Tuesday, December 20, 2016


One of my many Pinterest boards is called, "Check!" This is a board where I put pins that I actually do! (It's easy to just pin, pin, pin and never look at them again.) This board has some crafts, recipes, printables, etc. that I have made/tried. I feel really accomplished when I move things there. (Even if my version isn't as good as the original :) ).

I used to do a lot of crafting and pinterest-ing with my best friend. I never considered myself very "crafty" until I made several fun projects with her that turned out pretty darn good. I realized you didn't have to be a professional to make something.

Due to some unfortunate circumstances, this friend is no longer a part of my life. It's hard to lose someone who is so dear to you. 

As I've been on the anxiety-inducing roller coaster of losing someone, I've experienced a lot of difficult and complicated emotions. As time goes on, I'm trying to focus on gratitude. I don't have that relationship anymore, but I can focus on the good things that came from it. One good thing was, I discovered I like to make things!

Something I'm a little proud of right now is a quiet book I made for my son. Thanks to all the websites I got inspiration from! (Listed below)

Inspiration from:
Zipper Rainbow:
Gumball Machine:

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I Love My Counselor

The first time I went to my counselor, I was so scared. I know my body language was very closed, but I didn't know what to do about it. One of the first things she said to me was, "Let's be honest, counseling is weird." I chuckled and relaxed a little. She's funny. She's real. That's good. Real good.

A few weeks earlier, I had called my doctor to ask for his suggestions on a counselor. Due to his and my sister's suggestion, I felt like seeking one out was a good choice for me. I had recently gotten back on my medication and I was doing pretty well, but the thought of having a professional I could go to just to talk about life with and explain what was going on in my head seemed amazing. My doctor suggested a certain company, so I went to their website. I said many silent prayers asking for guidance in this critical decision. I clicked on a few people and read their bios, but as I scrolled through 20+ counselors, I was thinking, "How on earth do you choose one?" I can't really explain it, but when I saw a certain counselor's picture, I felt really good about choosing her. The only thing I can attribute it to is Heavenly Father letting me know that one was a good choice for me.

I had to  make a few phone calls to our insurance company to make sure she was covered and to the counseling company to see if she was accepting new clients. Luckily, both answers were yes! A week or two later, I dropped off my little boy to my mom and found myself in the waiting room. I was so nervous. I kept thinking of the ways movies often stereotypically portray people who go to counselors (Darn Hollywood!). I also had the silly thought, "What if someone I know sees me walk in here? What will they think?" Then, "Oh well, this will probably end up on my blog anyway." :)

On my first visit, she talked about how she knew it would take time for me to trust her and that was okay. She also told me that if, for one reason or another, I didn't feel our personalities meshed or that she wasn't the right fit for me, she would not be offended if I felt I needed to find someone else. These statements alone helped me to begin to trust her.

I am very grateful that I didn't feel the need to find someone else. I have now been to see my counselor 10+ times and I always learn something of value. I love that she never thinks I'm crazy, but reassures me that things are going to be okay. I also realized something the other day, I realized that she doesn't "fix" my problems. What she does do is show me a different way of looking at things and she gives me tools and principles that help me work through things on my own. I have been amazed at how simple many of the "answers" are. As I have tried to apply the things she has taught me about, I have found myself applying them in situations I haven't even brought up in our conversations. Hopefully that means I'm learning something!

For me, my counselor has literally been a gift from heaven.

If you or a loved one are considering going to a counselor, I would say, DO IT! I would also say, be very prayerful about your choice and don't be afraid to switch if you aren't comfortable with the person you have chosen. It's a process and it may take some time, but I believe that in the end you will be grateful you stuck it out.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Victory: Getting Back on My Medication (and being okay with it!)

A few months ago, I was feeling pretty dang good mentally. For some reason, I decided I could probably go off of my medication. I talked to my doctor about it, and I starting weaning myself off. Even though I was going off, I told myself I wouldn't be too proud to go back on. There's no shame in taking medication. The day I took my last pill, I got some pretty devastating news about a dear family friend. Even though it was hard, I did really well. I was doing okay!

As time went on, I was still okay, but I could sense more and more anxiety creeping up. Oddly enough, at first, I didn't really link it with going off the medication; until one day I was talking to my sisters. We were talking about anxiety and I said, "I've been having a hard time mentally lately, like ever since...(pause as realization occurs)...I went off my medication." I started laughing. It was so obvious!

I fought off a little bit of pride (even though I had told myself I wouldn't have any!) and decided it was probably a good idea to start looking into getting on medication again. I liked my doctor, but I didn't really feel like she was the right fit in my situation. So, I started praying about and researching for a new doctor. I found one that I really liked the description of, he mentioned working with anxiety and depression specifically in his online bio. I called and scheduled an appointment, but I couldn't be fit in for 3 weeks. That's a long time when your mental health isn't quite where you want it to be!

