Monday, December 26, 2016

Flowing Slowly

Christmas was different this year. Slower. I feel like it flowed easier. Chris was in a motorcycle accident Thursday (12/22/16) and spent the night in the hospital. I know there were angels keeping him safe. He could've died. But he didn't. He is going to be ok, though the whole thing is still ridiculously scary.
I've felt stronger and more capable this year. There is a direct parallel between my awareness of limits and my ability to accomplish things. I know what I can give and how much is too much. It has been incredibly self-reinforcing for me to give myself permission to do or not do.

With Chris's accident on Friday, Mom needed help shopping for Christmas Eve and Day dinners. Becca and I did that and again, I was confident in my ability to know when enough was enough. We did a great job and all things flowed well. Christmas Eve I wanted to go shopping for a few things. I wanted to test myself and my skills - to see if I could manage my anxiety and conversion symptoms under increased stress. Truly with God's help I did amazing! 3/4ths of the way through my shopping trip at Kohl's I realized I was panicking. In the moment I was able to talk to myself, "You're going to be ok. You really are. You have your cold water in the car. You can take your anxiety medicine. Oh, you're hot. You can sit in front of the AC in the car and rest. You're doing great. You really are! Breathe. You're going to be ok because you just are." I was so happy with my ability to talk myself off the "Cliff of Panic" and back to a safe zone where I could manage my symptoms. I realized after cooling down in the car that I was hungry - so I gave myself permission to eat out. The whole experience was really very validating of all the hard work I've done in DBT over the past 3 1/2 years and reinforced to me that I have the skills to cope with life.

One of the coolest things that's happening is that I have energy after coming home from errands. Even as recently as 4 months ago, I was toast after 2 errands and had to come home to nap for 2-3 hours. Now, I'm switching to a more normal routine - I sleep better if I don't nap and I'm able to do cooking/baking/cleaning after errands if I give myself 10-15 minutes of "sit and stare chair time." How amazing is that?? For years, I honestly thought I would never be able to function without a daily nap. I didn't think I would be able to do more than 1 or 2 things in a day. I thought I would always have psychogenic seizures. Because of these thoughts my life seemed pretty doomed. I'm stunned to say that I was wrong! Promises of healing from God are happening! Not in the way or time I expected, but they are coming. I see being able to shop at 3 different stores, come home and make 3 different dishes for dinner, and clean up after dinner as a huge healing! Last year I wasn't able to do one of those things - and if you had told me, "In a year, you're going to do 7 different big things in a day!" I would've started to cry - because I thought I knew there was no way that would ever be possible.

To my joy, it has been possible! I'm so grateful for the rhythmic flow of life. Yesterday was Christmas - Chris is bed-bound for the next few weeks and Sarah got really sick. So we all "flowed" with the day. Stockings, church, breakfast for lunch, presents, naps, and we gave ourselves permission to not make Christmas dinner! It was amazing. We did that tonight - it flowed so well. I was extremely pleased with our flexibility as a family. This has been an odd Christmas in the sense that one of our loved ones was in a serious accident 3 days before Christmas. It changed everything. But we adjusted and moved slowly accordingly.

I am doing better and better at living in the moment. Being present and attentive to the here and now. Tomorrow will take care of itself and yesterday has passed. So I'll just be here for now.

I am not angry or dreading the new year like I was last year. Oh my word. I read my post in December of last year and January of this year. WoW. I look back at myself with compassion. The me then was terrified and depressed. Two horrible feelings to have together. Life had lost so much of its meaning for me. But, I kept going. I remember how sad January was. The whole month I was afraid and depressed - "afressed." But I survived it and went on to conquer 6 months of exposure therapy - launch a successful GoFundMe campaign (THANK YOU FOR DONATING!!!) - go on 5 different trips - make tons of fun crafts for Christmas gifts - and I could go on and on. There have been so many big and little things that have happened this year. Some of my favorite little things have been becoming in-tune with my body. I have been able to talk to my body calmly and compassionately. For example, a few weeks ago I had been sick for 2 weeks. I literally couldn't stop going to the bathroom. I prayed for help in understanding what was wrong and then talked to my body, "Body, I know you're hurting. I am aware that something is making you unhappy. I really want to help you get better. Please help me understand what is wrong so I can fix it for you." Later that day I was able to identify a supplement I was taking too much of, adjust the dosage and ta-da! I was better. Showing compassion to my body has been a huge step for me. This time last year I was writing about how much I hated my body. But within the last two months, a love for my body has been growing. I see myself as beautiful. I see my body as a tool to help me live my life to its fullest. When it's sick, that's feedback for me. That's my opportunity to look at it with compassion and say, "Yes, you've been working so hard, you're doing so much for me, what can I do to help you feel better and be more efficient?" I love being kind to my body. It's been a blessing to have compassion for myself.

This year, I can say with confidence, "I'm not where I was a year ago and I'm not where I'll be in a year!"

I'm going to enter 2017 with an open curiosity for life. I will not spend time worrying about issues that are out of my hand. Instead I will invest my energy in positive, uplifting thoughts and activities.

Maybe the Best really is yet to come. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My Time to Mourn

It's hard to be ok. To smile and look the part when inside I'm crumbling. My anxiety took a hard hit this week. My mind has been frantically "rabbit-holing" all week. I hate November 18th. I thought I would have more peace or at least more acceptance this year, but it actually just sucked. It's an "anniversary" that haunts me and in its goulish voice it whispers lies that I'm too weary to negate. I've heard these lies for years and when I'm vulnerable they come crashing onto my shore, stealing away the peace I had. I could feel the episode (seizure is such a harsh word and not everyone agrees that that's what it should be called - so I'll say episode) building all week. The stress was written on my face. The increased depression effected my energy. The anxiety tried to escape as I relentlessly picked at my skin, fingers, and toes. What goes up must come down. The pressure was too much inside of my mind and body. Today it came down through multiple episodes. I hate the episodes. I hate being in my body but not being in control. And crying. And feeling scared. I feel so scared. I want it to end as soon as it begins but I have to let it run its course. There is no out. This IS the out. After I cried for a few minutes I decided to take my time in the episodes to pray. To pray for peace and calm. To pray for my body. To pray for my mind. And I pled with Heavenly Father to give me strength through Christ's Atonement to overcome this. Or to at least have the strength to carry this trial. I asked Him to give me a picture of me and Christ - something I could think of while my body is away. Into my mind came the scene of me and Christ on "My Path" - my long winding path that eventually leads home to heaven. The path rolled up and down over hills and disappeared in the distance - I couldn't see the destination, just the path. There on the right side of the road was me sitting, knees pulled to my chest, arms crossed over them, head buried in my arms, with my hair falling around my face and tears streaming from my eyes. I couldn't go on. I didn't want to go on. My Path looked much too long and difficult. So I sat. And there next to me was the Savior, left arm around my shoulders, knees bent and right arm resting on his knees, face looking off into the distance. He was there, offering his quiet understanding. He knows I'm tired. He knows I don't want to keep walking. And he understands that for this moment I'm not ready to move at all or be carried by him. I simply need to sit on "My Path" and mourn. I need to mourn the heartache from returning early from my mission 6 years ago; the disappointment from missing out on get-togethers with friends after having episodes; the fear that I'm damaged goods and no man will want to be with me or walk My Path with me; the anger over losing so much independence; the relentless thoughts that I won't make a difference in the world because I'm "sick;" the hurtful comments from doctors that I'm faking the episodes and that nothing's wrong with me; I need to mourn a loss of self - a loss of the idea of who I was, what I was going to become, how I was going to accomplish life. Everything is different. I'm different. Some days I can see the progress - I can see the good - I can see Her/Me through a loving-kind lense. And other days I want the me I grew up thinking I was going to be, back.

