools. However, I was all those things to so many, but I struggled with my identity. I didn’t realize I struggled with my identity till after my mom’s passing and I was trying to figure out as an only child how I fit into the World.

At my mom’s funeral I had someone give me a hug and tell me I had big shoes to fill. WHAT…I now needed to be my mom? My mom was an amazing woman of strength and faith. Naturally I already wanted to follow in her footsteps, but now it was expected of me (so I thought). I tried so hard for two years to be just like her with her faith and strength and then one day my grandmother passed with my grandfather right behind her. My world as I knew it came crashing down.

I didn’t know till I was sitting in the psychiatric ward trying to recover from a suicide attempt that I was a lost soul. I had no clue where to begin to repair me. I had been in counseling for a few months, but I was surfaced about my feelings and if you look back to a previous article, Finding My Voice, I was also trying to learn about emotions. Sitting in a dark and dingy room I realized if I wanted to get out of what they were calling a severe depression I had to work hard. I had to be honest with myself. Most importantly, I needed to be honest with my counselor so she could give me the tools I needed to heal and find who I was as an individual.

Over the next several weeks and months I will start to tell my story more in depth by reaching down and sharing my raw emotions. This is a very scary step, but if my goal is to help someone out there not feel so alone I need to share the raw and “yucky” parts of my life.

If you are someone at this moment who is struggling please reach out to someone. If you feel you have no one please try using the Suicide Hotline by calling 1-800-273-8255 or talk to someone online (click “online” and it will take you to the link).

If you are facing conversations with someone who is depressed here are a couple of links to help with what to do and say:

Even though it’s scary for me, I am looking forward to sharing with all of you in the coming weeks about my trials and my path to happiness.

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Journaling For the Soul

My last blog, Finding My Voice, reflected how I have learned to have a voice. It talked how I would conform to opinions to those around me and over time I lost who I truly was as a person. In the end I talked how I took a stance on an issue and I was told I had changed and pushed people away when all I was simply doing was expressing my thoughts and opinions.

I wish I could say since my last blog things have changed, but in all reality nothing has changed. I personally have tried to stay quiet for the most part on my Facebook when it comes to politics because it does no good and leads to hurtful words. The other day my oldest daughter posted a video and someone posted to her, “What a Nasty Liberal piece of Crap.” This person did apologize for allowing the video to get to them, but went on to say, “Christian’s that truly believe in God would be Appalled by what Hillary condones on Abortions!!”

I have read certain words over the weeks such as radical liberal, hate, nasty, crap, Christians, faith, my grandparents are rolling in their grave, abortion, killing babies, and a few others. For me personally words have a way of hitting me right in the heart. I have been told to think of words and insults like a tennis ball and don’t catch them all. This is not an easy task for me as I tend to take everything personal. I was once told by an old friend I wear my heart on my sleeve and for the most part I have come a long way with allowing words to roll off. However, when people post the same things over and over it’s very tough to not take their words personally. After reading people’s comments for weeks it started to affect my health and my mental state. These phrases are ones I have had to fight internally:

  • I am a radical liberal.
  • I want to kill babies.
  • I don’t believe in God.
  • I am a disappointment to my grandparents.
  • I am not a Christian.

After allowing my anxiety to set in and the tears to roll down my face a few days ago I went to my safe spot to write. My safe spot happens to be our closet. It’s a walk in closet nothing to big, but enough room to sit on the floor and write. As I journaled the evening’s events I then wrote these bullets points and underlined each one twice.

  • I am NOT a radical liberal.
  • I am actually more conservative.
  • I DO believe in God.
  • I am a Christian.
  • I DON”T want to kill babies.
  • I would not be a disappointment to my grandparents or my mom.
  • My mom would be proud at the strong woman I am becoming.

Notice how when things are insinuated they can turn around to be hurtful words. Not everyone would read certain comments and think how I do, but for me personally as someone who struggles with depression and anxiety it’s hard to allow those comments to fly past. I am not made to have thick skin…I am a sensitive person who works daily to not take things so personal. Some days I do better than other days.

Years of counseling has taught me some coping skills, which is why I journal. Writing is my outlet, my go to place to share my deepest thoughts. Sometimes I start off angry or in tears, but usually by the end I have turned the anger and/or tears to thinking more rational. At times I end it with a prayer telling God I am coming to Him with a heavy heart. The other night He heard how my heart was broken and I felt beaten down mentally. As usually when I ask for help, guidance or just show me something He comes through. I opened Facebook and Crosswalk popped up and I went to their page and found a couple articles with scripture that hit home for me.

