Anxiety is just a tricky thing. It’s not just panicked hyperventilating and rocking back and forth. It’s far more than that.
For me my anxiety make me think and believe that I do not deserve happiness or any ‘feel good’ emotions.
I usually can manage these thoughts, convince myself that it’s really just my anxiety talking. That I do absolutely deserve happiness and all things good.
As of late my anxiety has been just a mess. And I let it win. I let my anxiety consume me. You see I take these amazing supplements every morning, they make me feel amazing. I can be a better me, a better mom, a better wife, a better human taking them. But when Christmas time without my dad rolled around and my husband was getting ready to deploy I fell apart. I fell into my anxiety. I let it consume me.
I stopped taking my vitamin supplements, I stopped being active. I stopped eating healthy. I starting binge eating candy and carbs. I went back to just drinking coffee and soda. I started staying up late and getting very little sleep. And I even started going to sleep really early with the kids and letting them all sleep in. I got consumed in mindless virtual reality games and shows on Netflix. I let myself get lost.
I knew my anxiety was winning. All it took was one look at my messy house to see my anxiety had taken over. Then the look on my face solidified it. I hated myself for this. But my anxiety is my comfort zone and in that moment I needed something I considered comforting.
January 1st hit and I said ABSOLUTELY NOT. I am not letting my anxiety wine. I have been at this battle within myself for 13 long years and there was no way I was giving up on myself now.
I stayed up too late binge watching again that night but I managed to wake up at 6:30am and take my supplements. I forced myself to drink the water. Within minutes I felt better. I could think again. I felt positive. I wanted to shower and get dressed. Today I cleaned, I did dishes, I did laundry. I did all the things I had been neglecting
My anxiety may have won for a little bit but I refuse to let my anxiety take over for any longer. Anxiety doesn’t control me, it doesn’t control you. I control my anxiety. You control your anxiety. There may not be change today, but there will be change. You are not your anxiety!!
2018 was a year of happiness and so much pain and sadness. 2018 has shown me just how strong I really am. But it’s also shown me who my real friends are and amazing and strong my family really is.
The year started out really tough knowing my dad had cancer. He was newly diagnosed and we knew it was bad. Stage 4 is never good. But his optimism, Grace and strength through the chemo and through even the last days and last breaths, was something I will never, ever, forget. To be that strong, is something I will always aspire to be.
It got better though, we had our dream wedding in April. After the military and a hurricane postponed our first wedding. It was only right that Mother Nature came and dumped over 2 feet of snow in April on our wedding day! It was still the best day of my life. It was beautiful and absolutely perfect despite everything.
Life took a turn as the cancer took over. My dad started to get sick, really sick and really fast. I honestly struggle with the last month of his life. I tend to relive a lot of the terrible days. It hurts but somehow it’s all part of the process. As he took his last breaths in July, my world stopped. But I managed to stay extremely busy and worked through my grief one day at a time, one therapy session at a time.
The same day my dad died, my husband called me from his training to the me he was getting deployed. And it was going to happen fast. I am forever grateful for this phone call. This call brought me back to reality. That even though my hero died, life still was happening around me.
Of course in life fashion I stayed extremely busy with full time college, full time babysitter and full time mom. Life was chaos at all times, it still is. But we managed to make the most amazing memories as a family as we geared up for our first deployment.
Since my husband has left it feels surreal. Life continues to move forward even when we want it so badly to stop. But that’s just it, life already knows how strong we are. Life knows that even though we want it to stop just for a second when things get rough. Life can’t. Life forces us into strength. It forces us to get up everyday and move forward. Life forces us to live. And I am so grateful for the opportunity and privilege to wake up every day to two smiling facing knowing I have an amazing guardian angel watching over me and my family.
Embrace life and live. Even through all the life-y moments.
This month has been rough. I mean rough, rough. The emotions I have felt have overwhelmed me nearly every day. Memories of all the amazing times with my dad. The heartache and pain from missing him. My grief rollercoaster is taking me in upside loops.
Having a white Christmas, is always something we look forward to at Christmas. So when there were snowflakes this morning, we knew it was a sign from daddy wishing us a Merry Christmas. There is always a sign, I truly believe that.
