Monday, December 21, 2009

Wow, it's been too long since I posted...

Things have been going crazy around here from the different work schedule (I had almost forgotten how crazy retail hours are) to the studying and everything else that is going on. I didn't mean to neglect my blog, I just did! Ewps!

I have to say that I am very impressed with my anxiety levels as all of these changes have been happening. For the most part, I have been going with the flow of things and haven't really had any episodes to think about or worry about. I have been making sure to daily take stock of where I am on my anxiety and try to figure out why I have the anxiety that I do if I notice it. It has worked very well and I am very impressed with how I have handled things. Even some of the rougher situations that would normally throw me completely out of whack have been simple and easy to handle.

I started something new this week that is a little more personal, but kinda not at the same time. Lately, I have been looking into ways to save a little more money here and there so that we can stretch our dollars a little farther. One of the things that I discovered is something I would have never thought of! When Auntie Flow comes to town, I had always figured that to be a cost that I would just have to live with, so imagine my surprise when I found that there are people out there who make cloth pads! The price is a little costly at first, so I saved up my money and researched it fully for what I wanted. My initial questions like, "Will they leak?" and "Will they stain?" flooded my mind as I researched it. I finally found one that I thought would work for me and put my money down. They arrived on Sat and Auntie Flow came soon after. It was the big test, I thought, and so I dove in. And I was pleasantly surprised! No leaks. No stains. These things are amazing! The best part is I can throw them in the wash and use them again and again. Comfortable and cute and if I treat them right, something that will last for years to come. Odd thing to be giddy about, I know, but I thought I would share anyway! :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tag! You're Identified!

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the stuff I can do to help myself in the event of a medical emergency. Now, before you think that I am about to go off the deep end, I am not obsessing over something horrible that might happen to me, but I am thinking about the people I interact with every day. I have heard more stories about people who have had different drug interactions and allergies that have popped up that have sent them to the emergency room since I started working in the pharmacy. I do have a couple of allergies that should be documented and kept on my person just in case something goes wrong, but that's not where my thoughts ended. I started thinking about whether or not I should wear some documentation that I have an anxiety/ panic disorder.

At first I wasn't sure. Wearing some sort of a bracelet with my disorders plainly engraved on it is a definite marking. I'd be labeling myself- literally. How would people react if they saw it and saw what I was diagnosed with? How would I feel about having my diagnosis open to the public? Then I started thinking about other things. What if I was in a car accident like I was when I was first married, and I completely started freaking out. The people trying to help me would probably need to know that there was more going on than just potential injuries. Yeah, I have handled things well in the past, but what if I don't for whatever reason?

Then I started thinking even further to why I feel ashamed of my own disorder. I love the place I work. For their medical insurance, they consider mental disorders just like any other medical condition and have no limitations on doctor visits or medicine that you might need. If my own insurance company can think of it that way, why can't I? And, if it is going to help me in the event of an emergency (that I hope never happens), maybe it's not such a bad thing after all.

So, yeah, I'll wear a bracelet to help those who are trying to help me. Maybe some day it will come in handy. And if it doesn't, well, I made sure to get a rather nice one that isn't a neon sign, so it should be a pretty accessory anyhow...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Learning the Hard Way

"I want patience and I want it right now!"

How often have I thought that phrase when I am wanting something that I don't have yet. Whether it is the money for a new car, full knowledge of everything I need to know in my new chosen profession, or the ability to see my family across the country, I tend to ask for patience in a very impatient way. In some ways, I have never grown up from the little child who needs instant gratification for her wants and needs. Sure, I understand that I need to wait, but do I really? The way our society works doesn't help me out any either. Everything seems to be "on demand" anymore. Instant access to news, shopping, and just about everything else is a click away on the internet. Got an earache or worse, there's clinics and even ER to get help for it immediately. Then there's the 24 hour stores, including the one I work at, which can give you products and services any time of the day or night. Sure, we are taught to wait when we are little, but we never really have to learn it. Until it's something that can't be instantly granted.

Ask the person who just got out of knee surgery if they want to go on a five mile run and they'll laugh at you. They have to be patient and give their body time to heal. For a lot of us, including me, that's learning it the hard way. It is the hard way because it is out of our control; and believe me, control is a big thing with an anxiety disorder. When you are worried about something, you want to control every aspect of it to make sure it gets done. You don't want to rely on others who might let you down, you want to be the bottom line, even if that means more responsibility, at least you know it was done and done right. Now, that kind of attitude will get you pretty far in the work-a-day world, but it will get you nowhere when it comes to the things of God.

After all, if it were up to Adam and Eve, they would have been brought back to the Garden with the birth of Cain, not Jesus. Jesus Himself would have brought down the Romans and became a king on earth if the Jews had their way on how this Messiah thing would pan out. But both of those scenarios weren't God's plan. God's plan was that Adam and Eve would have to be patient about going back to Eden, and that Christ would not be the earthly King, but the Heavenly King sent to save us all from our sins and not just the Jews from the Romans.

If it were up to us now, we would be up to the same tricks in a different way. Popular culture would tell us to pray a specific prayer or pray it in a specific way. There might also be talk of taking risks to prove your faith or living your life according to the strictest rules to prove your loyalty to God and your worthiness for what you ask for. But that gets back to what we can control and in the ways of God, we know that it isn't in our best interest for us to be in control. Despite what our sinful flesh may tell us, He does know what is best for us and has the best plan in mind. So our response to things that we want that God has not granted to us yet is somewhat of an inactive role.

We can pray to God daily that He might grant us what we wish. We can do what we are able to prepare us for what we pray. We can even express our frustration and anger to God over what we do not yet have. However, we must remember that none of those things are leverage to get what we want, for God is a God of gifts. We did not earn or merit our salvation, but while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us and gave us the gift of salvation in baptism. The forgiveness of sins is given to us in, with, and under the bread and wine of Holy Communion in His body and His blood and in Holy Absolution. Then, when we feel exhausted and wonder if God really hears our plea, we must pray, "Lord, I believe! Help, thou, my unbelief!" and trust that God will gift us when and where He chooses for His glory.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Beginnings

So, I started work in the pharmacy this week. It scared the crap outta me to say the least! I was so afraid of making a mistake or doing something completely wrong. However, I can say that I am grateful for technology that helps keep nasty mistakes from happening and the wonderful people who are working to train me to help keep me on my toes when the machines don't catch what mistakes I do make. It was also exhilarating! I am, indirectly, making a difference in people's lives to help them get healthy and stay healthy. Yesterday, I saw someone pick up a prescription that I had filled. She had thanks in her eyes knowing that her child was going to get well from the medicine. That was just neat to watch. I made a difference. The training is going well, even if my anxieties are high. It's hard to start a completely new profession, but I think I will be good at it, especially once I can get over the jitters.

This has caused me to think about other things lately, however. Things I need to let go of in order to move on. I don't want to admit it to myself, but I am still angry at some who have caused me to walk the path I am walking now. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would become a pharmacy technician when I was growing up. I always thought I would be a teacher. I do think this is for the best now, but I still find myself wanting to hold a grudge against those who made my path hard along the way. I need to forgive them and to be forgiven for those grudges. Some are fresher than others. Unfortunately, it's all made a little worse with my disorder because that guilt comes with anxiety and that anxiety comes with it's own physical consequences. I know it's private confession and absolution I need, but I am even scared to do that and not just because I will be confessing this grudge to another person, but because part of my fears stem from the trust needed to confess. It's not that I don't trust my father confessor- he's amazing! But I do feel that every time I trust a pastor outside of my own family, they let me down in some way. I know I need to get over that, too, but it's hard. Pray for me as I work through this. Trust is a tough path...

Friday, September 4, 2009

It has been way too long...

I should have updated this more frequently, but I just haven't seemed to have the time. I got the Pharmacy Tech job at Walgreens and today I got my first taste in the Pharmacy. Oh, boy is it fast paced! I am sure that I won't mind soon enough, but right now it was dizzying, and I was only working the register! I have to admit that my anxiety spiked a lot and I started to worry that I made a big mistake in going into the pharm tech business. I even felt like I was going to cry! However, on my break, I began rereading I Trust When Dark My Road and was reminded to give my fears, my anxieties, my cares about this new endeavor to Christ, Who wants what is best for me and will help me through any situation, even one as scary as the first day in the Pharmacy! The second half of my shift went much better after that. In fact, by the end when I started getting the hang of my little corner of the world in the Pharmacy, I started to enjoy it. I did feel horribly overwhelmed at first. Yeah, I know about different medications, about counting tablets and capsules, but to actually be there and see what is going on- wow! Talk about information overload! I hope I helped them out in there because I sure felt like I was a horrible burden. I know the managers have been impressed with my level of learning and picking up the regular front end/register things, but I had experience with that before. I have only book learning when it comes to the pharmacy, not experience. I hope I can find a good balance and become as good at the Pharm tech thing as I am at the cashier thing.

I had to quit the Target job as it was becoming too much for me to handle. Working two jobs and trying to learn one that is major in my next career move was a little much for me. I hated to just leave without two weeks notice, but when I tried to work with them to cut hours or *something*, they didn't seem to really want to work with me. It left me no choice but to leave them high and dry for my career. I felt bad for it, but stocking shelves isn't exactly where my heart is at.

