Category Archives: Anxiety

Recovery

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Recovery is not for the faint of heart. It is however for the bold, the brave, the desperate, the addict, the weary and the broken. You simply have to be human to need recovery. The human condition is such that breeds hurt, dysfunction and pain. No one is immune because no one is perfect. There is a perception that recovery is for “those” people. Well I’m here to say it absolutely is for “those” people for your mom, dad, sister, brother, boss, pastor, best friend and for YOU. Celebrate Recovery is for definitely me. I have been in recovery now for 2 plus years and it is the best thing I ever have done for myself. If you look back at my blog there is some dark and desperate posts that characterized my battle with panic and anxiety. I was a person who didn’t think recovery was for me and I didn’t need help, I would figure it out on my own. I could not have been more wrong, I was in a constant state of chaos, reeling from hurt, ignoring God and saying yes to all the wrong people and situations. I was lost and I couldn’t even see it.

The first day I walked through the doors of Celebrate Recovery was probably one of the most transformative days of my life. That’s the day I started saying yes to God and no to my own way. Allowing God to transform me into the person He wants me to be and it has been one of the hardest battles I’ve faced. One of the hardest things in recovery is to face the truth. The truth that I and I alone was responsible for my pain, that I cant do it on my own and need help. Yes people hurt, took advantage and negatively affected my life, but I made the choices that created chances for people to hurt me. I didn’t protect the life and heart that God had given me from the sickness of the world. I had become casual about sin and had a someday attitude. Some day I will live for Christ, when I am through school, happily married, thin, more financially stable…the list goes on. Someday hit me squarely between the eyes and said NO TODAY IS THE DAY YOU CHANGE YOUR LIFE. My panic attacks were debilitating and getting worse everyday. I wasn’t functioning anymore and I tried to fool myself into believing that I could just muddle through it. But I was slowly dying it was a matter of time and I would have been dead. Maybe not physically but emotionally, spiritually dead. In reality I was there and it was no kind of life it was pure torture.

Miracles still happen God brought me, the dead, back to life.  I have now been 2 years without a panic attack, but the most miraculous thing that has happened since I have been in recovery is that I have a renewed faith and sense of hope. God has brought me out of denial and apathy onto a path of redemption, grace, forgiveness, truth and spiritual growth. He brought me to Himself and is allowing me to enjoy my progress and see my growth. He is showing me how to use my life in service to him and I love the work He is doing in me. For the first time in many years I can say that this year is going to end on a high note and I am looking forward to what God has for me next year!

Jenness

cr welcome

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Updates On Life In Recovery…

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I think it’s important for me to post about my life during recovery because it truly can help me gain perspective and gives me something to look at when times are bleak or really awesome. I’ve made some decisions on the things I should be focusing on first. There is far too much to conquer all at one time so I’m trying to think about doing it in manageable pieces. For example I would like to be more responsible with my spending habits ensuring I have enough to cover the month reoccurring things like car insurance, gas, cell phone…you know the things that help you do your life.

My small group has been hard but I feel like I’m finally getting it and taking little steps towards openness and transparency. I appreciate that I have place where I can be completely real and forthright with no fear of retribution or judgment. I can see how this could help me get to the deeper issues the things that truly have caused the chaos.

I was having a panic attack a few weeks ago and I felt like I was literally losing my mind. I would vacillate between smiling and giggling at the show I was watching and sobbing. I felt like my mind wasn’t my own, with my feelings all over the place I kept getting this sense or more a reoccurring thought much like ‘a still small voice’ (1 Kings 19:11-13 KJV) saying get on your knees and pray. Now the verses I mentioned in my last post are still ringing very true for me that the fires of my affliction are burning hot. But I feel like maybe I have more control over them than I previously thought. And by control I mean I am the greatest causation factor for them in a sense…I’m sorry if that doesn’t make sense…it’s hard to put my crazy thoughts into cohesive explanations. (Thankfully I have people in my life who speak fluent Jennessease and can decipher the crazy when it comes out. :)) So as to eliminate excuses I got myself ready for bed grabbed my Bible and got on my knees. I was broken in prayer but was also led to a glimmer of hope…I reread the verses that I had been lead to before about being refined in the fire…but I also turned to my favorite verse…Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”…I usually stopped there but that night I kept reading…not only will there be relief an end to pain but, 5. “He who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new! Then, he said “Write this down for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “I am the Alpha and the Omega the Beginning and the End. To him is thirsty I will give drink without cost from the spring from the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” The overcomer will inherit God’s kingdom. That came as such a comfort to me as someone who has been long suffering.

