Turn The Tables On Evil!

As most of you who read my blogs can tell, my faith plays a big role in my life; it always has. It helps me through even the darkest of times because I am confident in God and His love for me. I truly believe those words, speak those words and yet on some days I can’t help but feel like such a contradiction.

I know it’s days, like today, when the enemy gets the better of me and invades my mind. Satan loves to use my anxiety/panic disorders against me and he can be so relentless and ruthless. As strong of faith as I believe I have, I get so ashamed of myself when I lose those daily battles in my mind. I am aware that the enemy’s plan is just that; weaken me bit by bit until he gets the majority control over my thought process. You would assume being so aware of those facts would make it easier to fight back, yet sometimes I never see it coming until it’s too late!

After enduring anxiety and panic most of my 30 years, I can still be ambushed. It may not come as easily as it once did, as I have learned to fight back and hold my own, but still it happens more than I’d care to admit. I feel like a walking contradiction because here I am always speaking words of hope and encouragement to others who are in need of them, and yet I can’t even take my own advice when I truly need to! I also can sit and hear myself ask, “How can you call yourself a true believer if you let so much doubt consume you in certain times!?” The doubt, in any form, is probably what causes me the most remorse. You can try to call it anything else, but in all honesty it is doubt. If I have so much faith in God, why then do I allow the enemy to get me to ask myself questions like the one previously stated or to fill my mind with nothing but worst case scenarios? It truly is frustrating.

I pray quite a bit, especially in my most anxious moments. I ask God to guard my mind and allow only good and pleasing thoughts in. I often pray for overall protection, both physically and mentally. I honestly don’t know where I would be without my faith because many times I feel as if that’s all I have on my side; definitely not a bad thing to have God on my side though! When you have anxiety/panic not many people can relate personally, so you feel even more isolated. When you’re often viewed as a person of positivity, you feel like a fraud when you become lost in the disorders you have. It can truly be disheartening.

I have so many worries, fears and stresses currently that I have become overwhelmed and Satan has been lurking in the corner waiting to take advantage. Today has been a tough day for me and I contemplated what I could do to turn it around, if only just for a moment. How could I turn the tables on Satan and his lies? Blog. Share your raw feelings, emotions and thoughts with your readers and let them see you vulnerable. Allow them to see that faith in God does NOT mean you get an easy pass in life; it does not mean you will not have to endure hard times, but it allows you peace, comfort and hope for the future!

My mind can be an extremely cruel and merciless place at times and obviously I can’t just get away from myself. I have to focus more on God’s words and promises and trust that He is already ahead of me and has protected me and carried me through! He is working all together for good and He will lead me where I need to be and allow all to unfold just when it needs to, I need only to be still.

I pray tonight for anyone out there who is struggling with anxiety, panic, fear, worry, stress, depression etc, whether they’re reading this or not, may they find comfort in knowing God is on their side and He will go with them wherever they go. May we all realize, no matter how alone and isolated we feel, we are never alone!

Much Love and God Bless ❤

P.s. Use your struggles as weapons of good against evil. Use your dark times to help reach more people! Don’t be silent about your hard times; be open so that others know they aren’t alone in how they feel!

Doubt: Another Thief of Happiness.

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Doubt: A feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.

How many times have you felt so confident in something and then doubt slithered its way into your mind? Doubt can be a product of our own thought process OR it can be placed there both intentionally or non-intentionally by others. No matter how doubt is produced, it has one main objective…steal/kill happiness or contentment. When we are on the right path in our lives and all is going well, that is when doubt likes to feed. I personally believe doubt to be yet another manipulation sent out by Satan himself. Who else gets more enjoyment out of dismantling us? He’s like a vulture who waits to pick us apart slowly, piece by piece.

To me, doubt can come hand in hand with anxiety, fear, low self-esteem, worry and the like. It can be just as hard to rid yourself of as well. I once said, someone telling me “don’t worry” is equivalent to telling me not to breathe; it seems simple, yet it can be hard to reprogram how we think. Doubt is another thing that does not do us any good, yet we can’t help but open the door and let it on in. There are so many quotes about doubt that ring true and I will add a few.

“Over thinking kills your happiness.”