I still feel overwhelmed and scared, but my official training in the pharmacy begins on Wednesday when I can ask lots of questions and they expect me to be learning. This will be a very good thing! :) I look forward to it and I am looking forward to the challenge.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Getting Along

I think I just about have the work routine down now. I still feel like I am not fast enough and have been looking at ways to improve how fast it takes me to stock an aisle. I am not sure if I take longer because I pick the aisles that are a challenge and I don't mind if there is a lot of work involved or if I am just slow. Either way, I am working towards speeding things up a bit. It takes time, but I want to be the best I can with what I have to do.

I am starting to fall behind on the cleaning again, so I need to get into gear for that. For whatever reason, I have been exhausted the last couple of days and have needed tons of sleep. Tim has a cold of some sort, so I am wondering if I battled that off with the extra sleep. No matter, it's time to clean the house again! (It never ends!!!)

I was so proud that we only spent $100 on groceries and I am confident that we can make that last about two weeks if we are careful. I have been making smoothies to curb my cravings for fresh fruit. This way I can use frozen fruit and it still tastes yummy! The fids have gotten into the bananas a couple of times. I have forgotten how much Daffy really likes to eat them! I also broke down and bought frozen veggies. I found that this was something that I couldn't do without and I am not sure how we did it before!

My anxiety is still trying to worm its way into things. I know that God is in control and that my baptism is still valid, but sometimes my sinful self wants me to fear myself to despair that things aren't going the way that I would like them to go. I have to remember that it is Thy will be done, not My will be done, but that is hard for someone who controls her anxiety by trying to control her life. God has and will continue to provide my daily bread.

Well, time to wake up the fids and get to cleaning. Lately, I have been able to put Buttercup on her back. Maybe I'll make a trick out of it! We'll see!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Break from Blogging, No Break from Life

Things have gone a little crazy since I last blogged. It has been a hard couple of days. I am getting used to getting up at two thirty/ three o' clock in the morning and I seem to be more awake at that time than I am at eight at night. I do feel like I am always a step behind on my sleep, though, and going to and from Chicago hasn't helped at all. Yesterday I never really did sleep all night. I took a couple of two hour naps instead. That just didn't work for me and today I had to sleep most of the day just to "catch up".

Things have been tough since we lost Peanut. I keep expecting him to run out of the bird room, chasing Snowball, singing, or wanting to be chased. I came home from work the day after all that happened and cried my eyes out for a while. The rest of the flock has been my constant companion since that happened. While the keets have been looking for Peanut, they are also starting to spend more time around the people part of their flock. Buster's toe is on the road to recovery and I think he will be fine.

However, each day that I make it through, each day that I have my daily bread from God, I am reminded that God is ultimately in control and that He will provide for me.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Second Day at Target and a Rough Homecoming

This morning went pretty well. I am starting to get the hang of working the line. I know I must be doing good when they forget about me every once in a while. I have worked my best to learn the ropes quickly and today they did have some hours to give that I was very tempted to take. I am glad that I didn't.

I came home and Peanut, our little English Budgie, was struggling to breathe and walking as if he were limp on one side. I remembered a vet that I passed on the way into work and wondered if they took care of birds. I knew whatever was going on was pretty serious. The odd thing is, he was fine yesterday. He was running around and playing like normal. He didn't eat or get into anything out of the ordinary. If he had, undoubtedly, the other parakeets who follow him around would have gotten sick, too. I called the vet that I passed on the way to work, and they agreed that they could see him right away. Eight in the morning used to be early for me. Now, I have already been up for five hours or so. Tim and I brought him in and the vet took one look and I could tell from her expression it wasn't good. She said she thought he had a brain tumor as he was very slow on his responses, seemed blind, and was showing behavior concurrent with nerve damage. He hadn't pooped yet that morning, either. While I was holding him, there were a couple of times that I thought he was going to stop breathing. The doc told me what I was afraid of when I brought him in. She said the most humane thing to do would be to put him to sleep.

I may have a lot of birds and I might just be crazy, but I love these little guys so much. I can tell you their stories, their goofy behaviors, and things that you just can't help but laugh about. I might have "eleven more", but the one I lost is mourned like the member of the family that he is. I keep thinking that I need to go and find him and see what he is up to or if he is behaving. A tear rolls down my cheek as I realize that isn't going to happen any more.

Peanut was a beautiful bird with a lot of life. He loved to be ornery and jump on other birds' tails just to be silly. He was the first budgie that the cockatiels ever saw and so he took great pleasure out of chasing them around and listening to them hiss. He was gentle and after he got to know the cockatiels, he would preen them and cuddle with them. He did that for Buster yesterday while Buster was in the hospital cage. He even sang Buster to sleep at one point. Peanut loved to be chased and would always put up a good chase if you wanted to put him somewhere or if you just wanted to play. He would routinely sing himself to sleep at night using all the sounds that the flock made in his song, including conure screams, quaker warblings, and cockatiel's whistles and their version of the "Big Rock Candy Mountain". Since we got two more budgies, he actually began to sound more like a budgie again. It was a shame that his life was taken from him before his first birthday, but we gave him all the life that we could. He was loved from the beginning and cherished. I will miss him greatly. He will always have a special place in my heart.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Day at Target

Well, technically second if you count the orientation. After finding out my hours start at four in the morning, well, I don't know if I want to count being cushy in the training room from nine until one. This is where most people would be drinking an espresso (I *hate* coffee- it's a Diet Dr. Pepper for me) and grumbling about the morning. That will probably be me in a week. Right now I have the nervousness of starting a new job and worrying that I am not going to be good enough keeping me awake. In a week I am sure that I will be hitting the snooze and contemplating rolling over for that extra five minutes.

So far so good with little Buster. We have been rotating some of the members of the flock (that are his size and that we know get along with him) to put in the hospital cage with him. Angel seems to be his constant companion right now. He was like that when he was a baby, helping clean off the baby food on his siblings faces when I would feed them. He may not be the smartest, but sometimes I think he has the most heart. It was a laugh riot when I stuck the budgies in there. They would run around and play and goof and Buster would tolerate it for a while but then would get upset and threaten them away. We can't keep Miracle in there because then Buster just courts her. Here he has a major injury and he's courting his mate. That's love for you right there.

Still plan on having a to do list when I come home. I won't make it now because I want to see how I feel in five hours or so. I might be wide awake and I might want to sleep for the rest of the day. Time will only tell! This is how God has chosen to provide for my daily bread for a while, and I will take the opportunity to its fullest. God will provide and has provided a job for me that will help support me and I thank Him for it. God is a God of promises and He has promised my daily bread. Today, I know He will provide because He has said so.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New To Do List... The Same To Do List

Well, yesterday turned out to be much more stressful than I figured on it being. After getting home and getting myself something to eat after work, Buster got bit on the foot pretty badly. I am still not completely sure what happened. It didn't really seem to bother him, though it scared the crud out of me. His toe was hanging by skin only and I am pretty sure he's going to lose the end of it. I held it together and kept the bleeding at bay until Tim came home, and then we bandaged it up. Hopefully, that helps with infection as well as keeping that wound clotted. The funny part about it all was that I was ready to do my to do list even with his injury because working on stuff like that helps keep my anxiety at bay. While I was waiting for Tim, I put Buster in an empty kleenex box with a paper towel so I could monitor his bleeding and catch to see if it was seepage or if it was worse than that. I wanted to keep him still, so the box was perfect because it was just his size. Well, he wouldn't let me leave, and it wasn't because he was so enamored with his mom and needing the reassurance that he was going to be ok. He wanted to go back and play with the rest of the flock and if I left, he tried to go find them. Considering I don't even know what happened or who attacked him for that matter, combined with the fact that he has a very serious injury, I didn't think that was such a good idea. So, I sat around staring at my computer screen with a bird pouting in a box for several hours waiting for Tim to go home so I could have the extra hands I needed to wrap up his foot.

SO- That means the checklist remained undone last night. I think that's perfectly understandable, don't you? So, I think I have a pre-made checklist for today, which is good. I have to be at work at four am tomorrow, so I want to try to get to sleep at about seven pm. I'll need to be nice and tired for this to work! So, here's to my exhausting, full, and to-do list filled day!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Job and New Checklist

So, I had my Target orientation today. Things went well. I have to admit to feeling rather anxious about "unloading the trailer" at work because I have never done it before. I am worried that I am getting in over my head and I won't be able to do this work. I know God will provide and if I put my mind to it, I'll be able to do it, but I am still very scared. I know it will get better when I get into it, but it still gives me anxiety pangs.

I need to make my checklist and get on with the housework. I also should remember to write my work schedule on the whiteboard so Tim knows what days that I am working. God provided me a job, helping provide for my daily bread. I held Him to His promise, and He fulfilled it. My God is a God of His promises!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Checklist Complete and Then Some!

I started off with a fairly full checklist today. I didn't want to take any medicine and I wanted my day to be full to help with that. My goal was to make a crock pot roast, some homemade bread, clean up the kitchen, living room, and dining room from the disaster that was this weekend of going down to Chicago and generally trying to make the apartment presentable. I also wanted to ride my bike and crochet as a reward.

Well, the day started off as planned. I made bread and waited for it to rise, bake, and generally be edible. The roast went into the crock pot and boy did it taste all yummy when it was finally done. Tim helped with the dishes so they went by faster and so when I was cleaning from the breadmaking and the dinner making, and the dishes that just get made through the course of the day, it wasn't overwhelming. However, doing all those dishes made me realize that the sink was still leaking, so I had to go down and tell my landlords again. It was a rusted out garbage disposal. So, they replaced it and it is so quiet! I love it!