Monday, October 17, 2016


I see you.
I see you hurting.
I see the confusion in your creased forehead.
I feel your physical pain.
You are enjoying the floor more and more.
It does having a grounding effect.
Your plants are so lovely.
They don't all need names right now.
Just enjoy them.
Study them.
Watch them.
Tend to them.
It fills your bucket.
I know your body hurts.
I know the yeast infection is burning.
I know your not-really-fixed toe is throbbing.
And you are scared to death to go through the procedure an 8th time.
You let those tears flow.
You have a right to be sad.
You have a right to cry.
It doesn't make sense.
It just doesn't to you.
Life isn't fair - what a stupid phrase.
Hurry up and have babies so we can do something permanent.
She missed a chance to be compassionate.
She missed a chance to be understanding.
She missed a chance to comfort someone who is suffering.
It is her loss.
And one day she will look back and regret her thoughtless words.
This isn't what you wanted.
I know.
It hurts.
Reality hurts.
You can be willful.
It might be in your best interest to be willful right now.
Yes, you know God could heal you.
There is no doubt in your mind.
But, your gut tells you, he's going to let you suffer.
Not because he's mean or hates you, but because he needs you to.
You don't want to submit to his will.
You don't want to suffer.
I understand.
Because I am you.
Life is hard.
You can do hard things but you don't want to.
I get it.
You looked up and saw the moon.
Tears streamed down your face.
It is so confusing.
The body.
The mind.
Their connection.
And you feel trapped in a broken mind and body.
Will healing come?
But it might be a really long, long time before it does.
Yes, that is heartbreaking.
I hear you, body.
I hear you screaming for help.
But I don't have the tools to help you.
I'm trying.
But it's going to take time.
I wish you would be gentler on me while I learn.
If I had the knowledge and resources, I would fix you.
But it's so complicated.
No one wants to be a "medical mystery."
You want someone to look at you and go, "All these weird things make sense.
Because you have this."
And "this" would answer all your questions.
And heal all your pain.
And bring your mind back to a clear state.
You would be Whole.
Or as Whole as you can be in this fallen world.
And you'd take it.
And be grateful.
Because fresh in your memory would be the years of suffering.
The years of questions.
The years of tests.
The Years of Unknowns.
Can you see it?
Can you see the Unknowns as part of your past, not present?
For a moment.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

my roses

It just works out for some people, ya know?

They get the "fairy-tale" ending which seems perfect - is portrayed on facebook/instagram as perfect - and so I wind up thinking, "Geez, their life is perfect. My life sucks."

Part of me becomes angry - the other part jealous - but actually, it's sadness.

I've written about this before - and it's probably bordering on the "beating a dead horse" side of things - but my life is NOTHING like I imagined it would be.

I am mormon. I believe in the gospel teachings of my church - but I do not like/enjoy/believe many of the cultural aspects of my church. From super young - like 6 - I was taught that I would "grow up" - "get married" - "have kids" - and that was it. More details were added around 12 - I would "grow up" - "find a righteous man to marry in the temple" - and "have kids." 16 came with more details: "grow up" - "go to college" - "serve a mission if I wanted" - "come home and marry a man in the temple" - "have kids." And that's as far as it got me.

Well - most mormon kids go off to BYU in Utah. I thought that was what I was "supposed" to do, because that's what everyone else was doing. I got in to BYU in Utah and Idaho - but couldn't stop crying until I decided to go to UTD here in Richardson (GO COMETS!). Then I worked for a few months and decided to go on a mission. So I went - and came home sooner than anticipated because my mental health declined. After a few years at home, I moved out and was working. I wish now I had better appreciated the freedom of this time. It was not without it's problems, but I had so much of what I didn't even know I wanted. Then I became so depressed, I wanted to kill myself. And so I moved back home. I heard the term "boomerang-kids" used the other day and it broke my heart. Gosh, I don't want to be that. Looking from the outside in, I can see how it would be easy for someone to assume that's what I am. But there are so many more obstacles that have led me to being home. And as far as my love life goes, it could be compared to the Sahara - with tumble weeds and geckos.

So you see, nothing is like I thought it would be. Nothing is like I was told it would/should be. My path has been messy and ugly and hard.

And life changing.

I don't think the "me" before all of this knew her limits/needs/desires.

I have a mind of my own. I have skills that are mine. I am better able to cope with the shitty parts of life. I have a more realistic understanding of what life is.