“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.”-Elizabeth Elliot

“The doubters are just dreamers with broken hearts.”-Atticus

“Not every thought you think is TRUE, and not every thought you think is YOU.”

We may be prone to doubt because we have been let down or our hearts have been broken too many times. We may be very untrusting and doubt arises from that. We may have doubts about many things we do because family, friends or even acquaintances along the way have planted seeds of doubt in our minds. Some individuals purposely plant doubts in our minds out of jealousy; they see great things happening for you and that’s their way of trying to bring you back to their level of unhappiness. Again, no matter how doubt forms itself in our lives, we have the power to throw it out. It usually strikes at times when you are on the right track and have things figured out and when your faith is strongest; don’t let it steal that joy and peace you have! Kill doubt with more positive thinking!! The more thoughts of doubt that begin to pop up in your mind, counter them with positive thoughts and affirmations. It reminds me of something I tell my son about fear…tell it to go away, and that it’s not real! Our God is bigger than any issues that come into our lives, we just have to do our best to rely upon Him and not be shaken! Let us keep out feet firmly planted in faith! Let us know that we are confident and doubt cannot take it away unless we let it!

I pray for all of us feeling any kind of doubt in our lives…whether it’s doubt about school, career paths, parenting, faith, appearance, capabilities, health etc. I pray all of us find our peace and let that and our inner confidence overcome our doubts. Fear likes to feed us doubt and I pray we continue to recognize that most of our worries and doubts are caused by fear and the majority of the time, they have no merit at all! May we stay strong in our faith and know that God is for us, not against us. He is there to have a personal relationship with us and is willing to help us out in any way.

Much love and God Bless 💚

Yes Can Mean No

Late post today, I know!

The day is almost over, but I keep feeling pulled into a specific topic direction. It involves a personal subject that I was vague about in a previous post. I have never really spoken on it openly before, but I do know I am not the only one it’s happened to and there is not much awareness out there; so sharing would help way more than not sharing, although it puts me in a super vulnerable position.

Everyone has heard of rape, it’s something we have always known existed yet recently it’s been widely emphasized and many more people now have a much better grasp on the subject. Everyone is taught “no means no” we all understand that, but no one ever mentions when “yes” can also mean “no”…sounds confusing and made up, but just hear me out.

Have you ever heard of the term sexual coercion? This can take on a violent form such as several types of rape, but it can also take on a non-violent form. There is not much awareness with this as there is with rape, but I have read that it can affect some people (mentally and emotionally) in similar ways as the more well-known rape. People who have been subject to sexual coercion can suffer from anxiety, depression and even PTSD. I don’t want it to seem as if I am comparing it to rape, because although both are horrendous acts, I personally find rape (especially violent acts of rape) to be much more traumatic. I also do not want to seem as if I am down playing sexual coercion in any way either. When I share these blogs, I never desire to be seen as a victim in any way. I want my experiences to speak to someone else in a similar predicament and offer them peace and understanding. I already feel the anxiety trying to creep on me for attempting to write this, but maybe that’s just a sign that someone is trying to stop me and I should go forward and not be afraid.