When I was finally done with enough that I could ride my bike, it poured rain. So much for that idea! When the rain finally stopped, it was getting dark so I knew that I wasn't going to ride today anyhow. After finishing all of the stuff on the checklist, I decided to do some extra chores, so I ran the vacuum sweeper and cleaned up one of the bird play stands. I trimmed Daffy's wings after she flew into the kitchen a half a dozen times today. She snuck into the pop can box and hid in there for a while. She decided she wanted some butt roast and jumped on the crock pot (I am so thankful that she didn't burn herself!!) She flew to the sink for some water and almost fell into the dish water and then flew in a couple of times and then turned back around the moment I yelled at her, so I figured it was time for her to get her wings cut. Now she'll have to walk and I doubt she can climb up smooth wood cabinets to get where she wants to go. Maybe she'll realize that she's a bird again! Oh! I almost forgot! She also went onto the counter top where I kneaded the dough to try to eat the bread. I guess she didn't care that it wasn't cooked. She's the only bird who is that stubborn in our flock. She's also been with me the longest. Wonder where she got that stubborn streak from. ;)

Now I think it's time to rest up, put on a good movie, crochet a bit, and relax. I have done everything I planned and more. God provided my daily bread today in a wonderful way- through my own hands making that bread. What a wonderful gift!

Let's Start off the Week Right

Well, I have quite the task at hand after the weekend. It's always hard to get ready for the weekly trek down to Chicago, especially when I have the responsibility to remember everything we need: food, clothes, bird stuff, sermons, Bible study stuff. Generally, I do a pretty good job, however, in getting all of that and preparing two meals ahead of time, I ended up making a pretty good mess that I need to clean up from. That will be on my checklist today as well as making butt roast in the crock pot and making a loaf of bread. I woke up ready to go this morning, so I know I'll get it all accomplished. And who knows, maybe I'll get a job interview for a full time job today, too! Who knows! What I do know is that God will provide my daily bread and He is a God of promises, so I know he'll do it!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Long Day

Today started off with a question mark. How on earth did I not notice the huge rip in Tim's black pants before I packed them? They could have easily been repaired had I seen it, but I didn't. So, this morning when Tim went to wake me up, it was to tell me that there was a huge rip in the backside of his pants and a question as to what to do about it. I told him to run to the nearest Wal-mart and get a new pair whilst I packed up our hotel room and five birds and ate breakfast. This happened at 7 am, Tim was back with new pants and I was finished with packing and getting ready by 8 am.

We got to church just a little bit later than usual, so I had to rush to help Tim get his Bible class materials out, the hymn boards set, communion ware set up, make sure his vestments were where they were supposed to be, start the pot of coffee (that I don't drink- that stuff is nasty!), and be ready to greet parishioners before the 9 am service. Oh, did I mention there is a twenty minute ride between the hotel and church? Yeah, lots of stuff to do. On top of that, our organist was ill, so one of the ladies of our congregation who hasn't played in fifty five years helped us out (and did a wonderful job) and our acolyte wasn't here, so I was the candle lighter. Oh, and I sang a solo for Communion because the folks there are not used to silence during Communion, that's what an organ is for. Wow! What a whirlwind! By the time service was over, I wanted a nap!!

I was able to come home and rest for a while. Poor Tim had to work! Can I have a weekend to recover from my weekend? Sometimes I think I need one!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Waiting for God- Impatient Patience

Tim is officially off of CRM status as of last Sunday. He was called to a very part time call at Lamb of God Lutheran in Pleasant Prairie, WI, as an assistant pastor. However, it's still not as we want it to be as wonderful as this call is. We would love it if he got a full time call to a wonderfully Confessional church out there. Not just for money, not just for daily bread, but because it's who he is. He is a pastor. After he comes home from Wal-Mart, he's exhausted, downtrodden, and is easily put into a bad mood. After he comes home from preaching, he's upbeat, happy, and content. It's hard to deal with the frustration we feel from having been in this situation for over three years.

Don't get me wrong. I can see God's hand working while we have been going through this. It has brought us closer as a couple, it has shown us that the fear that many pastors have, of losing their call, is something that that can be worked through. It has helped us deal with our disorders in a completely different way that ultimately has allowed us to better control and help better understand anxiety and depression.

However, I find myself asking, "How long, oh Lord? How long shall we wait?" I want to put down roots, start a family, and feel like I belong somewhere instead of being a transient, wandering here and there and not having any direction like I feel that I do now. I know that will happen when Tim gets a call again. But, how long shall we wait for it and how long should we wait? That's the begging question today.

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Friday!

I am not sure what that means, anymore though. Before it meant that I had two days off and I could relax, but I have been able to "relax" more since I don't have a job. I have been able to get some things done that have needed to get done for a while. Today I'd like to tackle the bird cages and give them a thorough cleaning. Tim really wants to go for a bike ride, and that sounds fun to me, so I am game! I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast using bisquick. I'll have to write that recipe down so that when I start to make my own bisquick mix, I'll be able to make it again.

God will provide my daily bread, of this I am sure. I may not know how, but He will provide it today. Even if it is in the form of cinnamon rolls and soup that seems to be lasting forever! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Taking Today a Bit Easier

So, I had my job interview with Target today. It's only a part-time position from 4am to 8am, but it's much better than what I have right now. During my interview I also talked about possibly cross-training or taking on other tasks. That would be a wonderful way to get into the Pharmacy, so I went ahead and accepted the job. I had to go pee in a cup and prove that I am drug free. I am so glad they don't do blood tests for that sort of thing! I don't know if I would ever work if that was the case.

As a reward for getting through the interview process and the like, I am going to let myself rest a bit more today. I'll do some housework, but I will also give myself a chance to sleep and rest. It might have been only a two hour process, but it felt like an entire shift for me because of my anxiety. Tomorrow, I'll go back to the checklist and see what else I can accomplish off of it. It is definitely a great system.

God showed once again how He will provide my daily bread. Today, again, I shall pray for it knowing it will be provided.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Didn't Check It All Off, But That's OK

So the day did not exactly go as expected. The leak in the sink got *really* bad and I had to to the apartment office to ask for it to be fixed. That took over an hour of my time. The good news is that it is fixed and that we have a sink that works, sorta. The sink part is fixed but there is a leak somewhere else that I found, now. Well, I'll call the office again tomorrow and let them know that it's still making a bit of a mess on the bottom of my cabinet.

I did manage to get some housework done, make dinner, and even crochet a bit. I am running out of places to apply to quick and am now just browsing Monster, Career Builder, and Jobing. I am hoping that something will come up soon. I made a soup from scratch today that would make most restaurants jealous, or maybe that's just me! I thought it was good, anyhow, and I'll see what Tim thinks of it when he gets home from work.

I did go to the Divine Service today and that is always a good thing. That's the best daily bread that I can ask for. I have a job interview tomorrow for a part time position, and we'll see if I get it. I hope I do. Something is better than nothing. Today I prayed for God to give me my daily bread, and He did. I will be provided for because God promised it.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

I have to admit that I am starting to worry about how we are going to provide for ourselves. We have applied for food stamps, but there are other bills that my salary paid that I am worried we won't be able to pay yet. I have applied to fifteen jobs now, and there is only one job interview. I can't help but wonder why people don't want to hire me. Am I not a good worker? Did I not try my best at each task I was given? I don't know why I am not getting more interviews, but I am hoping that it will change. Each day I eagerly wait by my phone hoping for something to go down. Perhaps today will be the day. However, I am a cynic and afraid that it won't be.

I guess this is why I am on the checklist "to-do" system. This way I'll be able to keep myself busy if that phone doesn't ring. I am not sure what all will be on that checklist today, yet, but there is a Divine Service at 6:30 at Lamb of God that I will definitely be at. It will be good for me to get out of the house anyway. I do need a couple of things at the store, though I have to admit to being scared at spending any money at all. I have spaghetti noodles but no sauce and things like that.

I will make it through today and this evening, I will have the best food ever, Christ's own Body and Blood for the forgiveness of my sins. God will provide. He is a God of promises and He promises that He will take care of all my needs to support this body and life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Checklist Complete

I did it! I am so proud of myself! I made the checklist and then systematically (or just unorganizedly) started checking accomplishments off. It helped my anxiety today, as well, since I was Ativan free all day. I am still disappointed that I didn't get any more job interviews, however, the good news is that my head is above water and still in relatively good spirits. I know that the next couple of days are actually going to be the hardest because my energy is up and I keep expecting something to happen and something may or may not happen or happen the way I want it. However, each day I will pray, "Give us this day our daily bread" and I will work on worrying about one day at a time. God will provide.

Today's Checklist in Hand

I thought about making the to do list last night, and then decided that since I pray "Give us this day our daily bread", I should probably take things one day at a time in both worrying about what I will get as blessings and what I should do. I made the to-do list up after I woke up.

I have now applied to thirteen jobs and have one job interview on Thursday for a part time position. I am hoping that this will amount to something as I am worried that Tim's hours might get cut at any time. Then again, give us this day our daily bread, his hours were not cut *this* week and he is at work currently. I need to try my best to keep things to one day at a time, as hard as that really is.

My anxiety level is up but I am happy to say under control enough that it doesn't need medicine, yet. I am hoping that it stays that way all day. If not, I have to remember that it isn't a failure on my part but merely one of the tools in the tool box God gave me to help me deal with this particular situation as well as my disorder in general.