When the day finally came, I was really nervous/anxious about it. It can feel very vulnerable to talk to someone about your mental struggles. This new doctor was perfect. He sincerely listened to me, asked questions, and made me feel confident in my decision. It was a fabulous appointment. He got me a new prescription and I started that night.

For a second, part of me was upset. For a moment, I had seen getting off of medication as a victory. Now I'm back on. Lame. NO. It's not lame. It's a victory that I saw I was struggling and had the courage to find something to help me. It's a victory that I was able to push through that bit of pride that wanted to stay off the medication. It's a victory that I have learned strategies to help me through anxiety along with the help of the medication. It's a victory I can write about this and not be ashamed.

When I was really struggling and fighting my pride, I confided in my sister in one of the best ways possible...a Facebook message ;) She replied to me and said,

"I don't try to 'manage' my way through anymore. Yesterday I was on a walk with my friend and she had an allergy attack, the pollen was killing her and she called her husband to bring her her allergy medication that she takes in the spring and summer. I was like, 'Wow, we're breathing the same air and it affects us both so differently.' My eyes were maybe a little itchy from walking past a hayfield, but that was it. I need [medication] to function and regulate my emotions right now. She knows what it's like to be stressed or frustrated but she doesn't know what it's like to be totally incapacitated by your thoughts and feelings. So why would my friend 'try to be strong' when there is help available?"

I still live with my anxiety daily, but the medication helps me live with it so much better.

If you're struggling and think medication is the right option for you, I encourage you to go find a good and understanding doctor and talk to him or her about it. It can be hard, but it's worth it! If this small thing can help you go from okay to great, or from managing life to LIVING it, it's worth the time and effort it takes to get there!

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Friday, April 15, 2016

It's Okay to Feel Sad Sometimes

I was pretty excited the day I realized I could watch kids' shows with my little boy (I'm still a fairly new mom, so I'm not tired of them...yet). Channels 7 and 11, just like they were years ago when I was a kid. One of our personal favorites is Daniel Tiger. I love it because it is a tribute to Mr. Rogers, so it reminds me of when I was a kid.

Each episode Daniel, and his various family members and neighbors, sing a different song that teaches some sort of lesson. (The best part is when Jason Mraz sings it at a certain point each episode.) They have a new song each time, each is geared to teach your child a certain thing: "You've got to try new foods 'cause they might taste good!" "When you're feeling frustrated, take a step back, and ask for help," and many more.

One episode was really sweet and made me think. Daniel and his friends sang,

"It's okay to feel sad sometimes. Little by little, you'll feel better again."

I love this.

I used to feel guilty when I would feel sad. I thought I was being ungrateful or childish. I thought to be sad was a sign of weakness. I didn't want to be a "Debbie Downer." I didn't want to be considered "hormonal" or "moody" or any other title we tend to give sadness. I thought I always needed to be bubbly and, if I ever was sad, it needed to be short and hopefully seen by very few.

Thankfully, through time, I've realized we are humans and we were created with all sorts of emotions. It's important for us to listen to our emotions and work through them. All of them. Sadness, jealousy, fear, anger, etc.

Sadness does not equal weakness, it is a powerful emotion that we all experience. (Side note: if you haven't seen "Inside Out," don't rent it. BUY IT. You won't regret it. And, it teaches you all about the roles of happiness and sadness. In fact, I should do a whole other blog post on it. Or 5. Thankfully, my sister wrote one! Read it here.)

Little by little:

The other day, I was pretty upset about something. Even though it was seemingly insignificant, and I felt a little immature that it was upsetting me so, a situation was causing me to feel left out and just S-A-D. My sister knew what was going on and actually texted me the words of cute and silly little Daniel Tiger's song. In that moment, I really appreciated the words, "little by little." There was really nothing I could do to fix the situation, so I just needed to feel sad for a little while. I held onto the thought, "little by little, I'll feel better again." In my case, it only took a day or two to feel much better, but I realize (and have experienced) many situations that take much longer than that. Just hold onto the thought, "little by little." The progress might be slow, but it's still progress.

I've been trying to have a new quote each week hanging in my house for my family to read/look at. (It's week #2, and so far I'm at 100%! ;) ) This week, it reads:

"God didn't design us to be sad. He created us to have JOY!"  
-President Uchtdorf

God yearns and works for us to be happy, but He also knows life is hard. Sometimes we are sad. There are times of sadness all along the road of happiness. I think this quote by President Uchtdorf (read the full talk here) is reminding us that we are sad sometimes, but we aren't designed to stay that way. We are designed to be very, very happy. (Isn't that a wonderful thought?) 