My point is though the journey is long and the road fraught with pain and most likely more suffering that glimmer remains. God has something special planned for His children that overcome what seem to be unbeatable odds…

My prayer? That the glimmer becomes a roaring fire one that lights my path and the world around me so that though “I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for (I will know that) he is with me his rod and his staff will comfort me”… (Psalms 23:4) All the personal demons of the past will be put a faint memory…how I long for those days and so plunge forward into the unknown of recovery and try to embrace hardship as the pathway to peace.

Jenness

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Why God?…

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Why God?? I have been told many times as a believer that you are not supposed to ask God why…but I say why can’t I if it helps me to process and communicate with God. (By the way I have always been a bit of a rebel and “rule breaker”) to me it’s like picking up the phone and venting to a friend. Today I am seriously asking why God? Not in a frantic, panicky way but in a I wish I had a solution way.

I am giving the anxiety a serious battle today! I am so close to a panic attack, I can feel it creepy its nasty fingers around my heart and mind, the tears are just at the surface and have been for days. The tingling in my face have been prevalent for 3 days now and the shaking started this morning. And I am seriously asking God why…why is this battle one that I have to fight? I hate the desperation it brings to my life. I hate the emotional and physical exhaustion it brings. As I am sitting at my keyboard I am seriously battling not walking out of my job and going home. But, I am taking deep breaths and continuing to try to fight back.

My life has brought me many challenges and that is part of why I am asking God why…I am abnormal and to a degree I embrace this fact but not when the abnormal creates apparent dysfunction. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed to the point where I can’t function. I don’t understand if I can feel it coming if I am trying to combat it why it still hits me like a brick wall. Why I can’t seem to prevent it and why when I cry out to the Lord the enemy of my peace of mind doesn’t part from me. Why Lord must this be a burden I bear, I HATE IT!! I hate that I can’t overcome my demon of destruction…I have tears of shame and sorrow streaming down my face and though I openly rebuke Satan and his attack on me, my body remains at war with my desire for peace.

The only thing I can think is that it is serving a purpose…I am someone who tries to rely heavily in her intuition and I have had a particular thing running like a train at full speed through my head (a phrase really)…The refiners fire. I literally just looked this up…according to Dictionary.com refiners fire means…to bring to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities 2.to purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing; make elegant or cultured. Then, I looked it up in the bible and am brought to my knees in tears…God is talking to me he is laying on my heart the things he wants me to hear…I have either ignored the still quiet voice for so long that I couldn’t hear it or I just disregarded it. I have spoken in this very blog about feeling a disconnect with my Heavenly Father that my communication with him had hit a stalemate. Maybe that is why the verses I read hurt so bad…maybe that is why my tears ran hot down my face blurring the words that were screaming out of the page…

Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Psalm 66:10-12 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

1 Peter 1:7 So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Oh my good grief He’s breaking me. I don’t know how to feel…but I guess my why has been answered loud and clear. Since I am at a loss of words I will let some of the Serenity Prayer say it for me…I am trying to be…Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

Jenness

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P.S. As a side note I don’t think that God is punishing me I believe that the things I am experiencing are as a consequences of my own conscious or unconscious choices…everything good and bad that you do in your life has a consequence…

The version of the Bible is the ESV. And the Serenity Prayer is the one used by Celebrate Recovery.

Christian Recovery…

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I have started in a recovery program…a Christian Recovery program. It is called Celebrate Recovery (CR). I do not have a drug problem or a problem with alcohol but I am in recovery. In the beginning I wasn’t quite sure why in the world I was there. But there I was coming off the most public of my panic attacks and I knew something had to give. I had thought many times about attending CR I never really thought I “needed” it. But I had made a promise to attend and I did.