I am thinking about riding my bike around for exercise. At my previous employer, I would take regular walks with the kids and hardly sat around. I am hoping that some physical exercise outside of the apartment will help my mood. I have already decided that no matter how messy the house is, the windows will be opened daily for as much natural light as I can get. I might feel like life is dark and dank right now, but I don't need my house to fit my mood. God will provide as He has so far and will continue to do so.

The birds are checking on me on a regular basis. I think they can tell when I am all anxious as well. One or two of them check up on me on a fairly regular basis if there is not already one on my computer or on my shoulder. I often wonder how they know these things and then I remember that God uses them too, even if they aren't cognitively doing it. Yet another way that God gives me my daily bread- even if I don't have people calling and checking on me, the birds do and that makes me feel less lonely as well.

Well, one job application down for today already so now the housework and recreation things await. God will provide my daily bread today as well. This I know because He has promised it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Didn't Check off All the Items

I think the idea of a checklist was a great idea! Unfortunately, I got a little behind when I had to take some anti-anxiety meds to help me make it through the day. I think part of it is that I am more of a target for my own anxiety when I am alone and I can't keep my hubby home to keep my mind off of things. I'll work off of a checklist tomorrow again and keep my original goal of weaning myself off of the anti-anxiety meds. It's not that they are bad for me, it's just that I don't want to go around with cotton on my brain if I don't have to. I would rather be me with no cotton.

I do keep looking forward every day. Perhaps Tim will get a full time call and the push for me getting a job to keep our finances above water won't be such a push like it is now. Perhaps something that I don't even expect will come out of the woodwork. It's not like God reveals His surprises to me- it ruins the gift! :) Anyhow, I think I'll take my sleep medicine and call it a night. Tomorrow's goals include another job application, some housework, and who knows what else. I'll worry about the rest tomorrow.

Today I prayed, "Give us this day our daily bread," and God provided my daily bread. The Lord is a God who fulfills His promises and on Him I lay my cares. He will provide again tomorrow because He promised to do so. I will be at peace, even if my disorder in my sinful flesh won't allow it, I will be in my new self.

Organization for an Anxious Day

Things are not what they should be for me right now. Yeah, there are some good things happening, but there is a very major problem in my life that I will not post on a public forum such as this. Needless to say, it has caused me more anxiety than I care to handle. I am back on my anti-anxiety and sleep medications as well as the regular SSRI. I don't want to be, though. I hate taking them and worse, I hate the fact that I have to take them at all. I seem to be beating myself up over the fact that I could backslide so easily. However, I am not without recourse. I may not be able to control outside circumstances, but I can control some.

I have decided I am going to make myself a "To Do" list today of both things I have to accomplish and things that I want to accomplish. This way I keep organized and don't fret over what I should be doing. These are my goals for today, and God willing, I will complete them and then not feel so horribly out of control for today (with a secondary goal of getting off the anti-anxiety and going down to just the sleep medicine). Wish me luck! I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Should I Be Afraid?

I have an anxiety disorder. It's something I have lived with my entire life. It's something that I will probably deal with until the day I die. It's part of who I am and I know it's not normal, but I consider it rather normal for my life. I am plagued by fears that most people could brush off without thinking about it, but I can't seem to. I have learned to live with that and accept it. However, I have learned that not everyone is as comfortable with this as I am.

People seem to be scared of the idea of a mental disorder. I am not sure if they are afraid that I will completely lose control and be unable to handle things in life or if they are just afraid of seeing a bit of themselves in me. The unknown is very frightening, especially when it comes to something so dark and mysterious. Afterall, with something like diabetes or cancer, we at least know what causes it and why it happens, and that seems to make it easier for some people to deal with those diseases. Mine isn't so cut and dry. The experts aren't completely sure what causes my problems, nor is it clear why it affects some people and not others.

However, I can assure you that there is nothing to be afraid of with my anxiety. First of all, it's not contagious. You can't catch it from being around me. It's not deadly. I won't fall over dead one day from a panic attack. In fact, I have found that the worst of situations don't even merit an anxiety attack for me- I seem to wait until things are fine before I fall apart. You may not understand it, but I can assure you that I am not all that different from anyone else. I have the same fears and worries, stress and tension, just for whatever reason, my body doesn't handle it quite the way that it should. There are many like me, some diagnosed and some not, who are out there. You have seen them and interacted with them though you might not have known it. It could be your sister, brother, father, mother, best friend, school teacher, or cashier at the grocery store. It doesn't affect just one type of person or race, it's across the board.

Should you be afraid of someone with a mental disorder? Nope. There's nothing to fear. Instead, love, understand, and care for the person. Help if you can and take your cues from them on how to help.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Evils of Medication

In a perfect world, we would never need anti-anxiety and depression medication. We would be perfectly happy with everything that we were given and every situation that we face. There would be no shame associated with needing the medication nor would there be a feeling of failure if you have to take it. It simply wouldn't exist. Until we reach eternity, that just simply isn't the case. Here in this sinful, fallen world, we need medicine sometimes to help us through our lives. Sometimes things get so overwhelming that assistance is needed.

I always find it ironic that most people are willing to take pain relievers when they have a headache or antacids when they have indigestion, but they are scared to take their anti-anxiety or depression medication when they need it. I haven't been able to decide if it is a fear of the medicine because it's strong enough to need a prescription or if it is a fear of what it stands for. So what does it stand for?

I am a sinner. I am a failure. I cannot control myself on my own, I need something to stabilize me. That is a crippling thing to think that it stands for! It makes one out to be nothing; someone who cannot function without help. It makes it so that we are not self-sufficient and that is something that we do not want to be. On top of it, what will others think of us? Will they think that we are crazy and that we should be avoided? Will I be shunned in society?

Unfortunately, if this is what admitting the disorder and taking the medication entails, many people want nothing of it. They would rather suffer in their own personal hells alone than admit to the problem, and in that they have a prison of their own making, spiritually and socially.

Socially, if you don't have something to stabilize you and you really need it, people are going to shun and avoid you. If you cannot control your temper, your depression, your incessant worry, and the like, people are going to steer clear of you because they don't want to deal with such negativity! They are dealing with enough on their own!!! They don't want to carry your burdens because they are overflowing onto their lives. They will try for a while, but eventually, they just won't be able to keep up with their stuff and yours. Untreated disorders bring exactly what some see medication as bringing: detachment from others. If cognitive behaviour therapy and other natural means control your disease, congrats! For those that it doesn't work for, remember that untreated is so much worse than treated!

Spiritually speaking, it's an even bigger mess. This idea that we can do it on our own without any help can spill over into our life with God as well. After all, if you think you can beat your disorder on your own, you might very well start to think that you can beat your sin on your own, too. All of the diseases on earth have one common root: sin. This root means that no matter how much we try to prolong or improve life, the wages of sin is death and that means disease as well, including depression and anxiety. It has many varieties, but the cause is all the same and we know that we cannot defeat sin on our own. If we could, there would be no need for Christ. Christ, who felt everything we felt, including anxiety that caused Him to sweat His blood, was perfect in keeping all the Commandments so that He was given as a perfect sacrifice for the redemption of His people. He did it all for us because we couldn't. Sometimes that's how God works with medication, too. When we are in our depths and cannot help ourselves, God works through means- a tablet or capsule- to alleviate the disorder within it. Spiritually, He gives His body and blood in with and under the bread and wine in Holy Communion as the medicine of immortality, and the medication for our disorders as the specific and temporary balm for our brand of sin.

Do I think medication is evil? Not when you really need it, so don't fear it. Instead, respect it and give glory to God that you have been given a gift by Him to help you work through your disorder.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Stiff Upper Lip

Sometimes the mask is just hard to maintain. It's hard to pretend like everything is okay when you want to cry your eyes out. It's hard to look at the world and smile when on the inside you are a writhing mess. You want to cry out to the world the pain that you feel inside only to know that they either won't care or will turn a deaf ear. Sometimes these moments last for hours and sometimes for days. Sometimes the silence of your own pain is as deafening as a concert at Summerfest. Either way, it is hard to be at home feeling the hurt and the rejection and then walk outside and smile to the rest of the world acting as if there is nothing to care about. It's hard to have the anxiety of a dreaded upcoming moment masked by the proper way to behave in public, that is, act like nothing is the matter. Wouldn't it be easier if we could just fall apart sometimes and let people know how we really feel without the bumpers of society? That sort of raw emotion is especially hard to process when it is a mix of anxiety and anger.

However, as Christians, it is important that we do just that. It is important that we bumper our raw emotions because we don't know how others might take it. In helping rid ourselves of hurt we don't want to hurt others. That is sin. It's not that simple, though, and often we fail. There are times that our emotional outbursts do hurt others and in our expression of raw emotions, we don't always say what we mean. In those times, it is Jesus' forgiveness that covers our failures, our sins. We ask the forgiveness of Christ and others in those moments and work to do better next time.

I haven't had one of those moments recently, but I fear that I will tomorrow. Pray for me that I keep myself in check but also do what needs to be done.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What to Do When You Can't Do Anything Else

I'm an easy one to peg in a tough situation. I am the worrier. I worry about everything. From how people are going to react to the logistics of what the outcome of the situation might be, I worry. I worry about things that never cross most people's minds. Let there be no doubt about this. This type of worry is a sin. What's worse, there seems to be nothing I can do about it. Oh, I can read the self-help books. I can get stubborn and decide it's not going to bother me. I can dig my heels in and use every technique I have learned to help myself get through it. However, when all of these are said and done, they are merely coping strategies. They are things to ease me out of the tangled mess I get myself into internally each time I worry about what is happening in the world around me. The truth is, the moment I worry and take the situation out of God's hands and try to do something about it, even by just worrying about it, I have sinned. It has become second nature to me to do so in every stressful situation. Scratch that, it was first nature to begin with according to my old Adam. I was born this way- blind, dead, and an enemy of God. My worry may be how that particular reality manifests itself, but it is a sin. The wages of sin is death, the Lord says (Romans 6:23).

