Tag Archives: panic

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

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

c/s

Undone By Anxiety…

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Here I am after a hiatus and tonight my blog is my journal I haven’t been avoiding writing I just haven’t been making time for it. Part of it has been my ANXIETY I am not going to sugar coat it I am not going to try to pretend that I am ok today I am going to try as hard as I can to just say what I need to get off my chest.

As I sit here writing tears are in my eyes, and I am shaking, I feel like I could throw up any minute and my heart is threatening to betray me by stopping all together because it is so heavy that my chest hurts and all of these things are a 4th of what they were yesterday. Part of what is so frustrating about an anxiety/panic attack is that I cannot control it I have been trying for weeks to keep this at bay to manage my stress and to relax, pray and do things that distracted me from the anxiety and panic that was looming at edge of my consciousness. I don’t know how to control this I don’t know what to do.

Two days ago I was subjected to a very high stress situation involving extreme discomfort with a now ex-friend that turned to fear, frankly I can see that it was somewhat unreasonable fear but nonetheless it threw me off the prevention track and into a full on panic/anxiety attack. Yesterday I got up and was just off, irritable and snappy every time I turned around I was snapping at my Peanut for very little I was straight forward and kept asking for my space but as I was on my knees stain removing and trying to talk things out with a friend and all the sudden I knew I needed help and that I was coming undone I didn’t hesitate and I called my dad I told him I was not in a place to be a good mom and that I needed help and he became my angel in the moment without question said yep bring her up. Even not being myself I praise God that I had enough sense to reach out and do what was best for Peanut. After dropping her off I could no longer hold it back or put on a brave face and I came completely undone.

I felt out of control, one minute I was angry the next I was reduced to a puddle of tears. I was driving not knowing where I was going I was trying to rationalize in my head what I wanted or needed and I was drawing a blank…because I didn’t know what I wanted or needed I called my momma and talked with her a bit she reassured me that I had done the right thing with Peanut and that she was there and would help how she could…I got off the phone though knowing Peanut was safe I was once again overcome by crying, shaking and feeling powerless and not having any idea what would make me feel better. I literally went home locked myself in I got in bed and curled up and just let the fan blow over me I laid there for probably two hours. Anxiety is define as…distress or uneasiness of mind (1) one of its synonyms is disquiet…that is such a good explanatory word it means…lack of calm, peace, or ease; anxiety; uneasiness…to deprive of calmness, equanimity, or peace; disturb; make uneasy. (1)

Anxiety is a terrorist of the mind it robs me of my sanity and peace of mind, all of the things in the above definition were felt in hyper drive. It hurts in a way that feels like it cannot be soothed. I was to the point yesterday where I seriously considered checking myself into a psychiatric unit. I have never in my life considered this before but I had a moment where I didn’t know what I would do if I didn’t figure a way to come back to earth…all I could think about something has to work I needed to find a way to cope and as I continued to lay in bed I kept thinking that a hot shower would help but I couldn’t get up I just laid there felt myself breath and felt the pressure of my weight on my arms and pulled in tighter finally through the tears I could feel myself starting to come back to reality…I eventually made myself get up I got into the shower put the water as hot as it could go and I tried to let go praying and trying my hardest to relax under the flow and pressure of the steaming water. Feeling more human with the familiarity of my ritual I got out of the shower and the fog had lifted just enough that I wasn’t feeling completely hopeless.

I got in the comfiest clothes I own and watched one of my favorite shows. My sweet Peanut called to say good night and after I got off the phone I felt blessed for the opportunity to rest…I would like to say I may not have a perfect relationship with my parents but I am telling you right now without them I can’t and don’t want to imagine my life and how different my struggles as a single mom who battles the things that I do would be…I am SOOOO grateful that without question and without judgment my parents have left dinners taken time away from their lives, friends and come to help myself and Peanut. All I have to do is say I need your help and they do it. Praise God they love me that much praise God they love Peanut that much and that they are willing to help us both in this way. I can never ever thank them enough. Throughout the day many people reached out to me and gave me encouraging words and things to hold onto I am very grateful for the sweetness of a new friend and for the rest that God gave me when my head hit the pillow.

This morning though I awoke earlier then expect but it was for good reason…my sweet little Peanut was trying to call me and I woke up just missing call 5 from her I listened to her sweet voice (on my voicemail, which I saved) 🙂 telling me how much she loved me and that she just wanted to talk to me. The 6th call I picked up and had a nearly 20 minute heart warming conversation with my greatest blessing in which I learned that she was using the phone without permission and that her Pop and Hon (grandparents) were not even awake yet. I didn’t care about the naughtiness in the moment I cherished every word from her sweet lips they were salve on my hurting heart. Today was a little easier still shaky and emotional but functional. And for that I am grateful. I am trying to not be a victim of this but to gain better understanding and to find tools to try to prevent the thief of anxiety from robbing me of precious time. Time is something we never get back and all the hours and days I have lost to this makes my stomach turn. While doing some research this evening trying to put some tools in my belt I found a list of things that I think are fairly tangible for me to help manage the crazy…

  • Get daily exercise. Exercise is a powerful stress reducer, can improve your mood and can keep you healthy. It’s best if you develop a regular routine and work out most days of the week. Start out slow and gradually increase the amount and intensity of exercise.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Avoid fatty, sugary and processed foods. Include foods in your diet that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins.
  • Avoid alcohol and other sedatives. These can worsen anxiety.
  • Use relaxation techniques. Visualization techniques, meditation and yoga are examples of relaxation techniques that can ease anxiety.
  • Make sleep a priority. Do what you can to make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep. If you aren’t sleeping well, see your doctor. (2)

I am going to go do the last one right now…before I sign off I want to thank everyone who reads my blog this outlet is literally a life saver for me and I appreciate all who take time out of their day to look in on my life. ❤

Embracing a better tomorrow,

Jenness

c/s

References used in this post…

1. http://dictionary.reference.com/

2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/generalized-anxiety-disorder/DS00502/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies