Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas is Coming!

Merry Christmas Eve!! I was driving to my mom's house yesterday, and the traffic was crazy! But, due to this, I got to see a sweet act of kindness. I was cruising along, when my light turned red, so I stopped (It's a good idea to do that when the light is red). I was right next to the right hand turning lane. I noticed a woman walking and slowly entering the crosswalk, she had a grocery bag and had probably been out shopping at one of the local grocery stores. The next thing I saw was an older woman driving her car, she was a little distracted and started to proceed to check the intersection to complete her "right on red" turn. Luckily, she noticed the woman in the crosswalk just in time and didn't hit her. The woman driving mouthed, "I'm sorry!" to the woman in the crosswalk. As you can imagine, a series of things could've happened after this. The woman walking could've done you-know-what with her finger, scowled, yelled, ignored the woman, or any number of other things. Instead, I saw her lips say, "That's okay, Merry Christmas!" and she happily walked across the remainder of the intersection. I looked at the woman in the car beside me, and she too had a smile on her face. Witnessing that small thing filled me with the Spirit of Christmas. I pray we can remember the "Reason for the Season" and be just a little bit kinder to one another. Merry Christmas!!

"He is the Reason for the Season, He is the Light that shines on our lives. The baby Jesus, born in God's Grace, so we all might rejoice on this day."

Are you having a difficult time this Christmas? Are you not feeling very 'merry?' You're not alone! Click here to read last year's Christmas post.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Let It Go

There aren't a lot of movies that we spend money on to go see in the theater. Usually, we just wait until the movie comes to Redbox. But, occasionally there are movies that are too good to pass up the ginormous screen for. Disney's Frozen is one of those movies. I would even go to the theater more than once! Now that is rare.
Because I have anxiety and depression and I blog about it, I often find links and connections between things in life or portrayed in movies and depression. In this movie, it was the song, "Let it Go." A little background, Elsa (one of the main characters) was born with an incredible power (some call it a curse) to create snow and ice with the flick of her hand. As a child, she and her sister, Anna, would play in the snow that Elsa created. Then, one day, Elsa accidentally injures Anna with her power. It is after that that she is told she must keep her powers a secret. She can't let anyone know what she can do. She is told she must be strong and "not feel." In order to keep her sister and others safe, Elsa stays shut in her room for years trying to learn how to control her power. 
What I found interesting, was that the more she tried to hide and control it, the worse it became. The more she told herself to not feel, the more uncontrollable the power became.  
After a series of events, there is a moment when Elsa is unable to control her power in front of a large group of people. They find out about her powers and many consider her a "monster." In order to keep others safe, she runs away to a high mountain. It is here that she finds happiness as she "Lets it Go." (And sings an absolutely INCREDIBLE song, seriously, if you want chills, listen to it) On this mountain, she is able to use her powers without worry. She builds amazing and beautiful things. She creates a gorgeous castle from ice and finally feels free.
But what had changed? Why were her powers doing amazing things now? Why were they not hurting anyone? Why? Because she stopped worrying about it, and let it go. She stopped trying to control and hide her powers and let them go.    
I have been the person sitting in my room before, clenching my eyes tightly trying to control the thoughts in my mind. Trying to force things in and out, trying to keep it in and fix my insides. I've been the person to wait months before I told loved ones how much I was struggling in fear of embarrassment. I have been the person crying and wondering what happened to my life and wondering why I can't just fix everything in my head. I have been the girl who shut loved ones out in fear of hurting them. I have been the one trying to control my mind and make it do what I want.
I have also been the girl to "Let it Go." It's easier said than done, but I have found that I can let it go. This blog is one way that I do that. I write about it. I try to not keep it hidden. I try to let it go. As I have mentioned before, talking about it helps so much.
When I was younger and I would worry non-stop about things, my mom told me to "float." What she meant was, imagine yourself in the clouds or in water, and just float. Whenever a worry comes to your mind, just float. Don't fight it, just float. Just breathe and remember, they are just thoughts. Float. This is another way I let it go.
As I let it go, I find myself closer to my loved ones, not further away. While some people may not understand depression, (and I don't blame them, it's weird!) I have come to not be afraid of people knowing I deal with it.
When I let it go, my anxiety and depression can actually do beautiful things, such as this blog. My anxiety and depression have made me a much more compassionate and kind person. They have taught me not to judge others. When I let it go, my "curse" can actually be a beautiful thing.
"Let It Go"
"Couldn’t keep it in, Heaven knows I tried. Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know. Well now they know! Let it go! Can’t hold it in anymore.
I don’t care what they’re going to say, let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway.
The fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.
Here I stand in the light of day, let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway." 