We went to church this morning and the music hit my soul like a ton of bricks. I literally just couldn’t stop crying. And when I went up to pray, I cried even more. I could hardly make out what I was trying to say but the ‘prayer partner’ is a kind woman I have seen in the past and she knew what I was trying to get out. I was so overwhelmed with all the emotions. As I got back to my seat The kind gentleman next to me put his hand on my shoulder and just gave a little squeeze. I didn’t know this man but he knew I was really struggling. Something so little but it meant so much.
Then our pastor started talking. It was the most fitting service for how I was feeling. I mean everything I was feeling, he talked about. Joy, finding the good in the bad, grief, trusting God, everything. God works in mysterious ways and I know today’s service and all the tears cried are all part of his plan and the process to Joy. It may not be instantly but I will find joy.
A few important notes I took from service today ❤️
Joy = Having strength from God to face anything
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 NIV
Joy doesn’t come from what you have but what can’t be taken from you
Crying may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 GNV
You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. John 16:20 NLT
Sometimes the greatest memories are relived in our greatest mourning.
Today it’s been 5 months. 5 months to the day since you left this earth. I can’t seem to get that day to stop replaying in my head.
I find it painfully coincidental that it’s exactly 5 months since you went to heaven and it’s 5 days until Christmas. You always saw the weird pattern or connection in numbers. Somehow I do the same.
I’ve been struggling the last few days. I can’t seem to calm my anxiety. It’s been a rough year. Maybe I’m struggling because you’re gone, or maybe because my husband is gone, or maybe because I’ve let the house get so far gone because I cannot chill long enough to clean it without freaking out and shutting down. Or maybe because I have kids and they turn into lunatics come Christmas time. I mean it could just be a crazy combination of it all.
Either way. I’m missing listening to Christmas music with you or seeing the 4738 layers you had on because of the cold.
I really try to just chill, take a deep breath and handle life. I mean I’m a mom. That’s just what moms do. And my goodness the girls just light up with talk of Christmas.
Which of course we have really good days, days I don’t cry and I do relive your last breath. We laugh, we smile, we play. We are genuinely happy. But today is not that day. Today I’m fighting myself. I’m fighting my grief. I’m fighting my anxiety. I’m fighting.
I think it’s normal though, I mean how do you go 28 years with someone as your rock throughout life and then just move one and move forward instantly without them. I’m learning to forgive myself for the bad days. To accept that they’re part of the process.
So today I’m sad but I have so much to look forward to. Such a beautiful life ahead. Brilliant, bright eyed children that light up my life and make everything worth it. A husband who loves us unconditionally and takes care of us. A mother who would go to the end of the earth for us. Siblings who are there and the drop of a hat no matter what. And friends that I can lean on when it gets too much to bear. No one can replace my daddy, but I am not alone in this battle. There will never be a day my heart doesn’t hurt for his passing too soon, but I will live a beautiful life.
So when I started out on my mental health journey years ago, I had no idea it would end up here, 13 years later, with some serious anxiety. Aside from ‘normal’ general anxiety, there is this social anxiety. And wow, it makes me seriously so freaking awkward and uncomfortable sometimes!
I remember back in grade school when we had those old school pencil sharpeners, you know the ones you had to get out of your desk and walk to to actually sharpen your pencil. Well I would have to literally give myself a damn pep talk to get up out of my desk to sharpen my pencil. You see, as soon as I stood up the whole class would look at me. I was NOT having that. And low and behold like 20 years later, here I am with the same freaking anxiety. I recall not too long ago going to church, and now we go to a non denominational church, its super chill and super laid back and just awesome. Anyways, we do this prayer in the beginning but in order to pray, you have to walk up in front. They do not pray out loud so everyone can hear, its just quiet one on one prayer while the church has the singers and band playing. I stood in my row psyching myself up to walk up, I was really struggling with my dads cancer diagnosis and I needed someone to pray with me. I finally convinced myself to walk out of my seat and go pray. While I am in line I am literally rehearsing in my head what I am going to say. I am freaking out. My heart is beating annoyingly fast, I literally think its going to beat out of my chest, I start to get clamming and I am scared. ALL TO GO PRAY! WHAT!! Yeah, that is social anxiety.