The biggest thing He gave me that night was one of my nieces sending me a text that said, “Love you (with a heart).” The next line read, “Just thought you might need to hear that (with a face and another heart.” God knew what type of help I needed during my time of hurt.

I don’t know how many of you use journals, but it has become a way for me. I have several journals. One I call my bad journal (that I have asked my husband to destroy if something would ever happen to me) as it has some of my darkest moments. Another is my prayer journal where I write prayers down not just for me, but for family and friends who have asked for prayer. It’s my favorite one to go back to and use a different colored pen and comment how those prayers were answered. Last I have a journal for random thoughts.

Journaling is good for my soul. It allows me to express every emotion. When I was looking for a quote to end this blog I came across an image that was by Michael Hyatt titled, “The 7 Benefits of Keeping a Daily Journal.” I was intrigued and clicked on the image which took me to the article he wrote. He gave seven reasons for why he journals and those reasons hit home for me.

  1. Process previous events
  2. Clarify my thinking
  3. Understand the context
  4. Notice my feelings
  5. Connect with my heart
  6. Record significant lessons
  7. Ask important questions

When I am to the point of needing my safe spot my purpose is to process what happened by recognizing all my thoughts and emotions. Once I have vented I am able to see things more clearly and can turn the negative into positive.

In my life one of the biggest challenges is to not allow words to affect me personally. I challenge anyone who struggles with anxiety, depression or negative thoughts about oneself to give it a try at least once. It may not work, but then again it may.

I found a couple other articles if you would like to read a little more on other people’s perspective with why to journal:

 

“Writing is a mental massage that soothes our soul in ways nothing else ever could.” by Buffy Andrews

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Finding My Voice

Can you express your opinion openly?

Can you say what’s on your mind openly?

Are you judged for your thoughts and opinions?

I am quite certain at some point most of us have answered yes to at least one these questions. For me, the majority of my life was following the lead of others and being shot down for having a different thought/opinion. My thoughts and opinions mimicked some of my family/friends. It wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t healthy for me to conform.

After my attempted suicide in December 2008, I realized I had to open up in counseling if I was going to get the help I needed. I had to face those raw emotions …the part in us we never want to face.

When you walked in my counselor’s office the first thing you would see is a HUGE (okay maybe I’m exaggerating) poster showing all these faces and emotions. Now do you see why I say it was huge to me? I disliked that poster for a very long time. Her first question would be, “how are you today?” I couldn’t/wasn’t allowed saying, “fine” or “I’m okay.” NO, I had to look at the poster and describe how and what I was feeling at the moment and how I was feeling from last time we had met. Every week the poster taught me who I was and what I honestly was feeling. I hid so many emotions for so long they basically became invisible.

It took me two years to fully realize my voice mattered. What I thought mattered. My opinion mattered. My thoughts and opinions are MINE…all mine. I no longer have a need to agree with the majority. In fact my husband encourages me to answer things the way I see them and not the way I think I should for other’s sake. Don’t get me wrong some days I succeed well and some days I struggle.

These past few days I have found myself questioning if my thoughts I put out on Facebook this past Sunday was worth some of the backlash. I have only once or twice posted something political on my Facebook because this election seems to be bringing out the worst in people. Judgement and insults have definitely taken over, which has kept me from voicing what I feel deep down. I don’t fit some of my family’s mold per say. They feel because I may vote one way I am not remembering things my grandmother fought for when she was alive. I haven’t forgotten. I carry her memories and values very close to my heart. When things were said it made me feel as though I have let her down in some way. However, I haven’t let her down…I still believe in what she believed. I still hold her values and her faith. The difference is now I have my own voice…my own thoughts…my own opinions. It may not match everyone, but it doesn’t mean I am lost in my faith and values. It doesn’t mean that I’m listening to other people who oppose the other opponent. It just means I have grown…I have learned…I HAVE A VOICE. I have worked too hard to allow others to take it away.

On the day I decided to be bold and post my thoughts and opinions on a subject that was bothering me I lost some family. I hope they won’t always be lost, but I can’t regret my opinion because it was my voice and ONLY my voice coming through the words. I also found support within the comments. Things like we respect your opinion and good for you for speaking up because we are too afraid. Some people agreed with my post and some didn’t and that is okay because it is about all of us having a voice and being able to share respectfully.