I am about 2 months into attending CR and I have learned a lot but last night through the flowing tears while listening to the testimonies during chip night, I came to a realization…I wanted to be there. I want to be receiving a 30-60-90 day chip and to experience that kind of accomplishment. One particular thought that I had, was how wonderful it felt to close my eyes and sit in one of the pews I have been sitting in for the past 30 years and to be consumed by the warmth and comfort of the worship. To be surrounded by the familiarity of my home church, and then something else  struck me…I am extremely grateful for First Baptist and the role it has had in my life. I have experience extreme highs and lows in those walls, I have met people who forever changed my life there. I watched my mother faithfully serve, I have seen my siblings be baptized, married, and dedicate their babies lives to the Lord in this place. I remember looking out into the audience during pageants and watching my moms lips moving (reciting my lines) as I recited my lines and having to turn away so that I didn’t laugh and mess up. When I was a teenager I watched my father so determined to start his walk with Christ separate hand after hand making his way to the front of the church to dedicate his life to the Lord and then be baptized,  I dedicated my life to the Lord in this house of God, I was baptized here and I dedicated my Peanut to the Lord between those precious walls. I know that they are just brick and mortar I know that the plaster has no meaning or significance in the Kingdom of Heaven…it is what has happened between the walls of First Baptist…its the lives that have touched mine, the inspiration from the pulpit and from the beautiful souls God put in my path there. I realized somewhere very deep why God asks us to have fellowship with other believers and to have a church “home”. It is of vital importance to our hearts, minds and souls. I didn’t want to attend CR at my church I didn’t want people I know to see my ugly, my pain and my reality. I thought that the judgment would seep from their pores and that I would feel shamed for needing to be there. But God’s true family has nothing to do with those things, those thoughts and feelings are used as tools by the devil to drive a wedge into the Kingdom of God and between His people. And I have found no hint of that just understanding and acceptance.

And now I am starting on the path to recovery from my hurts, my bad habits and the things that have kept me in a place of panic, anxiety, shame and extreme pain. What better place than where I feel most at home? Where I can come as just me before my Lord and ask for help from the great physician. Recovery is not just for people with chemical dependency issues. It is for the beaten down and broken. It is for the hurting and desperate. And it is for me. I have more issues than I can even list! But, the way I see it is that I am starting somewhere and the road to healing is leading me back home in the arms of  God.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Something was said during a lesson (during CR) awhile ago, the speaker was taking about pride (I think) and he said…”do you want to be right or do you want to be well?” This spoke to me somewhere very deep and for me I want to be well. During this whole process I have started to listen to Christian music everyday at work in the car it was a small change that has made a difference not only in attitude for me, but also for my daughter, it warms my heart to hear my Peanut sing praises to her Heavenly Father. ❤

A particular song has spoken loudly to me is Strong Enough by Matthew West the lyrics are as follows…

Strong Enough”

You must
You must think I’m strong
To give me what I’m going through
Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I’m wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own
I know I’m not strong enough to be
everything that I’m supposed to be I give up
I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us
Well, maybe
Maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I’m finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that’s when I start looking up
And reaching out
I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
Cause I’m broken
Down to nothing
But I’m still holding on to the one thing
You are God and you are strong
When I am weak
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
Oh, yeah
I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be I give up I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
Strong enough…
by Matthew West
Jenness
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Break…More Like Breakdown

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Awe to be back at the keyboard feels sooo good!! My break was very seriously more like a breakdown!! This summer has been one of the hardest I have ever experienced aside from the one after the murder of my dear friend Kay. I gave my heart and soul to the company I was working for I put in more hours at work in the last 4 months than I have in the last year. This summer Peanut girl spent her days with our family while I was away from home 12-13 hours a day. The emotional and mental toll it took on my was immeasurable. I had guilt for being away from Peanut that much as I had never been away from her that much in her entire life.

It all struck me very hard one day as we were driving down the road about 6 weeks ago, she said…we never go to the park anymore or do anything fun. I was like a shot to the heart and tears streamed down my face. Was my sacrifice all in the effort to “move up” really worth it?? The truth is I just kept getting more and more behind. For the first bit at the job I felt blessed I felt like every thing was inline and with that thought came peace. And then all the sudden nothing was what it seemed. I quickly lost my house, moved home to my parents house for what I thought would be a very short stent and then my world started crumbling around me. The job that I felt would pull me out of poverty was breaking me and ripping away my emotional and mental health.