That seems very accurate for my worry, too. When I get the old anxiety motor revving, I feel rather dead inside. I want to do something to fix that feeling too, but I can't. Again, I can work to overcome it eventually, but at its core when it first starts, I am powerless. It's just there. It's sickening and hard and I can't just wave my hand and make it go away.

That's the start of the blessing about this disease, however. If I could wave my hand and make it go away, I might get cocky about it. I might just think that if I can cure myself of this anxiety, I might be able to do other things, like cure myself of sin. After all, my particular brand of sin, namely anxiety and worry, is still just as sinful as other things that people struggle with in their lives. So, by not being able to cure myself at the root, like I would like to, I have to rely on something outside of myself to make me right inside.

So, off I go to the hospital I go, where I receive the medicine to cure my ailing flesh. It is a weekly thing for me and I cannot even really take credit for going, for if He hadn't called me to be His own, I think I would still be trying to cure my anxiety apart from Him through some other means. The hospital is the Church, where I receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. The medicine is the Medicine of Immortality, namely Christ's body and blood, given to me in, with, and under the bread and wine in Holy Communion. I was called by Him in my baptism, where He marked me as His own through ordinary water and the Word of God.

Where I drown in the weight of my sin, including anxiety, God plucks me from the murky waters and crowns me as a princess in His kingdom. He works through things like self- help books, psychologists, medicine, and His pastors to give me a glimpse of what has already happened to me that I cannot fully see yet. The anxiety has already been overcome. I have been made whole again already by Christ's death on the cross. I know it is true and that I will have an anxiety free body and life in heaven because Christ rose from the dead and I, too, shall rise again, and with all the saints, live sin free, anxiety free, and worry free in heaven with my God forever.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What I Have Come to Appreciate

It has been a hard first three years of marriage for Tim and I. There were times when we weren't sure if we were going to financially make it. There were times where the tension could be cut with a knife in the Schellenbach household. Some of it was our fault, some of it happened to us. Regardless, I am content.

I am content with who I married. Tim is a wonderful man with a good Christian heart. He is loving, supportive, and wants to do what is best for me no matter what the cost to him. He has worked to understand me and grown to love the parts about me that I don't like. He is patient with me through my anxiety and works to help me through it whenever he can. Honey, I couldn't ask for anyone better and I look forward to growing old with you!

I appreciate all that God has given me. He has helped me understand the value of money and what it important. For a shop-a-holic, it was a great lesson to learn. I learned to enjoy the little things that I could work for and appreciate more deeply than if I bought it flippantly and didn't invest time in it. Something as simple as a new purse or watch is something that brings me so much happiness because I know that I worked hard and earned it well.

I have learned that there is a life outside of TV and movies. There are birds to play with (lots at my house!) who are well worth the time spent. God blessed me with these birds so that when my husband isn't home, I am never alone. They sing to me, take care of me, and keep me company. Daffy, a bird I have had for eight years now, even licks the tears off my face when I cry and Cinnamon won't leave my side when I am sick even to take care of herself. If it wasn't for how my life was turned completely upside down three years ago, I might not have never known these things.

There is so much to be appreciative about in my life that I can't list it all without filling up the entire internet bandwith! The summary of it all can be: Thanks be to God to all the blessings He has given me!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Perception and the Eight Commandment

~~~~~~~Warning: Rant Mode ON ~~~~~~~~

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the connection between perception and the Eighth Commandment. I can't help but think that if Christians would view things in a more Christ-like manner, we would save lots of heartache and trouble. I get so flustered when I hear things that could easily be explained away putting the best construction on a situation or simply asking the person who upset you what was going on. I can't stand it when tempers and anger take control of a situation instead of rational thought and understanding. Too many people nowadays look only to themselves and how they are victimized by other and how they can use that to get the best of every situation no matter what the cost is to anyone else. I have seen this done in churches, in the workplace, in charities, in the government, and business places. It would make the world a much better place if we stopped for one second in a situation that upsets us and think about it for a while. Perhaps there is a good explanation just waiting to be explored. Perhaps forgiveness is better than anger.

Don't get me wrong, there are times when things are wrong and situations have to be handled to the end that the wrong is righted, but not every time. The fact is, we can't always have our own way and hurting anyone and everyone who gets in our way on our path to self-gratification is simply wrong.

~~~~~~~~~~Rant mode: off~~~~~~~~~~~

Return to your regularly scheduled blogging now.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Writer's Block

I have been looking at my blog from time to time, wondering what I should write here. Should I do something serious or something funny? And every time I start, I decide I don't like what I have and erase the whole thing only to start again. It's been frustrating. However, I guess that means there's a bit of good news in that.

My anxiety seems to be under control for the moment. There have been no anxiety outbursts, no panic attacks, no sleepless nights from worry. I can't say that life is stress free, but it certainly isn't out of control, either. I thank God for that. It's nice to have an up time to stop and smell the roses (and then have the good ole allergies kick in!)

My parents are going to come and see me at the beginning of July. I am looking forward to that immensely! I haven't really got to see them since Sept. of '06. Sure, I saw them for my younger brother's wedding and the Wheeler family reunion, but I didn't really get to spend any time with them. I have already asked for time off and plan on spending every waking minute possible with them. It's gunna be awesome!

So, I guess my writer's block is solved by saying "all's well!" in dcepegasus land. That's a pretty good place to be!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Awesome Book Headed to Publication

For a while now, I Trust When Dark My Road has been on my blog links. Well, awesomely enough, the title of that blog has now also become a title for a book, set to be published this July. It is well worth your time and you get a free copy! Ordering information is available on the blog website. Check it out!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tears and My Baptism

It has been a really hard week for me. I won't go into it. It doesn't matter. It's just been hard. There have been lots of tears, frustrations, anger, and sadness. I can't say my anxiety went off the handle, but I am sure that it plays a part somewhere in all of those emotions. However, all of this stuff pales in comparison to what I still have. Yeah, things are tough right now and hard to go through, but my baptism is still valid. In fact, God has a great reminder for us that our baptism is still valid built in to our own reaction to pain. Tears, as they wash over our face and cover our face in that salt water, also remind us of our washing and rebirth in baptism, where we were clothed in Christ. Even in pain, God points us to Him, to where He has promised to be, namely Word and Sacraments. It's kind of awesome that a God who has gone through what we have gone through also gives us reminders of His goodness and mercy.

No, it's not magic, and my week won't suddenly get all sunny and happy, but the reassurance of the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation is all I need to get through it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hunger and Thirst for the Sacrament

It's never fun to have an anxiety attack. I hate it when they happen. To make it worse, I had one in church on Sunday. What a place to have anxiety! The walls that have heard the words "Fear not. Be still and know that I am God," became witness to my sweaty palms, racing heart, and rapid breathing. My mind kept wandering to the coping strategies that help curb what was going on within me. Except, what was going on around me was exactly what I needed. When I turn to the strategies of reading the Word, I realized that I can find that in the Divine Service I was sitting though in that moment. Whether it is during the liturgy, the readings, and the prayers. The beginning of the service begins with the Invocation, as did my life in Christ at my baptism. Just in case I doubt that my sins are forgiven, the forgiveness of sins is pronounced in corporate confession and absolution.

However, my eyes focused on the Sacrament of the Altar. The medicine of immortality, as my pastor has said to me. Is it some sort of magic that would instantly fix my anxiety? No, not unless God willed it for me in that moment, but that was not what I was asking for anyhow. I wasn't looking for a miracle for my frail flesh, because I know what goes on there goes way past the moment of suffering I am going through. One fear that always gets me in my anxiety attacks is the fear of death, of either myself or my loved ones, and the Sacrament that I and my loved ones partake of is the Medicine of everlasting life.

My greatest fear has been defeated by Christ and given to me as a gift in my mouth and into my body. My broken, fearful self has perfection given to me in my body. I know that there is no merit or worthiness in me. Especially in the moment of anxiety, I know that it is all gift because there is nothing I can do to fix me. It must come from outside of me.

I found myself craving the Sacrament sitting in the pew. As I waited for the Service of the Sacrament, I heard the words of Christ assuring me that He was the Good Shepherd. That He is there to take care of me, when things are going well and when my anxiety is at its worst. During the sermon, my eyes looked to the crucifix, standing above the place where the Sacrament was found. It reminded me of exactly what I was getting in the Sacrament, that is, the very body and blood of Christ in, with, and under the bread and wine.

The Sacrament, which I may not see the full effects now but will definitely see when I am in Christ's kingdom in heaven, reassures me that I will not always be this way. I will be whole in heaven!! When I take part of the Eucharist, I get a foretaste of what is to come. For now, I must see it through the eyes of faith, but in heaven, I will see it with my own two eyes standing in the presence of God Almighty, who is my Good Shepherd and has taken such good care of me while I sojourn on earth.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too Funny for Words

Sometimes working with young children means that you hear things about family life that most parents would like the general population to be ignorant on. Other times, children say things that are funny to adults that they don't completely understand. Other times children do things that are so unpredictable and hilarious that the only thing to do is to sit back and have a good laugh. Working with very young children makes that even more unpredictable. One such event happened today. While dropping a toy for another one, this frog found itself in a very compromised position. Which only leaves me wondering, "What did this frog do to deserve this?!"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Poor Nurse, He Had to Deal With Me

I think I pushed my cold too far. I should have taken a day off or two before it got as bad as it did. Yep, I ended up in ER on Saturday night. I wanted to go to the Easter Vigil, especially since I had made it to the Good Friday service on Friday at Our Savior, but I didn't make it to the other service that Tim preached at. My lungs felt like they were collapsing in on themselves and to make matters worse, I felt like I couldn't get enough oxygen. The final diagnosis: pneumonia.