I also tend to word vomit on people, especially when I have not been around people for a while. I tend to either tell my whole life story, have diarrhea of the mouth, talk in circles about absolutely nothing, or just laugh at the wrong time or zone out. Who freaking knows what I am going to do, I certainly don’t. But honestly that is not the worst part. The worst part about the whole social anxiety thing is I get embarrassed for other people. Like say I see you walking down the road and you trip a little, you know that half trip where you catch yourself mid-fall, and then you look all around praying someone did not see? No, just me… okay. Well lets say I saw someone else do that. I would indeed feel so embarrassed for you that you almost fell in public and I most likely will be thinking about it for days or weeks. If it is particularly dramatic, like you fell and hit people and spilled coffee all over everyone, I am betting I remember that for months. But the thing is I feel the embarrassment too, whether you do or not!
Anxiety is SO weird. Its like anytime I want to do something or say something I have to give myself this awesome pep talk. And I still get scared and clammy doing it. Even if I am with friends and I manage do say something that leaves a little awkward silence, or may we are texting and you ended with a ‘.’ or gosh forbid you did not respond, I would agonize over a period, at the end of a sentence in thoughts that you are mad at me. Or if you did not respond I would go stir crazy thinking I someone said something that I should not have and you are super mad at me and we are never going to talk again. Swear anxiety makes me crazy! And then if I am really anxious I bring it up, the no response or the ‘period’ and then I freak out over asking it. Goodness it is such a weird cycle!
Here I am thinking wow, I really hope I am not the only one with this weird social anxiety and anxiety that literally causes me to be embarrassed and anxious for others and agonize over it all for days and weeks on end. But I have this hope that maybe I am not alone. Maybe someone can relate to the ridiculousness of social anxiety. Maybe there are more remedies out there to combat social anxiety.
Most of the time I really rely on mind over matter to get me through a particular time that I need to push through my anxiety. For me I can. I know not everyone can and for some it is easier than others. When I need to push through I pull out the ‘F&*k it’ mentality. I have to. Its the only way I survive. I have to rile myself up that I can do this, that it does not matter, that no one cares, I have to constantly remind myself why. If I am going up for church, I am going to pray because I need Jesus and I need the prayer from someone else. If I am walking in an office to throw something in the garbage, I have to remind myself, if I don’t, I may forget and it may stink or if I don’t I may spill.
I do not and have no desire to understand social anxiety. All I have learned about it is that it is super uncomfortable. And I come across sooo strange sometimes when I am trying not to be anxious. And some days I have no social anxiety, some days I am fearless. That is what I am learning about anxiety. It has a mind of its own, and its mind, controls my mind. Some days are good anxiety days and some days are bad anxiety days. But either way, it is a day. A day I woke up and a day I will make the most of. Anxiety does not have to be fought alone. You are not alone. Social anxiety is real, and what you are feeling is okay. But out of all of it, you are not alone, your anxiety is not you, it is a part of you.
This makes my heart both so happy yet so very sad. I feel so much joy for seeing the smiles on my children’s faces and so much joy seeing my dad smiling, alive and well. But then the heartache of knowing not only will I never see my dad again, I will never see his smile or feel the love embraced in a hug. My girls will never see their grandpa. In fact they’re so young they may not even remember him aside from pictures. They won’t ever feel and know the love he had for them. That right there has me bawling typing this.
This picture was taken right after we found out he had cancer. We later learned to call it the ‘C’. It was easier that way. Cancer carries around such a stigma all of its own. I remember the my mom told us. My dad was still completely loopy from the scans and scopes he had done. I remember just collapsing in the corner and bawling hysterically. I remember my dad walking in and I just ran to him and held onto him for dear life. I remember at some point whether it was that day or a different that he was crying and struggling knowing what a stage 4 cancer diagnosis long term means and how that is going to affect us. He wasn’t worried about himself, he wasn’t worried about dying, or about treatment. He was worried about what it was going to do to my mom, to me, to my brother and sister, to his two grand babies. That was the only thing on his mind.