I have changed over the years and especially this past year and a half. I have a wonderful small group of ladies I do a Bible study with year round. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences. They know the majority of my story and they don’t judge. I’m not afraid to express myself as they respect everything I say. We may all not see the same thing, but we sure do learn from one another. My husband constantly keeps me on track for making sure it’s my voice and I can’t begin to thank him enough. It’s actually funny in our house at times because he will say, “Oh sure now I get the Candy who speaks her mind.” He usually follows up with he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Finding my voice has been one of the most difficult things, but it has been very rewarding at the same time. An old friend of mine posted an image on my Facebook timeline the other day. It said, “One day, she realized that she was the only one who could live her life. So she decided to stop worrying about what other people thought and start following her own path. She never looked back.” It came from a group on Facebook called, Wild Woman Sisterhood. This is something that I do need to remember always.

Don’t ever lose your voice as it’s a powerful tool within us.

“When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.” ~Shannon L. Alder

 

The Daily STRUGGLE is REAL

Depression…fear…anxiety…disappointment… thoughts…self-talks…these are just some of the words I deal with on a daily basis. Some days it could be all of them, but at least one of them show up during the day. I wanted to take a moment in this particular blog to explain the meaning behind these words as sometimes I think we don’t truly understand the word’s true meaning. What happens often when we don’t understand something we become fearful and often times talk down to others who deal with words/emotions on a daily basis. I strongly feel if more people were educated then maybe…just maybe…we could be a little more understanding and compassionate.

Depression, what does this word actually mean? When looking at the real meaning in dictionary.com I came across two meanings; which I could personally relate to when experiencing depression. At the end of the psychiatry was a link to the words clinical depression; which I included it in the description as well.

  1. a depressed or sunken place or part; an area lower than the surrounding surface.
  2. Psychiatry. A condition of general emotion dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.
  3. Clinical depression – Psychiatry. a depression to severe as to be considered abnormal, either because of no obvious environmental causes, or because the reaction to unfortunate life circumstances is more intense or prolonged than would generally be expected.

I underlined the words that stand out for me personally in each definition. “Sunken place” and “lower than the surrounding surface” is where I started to go after losing my mom in January 2006. My mom was one of two of the most amazing and God-fearing women (my grandmother was the second) that I knew and loved dearly. She was my world, my best friend and one day she was taken away from me. Two years later I lost my grandmother at the end of February 2008 and my grandfather was behind her one week later losing him the beginning of March 2008.

My depression became known as clinical depression as my world fell apart. I fell apart inside. I had no idea who I was anymore. I didn’t fit in with anyone (so I felt) and my world became dark inside for a very long time.

When looking at Facebook or other social media sites you see people posting about anxiety. Articles range from what it is to how to love someone with anxiety. According to dictionary.com, anxiety has the following meaning:

  1. distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune
  2. earnest but tense desire; eagerness
  3. Psychiatry. A state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.

Once again I underlined the words which I feel applied (and still do) to me. Anxiety can show its face in many circumstances. For me, it can show up while I’m out grocery shopping with my husband. If there are too many people and I can’t get down an aisle or need to make a quick decision I start to feel tightness in my chest, my breathing changes and I clam up instantly. Sometimes I even have to fight the tears because I can become very overwhelmed. I have a very sweet and understanding husband who has learned me so well that I don’t even have to say a word. He can ask what is wrong and often I say, “I don’t know I just all of sudden became overwhelmed.” Sometimes it means stepping away and taking a deep breath or I have that self-talk with myself. Those talks usually go along the way of, “you can do this,” “take a deep breath and keep moving forward to what you were doing,” etc. It doesn’t always go smooth in every situation but for the most part I have learned overtime what works and doesn’t work.

Anxiety has such a big part of so many lives and shows in mine in many ways that the grocery store was just one example. I plan to talk more about anxiety at some point and all the ways it can affect me.

I honestly believe if we could become more educated about depression, anxiety, suicide then the fear would let up and people could openly talk about their feelings. I know I hid mine for years out of fear and denied my raw emotions.

If you would like to learn more about signs of depression, anxiety, suicide just click on each word and a link will come up to help educate. You can simply Google each word as well and many possibilities will come available for reading.

I always like to end my blogs with some type of quote, but I struggled a little trying to find the right one. I came across the image below on Pinterest and I believe it speaks to many who struggle with depression…I know I have felt this way.

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Fear

I recently had an old friend start a blog, Thinking Woman Today, and in one of her blogs titled, “Mother Plus”stirred something within myself. It started to make me think how I started my blog with such intentions and then allowed it to become dormant for a year. I was finding it was easier for me to tell my story in person as I could tell it more factual and didn’t have to face the raw emotion. I had learned years ago how to put on a show per say. To look the part of calmness and having it all together while hiding the true emotions. It’s easier for me to write in my journals where I can be completely truthful because I am the only one who sees those words.

