Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Anxiety & Depression: Stephanie's Story: Part 1

There are so many people who deal with anxiety and depression. Below is the story of a friend of mine, in her own words. (Names have been changed). After this friend of mine read some of this blog, she sent me her story. I was amazed. I had NO idea she had been through these experiences. Below you will find just part of her story. Watch for more!

"My depression/Anxiety began to affect me in Jr. high – and would continue untreated and unexplained into High School. At the times my sufferings/symptoms included uncontrollable emotionless feelings – which led to me having “tantrums” (Which was explained later to me that I was trying to feel some sort of emotion, ANY emotion would be fine – and it’s easiest to create angry, hostile emotions than it is to create happy ones.) When I say tantrums I mean sobbing that isn’t able to be stopped, or I wouldn’t eat, or I would sleep for hours or I would tense up so badly that my fists would go white and I’d pierce the palms of my hands with my finger tips without realizing the pain. (Later called: Emotional black outs). At the time, my family didn’t understand what was happening, my dad thought I was an emotional teenager, my mom said I just needed to not take things so seriously.  I began doing research after I had read a segment on depression in a health book. I began begging my mom to take me to a therapist, I told her something was wrong with me and I needed help. She refused time and time again. Finally- One day (Around 16 years old) I came home (in the middle of an emotional blackout) unable to stable myself – I was sobbing and numb and I then stopped breathing… My mom held me to her and stroked my hair and repeatedly whispered in my ear – “feel me breathe, copy my breath, feel me breathe, copy my breath.” I was able to steady myself, focusing on her breathe allow my mind to remember to breath. I told her to help me – and she agreed.

Finding a therapist wasn’t easy – we went to several offices trying to find the right one. One lady was way too pushy, and another one seemed to not really care what I was saying – one therapist even asked my mom more questions than she was asking me. A few appointments later I met my therapist who saved me – his name is Spencer. Through many, many therapy sessions we dug and dug into my mind and started to find some underlying problems to what was causing my anxiety – which then in turn became depression. One of the biggest things was that I was a perfectionist. If things didn’t go exactly prefect or if I didn’t do 100% amazing on something it destroyed me inside, but because I didn’t know how to talk about it or let it out it became a huge black spot inside of me that just grew and grew until it actually ate me whole and I couldn’t do anything. It took away my ability to feel emotion – which is by far worse than feeling an emotion. When someone asks you “what is wrong”, you answer, “I don’t know” – then they ask “well what do you feel?” and you answer, “I honestly don’t know that either.” Those people asking the questions are often offended that you won’t open up to them, but you can’t truly understand that until you feel what being emotionless feels like. Spencer taught me to understand that I wasn’t an angry and hostile person that was just the only way I could cry for help from beneath the black shadow. He told me that I was stronger than the blackness and that now that my mom and family knew what the problem was it would be a lot easier to fight him. Simply knowing that this “black shadow” had a label I could then begin to make tangible goals for moving towards the future.

Things started to become better – I could talk myself through things, and I was able to go through the days breathing and not having the need to break down. I began feeling emotions again. I had forgotten how good it felt to be excited for something, or feel like something was worth doing. When I was younger I used to sing all the time to every song on the radio – as I began to come out of my shell and out from behind the darkness I heard myself singing and realized that it was an unfamiliar sound – And I vowed to myself that I would never stop singing again." 

Thanks to my dear friend, "Stephanie." Watch for more parts to her story.

Are you interested in sharing your story? Email me here:

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our BRIGHT Blue Wall...Continued: Yes, that is a Princess Castle in my Interior Decorating

When Jordan asked me what I wanted for my graduation present, I showed him this: 

Doesn't that look magical!? I love toys. Seriously. I thought I would grow out of Toys R Us and the Disney store around age...I don't know...10? 14? 16? Well, I still haven't grown out of it folks.

Well, Jordan has gotten used to my silly wishes, and he got it for me. After I had SO much fun building it, I didn't want to just stick it in a closet or something. So, it has been incorporated into our decor. Yes. In the front room against the bright blue wall. It's totally awesome.

It is on a small shelf that we keep our Blu-ray player and such on. It used to be black, but I painted it white. (I know, it was a little scary). On the other side of the shelf top is this:

Yes, that is a jar of sprinkles. Why? I love sprinkles. They are colorful and happy.

I got the America "My Home Sweet Home" sign from Hobby Lobby. I loved it right when I saw it.

The temple is special for many reasons. This particular statue of the temple was right on top of our wedding cake. I loved finding a special place to keep it in our house.