I wrote a post and mentioned how ignorant we can be when we’re younger and naive and think we have a better grasp on life than we do. When we’re younger we tend to follow feelings instead of following our hearts. We sometimes find ourselves in situations that we know we shouldn’t be in but we’re there already. When I was younger, I found myself believing I “loved” someone and was willing to alter almost anything about my personality or my appearance to draw attention from this individual. It’s ridiculous, sad and pathetic…things I’m not, but for some reason allowed myself to be. At a time it seemed as if maybe I had caught the attention of this person…believing maybe it was just me getting older or the time I foolishly put in trying to be “good enough” but I thought I had reached that point. I was very wrong. We talked, we hung out, seemed like the norm for our age, but was maybe leading to the more formal “dating” where maybe you’d finally gain a title of girlfriend…or so I was led to believe. I was invited along to a movie one evening and how excited my younger self was believing I was maybe good enough for someone to be interested in. I went to this movie, even after receiving emails prior to basically setting out “expectations”. In my mind I thought if I agree I can go on the “date” and if I don’t feel comfortable with my decision I can always change my mind. I shouldn’t have gone out at all, but I did. My dumb decision. After this movie had ended, I was driven out to a secluded area where I guess would be more private. We all know what was expected of me that night. Leading up to that night I was sent messages such as you better not be lying to me about what you said would happen; if you don’t do what you said I will be mad, I won’t forgive you and I will never talk to you again. A lot of pressure was put upon me, especially leading up to that night. It was basically do what I’m telling you to do or asking you to do or we won’t be friends anymore, we won’t talk anymore, we won’t date at all and it would go back to acting as if I didn’t even exist. This person knew good and well how to manipulate, that was clear. What angles to work to achieve his goal. Sadly, out of fear and what I felt as obligation, I consented although I didn’t feel comfortable and I am absolutely sure this individual knew I really, truly did not want to go through with anything. I would have assumed the individual would have respected me enough to just stop the whole evening and take me home…then again, if he had respected me, he never would have sent all the messages he did trying to keep the pressure on and use manipulation to get his way. All of this from someone I thought was a friend. You can see why that betrayal cuts even deeper. In cases like these, when consenting out of fear or repercussions of things either said or implied you are now subject of sexual coercion. I always felt everything about what happened was wrong and something was off, although I tried to hide it or play it off as no big deal, I knew in my heart and mind that it wasn’t right. It’s not about regretting something later on, this was an entire process. This was a scheme. To add insult to injury, all the things that would have been taken away had I not agreed, they went away any way. Although I consented out of fear of what would happen if I didn’t, it happened any way. As if I was a ghost. Again, all of this from a so-called friend.

Although I never talked about it and how it affected me emotionally,  or events leading up to that situation, I knew something was just off about the whole experience…before and after. I never would have said it was rape, but after a routine check up at a doctor, having him ask if I was ever raped due to the way my body can react it was a bit eye-opening. I started researching because I often just blamed myself for letting it get to that point, for putting myself in that situation but the more I read the more it became clear that I was sexually coerced. I know many people go through similar circumstances and never say anything because “technically” they have no case because they weren’t “raped”…so we are left to sort out the emotional and physical effects on our own. If we talk about it we are viewed as trying to gain sympathy or attention and we are “playing victim” and trying to place blame. That’s not at all what we’re trying to do. We are trying to understand the issues we have as a cause of that instance or with some people instances. Sexual coercion, just like any other abuse or harassment, is wrong. We all know “no means no” but maybe now maybe you’ll think twice about telling someone they consented because they simply complied. If you don’t have all the facts, don’t assume that just because they may have shown interest in the person or “liked” the person, that their going through with anything was because they felt they wanted to.

I pray for anyone who has gone through similar circumstances and felt they couldn’t talk about it at all can find comfort, peace and healing. I pray you have courage to confide in someone you trust and I also pray for anyone affected my any type of abuse or harassment, especially those shrugged off or not believed. The more we talk, the more we bring awareness and the more we can all heal, together. Much love and God Bless xo

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“What Ifs” and Worst Case Scenario Mindset

I’m sure this can correlate with my fear post, but totally unintentional.

I can tell you I live in the world of “what ifs” and I am always thinking ahead and trying to plan for the worst case scenario because, to me, it WILL happen. This can most definitely go hand in hand with the anxiety and panic disorders, but I know others without those disorders who also relate.

Avoidance is one of the worst things you can practice when it comes to anxiety and panic, it only feeds that fear or anxiousness more. You want to familiarize yourself with your fear and in most cases even doing whatever action scares you or causes these “what ifs” and worst case scenario thinking. I will need something as simple as groceries, but I tell myself I cannot go today because my husband isn’t with me and what if I get into an accident on my way. My husband will want to take the interstate to get somewhere faster, but we can’t because some type of Final Destination-type accident will occur. I’ll think one of the semi trucks will hit us or a gas truck will explode near us or when we go over a bridge we’ll go off the side and how will I get both my sons and myself and possibly my husband out. It truly can be a vicious cycle…if you let it consume you and dictate where you will go and what you will do. I myself am still very much a work in progress, so please don’t feel like I am speaking as someone who is “over it”…you’ll never be over it, but you can be in control of it. There are just so many examples I could throw out there…avoidance of dental work because of what may go wrong (but most likely never will), avoidance of doctor check ups because you may find out something is wrong, avoiding going certain places because someone may go on a shooting spree or a bombing may happen. It’s stuff we worry about more so now because we see it on the news ALL the time. Should we let it control our lives though? It goes back to us wanting to be in control, convincing ourselves we’re in control, but we aren’t. That’s the truth, not one of us can control what happens to us. In some cases we can be, to a point, but only God truly knows what will happen before it happens.