Things got raw Tuesday and I had to dig in and use my skills. I left my darling sisters in Utah for teaching/schooling, Wednesday I attended the funeral of my sweet friend's brother - and because the emotional toll of all of this wasn't enough, my monthly visitor arrived Wednesday afternoon. Since the car wreck back in 2014, I have had terrible periods. This month has been no different. By Thursday I couldn't stop the pain or the insane amount of bleeding. I was miserable. I had been gone from work for 2 and 1/2 weeks and didn't feel like I could leave that night - so I stayed and endured pain, blood, nausea, and the puking urge. It was hell. I thought I was going to have an episode or legit pass out. My parents came and drove me home and I collapsed into bed. In my religion we can get blessings. I asked my dad to give me a blessing for the sick and afflicted. I could feel God's presence. I felt relief. And the words spoken were comforting.

One part in particular has stayed with me, "Rachel, not many people in this life suffer with their bodies the way you do. The purpose of this suffering is to bring you closer to your Father in Heaven. You will be healed. You will know the things you need to do to bring healing to your body."

God knows my suffering. It is to bring me to Him. *deep breath* Ok, I am willing to accept that. I am willing to suffer so that I may know God. This does not mean I will be happy or joyful through the process. But I will do it - with my best attitude. And my best will change from day to day.

As I was laying in bed trying to breathe through the pain, Dad asked me if there was anything he could do for me. I said, "Would you bring the flowers that are on my dresser over here to my nightstand?" He said it was an odd request but did it. Because often it's the little things that bring the most joy. Holding a sleeping baby. Standing in front of a fan on a hot day. Looking at roses.

My life is F A R from picture perfect. And every time I think I have a handle on things, something else pops up. But, that's life. Life was never meant to be easy - though I do enjoy the easier times - it was meant to be a place for learning, for growth.

And that's what I'm doing, everyday.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

as the sun goes away, i have more to give

One of my heroes is Kelly Rae Roberts. Gosh, it was after I had come home from my mission and I think before I had moved into my apartment - so roughly sometime in 2011 - I was hanging out with my dear friend, C, and as we walked out of a little store, this caught my eye:

I immediately went back in and bought it. It spoke to me. I think it was one of the first pieces that had ever spoken to me - something I connected with//believed. It has been in my home/room ever since.

She is fabulous! I love following her on Instagram because all of her posts are real and uplifting. She calls herself a "possibiltarian" - and I don't fully understand what that means to her, but to me it means things are possible! Life is possible! Dreams are possible! And I love that positivity. She is darling and I really enjoy being a part of her journey.

She is speaking at the Brave Girl Symposium this year (I am BEYOND bummed to not be going - because she is speaking and my FAVORITE author, Richard Paul Evans, is speaking too! Seriously bummed I'm not there...) and before she left she posted this question on Instagram:

Can we love our most agonizing and fearful life experiences?

Wow. What an incredible question. She is going to speak about this and answer the question - which I totally wish I could hear - but since I can't be there to hear her answer, I thought I'd answer it for myself.

Simply, yes.

If you had asked me this when I was 15 and starting college and scared to death/had daily crying jags before class/went with teal finger-tipped veins - I would've said no. Absolutely, no.

If you had asked me this when I was 18 and trying to decide which school to go to/what to major in/how to navigate my new school/trying to make friends - I would've said no. Really, no.

If you had asked me this when I was 20 and got a rejection letter for graduate school/had to quickly re-evaluate what the heck I was going to do/started working full-time - I would've said no. Just, no.

If you had asked me this when I was 21 and left for what I thought would be an 18 month mission/came home 6 months later/was having seizures - I would've said no. Ha, no.

If you had asked me this when I was on my way to inpatient (either time)/going through 6 months of testing to figure out what was "wrong"/going to weekly therapy and doing incredibly hard homework (for years and years and years) - I would've said no. HELL, NO.

These events were TOO agonizing - TOO fearful - for me to accept, let alone love.

But I have g r o w n so much this year. The skills I have been learning and practicing for 3 years is paying off as I do Prolonged Exposure Therapy and face the trauma. In the beginning, I hated the traumatic events. I was angry at them for causing me so much suffering. I didn't want to face them - I wanted to avoid them. The choice has always been mine - so really I could've continued to avoid them if I wanted. But it was time for healing. And healing has come from looking my demons in the eyes, studying them, learning about them, understanding them, and finally, letting them go so I could move forward.

At this time, I may not fully love each experience but I have compassion for them. I have increased compassion for myself. Compassion for the girl I once was who was frightened/alone and did her best to be true to herself with the limited skills she had.

And I believe compassion is the first step to love.

One day, I will look these experiences fully in the rear-view mirror and I will think, "Wow, I did it. I lived that. I survived that. I overcame that. And I am awesome for doing so."

Friends, I feel in my bones that that day is soon. (...which makes me really happy...)

I have made myself and a few friends "Personal Reassurance" shirts. I'm going to make more. And maybe one day sell them.! How cool would that be? This is my "possibiltarian" thinking - and it's because of the heroic examples of Kelly Rae and Brene Brown and the Brave Girl Club and HopeHealInspire that I believe I can be one of them - I can change my little part of the world. I can!


Monday, June 27, 2016

empty arms

man, i really had such a different picture for my life when i was younger. i thought at 18 - after weeks of crying to the lord asking what i should major in - that when the answer came back speech therapy, well, i thought my life was set. study undergrad speech for 2 years in texas. go to utah to get my master degree. date and find a spouse. get married. work and have kids. buy a home. that was it. that was the dream. oh how the path has changed. i didn't get into grad school in utah. i can count the number of dates i've had on one hand. i served a mission. my mental health took a turn for the worse and i had to get help - with serious intervention twice. i've gained weight. i do not have a spouse. i don't have children to rock to sleep or snuggle with. and sometimes, this last one breaks my heart. i'm currently going through a time when i just want to hold a baby. i want those snuggles and cuddles. i want the perfect trust that baby has in me to keep him/her safe in my arms. the baby smell brings tears to my eyes. like pretty much everything in life - having a baby is not all glamor all the time. but i long for those moments of peace, security, and calm, when that little one is in my arms, looking up at me, and loving me with all my insecurities, fat rolls, depression/anxiety, fear of failure, oh the list could go on. because that's not what he/she sees. i am more than that. and i feel pure love - god's love - radiating from these little ones. i want to be in their presence all the time. mercifully god has placed good friends in my life who are having babies and they let me come over and snuggle. it's a lonely feeling though when i walk back to my car, arms empty. one baby in particular has been my saving grace recently. he is the sweetest little boy. tears are streaming down my face as i write of his goodness and tenderness. he has the sweetest disposition and is smiley and drooly and absolutely perfect to me. i was holding him tonight and he just looked at me, with clear eyes, straight into my eyes, and i know he saw my soul. he didn't break eye contact or get distracted. he just looked at me. and reached his little hand up for me. i could've stayed in that moment forever. now i'm just crying. he is a tender mercy and a huge blessing for me. i can't imagine my sundays without him or my friday nights since he's been my date for a few. i could go on and on about how much i love him and his parents. he helps make my empty arms - my waiting period - a little less painful. and for that, i am grateful.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

go fund who? oh, me :)

Monday night I started a gofundme campaign for my medical expenses. As I stated on my "campaign description," 80% of my treatment this year is out of network.

My parents did NOT ask me to do this, nor do they know about it right now. This is something I felt I should do. When God speaks to me it is with a thought or sentence that comes to my mind and I can "see" the words across my forehead. Twice I had the impression to start a gofundme campaign. It was humbling and hard to do.

I rely on my Mom and Dad for the majority of my medical, housing, and food needs. I work 14 hours a week in the evenings which I use to pay for "fun stuff," like my phone bill, clothes, gas, Sonic, etc.

This year our family has faced added medical strain with my Dad needing treatment. My parents also help my other siblings with various medical/car/living needs. I know the pressure has been hard on my Dad and he has said some things that have made me wish there was something more I could do to help out. I know my parents want me to be well and are invested in me. They have given selflessly for years. In 2 days, 10% of my campaign goal has been met! I am deeply humbled and grateful to those who have given. I feel words fail to adequately express how moved I am by the giving of family, friends, and strangers.

I calculated the cost of my medical needs for the rest of the year and that is where I came up with the goal of $5000. ALL of that money will go directly to paying for my Dialectical Behavior Therapy sessions, Exposure Therapy sessions, and Neuromodulation Technique sessions. Any extra money at the end of the year will be given to Mom and Dad as "reimbursement."