I remember going to the store on a hunt for minion pajamas. I needed them. I recall buying these boys pajamas for the girls at Walmart and a pair of mens minions pajamas bottoms for my dad. Now the girls and grandpa could match. He just loves the minions. I really wanted to find spongebob pajamas for the girls because spongebob was truly my dad’s favorite pair of pajama bottoms. But I settled in minions knowing it was a close second. Plus now I knew I could get all the pictures of them with grandpa matching.
The snowflake necklaces they have on, I bought for my dad one afternoon at his request, from the Botanical Garden garden of lights, so he could give them to the girls as a surprise. They saw them the night before when we went to the lights as a whole family. But I’m true grandpa fashion, he wanted to sneakily get them give them. He loved surpassing them and seeing their faces light up.
I remember trying not to cry every time I would look at him or see the girls with him. I would also follow him around if just watch him. Like I knew I needed to soak up every memory. He was so annoyed with all my picture taking. He was even more annoyed with me watching him all the time, trying to help him. He even yelled at me once when he was putting a turkey in the oven because I kept watching him. I cried so damn hard at that. I eventually learned to watch him less for fear of making him mad. We used to laugh saying he had the chemo crabbies. I continued to take pictures tho, I was not backing down from that. I am so thankful he was a good sport through l the pictures because now I have these amazing pictures, these amazing memories.
And now that’s all I have left. I have pictures, memories. My therapist told me I should write all my feelings. You see grief is a fickle thing. It’s all encompassing. It takes over. But yet it also subsides and calms. Because the strangest feeling is knowing my daddy, my hero, my favorite man, died and somehow I have to keep living. Even though I wanted my world to stop, it felt like it had, I had to keep moving forward. That’s a feeling I will never forget. It was the most out of body experience. It’s like a piece of my would left the day he died.
But here, this picture is a memory of better days. Before the cancer took over, before the chemo started wreaking havoc, before the tumor grew and bled. Here in this picture, we were just a family, a family about to endure on the most difficult, uphill in a snowstorm battle.
Gosh, I miss you daddy. The girls miss their grandpa. We hope Heaven is treating you well. ❤️
Some days we like to get crafty! I mastered the art of making slime but playdough and clay is not always as easy! I hate that nasty feeling it leaves on your hands!
This was by far one of the easiest recipes for clay I’ve ever made. And bonus, no food coloring!!
All it’s takes is corn starch, baking soda, warm water and glitter! All things I have at home at all times! If you’re a glitterphob, you can totally omit that!
1/2 cup baking soda
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup warm water + 2 TBS
2-3 TBS glitter
We mixed each in a small kettle on the stove. I kept the stove off until all ingredients were mixed. Once it was a complete mixed liquid, I turned the stove on medium/low heat. We have a gas stove and it heats up really quickly. So pay really close attention, this cooks up fast!!
It quickly starts to thicken and bubble up. Keep mixing! It was pull away from the sides of the kettle and try to stick on the bottom, but just keep mixing and almost kneading with your spatula!
It will quickly come to a thick dough. At this point I took the kettle completely off the burner and let it sit to cool. It’s SO hot!
Once cooled I threw a little baking soda down on some wax paper and let the kids go to town!
It was SO easy to roll out and use! The kids loved it. If it got a little too dry I added a few drops of warm water and it was back to squishy! If it were to be too sticky, just add a little baking soda and it will unstick!
So quick recap!
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup baking soda
1/4 cup warm water + 2 TBS
2-3 TBS glitter (optional)
Directions: Mix all ingredients in small kettle. Turn medium/low heat on. Stir constantly until thick dough forms. Let cool. Knead into dough and cut out in shapes of your choice.
Tips: Add a few drops of water if dough dries out. Knead in baking soda if dough is too sticky.
Don’t forget! Poke a small hole in the top of each cut out to make room for string! We used the end of a small watercolor paint brush.
You can paint with any acrylic or even water color or finger paint once dry. Markers would be a great option as well! You could add gems right after cutting out shape!
Leave ornaments dry overnight. Or place in oven at 200 degrees or lower if your oven allows, for approximately 1-2 hours.