Here’s a nice “what if” question…what if, in your avoiding accidents and the worst case scenario, you actually cause the worst to happen when it wouldn’t have? So many times this happens; something worse happens trying to avoid something that probably never would have even occurred! We focus so much on avoiding potential danger that we don’t live and experience. It truly seems like a waste when you sit and dissect it, doesn’t it? How many people are out there have serious illnesses with no cure or have serious disabilities yet they are living more than people like me, or maybe even like yourself?

I know I am so adamant on my children not learning from my anxiety, my fears, my avoidance, my worries etc. That gives me a special drive I wouldn’t have without them. I do the best I can to mask myself at certain times, but when you’re a stay at home mom and home schooling mom as well, the kids are always with you and sadly there are times they see you at your worst. In some of those moments I try to explain to my oldest about what’s happening and what are some ways to help someone else if he ever knows anyone with anxiety or the other conditions we have discussed. I don’t want to completely shield them, because maybe one day they can help someone who needs it. Maybe they will have that extra patience, empathy and love as their father does. However, I do not want them to fall into the same patterns. I wish for them to recognize and break the pattern. I want them to live without letting fear or anxiousness guide them.

It’s not only avoidance. There are times I can sit and be lost in thought of something bad happening to someone so close to me. I envision these horrible accidents and even death. It’ll bring you to tears, but it’s a bit like torturing yourself. It’s something that just happens, I’m not sure why, but people with a mindset like me can fully understand and relate.

Why do we let these thoughts in? Do we not have control over our own thoughts and mind? The beauty is, we do! We can choose to not let our thoughts drift to the doom and gloom. We can recognize it happening and turn it around, get our minds busy and refocused on something else. Much like with anxiety, refocusing exercises can be so helpful! I often pray in times that my mind starts to go over to “the dark side” and ask for my mind to be filled with things more positive and uplifting, knowing that He is working for me and has my best interest at heart. It can be like a boulder being lifted off your shoulders. Rejuvenating. You can also practice yoga, meditation, coloring/drawing, writing/journaling, going for a walk outdoors, exercise…something that refocuses your energy and helps you re-center. It can be easier said than done, but give it a shot and maybe not immediately, but over time you will start to see a difference. It’s very similar to trigger recognition in anxiety and panic; you start noticing the start of things that cause you to spiral and you can more quickly reverse them as you learn more about them and their origin.

My prayer for all of you today is that you all find solace in God and any one or all of those activities to refocus and re-center your minds. I am a huge advocate for the power of prayer; it has helped me tremendously, along with my faith and I cannot stress enough how without them, I would not be here today! I want all of you to live your lives to the fullest every single day, without letting your fears, your what ifs, your worst case scenario mindsets to dictate your days, weeks, months or years. I desire all of you to have confidence enough to step out of your comfort zones and explore the world around you, even if it means exposure to a fear or avoidance. Baby steps start off small and shaky, but as time progresses they get stronger and more steady. Please feel free to comment and let me know a fear/avoidance that you chose to face after reading this! I would love to hear about it! Much love and God Bless!

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FEAR. The underlying culprit of many conditions!

FEAR.

Fear is something I will most assuredly discuss off and on for as long as I have this blog running. Every single person out there has at least ONE thing they fear or are afraid of. For some of us, like myself, we have a plethora of fears. I know there are people out there who claim not to be afraid of anything; they fancy themselves immune to fear. But here’s a question, what does fear look like? I can guarantee that when asked about fear, most of us think of phobias…spiders, darkness, snakes and it’s usually either childhood type phobias or all that is creepy and crawly. What if I told you fear is less obvious than your basic phobia. What if I told you it was the underlying culprit to many conditions?