I have had the Shouts of Shame and Exclaims of Embarrassment echo in my mind phrases such as, "You are a terrible person for asking others for money," "You should feel really bad about doing this," and "You'll never meet your goal," but to these and other negative thoughts I say, "QUIET!" Yes, I wish I could do it all on my own, but I can't. And so I humbly ask for help and pray for those who have given and shared my gofundme campaign.

My ultimate goal is to pay it forward. I love what my sister B said when she shared my link, "A dollar goes far past 4 quarters or 100 pennies: it means someone cares and believes mental health is worth fighting." Any amount helps - sharing my page helps.

THANK YOU, my angelic supporters, thank you.

One of my milder seizures.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I am Infinitely more than my Limitations

I write because I want to remember these moments. I have been happy and at peace for the better part of two months straight. I really think that's the longest stretch since November of 2010. What a relief and calming experience it has been to wake up each day and feel happy. Daily I have found myself enjoying my day - finding joy - being joy-filled. And I believe joy stems from happiness. I didn't think I would get to this point. A year ago I was still in the middle of multiple tests down at UTSW. I was having blood drawn on a weekly basis. My diagnosis then was periodic paralysis. My life felt doomed. In a year's time so many options have opened up. So many avenues for healing have been presented to me. I am seeing the fulfillment of God's promises to me that I will be healed. I feel happy and confident because I am facing situations instead of avoiding them. My thoughts are clearer. My decisions are steady. 

Exposure on Wednesday was incredibly hard. I know I have had other excruciating sessions - but it felt like this one took the cake. To re-live in story such hellish experiences is tremendously painful. I felt like I bounced back from it ok and when I saw Dr Huse Friday we did work on releasing the trauma physically. I have never been so stubborn and angry with him before. He got some serious side eye during our session and I found myself fighting so hard against him. I'm typically pretty trusting of him and let him do what he feels is best - but it's like I was split in two inside - one part was trying to let him do his job and the other part was fighting like hell to keep him out. The anger was so powerful. I clenched my jaw - wouldn't make eye contact with him - and wouldn't talk to him. This is very unlike me in our sessions. I went from a pretty yang (feminine, open) state to an extremely yin (closed, angry) state. Pillows are what I use to communicate I want someone to stop - specifically Susan and Dr Huse. I went from a laying position to a sitting position and put a pillow in front of me. I was furious. The anger was trying so hard to protect me from my primary emotions of grief and fear. I was shaking with rage and had my fists up and ready to swing. Dr Huse, in his wisdom and compassion, stopped, looked at me, and I lost it. I have howled/sobbed 3 times in my life - Friday was one of those times. It was uncontrollable, heart-wrenching, and painful. So many thoughts and feelings rose to the surface and I howled from my pain-stricken heart. "I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to try. I want this to be over. I don't want to have seizures or go through exposure. I hate my mission. I hate that it started all of this pain. I'll never be whole. I'm broken." He gently put his arms around me and said, "I know. I know you don't want this. I'm so sorry." It's amazing how validating touch and compassion are to a person who is suffering. For the rest of the day, every time I tried to talk to someone or participate in life (basically anytime I was doing something other than sleeping or distracting) I started to cry. The grief that was inside of me - it was so strong. Later that night I had an episode and started vomiting. He was able to help me over the phone by balancing out the emotions that had come up and calming down my overwhelmed systems (neurological, endocrine, and immune).

God has such a gentle way of preparing me for the next step in my healing. Through Susan, Dr Huse, and two friends I believe one of the next steps for me is going to be learning Trauma Release Exercises from a certified teacher here in Texas.

Since Friday, I have not felt the happy peace I was feeling. This is disappointing to me, but I have hope that the fear I feel now will not always last. I think my body is doing its best to process the toxins that came out Wednesday/Friday and that in time I will return to my state of peaceful happiness. It is scary being faced with the possibility of a depressive episode when I have been feeling good. And I REALLY don't want that - but I know if it happens, I have a strong support system that will see me through. One of the DBT skills is to be present. I can't change the past and I can't control the future. But I can live now and BE now. Even if these aren't my happiest moments, I can say they aren't my saddest. And with each experience I am learning and growing and healing.