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Like a Broken Vessel" By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: Part 3

In talking about depression, Elder Holland stated, " I am speaking of something more serious, of an affliction so severe that it significantly restricts a person's ability to function fully, a crater in the mind so deep that no one can responsibly suggest it would surely go away if those victims would just square their shoulders and thing more positively-though I am a vigorous advocate of square shoulders and positive thinking!"

I hope if you know someone with anxiety or depression, you realize that they're not just choosing to feel that way. I can't really explain it, but for some reason, you can't choose to just "snap out of it." It's not just a bad day or a bad week, it is, as Elder Holland stated, "a crater in the mind."

I guess one small bit of advice I can give is that if you have anxiety or depression, don't feel guilty about it. I realize this is easier said than done, but try to remember that you aren't choosing to feel this way, it is just something you are dealing with for a time. Do your best, but realize your best may not be as much as you wish it could be at the moment. Remember you are doing the best you can and you should never feel you are a bad person because of your condition.

I remember when I was feeling very deep feelings of depression, I would see bubbly or enthusiastic people, and almost feel angry. I knew I had been a happy person who saw the glass "half full." At this time though, I felt like my class wasn't only half empty, but completely drained and dry. I felt guilty when I would see people enjoying life. I figured I was being ungrateful and letting my life waste away. As I've learned more about depression, I realize that you shouldn't ever feel guilt because of it. Just like the flu or diabetes, it doesn't make you less of a person, it is just something you experience. While I still have hard days and I can't say I am "over" depression, most days I can see the glass half full (and maybe even full to the brim!)

To read Elder Holland's full talk, click here.
To read parts 1 and 2 of this series, please click here and here.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


 photo MyCandyCrushConfessionImage3_zpsc1428647.jpg

In some of my spare time, I enjoy playing Candy Crush. Why? I call it 'Bejeweled' on steroids. It's fun. It's a great combination of skill and luck. Why am I talking about this on my blog about anxiety? I'll explain.
Sometimes when my mind is running every which way with worries and fears, Candy Crush serves as a way to help me focus on something other than my anxieties.

A relative of mine recently mentioned that this same game had helped her through some hard days. Isn't that funny? There were days it was really hard to sit in class, so I would play Candy Crush. It made sitting in there bearable and made the time go by faster. Sometimes with anxiety or depression, your mind never rests. It is constantly thinking of negative, scary, or undesirable things. As long as it is used correctly, a game can serve as a rest for the brain.

Sometimes I feel a little bit embarrassed that I play a cell phone game. But, the other day, I started to think, "Why am I embarrassed?" We all have things that help us to relax or distract us for a few minutes. Candy Crush is one of the things that sometimes helps me on a difficult day.

Just a few notes for those of you who may play...
1. Level 147 is making me crazy. I have been on it forever.
2. My favorite move is when you combine a brown candy and a striped candy, it's so awesome. This move is second only to combining two brown candies. Magic.
3. Combining a striped candy and a packaged candy is pretty neat too.
4. Isn't it so obnoxious when you could beat the level if you only had ONE MORE MOVE!? So aggravating.
5. The timed levels are my favorite.
If you don't play Candy Crush, you might be thinking I'm a bit crazy by now. If you do play, you're probably nodding your head to the items in this list.

Disclaimer! Similar to this post, I am not telling you to waste away your life playing games on your phone or computer. What I am saying is that sometimes a distraction is okay. We should never let it get out of control, spend all our time doing it, or shirk off responsibilities, but I do believe that, at times, these things have a place. Playing a game should never replace family or friend time, but it can help pass time through hard moments.