**Random side note about our wedding cake that applies to my celiac disease: About six months after our wedding, something happened to our freezer. This caused the top of our cake which we had saved to be gross and it needed to be thrown away. I was a little sad about it. People would tell me, "It's okay, you just take a bite, it tastes like the freezer and then you throw it away." I would think, "I know! But, I want to have that experience!" ;) Well, anyway, it was a few months before our 1st anniversary that I found out I had celiac disease. So, I wouldn't have been able to eat the cake anyway. Turns out it was a blessing in disguise that we had to throw it away earlier!**

Sometimes I wonder what people think when they see our front room. Are those sprinkles in a jar? Yes. Yes, those are sprinkles in a jar and yes, that is a Lego Princess castle.

Again, what does this have to do with my anxiety/depression blog? I am striving to fill my home with things that make me smile. I am striving to make my home a happy place for myself, Jordan, and others.

Again thanks to this blog for inspiring me to be fearless in decorating.

To read more about our blue wall, click here.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Good Friend

Let me introduce you to my friend, Carson.

I have known Carson since Junior High School. He is one of those people that everyone knows and likes. You can't be around him very long without having a huge smile on your face. Seriously, he is one of the kindest people I have ever met. He also has an amazing family. You might be able to tell from this picture that we are in a hospital room. Carson was in a trampoline accident in December, and is currently paralyzed from about the chest down.

My mom and I went to visit him a couple of months after his accident. I have always heard stories about a person going to visit a friend in hopes to encourage them, but then the visitor ends up being the one uplifted. That is exactly what happened here. Carson lifted my spirits during our short visit. His faith, honesty, and humor were inspiring. There were also several members of his family there. Carson's family is amazing. They are the definition of love and support. You can read Carson's blog about his journey, in his own words, here.

Carson is home now. There is an event scheduled for May 31, 2014 through the Anything for a Friend foundation to help Carson and his family with medical and other expenses.

If you are in the Davis County, Utah area on May 31, you should definitely head out to Carson's event. My husband and I are signed up for the 5k! There is also a dinner, auction items, balloon launch, etc. There are so many wonderful people coming together to help Carson and his family. 

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

If You Aren't Happy with Something, Change it: And, My Plastic Tub Obsession

One of the things that frequently gives me anxiety is the cleanliness of my home. Maybe it sounds silly, but I just want people to feel comfortable in my home. This doesn't mean it has to be perfectly clean all the time, or sterile like a hospital (because heaven knows my home is far from being perfectly clean) I just want it to be tidy. That's a good word for it. Tidy. That is my goal.

Jordan is totally awesome around the house. He is a HUGE help with cleaning and straightening up. Of course though, our house gets messy pretty easily. This is something I struggle with. I don't want to be so worried about my house being tidy that I miss quality time doing other things (Insert the Bible story of Mary and Martha). But, I also don't want to not focus on cleaning because it can be difficult to enjoy your home when it is a huge mess.

I have been reading a lot of inspiration things lately that encourage you to DO something about things you don't like. Don't just sit and complain, DO something. (Pretty good advice!) So, I decided to tackle one job that has been driving me crazy, our spare bedroom closet. Our spare bedroom closet is the home of many toys. We love having our nieces and nephews over, and it is even better when we have toys for them to play with, thus, they know that closet is for them. As you can imagine, the closet had gotten pretty messy. In fact, it was difficult to open and close the doors because there were so many toys laying around everywhere. It kind of looked like Toys R Us had exploded in the room (Okay, maybe not that bad). It made that bedroom a place I avoided. I didn't like going in there because it would cause me anxiety and stress. I would also imagine that it wasn't as fun for our nieces and nephews, because they couldn't find things very easily.

It was driving me crazy and causing me stress, so I decided to do something about it. I went to Target and purchased some clear plastic bins (with snap on lids...that is a must). Then, on my day off, I brought all the toys from the closet into my family room. As I watched TV, I sorted through the goods. Farm toys here, Nerf guns there, and stuffed animals in the bucket. I was also able to pick out toys that were broken and throw them away. I had the perfect number of bins for the toys, and put them back into the closet. I can't even tell you what a relief this is. Now, instead of avoiding that room, I have actually stopped in there a few times, just to look in the newly cleaned closet. I also tried to set it up in a way that facilitates easy clean up for the kiddos that come over.

This is a very simple lesson, and maybe you learned it long before I did...if you aren't happy with something, change it. Not every anxiety can be taken away, but doing something about this has definitely been so helpful.    

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PS-this project started a bit of an obsession. Yesterday, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a few more plastic bins. Our medicine cabinet now looks phenomenal (it used to be a bit scary, you could've been hit by a Tylenol bottle when opening the door) and I have a place for all of my chargers. It is almost like a fun game...what can I organize next??