However, the poor nurse that had to deal with me in ER probably didn't know what to do with me! They checked my vitals and then took X-Rays (where the pneumonia showed up) and last (but certainly not least) they took blood. However, since I was in ER, they decided to start a line. I hate needles. I have a terrible fear of them. I also hate blood. I hate seeing it, I hate having to deal with it. Put two fears together and you already have a recipe for disaster! However, for me, starting a line is so much worse because it stays in. I wouldn't have reacted completely as bad I think if it was simple- poke in, take out, all done! Oh, no, IVs hurt, and worse than that, YOU CAN SEE BLOOD not to mention the fact that you know there's still a needle in you (I know, it's not really a needle per se, but same thing in this phobic mind!).

Well, I handled it in my traditional way before learning how to deal with stuff like this! The only way I have found that I can make it through getting blood drawn/IVs put in is to take very deep slow breaths. There's only one problem with that when you already have a tight chest and cough when you breathe in too far- you can't do it! So, in typical me fashion, I panicked. I puked. It was great. The nurse I think panicked a bit, too, because he gave up and left me alone for a while. The doc was wonderful and got a prescription for an anti-anxiety right away. So, the next time, it wasn't nearly as traumatic, for me or the poor nurse!!

I always feel so helpless and stupid when I have that kind of reaction to simple medical procedures, but at the same time, I don't know what else I can do except work to make next time not so bad (and pray that there won't be a next time)!

Monday, April 6, 2009

This Just In...

As I have been looking over my blog lately, I started thinking about the number of posts that I seem to have made about myself. Granted, this is my blog, so that makes sense. However, this got me thinking about whether or not I have made me an idol in my writing. I should hope I haven't, but the sinful flesh always has ulterior motives, including hoping that I increase those who read my blog and make myself popular. So, for that, I should be in repentance and realize I am at God's mercy. However, though my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, this isn't a bad thing because my baptism washed me in Jesus' blood and God sees Christ when He looks at me. At God's mercy means I am forgiven and saved!

However, this did make me think further. I do not search out of guilt but out of curiousity. Can a disorder be an idol? Lots of times we think about an idol being something that we believe in that will save us. Be it money or a false god, the idol we have gives us something that we would otherwise lack. But a disorder? It's a burden, a cross, a hardship. It's hardly desirable and can do nothing but bring torment and harshness. But, if it is at the center of one's being, if it is at the center of everything that a person does, if it is at the core of how a person defines themselves, could it then be an idol?

An interesting thought. I would love feedback (and not just to increase readers! ;))

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stronger Than I Think?

All too often I feel very inadequate to handle the stuff that life throws at me because of my disorder. It's not that I want to feel like a victim, I just have a hard time thinking of myself as "strong" when my heart starts racing the moment I get into something normal like an elevator. Conflict and debates are some things I typically read or listen to, but I try my best not to get involved because I don't know always how to handle it. It is easy to get into routine and even a rut for me because I fear change, not because change could be bad, but because change is different from what I am comfortable with. So, this weekend, when I was talking to my mom, and she said that she believed I was stronger than I thought, I wasn't exactly sure what to say about it.

Sure, I have done some things in my life that I never thought I could. I drove a U-Haul once- that's sometimes my mantra when I am trying to convince myself that I can do anything! But to say that I am strong because I can do some things that I consider brave that others see as mundane just seems odd to me. However, as I was thinking about it, I realized that my mom may be on to something.

The first step I took that many haven't is that I recognize and am working on my disorder. I am not so afraid of being branded as a "mental case" that I am unwilling to get help. I don't think of myself so highly that I think I am above needing help either. I went and saw the doctor and started the work to get better.

The second step that I did was to learn about my disorder and what it says about me. Learning about it helped me define who I am. I learned about what my disorder does to me and why it causes the things that it does. In turn, I was able to either learn to use these to my advantage or use the strategies worked on between my doctor and I to correct the unhealthy behavior. Sometimes it is hard not to be hypercritical of myself because of this self-reflection, however, that's also something that I am working on.

The third thing I did was recognize that this, too, can point to God's goodness and mercy. Through my anxiety disorder, God has taught me so many things, the biggest one, I think, is how much I need Him and how much I cannot do for myself. In the middle of an anxiety attack, I usually have to take something outside of myself into myself to solve the problem- adavan or temazepam. In the middle of my sin, Christ comes to me through my baptism, absolution, and the Holy Supper to give me salvation that I could not attain on my own. The similarities are uncanny!

Is my mom right? Am I stronger than I think? I am not sure, however, I have found that mommies are hardly ever wrong...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gospel Focused Bible Studies

What is the purpose of having a devotion at the beginning of a meeting in a church or a church run organization or business? Why do we do it as Christians? There has to be some sort of motivation for the action, however, I am not sure if anyone has a clear cut reason for why they do it. Perhaps it is expected or required because it is a Christian organization, and so meetings that have to do with the secular and not the sacred have a need for some sort of devotion to make the point that this is a Christian organization. But what type of devotion should be had, then? What should we study when the Bible study is not the main point of the meeting?

I have observed many different customs when it comes to answering this question. One such custom is do read the readings of the day or reread the readings appointed for the week. Others use a devotional book that is dated and simply read the devotion of the day. Still others use it to highlight an issue or problem that needs to be addressed.

All of these are good and noble reasons for a short Bible study before the start of a meeting. However, I have also seen this abused. I have seen Bible studies as a way to rebuke behavior without the Gospel. I have seen it used in the way of the Law where the Bible is used as a weapon to hurl at those who offend us. There is nothing wrong with using the Law to crush unrepentant sinners. There is nothing wrong with using the Law to show others their sins. This is one of the purposes of the Law that we learn in Catechism. However, the Law is never delivered without the Gospel. The Law shows us our sins and points us to the need for a Savior- The Savior, that is, Jesus Christ. In a Bible study setting, the study with a Law focus has the wrong focus and is much better left undone unless the Law is followed immediately by the Gospel.

However, that is not how we like to rebuke others, is it? We want them to feel horrible about what they have done and how they have sinned against us and God. We want to make sure that using the authority of both God and ourselves, the improper behavior is corrected out of fear, guilt, and the realization that something wrong has transpired. Allowing that word of Law to hang in the air gives it a finality to it. This is not the way it should be, it says, and it will be corrected instantly. That is perfectly fine in a secular employee- employer situation. There are times when we should be told that a certain behavior is unacceptable and will be stopped, but that is usually in a one on one situation and does not happen in a large group. However, in that one on one situation, there is usually an opportunity for repentance. The offending individual can apologize for the behavior and assure the boss or supervisor that the behavior will indeed stop and that they are truly sorry for it. As Christians, the response to those words is forgiveness. This does not absolve the person of any future offenses, but it does absolve the ones that the individual has apologized for.

Unless there is an open forum where the offending parties can offer an apology between the Law and the Gospel portion of Bible study (a practice that is very uncomfortable and is better left in a private setting), repentance should be assumed and the Gospel should be proclaimed. No one should leave that meeting feeling as if they are condemned because they didn't live up to the standards set forth by God and proclaimed in the Bible study. It is very difficult for someone to hear that they didn't measure up and they sinned, but it is even worse to do so without pointing them to the Savior. Reminding us that we do not live up to the example given to us by Christ is a good thing to remember, but it is worthless unless it is taken one step further. Christ lived the perfect example for us so that we, who cannot by nature, don't have to. Christ, the perfect sacrifice, paid our ransom for our sins and bought us back so that we may be his own and live under Him in His kingdom forever. When we sin and repent of those sins, God, who is faithful and just, forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. That, and not our sins is what the focus of Christianity is, and therefore should be the focus that Christians keep in all our vocations given to us by God. Sanctification comes after justification with God, and it should with us as well.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hating Conflict and Learning to Pick Your Battles

I hate conflict. There is no doubt about it. I hate the physical, emotional, and sometimes spiritual problems that result from conflict. Perhaps I have it tougher because the physical sides of conflict mimic and sometimes create anxiety symptoms. Anxiety attacks are something I try to avoid as much as possible. Not only are they not fun to go through at the moment, they also tend to ruin my day because I don't process the chemicals out of my body the way that most people do. Once the adrenaline and other byproducts of anxiety pour into my system, they take quite a while to get out, which results in headaches, more anxiety (sometimes), and a general feeling of tenseness. It's not fun.

Sometimes that means that I don't pursue things that need to be dealt with. I might avoid a dealing with a situation so that I don't have to worry about the problems that might arise from it. Sometimes this keeps me from picking an unnecessary battle and sometimes it means that things that should be taken care of are not. For me, it takes quite a bit of "guts" for me to actually bring up something that bothers me. I am always a little proud of myself, regardless of the outcome of the conflict, when I do speak up because I prove to myself then that I don't always run away from conflict.