The stress began to increase and though I loved the children and did greatly enjoy that part of my job but, the drama and gossip came to the forefront and started disintegrating my peace of mind at work. Granted I have to admit as much as I tried to stay away from the trap of it I found myself knee-deep. Then shoulder deep and in the end so deep that I was drowned by it and the people who I put my trust and friendship in. I admitted my wrong and for my part made a decision to no longer participate in the small bit that I was involved in but it was already too late. I do have to say this, never did I let the co-worker drama interrupt my dedication to the children yet somehow that didn’t matter. All the time sacrificed, hard work and love that I poured into my job became a liability for me.  And 2 weeks ago I received a text from my boss saying that she didn’t need me the next morning and that we NEEDED TO TALK. Wow, those 3 little words where like a blow and weighed so heavily on me. I had no idea why or what could have prompted such an ominous message as well as being confused as to why the message was not relayed in person. I was told that we would speak the next morning. I waited all day and all night with no call, text or email. That day my anxiety came on full force I paced I tried to distract myself I made several attempts to call her to then be told by a coworker that she was ignoring me on purpose. Not until nearly 10 o’clock that night did I even get a word or hint as to what was going on. She finally emailed me and as I was reading her words I was applaud. To tie it into a neat little bow I will say this, the situation was handled in the most unprofessional manner I have ever encountered. I have yet to even be informed of the details as to why I was released from my position. The things I do know are flat-out false. And I will always and forever stand on the fact that in my position I never did anything that would constitute the treatment I received, and I rely on the  fact that I have peace knowing that with God as my judge if there was a wrong on my part He will bring it to light. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that the organization calls themselves a faith-based organization and how they dealt with me and the issues pertaining to this situation the use of integrity, grace or understanding were plainly absent. That should not be how a faith-based organization conducts themselves. My prayer is that their errors bring them an opportunity to learn how to do things better.

Before and while dealing with all of this my ex-landlord literally single-handily took my housing voucher and figuratively tore it to shreds which made it impossible for me to use it because of his unwillingness to be fair and to have open communication about the remainder of what was owed from the repairs conducted after my move out. The details are arbitrary and unnecessary, but as a result of this I am right back where I was back in the depths of poverty, no home to call my own with my mental health all but intact.

The lesson of all this is still lost on me. I am grateful that I have a place to lay my head and that Peanut and I are safe but I feel as though at any minute I will just spontaneously combust and cease to exist. The glimmers of hope have grown weaker and all that I thought I was gaining was lost in such a short time it is shocking to me. Adding to the situation…3 Sunday’s ago as I was walking into church being that I was late the room was full and as I looked for a place to sit I was struck with my first public panic attack and it was frighteningly different from any I have ever experienced before. I promptly ran out of the sanctuary, I couldn’t breathe and I was shaking and then was immediately entrenched in shame, companioned with deep sorrow and panic. I found myself unable to move out from behind  the pillar I used to hide and support myself, as I felt I couldn’t trust my own legs. All I wanted to do was escape to the bathroom once I could move from my hiding spot behind the pillar, I took the 10 long steps to door. Once inside I saw myself in the mirror with makeup and  lipstick on and found myself screamed in my head…who do you think you are? Who are you kidding, as I roughly wiped the color from my lips. All the sudden I was no longer alone and had to retreat once again. I went outside tears washing off every bit of the makeup, I couldn’t gain control. I sat down outside as my walking was unsteady I made sure my back was to the church and just shook with sobbing hurt. I don’t know why but heavy deep seeded shame overwhelmed me and I could not shake the depth of the darkness that enveloped me. I don’t know how long I sat but it seemed like hours. I knew if I wanted to avoid the crowd I had to go get Peanut then and there. I collected myself best I could and went inside. I couldn’t speak and by the looks of me the children’s ministry workers knew what I needed with simple gestures. Once I collected Peanut I got outside as quickly as I could but I didn’t trust myself to leave with my own child. I sat and waited and tried to think rationally enough to make a decision that would be best for her. A friend then approached my car and I got out just enough to say that I wanted him to take Peanut to my parents who were inside the church.

She went in and was safely with my parents but I was still immobilized by my panic. The overwhelming shame was haunting me and I have yet to make any sense of it. While sitting in my car my mom rushed out to see what was going on with me she prayed for me and then went in to find one of the church pray warriors to also pray with me. I felt their sincerity and the depth of love as the tears of the prayer warrior Lanie wet my hand as she held it throughout the prayer. Still in the throes of it all I felt detached almost as if I didn’t deserve the love they were trying to pour into me.