While texting S yesterday about my experience Friday, I said, "I'm still amazing even if I don't feel as happy as I have." And her perfect response was, "That is a very amazing thing to say. I'm so proud of you for being able to know that in the midst of IT."

I'm proud of me too.

More and more, I'm catching glimpses of the 'light' within me.

Monday, April 18, 2016


i woke up today to a text from my sister, b. she said that the first thing she did this morning was kneel down and pray, thanking Heavenly Father for me, my life, and that i am her sister.

i was touched and awakened by that. why had i never thought to thank my Heavenly Father for my life on my birthday? so i too knelt down and thanked my Father in Heaven for preserving my life, for my health, for my happiness, for my body and mind. it was such an amazing experience to express gratitude for my life. i have often taken my life for granted - even hating it at times. but today - today - i was grateful for it. grateful that i'm here to watch my nieces and nephews grow up - here to make a difference in family's, friend's and stranger's lives - here to laugh - here to grow, learn, and come closer to God. 

walking the path God has put me on has not been // is not easy. but, finally, i can say that i'm grateful for it. i'm grateful for the rocks, dips, twists, bridges, and benches along my path. as hard as it has been to walk, it is beautiful. and because of it i have learned skills that have made me MINDFUL of the good. now i know pain will not last forever. there is relief from suffering. it comes. and when it comes i can see it now. my life is beautiful - i see the beauty. i don't always like my walk, but i have accepted that it's mine to walk.

this year holds hope and promise.

Happy Day to Me!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

when my demons set me free

... wow ...

my last post was so raw - and a very "type 4" reaction. lol

i took the enneagram test and the results came back 6, 4, (one point difference between the two) and 9.

i really feel like 6 represents who i have always been and 4 points to the changes i have made over the past five years to become a different individual. 9 is me trying to pull those two together - ha.

it's a really neat test and i recommend you take it if you haven't.

i think the main reason i've been so quiet is not because i don't have plenty to say, but because on february 3rd i started exposure therapy and as a result of that i have felt very exposed. the events that have caused me to have ptsd (which i didn't believe i had until my counselor gave me a test for it last year) are ones i have to talk about each week, record, listen to the recording, and then engage in activities i've stopped doing over the years because of the trauma. 

i have found incredible relief from this therapy. it is hard. very hard. but i'm doing it and seeing measurable progress as i do it. 

susan continues to validate and point out my progress. it is very rewarding to hear your counselor tell you how proud she is of you and how much progress you have made.

i believe these traumatic events are my demons - and amazingly enough - by facing them, confronting them, talking through them, they are giving me freedom. and isn't that all anyone wants? to be free?

dr huse continues to provide excellent support to me. and my psychiatrist is wonderful. i am blessed with family and friends who lift me up in prayer. i can see the direct results of their prayers. thank you for praying.

so many things have gone on - situations that are causing me to reflect on my choices and prepare for future choices.

i see God's hand. i see him in my life. and because i see him, i know he sees me.

ps - i have found this website helpful when it comes to information about pnes - Psychological (Psychogenic) Non Epileptic Seizures 

"knowledge is power."

Sunday, January 24, 2016

when i'm an option, not a priority

today, i feel like an option.

sure, i'll do for company or chatting until someone better comes along.

this has left me feeling rejected, because to whoever i'm engaged with, i'm fine until someone interesting comes along. someone who's getting married, or having a baby, or moving, or getting a new job, or going off to school, or starting their own business, or doing something BIG in life.

i'm not - so it doesn't matter what i'm doing - it's not big enough to matter.

i'll do until someone better and interesting comes along.

one day, i hope to be someone's priority instead of their option.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

when life has lost its meaning

i have been silent. not for lack of things to say. but lack of energy to formulate those thoughts into coherent sentences - creating paragraphs - leading to a blog post.

i have lost a lot of meaning in my life. when i'm depressed i shut down and don't act. i do what little i have to to get by. i don't engage in activities that could bring me joy. it's all i can seem to do to put one foot in front of the other.