I have anxiety, but more than that, I have anxiety disorder. I have panic attacks, but not just panic attacks, panic disorder. I have also endured depression, which anyone who has depression knows it doesn’t magically disappear, but it can go dormant as I refer to it. Just to reiterate, I don’t make posts like these for sympathy, I make them for one simple reason: to help others. Now, with that said, I want to touch on something for a moment before continuing on to fear. Over the last few years I have noticed many people saying they have “anxiety”. While they may feel the “normal” feeling of nervousness or uneasiness associated with your average person, the simple fact is it’s not consuming them. It’s not debilitating to them. It doesn’t affect their daily lives and paralyze them. It doesn’t morph them into a person whom they can’t even recognize in the mirror. I am not trying to judge another in any way, but when you actually have anxiety and panic disorders, it’s easy to recognize the authentic from the ones who nonchalantly throw the terms around. I’m very confident in the near future I will blog further about my experiences with anxiety and panic disorder, but let me get back on track to fear. The reason I brought up anxiety, depression and panic is because they all stem from fear in some form or another. In my case, lack of being in control is also a factor. Think about it for a minute, those of us with anxiety and panic disorder have many fears. We fear losing control/going “crazy”, others being able to tell something is wrong with us, things happening to us that are out of our control, having some sort of serious illness, no one believing us and our feelings and the list goes on. For myself, at an extremely bad time with my anxiety, I was like a zombie…lifeless. I sat there with no emotions on my face at all, no matter who talked to me or attempted to, I just looked off and never even acknowledged their presence. I wouldn’t eat because I believed I was allergic to anything and everything. I feared going outside of the house because all kinds of things could potentially happen to me. I missed many days of work because I feared leaving the couple of people I deemed my “safe people” who I found some sort of comfort in. I thought every day was my last day. I hardly slept at night because I was convinced I would die in my sleep. My body would go into uncontrollable shakes which weren’t as severe as seizures, but resembled them in certain small aspects. Fear plays a significant role in panic and anxiety disorders. Depression, in many cases, can be caused by fear. Some fear speaking up for themselves or speaking up about their past traumatic experiences and that can cause them to fall into depression.

I was asked, “What if you woke up tomorrow and all your fear was gone, what would you do?” My answer was, “I would live.”

It seems like an odd answer, considering I am literally alive…but often times I am not living. Many times I am controlled by fear; I let it dictate my life. It tells me where I will go, what I will do. In certain times it becomes all-consuming and I lose myself. I become a shell of a person, unrecognizable to those who know me best and love me most. When you’re in those hours, weeks, months or even years, you can become so discouraged. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re “crazy” and “broken” and you’ll “never be the same” and you’re not “normal” (whatever normal is!) kind of look at that last one as a positive 🙂 None of those are true statements. You have the ability to come back from all of it. I don’t want others to live in that constant struggle every single day. It’s like having to be a fighter every single day, whether you want to fight or not and you have no choice. It gets to a point where you just say, “I don’t want to fight anymore” and that is when you start to lose yourself. It’s not easy at all and it’s not “all in your head.” I quote movies A LOT and when referring to anxiety and panic I will use a quote from Titanic, “All the while I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a crowded room screaming at the top of my lungs, and no one even looks up.”  People feel like if they cannot see physical signs of your condition, you don’t really have any issues. They are conditions that others cannot fathom because they have never truly felt them.

The most important message I want to put out there is that there IS hope! You can come back and learn how to control your fears. I am not saying you will be “cured” or you won’t have times where you revert back, but you’ll have more confidence in your fight and in the end you’ll be the one still standing. Personally, I would not be where I am today without my faith in God and actually, I would not be alive at all. God has protected me through so much in my life, and it’s amazing to look back on certain situations I have been in and realize I made it out. God does not want us to live in fear, but to come to Him with anything that is troubling us.

I’m not sure if any of this was very cohesive,  hopefully it made some sort of sense 😉 I would urge all of you to think about you fears and how big of a role they play in your life. Try to learn more about the triggers of your fears and work on getting to know yourself more. The more you learn about yourself and your fears, the more you’ll be able to work on them more effectively. I believe in the power of prayer as well. Take time to bring your worries and fears to God and watch how He works in your lives and uses you to help others. Much love and God Bless. ❤

 

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