When I start to think what truly holds me back from opening up and sharing my raw emotions fear comes to the forefront. Sharing the deepest and darkest parts of me requires vulnerability; which then leads to fear. Some of my life choices (paths) open me up to persecution, judgment and disappointment from others. These are descriptions I try to avoid at all cost. I have realized because of my fears I have kept my blog more surfaced.

I have come to the conclusion that hiding and procrastinating isn’t going to help me help at least one person in the remaining life I have left here on Earth. I have to…no need to kick fear in the bottom and start sharing with you all more often. It’s time for me to stop allowing fear to control what is deep in my heart, which is to share my raw emotional story. It’s time for me to allow God to use me…he puts thoughts and ideas in my mind all the time, but I’m the one who stops the potential progress.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” ~Les Brown

The Move…

I haven’t written anything since before Christmas. It’s not that I haven’t thought about my blog as I even had a blog started, but somehow forgot to save my thoughts. At the time I was writing my husband and I were in the middle of packing. To go back a little my husband and I made a tough decision back in January to move 1,121 miles away from most of our family and friends to start a new venture. My husband had the opportunity to become an agent and not be an employee with restraints. It wasn’t an easy decision as not only were we leaving our family, but our first grandson.

Our first grandson was born the first part of February and as we don’t like to use the word perfect, he really was perfect. I had the privilege of being in the room when he was born, an experience I will never forget and hold close to my heart. I had the privilege of seeing him for a few days in April and then most of May, which made coming back to our new home even tougher. He is one of the happiest babies I have ever seen. He always has such a beautiful smile and the cutest laugh. I love to listen to him make his little noises. The other day we were video chatting with my daughter and he is now moving his little legs a hundred miles an hour constantly. We are very thankful for today’s technology to help close the miles a little.

Back to the word “moving”…. a word that can bring stress and overwhelming emotions. For me, it brought stress, tears, physical soreness and a wide range of emotions. I felt both excitement and sadness. On one hand it was exciting to start a new adventure and move to someplace new, but on the other hand we were leaving the majority of our family and friends behind. It wasn’t going to be an hour or two drive, but over 18 hours.

The day we moved it was snowing, as it did so often, and we said goodbye to the snow as we pulled away from what was our home in a 26 foot Penske truck with a trailer on the back pulling our Escape. It was a very long week as it took us two long days to drive and we stayed with family till our new home was ready. Once our home was ready, I threw myself into unpacking and had everything unpacked and put away within a little over a week. That first week was the toughest for me. The first couple days it was sunny, but then the skies turned grey and we had rain. I started missing our family and with each dreary day I thought, we moved for this.

Bottom line is even though the move brought a handful of emotions it has been a good move. We miss our family and friends dearly, but we did what was best for us and our future. We are looking forward to a winter with minimal snow…insert big smile from me.

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(From our old home to our new home)

 

Feeling like a failure even though I haven’t failed

I haven’t written as much lately on the subject of my journey of both the bad and good as I needed a break. When I first started this blog my intent (and still is) was to help others who feel alone and have been through lows and highs in their life. I feel it’s important to not feel alone in the battle of depression and rough moments of life.

As I started to blog about my experiences I noticed my unsettling dreams were coming back about me always running and hiding from people who were after me. I am not sure why I dream these type of dreams or why they decided to come back, but for my own sake I knew I needed to concentrate my blogs on more of happy times, such as vacationing. I have struggled the last couple of weeks of feeling I have let others down in the sense of I wasn’t as strong as so many feel. There have been life issues arise that I found myself not handling mentally very well. I even went back to counseling to help sort some thoughts and feelings out.

Going back to counseling has made me feel as a failure. After a long discussion and many tears with my husband he has shed some light for me. He said would you think of others the same…of course I wouldn’t. I am the first to suggest getting help if needed. He then proceeds to say then why are you different from other people? Wow good question…why is it I feel the need to be perfect, but no one else needs to be. When I think hard I tend to wonder if I’m still being that little girl trying to be perfect for everyone.

I hope this particular blog helps others to know it is okay to not always have everything under control. Sometimes we can’t control what happens around us, but what we can control is how we will handle the downs. For me, I needed reminded that it’s okay to ask for help with my feelings and thoughts. I also found this quote on Pinterest that holds true for myself. “Every day is a new beginning, take a deep breath and start again.”

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Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!