meaning - if there is no meaning behind an activity, there's really no point in doing it. dr huse has encouraged me to sit and think deeply about things that matter to me. i haven't wanted to expend that energy. too often i get lost in the confusion of my mind. a thought leads to a tangent which results in an emotion and before i know it i'm ruminating and lost. i don't want to sit and figure out what the meaning is behind me walking (let's be clear - i do not call exercising exercising because if i do i simply won't do it) - what does walking mean to me? what does it mean for me to sit and read a book? what meaning is there in reading? what does it mean for me to spend time being creative? what does my creativity mean?

there are so many hobbies/likes i have dropped over the past years. things i have set aside - and instead sleep or watch hours of netflix. i don't think or feel i have the energy it takes to engage in meaningful activities - so i settle for meaningless ones. i don't read the truths found in scriptures. i have added praying back into my life - but not consistently. i've stopped going to the temple. i only attend an hour of our three hour church meeting. these spiritual pillars have held me together for so long, but especially this last year, i set them down. and in so doing i believe i have done myself a great dis-service. the miracle here is that though i have set aside these things, heavenly father and jesus christ have not set me aside. if anything i feel in my heart i have become more important to them.

i am not confessing my sins or trying to air out my misdeeds - i for sure don't need a calling to repentance - i'm simply trying to paint a picture here of how meaningless my life has become since stopping the meaningful things. for months i didn't even know what was missing. i knew i felt - maybe lifeless - but i didn't know what the missing link was. it wasn't until dr huse said the word "meaning" that i found my answer.

so, what do you do when life has lost its meaning?

i don't really know. i never pictured myself in this situation. i'm sad that my life is so different from the one i always imagined. i'm trying to add things back in that i once found enjoyable. as i do that i notice the resistance of a dulled brain and a bored spirit. improving oneself is not easy.

i am also facing incredible fears - real and imagined. doing a lost activity is difficult - add in talking myself off the cliff of fear and it feels impossible.

as bored, meaningless, and unhappy as i am - it's easier to stay here than to try.

for a while, writing lost its meaning.

as i laid on my bed today, curled in the fetal position, tears streaming down my face, i could only cry out, "Lord, please, heal me."

it is rare for me to be touched by something said in church - but today i was. someone quoted a simple scripture, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:14-29) and in that moment i knew - this is where i am. for years, i've been promised healing. i have an expectation of what that healing will be. i've waited and waited and waited. progress has been made, healing has not been achieved. facing 2016 was incredibly depressing. i stayed in bed all day january 1st. i hated the day. i was encouraged to - interestingly enough - give NO meaning to the day. to treat it like any other. i struggled to do that. inside i was screaming, "this day does have meaning! it means i have to start over - AGAIN. face the same dates - face anniversaries - face dr appts - face exposure therapy - face trauma release exercises - face my incredibly long and painful road of healing - AGAIN. and i DON'T want to do that. not for another second let alone another year."

but the day passed. and healing will come. maybe what i am to learn is MY definition of healing is not God's - and so i must look with "eyes to see" when that healing comes. i suppose every step of the last five years has been a piece of my healing puzzle. though it pains me to admit that.

"Lord, I believe." i do, Lord. i do believe you are capable of healing me. i even believe you are willing to heal me. "Help Thou mine unbelief." but five years? i'm not comparing to anyone else - i'm saying that FOR ME five years is an incredibly long time to wait. and during that time i've become disillusioned - jaded - angry. and unbelief has settled in my soul. "Help Thou mine unbelief." i'm not asking for a sign - i'm praying that you will please comfort my soul, still my soul, hold me in your hands and show me the way, so my unbelief is cleared.

i'm weary. my greatest desire is to be out of my body. it is heavy, troubled, painful. i want a break from being in it. i believe only the relief of death will bring those things. so instead i'll try to re-direct my greatest desire to be - healing. healing comes through the Savior. i don't understand it - but i believe it.

and right now, belief is all i have. 

***i watched all three videos below today and heard God talking to me - i hope you will take time to watch them - they will lift you***

"lord, i believe" 

"cast not away therefore your confidence" 

 "like a broken vessel"