I also react differently to different conflicted situations. Sometimes I fold in on myself, ready to make compromises wherever I feel they need to be made to resolve the situation. Other times I stand my ground unwavering (and then afterward wonder if I was correct for doing so). Sometimes I allow the conflict to be talked out and compromises are made that benefit all in the situation.

There are times when each tactic is needed. Sometimes petty things need to be dealt with by simply deciding that there is no need to be upset over them at all because they are not that important. When it comes to faith in Christ and the Truth of the Scriptures, there is no compromises, only fact. When an issue is important enough to warrant a discussion needing resolution, it is important to talk everything through calmly and rationally to bring the conflict to a close.

My biggest issue is deciding which tactic is needed for which situation. As I said, I try to avoid conflict as much as possible, which means sometimes I take the path of least resistance instead of the path that is right for the situation. How much of it is my personality and how much of it is my disorder? It is hard to say. Regardless, I have been working on speaking up when it needs to happen, working with those I am in conflict with when there needs to be a resolution, and walking away, either literally or mentally, from the problems that are really not that big of an issue.

So, I wonder, does anyone else suffering from GAD, depression, or other mental or behavioral disorders have this issue?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Restful Weekend

When I work too hard, my body always has a thing about making me slow down. This was one of those weeks. At the beginning of the week, I had mild cold symptoms, by the end of the week, I had a fever, some nasty congestion, and a cough that would make a seal think I was calling for him. The result is that I slept more this weekend than I have in a long time. I guess I had really exhausted myself, because no matter how much I sleep, I still feel like I could go for more. As much as I know that I need to rest, it always seems to take something a little more drastic before I take that to heart. I try to push myself as hard as I will go every day until I fall into a heap on the bed and sleep too little to get up and do it again the next day.

Unfortunately, this is also a bad habit I have picked up from my anxiety. My anxiety usually hits me worse at night, when I have time to think about what is going on. It is usually when my brain is active but my body is craving rest that my worst fears start moving around in my head. What is even harder is usually my body is so tired that I don't have the energy to fight that. The thoughts roll around, unhampered, in my brain causing my anxiety level to rise. In the end, I am either an insomniac or I have horribly scary dreams all night because I went to bed anxious. Either way, the options are limited and I feel like there is no way out, which also increases my anxiety level. The result became that I would push myself as hard as I could possibly go so that when it came time to go to sleep, I could practically pass out without much time laying in bed waiting for sleep to come. This created a wonderful cycle of exhaustion, which causes more anxiety because rational thought is not a friend of exhaustion, working too hard to ensure that I sleep with the minimal amount of anxiety, getting too little sleep, and going back into exhaustion. Usually, the eventual result of this cycle is some sort of an illness. Be it a cold, the flu, strep throat, or some other ailment that will cause me to finally get the rest that my body has been craving.

The good news is that I broke that cycle long ago with the aid of my doctors, help from my husband, and a few memorized hymns that I can ponder on if I have trouble sleeping or find my anxiety trying to badger me into insomnia. However, the cycle that I created for myself still creeps in on me, just as much as the other bad habits I created for myself before I got help for my disorder. If I am not alert, making sure that I continue in the good habits that I am relearning, and not allowing myself to fall back on bad habits, I will find myself right back where I started. It has been a rough couple of weeks for me, (Though this week has been better than I have had in months!) and the result is that I fell back on bad habits. Doc gave me sleep medication if I need it to keep me from going back to the lack of sleep cycle, but instead of using that, I got stubborn, decided I was better than the medication, and wound up sick. I definitely need to keep better tabs on what is going on with me and make sure that I don't fall back on bad habits. This cold is no fun!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Learning What You Can Do In the Moment

This morning really did start like any other morning. I got up and checked on the birds to make sure they were okay and then put them in their cages for the day. Then I started my morning routine. Certain things were a bit off for me, which later I discovered were a good thing. I had lots of things to bring with me to work so I packed up my bags a little early. This included making sure the bibs were ready to go (I get to wash them every week), so I had to also take my clothes out of the dryer and they were set out. This became very important to me in the near future. I finished up my shower and right as I turned off the water, the fire alarm went off. Not the smoke detector. The fire alarm. Those really fun things they have in my apartment building that ring like an old fashioned telephone except ten times louder. At first it took me completely by surprise, but it didn't take long to recognize what was going on. There was a fire and I needed to get out. I didn't think, I did what needed to be done. I couldn't go outside in a bathrobe at five degrees above. That would be almost as bad as staying in a fire since I was soaking wet. I looked around and smelled the air. I didn't smell or see smoke. It wasn't right upon me. I had enough time to get dressed. While I did my mind raced- what next? Out the door? Get the birds? I decided to try for the birds. Although I didn't want to admit it to myself, if they became difficult or got loose, I was going to have to leave them behind. I had one chance to get them out. I made my voice get very serious. I told them they were going into their carriers and there was to be no fighting me. There wasn't. I grabbed each bird, even the ones who never let me grab them, and thrust them into one of two carriers. Shoes untied and coat in hand, I spilled out my front door- to a car fire!

It was bad to, a space and a half away from my own car- which was to be my destination with the birds because that was the only place I could think of that would keep them warm. I checked with my neighbor, and the alarm had been pulled for the car fire, which was threatening the building by proximity, but the fire hadn't gotten out of control yet. So far, it was consuming the car and nothing else. I set the birds down just inside the apartment. The alarm might be loud, but it wouldn't kill them like the cold could. Then I stood outside and watched the car. Flames licked the ground and the windshield alike. Black smoke billowed out of the hood into the cold morning air. I hardly noticed that my hair had frozen solid. A loud pop followed by sparks made both my neighbors and I jump and thank the Lord for the snowbank that was catching the flying car parts and keeping them from hitting the building. The firetruck came and soon the brave men doused the fire while trying to keep their footing on the water beneath them turning to ice. The fire was out and the morning started to settle down to normal again. People returned to their lives with little more than a wondering eye at what happened.

I got to work but was late. I had called my boss when the firemen arrived to let her know I was going to be and she understood I would be in when I could. My car, though close to the burning car, was fine aside from a smoke smell. As for me, I handled a true emergency situation with calm and ease. I didn't panic, I didn't fall apart. I handled it and I handled it well. I got my family out safe (in my case, yes, it was the birds, but they are an important part of my life) and went from shower to ready for action in less than five minutes.

With anxiety, you always wonder what you'll do in the horrible situation you envision, but usually you never have to face it. Although it wasn't my apartment on fire, I thought it was, and now I really can move on with the knowledge that in the face of an emergency, I can handle it without my disorder even being a thought when I am in the thick of it. My GAD didn't paralyze me like I was scared it might. In fact, it didn't even come into the picture.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Living with the Fears

I would love it if every post of mine could be inspirational and talk about how I overcame the anxiety of a situation. I would love it if I eventually found a surefire way to stop the anxiety dead in its tracks. Such is just not the case. There are times when even though I have done everything in my power to stop the fears, they still happen. I can't avoid them. Sometimes they are just there. Especially when I can't or chose not to take the medicine to stop the physical side of the anxiety, I know that I am going to have to live with it. Truth is, everyone has to live with theirs anyhow, mine just seems to be amplified more than most. So what do I do when the anxiety is just there?

I live with it. I remind myself of a couple of things in the moment. First of all, I remind myself that I am not going to die from these feelings. As uncomfortable and urgent as they do indeed feel, they are not going to kill me. Remembering that alone sometimes is calming, but not always. It is hard to have that feeling of "fight or flight" and not do anything about it. The "fight or flight" is designed to help get a person out of danger, usually harmful and potentially deadly danger. It is easy to believe that the feelings themselves herald some horrid disaster that is impending doom on me and those I love, but remembering that these fears are valid anxieties blown out of proportion by my disorder helps me keep the fears in check. I hate elevators and going on them, but panicking when it makes the slightest shudder is silly. Chances are, the elevator will open and everything will be fine.

This leads me to my second point on how to live with anxieties. I try to hold off the panic until I am in, or if I can manage, already passed the situation causing me my anxiety. Even though I recognize that getting anxious before an event is natural, even for those "normal (whoever they are) people", my "fight or flight" calls me to action before the event. I have to remember that I cannot act before the event because what I am fearful of might not even happen. Also, if I allow myself to panic before the event, I might not be able to act on the event itself, making the situation worse instead of better. There have been a couple of times at work where I have had to deal with a child who was a scraped knee or elbow. They are bleeding and I have a fear of blood. Panicking when I see them take the fall keeps me from taking care of them- something I need to be able to do to effectively do my job. If I can give myself permission to panic afterward, many times this gives me the strength to deal with the situation at the time that it presents itself.

This is the third way I deal with my anxieties. I allow myself the feelings. I don't chastise myself for having them. I don't shame myself until I can bury them deep. This is not my defining characteristic, but it is also very much a part of me. If I cannot panic in the moment, I need to give myself permission to fall apart later. Sometimes I do fall apart later. Sometimes, after the moment is over and I got through it, pride over the fact that I looked a fear in the face and overcame it keeps me from panicking and instead I am just darn proud of myself. Either way, I am allowed to fall apart for a bit after it, because if I don't give myself that permission, I invalidate the feelings I am having which is not helpful.

I would love to say that my anxiety is something that I overcame with willpower, prayer, and hard work. But, for whatever reason, God has chosen to give me this gift and I have it for the long-haul. I can't get rid of it. I can't deny it. I can find ways to live with it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Anxiety, I'm Taking the Fight to You!