I have talked recently about my seeming disconnect from my faith and God. But it has never been more prevalent or poignant than now. I am being frank in my prayers and trying to open the doors to understanding but I feel cold and like a barricade is standing in my way. I will say that I am trying to see past it and I have seen His hand on our lives. I made a promise to Mom and Lanie to try Celebrate Recovery (CR) as a means to figure this all out. I have been two times now, and though I feel like a foreigner in a strange land I do want to give it a chance. I want to see if I can start the process of unraveling the causation factors that have led to this last year being one of extreme lows and the instability that I feel has been a constant theme. I want to trust myself again and to come to a place of peace and mental wellness, so that I can once again stand on solid ground with some semblance of my sanity intact. Where to go from here is a mystery, one saving grace is the 5-year-old who calls me Mom…awe my little Peanut girl. She started kindergarten a few weeks ago and I have to get up every morning get her up ready for school and get her there on time. I have taken comfort in that routine. Her joy of learning brings a smile to my face and the stories she regaled to me daily about her teacher and school friends keep things interesting for sure. 🙂

One major thing that I find myself taking comfort in is that trouble and strife that have been an ever-present  thread in my life but, they have never been the end of me. I have never died from my panic attacks or the depression that has consumed my peace of mind. I think it’s a great thing that I can talk to God in a way that is real and honest and that the rawness of it isn’t judged. Other people seem to be overwhelmed by my intensity and pull away. But, my harsh feelings, angry words and cries in the depth of darkness are welcomed communication. He wants fellowship with me and it doesn’t have to be pretty words in a melodic tones. They just have to be words. I am asking Him to keep working on my hard heart, I am asking Him to show me what I can’t see and most of all I am asking Him to never let me go.

Jenness

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Bearing The Burden…

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Bearing the burden of time gone by without so much as a sigh from the passersby…

Bearing the burden of mistakes with so many fakes…

Bearing the burden of my world gone awry so many tears to cry…

Bearing the burden of the unspoken why couldn’t I have been awoken…

Bearing the burden of the fears from all these years…

Bearing the burden of the unknown feeling all alone…

Bearing the burden of quintessential potential never fulfilled….

Bearing the burden of pounds of protection my form of deflection…

Bearing the burden of my folly creates melancholy…

Bearing the burden of sin that did not come from within…

Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Praise you Lord for the times you have given me rest.

Jenness

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Left Behind…

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My whole life I have had this feeling of being left behind…I have never been content I always felt I was missing something, like a lost puzzle piece. I remember as a child walking up my driveway with my sisters and brother and getting so mad because they always went faster than me and left me behind. I would cry and hurt would well up inside me. So many stories like this flash in my memory from childhood until today. I don’t think my siblings were not trying to be hurtful. I just did not want to be left behind or miss out on something.

I was born three weeks late but when I finally decided to show myself to the world it was in a blaze of glory…I was born in 45 minutes they didn’t even have time in the emergency room to get my Mom to a room so I was delivered in the hallway. I love this story…partly because it speaks to my personality. I have always come to understand things in my own time and lived by the seat of my pants. There are some great parts of my personality like my loyalty, forgiving nature and passion.  But, my impulsive, late bloomer way that came at the very beginning of my life has been a reoccurring theme. This deep sense of not belonging and being left behind while everyone else was moving forward, moving beyond where I was. I felt inadequate, I felt trapped, and like the wounds of the past will always haunt me and keep me in destructive patterns. With all the things weighing me down, keep my head above water has seemed like a momentous task at times.

Sometimes this feeling of life passing me by would come and it felt like my heart being ripped open from the inside out. I have thought and hoped that if just one thing would change it all and that I would be normal. But I was always left behind by the people I wanted most friends and lovers and it all culminated to me feeling empty and feeling unwanted. Why I have it so ingrained into the fabric of my being to put so much into the relational aspects of my life I do not know…but nothing strikes fear in my heart the way losing a relationship does. I feel like I will lose a part of myself if I lose someone who is important to me. My grandmother was a huge part of my everyday life for many years and she passed nearly 5 years ago…not one day goes by that I do not think of her and miss her. I am relational to the core of my being!!

After my daughter was born life changed and the focus shifted I was distracted and my heart began to gain some perspective. But I still feel that twinge a mixture of sorrow, rawness and loneliness. As, I have been feeling that lately. But, I would really like to come to a place where I feel content…peaceful no matter the circumstances. The feeling of wholeness. As the tears roll down my face writing this I am trying to seek truth and cling to it. I know I am not truly alone and that everything can be used for good…I just need to find that outlet and begin once again to peel back the layers to find my true self under all the feelings of insecurity and loneliness also come to the realization that I am not being left behind…that maybe my timetable for things is just different from other people’s. I pray that God provides me relief, sanity and peace…and it would be great if they were wrapped with a pretty bow sitting on my doorstep in the morning. 😀

Jenness

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