I have realized it really is okay to feel sad sometimes. And, it's after we are sad we can truly appreciate how good it feels to be happy.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

I Am Not Weak

A few weeks ago, I had had a good and productive day. The baby was down for the night, and I was excited to spend a relaxing evening with my husband. Then, something happened that triggered an anxiety attack for me. I feel anxious multiple times everyday, but this was a little more intense. Luckily, with the coping strategies I have learned, it didn't get out of control, but I was upset it happened at all. It kind of ruined my "relaxing evening." I had planned on doing several things, but my evening turned into solely focusing on my breathing so I could keep my anxiety under control.

I was a bit angry. "Why can't I control this?" "I was looking forward to tonight, and now I'm miserable." "I'm so weak."

Luckily, as I said earlier, it didn't progress too far and I woke up the next morning feeling good.

A few nights later, a similar thing happened. I was looking forward to a relaxing evening, but then I had a horrible head ache that turned into a migraine. It was not a fun evening, but it was missing one thing. I wasn't beating myself up or calling myself "weak" for getting a migraine.

Why do I get angry with myself for having anxiety? Why do I see it as a character flaw? The truth is, it isn't. I don't think less of myself for getting a migraine, so I shouldn't get upset with myself when I have an anxiety attack. The anxiety attack changed my plans that night and it upset me, but a stomach ache, head ache, or the flu could do the same thing. I don't look down on myself for getting physically ill, so I shouldn't belittle myself when I have a hard time mentally.

I have truly gotten so much better at working with and through my anxiety attacks. There have been several times I have worked through an attack and realized that, a little while ago, that same attack would've been a much bigger deal and lasted a lot longer.

I'm learning to work through my anxiety. I'm also learning to not get angry with myself for the time it takes to do this. Heavenly Father helps me to do this everyday.

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Every Day

I deal with anxiety every day. But, even as I write this...I realize..I'm (pretty much) okay with that. It has been interesting as I have learned more and more how to work with it instead of against it. I still have loads to learn, but it amazes me how much better I have gotten at dealing with it. Here are some things that help me:

1. I have found one of the best things for me when I start to feel anxious is to pay attention to my breathing. I am a religious person, and I fully believe that God sends His spirit (the Holy Ghost) to comfort us. When I feel anxious, I strive to breathe and pray to invite Heavenly Father's Spirit to comfort my heart. I am so thankful for this. I tell myself, "Just breathe. That's the only thing you have to do right now. Just breathe."

2. I have been learning not to fear the actual physical anxious feeling. Everyone may experience it a little differently, but I tend to feel my anxiety in my chest and sometimes in my legs (I know it sounds weird). I have started to almost "step back" from the feelings to observe them. When I step back, I realize this feeling that seemed so HUGE and SCARY is just a sort of pressure on my chest or a tightness in my legs. Like my mom has told me, "Remember, it's just a feeling."

3. I talk to myself. I'm not ashamed to say it! I often have to talk myself through things. I often say, "Everything is just fine. I'm feeling a little anxious, but that's okay." I tell myself to breathe. I tell myself I only have to do one thing at a time. I tell myself everything is going to be great. I tell myself that God loves me.

4. I try to validate my feelings a little bit. There are some things I get anxious about that are quite ridiculous or don't make any sense, but there are some things that are very normal to worry about. I try to tell myself, "It's okay to worry about <insert fear here>, but I don't need to let it debilitate me."

5. I try to give my brain time to rest. If I can tell my mind is starting to obsessively worry about something, I try to do something that doesn't take a lot of brain power: TV, solitaire, resting, taking a shower, surfing the internet, etc. I try not to waste a lot of time, but give my brain time to rest and recover.

6. I've talked about my quiet book before, it has helped me so many times. My quiet book is filled with quotes I have collected that really touch my heart. Most of mine are from religious leaders, but they can be quotes from anywhere. If I start to feel my mind get "cloudy" or I start to obsessively worry, I pull out my quiet book and read the quotes that are special to me.

7. I talk to others about it. One of the things that has helped me the most is talking about it. I used to hide my anxiety. I didn't want people to know about it. Now, I am very open about it. I try to communicate with my husband when I am having a hard time. I try to notice others I see struggling and talk to them about it. I blog about it. It really helps to talk. When I talk, I realize I'm not the only one who experiences these things.

I used to react to anxiety by trying to fight it. I would try to force my brain to think differently. I would get extremely tense, emotional, and unhappy. Now, I try to "go with the flow." I know the anxiety will pass, so I try to calmly deal with it until it subsides. Sometimes it's hard, but it is very doable.

I can't lie, I often imagine what it would be like to have anxiety completely out of my life. But, until then, I can use the things I've learned to live with anxiety and still be very happy.  

A page from my Quiet Book
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