I won't even go into the list of things that can trigger my anxiety. There are too many to count. However, one that it seems I share with people who do not have a diagnosed anxiety disorder is the dentist. It is rather uncomfortable for someone to be digging around in a very sensitive area of the body. The mouth is responsible for eating, talking, breathing, making faces at friends and family, and my favorite, kissing my husband! It's not a part of the body you want to have hurting and it certainly feels like when one tooth aches, your whole body is in pain. I am so bad I didn't even want my teeth cleaned. I much preferred my mouth to be left alone. Especially since I didn't want to go in and find out I had a cavity, or worse, more than one. I was very happy to be blissfully ignorant. Then, I got a toothache. Odd thing is, it wasn't a cavity at all. However, the dentist had me in her grasps. I was scheduled for a cleaning. Ok, I did the cleaning. I take relative good care of my teeth. What should I be worried about?

Oh, and one other thing, I had my first filling- my first cavity- two years ago. It hurt- bad! I didn't want to deal with that again. After all, I have three oral surgeries under my belt. I have been through enough (not to mention the chocolate fudge swirl ice cream my mom fed me after each one- I still can't touch the stuff!) Three oral surgeries and one cavity. My quota was set. Not. During the cleaning they found two teeny tiny cavities that needed filled. Oh yeah, and that one cavity that was filled before; it was leaking. It needed to be drilled out and redone. Two separate appointments. Two days of dealing with the poking, prodding, and oh, needles in my gums. I was not a happy camper. I begged my boss to tell me that I was invaluable, that she couldn't run the place without me, and that I would have to stay at work and couldn't have the time off. She giggled and told me to get it done before I thought about it too much. Problem is, I have an anxiety disorder. Thinking about it too much is right up there with automatic functions like breathing.

The days loomed closer to doomsday. I kept allowing myself to think about the pain, the hurt, the discomfort of not being able to eat without hurting. Did I mention I let my anxiety level spike? It was when I decided that enough was enough and that I was not going to let a little filling ruin my two weeks in between cleaning and filling. I had to come up with a plan of attack. The first thing I needed to do was sit down and think about what my reaction would be in reality. I wasn't going to die. Chances were, I wouldn't have a panic attack in public. I can usually control those pretty well. However, past history did dictate that I usually lose my cookies right after my novocaine shot. That could be a problem. I also was super sensitive to the pain and pressure of the drilling. This I learned from my last filling. I complained about phantom pain. The pain you think you should have when you smell that burning smell coming from your mouth as well as the pressure of something making a hole in your teeth.

Figuring out what were my toughest issues actually brought a wave of more anxiety. Now I knew what I was going to do! I would puke, whine, complain, and wimper my way through another filling, or three. Not this time. I am always so embarrassed after one of those episodes, too. I had been very up front with my dentist at the cleaning that I was scared of going to the dentist. She had been understanding and had helped me come up with the most cost effective way of getting through this. If I would take some of my anti-anxiety medicine before going in, I would be spared the cost of laughing gas and would still stay relatively calm. It was a great plan and I had to convince myself of it.

I had to put it into action. Well, if I was going to take some of my anti-anxiety stuff, I needed to make sure I had the day off. There was no way I could work with kids if I had that stuff in me. Request time off of work was the first thing on my list. My boss was very understanding and gave me the time I needed. I made sure that my appointments were times that Tim could come with me. Just someone there who understood that I wasn't being totally crazy and had an actual condition for this anxiety calmed me a bit. The second thing on my list, a comforting familiar person nearby, was fulfilled. The anti-anxiety medication needed to be kept at a minimum. The medicine that I usually take for sleep because I am an insomniac would have to be discontinued the night before my treatments so that I could use it without risk of an OD during the procedure. This could be a problem. However, I accepted that I was going to be anxious and allowed myself to play it out without getting out of control because I had planned up to that point how to handle what was going on with me in the moment and what was going to happen to me at the appointment. In the end, I fell asleep losing very little sleep in retrospect. My last thing to make sure of was to tell my dentist exactly what I had taken, who had prescribed it, and when I took it. This way I could make sure there was no potential drug interaction.

The result: Success! With a sore mouth. I made it though. I took the shots without showing my breakfast to the staff at the office. There was a jab of real, not phantom pain, that I had to deal with, but the rest was manageable. I even managed to crack a smile as well as I could with one half of my face frozen into a straight lip look.

I had always been afraid to face my anxiety and deal with it because I was afraid I would cause more anxiety instead of less. Turns out, taking the fight to the anxiety was just what the doctor- or maybe the dentist- ordered.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Finding a Hobby

There are all sorts of suggestions out there of how to help contain the symptoms of depression and anxiety. One of the things that I have found helpful is to find a hobby that accomplishes something. I like to know that I can do something and get better at it. It also helps me feel like I can accomplish goals completely unrelated to my disorder. I have tried some that do not work for me at all. Either I find it more stressful than I do relaxing, I find that learning it through trial and error is too tedious, or what I thought would be fun just isn't. However, I didn't give up. I kept looking for something that I could do to relax in my spare time that would not involve becoming a bump on a log or endlessly looking at the computer and getting lost in some meaningless website.

I found something that I can enjoy and that works for me. I love to crochet. I love to make blankets and I am hoping to branch out to different things once I master being able to keep my sides straight and my rows consistent. It is a lot harder than you think to accomplish those two! I have enjoyed making blankets for my husband, as presents for different people, and even a very cute scarf to keep me warm in the wintertime. The other thing that I have found with this hobby is that I have an outlet for when I have nervous energy. When I feel like I am going to crawl out of my skin with anxiety and that I just need to do *something*, I can grab my crochet hook and start making something. This accomplishes two tasks. It allows me to do that *something* that I feel that I need to do and it allows my mind to focus on something other than myself. When I am anxious, I tend to turn inwards. When I am crocheting, I am thinking about the person that is going to be using it. I think about the colors I chose for that person and how much it will help them on a cold winter's day or night. This helps my feelings find a different focus than on the current crisis, whether real or exaggerated. This has helped me cut down on the anti-anxiety medication a great deal.

I also hope to start writing notes and letters to my family. Yes, I know, it is so much easier to get on the computer, type something up, and hit the send button. But, it takes so much more thought to sit down with some nice stationary and talk to the person using a pen and paper. What's even better is that the person getting the letter gets something in their mail besides junk mail and bills, which is always a nice break!

I know that these are rather girly hobbies, but hey, I am a girl and that's what I do. However, this does come with a good piece of advice. Get a hobby. You might find that you're anxiety goes down, too!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Weight Loss and the Disorder

Losing weight when you have depression, anxiety, or both is a double edged sword. On the one hand, the disorder is strong in your system, begging you to not do anything that would help you become healthy. It is luring you into thinking that you can rest and do what you want all the time and not to watch silly things like the food you eat and the exercise you get because you want to eat what tastes good and not exert too much energy. There is also that feeling that there is so much more going on in life that energy must be saved for so the workout goes on the way side and the food is much easier to get if it is to go and can be eaten on the run. Sometimes it's just good to eat on the run because that means that you don't have to sit alone and eat, worry about the mess, or interact with the other people eating with you. It is time to be sequestered and quiet. Those times are good and necessary, except when they become the norm rather than the exception. That is the prime time to put on those extra pounds.

Now is also the time that you hear about all the ways you can lose weight after the typical New Year's resolution is made with most Americans. We want to lose weight, be healthy, and be more fit for the New Year. This goal is noble in and of itself, but it has one major flaw: most of the people who make that resolution don't want to actually have to do the work involved. They look for the quick fix: the OTC weight loss pill, the fad diet, the promise of losing weight quickly and painlessly. There are always ads on the TV for this miracle pill that will allow you to burn fat while you sleep or this special equipment that allows you to do as much work in five minutes as you would for an hour at the gym. However, most people don't need that stuff. Sure, it sounds like a quick easy fix, but if it doesn't work for our disorders, why would it work for losing weight? Disorders take time to control, to understand, and to learn to live with. Sometimes it is a combination of the right medication, counseling, good decent spiritual guidance from a Father Confessor in the church, and unconditional love from family and friends that helps tame the beast within. However, this isn't a process we expect to be fixed in a month, or even six months in some cases. It's a lifetime process. That's how one should approach weight loss.

If you decide to give up certain foods, be sure you can do it for life. Don't say, "I won't eat any more sweets" if you still want a birthday cake, Christmas cookies next year, or a sweetened soda pop for that extra afternoon caffeine buzz. This isn't to say that you should stick to the diet that helped you gain extra pounds, but look instead to moderation. "I am not going to have seconds. This is what I get and the rest will be for tomorrow." "Sure, I'll get a birthday cake, but do I really need the one that feeds 24 when only five people are going to be celebrating with me?" Reflecting before filling your plate is key. Eat sensibly but don't starve yourself. Starving will only lead to binge eating, which leads to guilt, which leads to starving. This cycle helps you add more pounds, not take them off. Discover new foods that you love but don't give up the old favorites. Just know that you can enjoy them without going overboard.

Set up a workout plan that you can live with. If your mornings are busy, try the evening. If you don't want to do something formal, go out for a walk. If you want to be indoors or outdoors, it's up to you. Don't boggle yourself down by what you think you should do to optimize weight loss. Do what you enjoy. The weight loss will come naturally after this. Set a schedule that you can stay with. Personally, I prefer the mornings. It gets me ready for the day with energy and helps wake me up after I am feeling particularly groggy. It's also something that I can easily stick with. I get up, work out, take a shower, and finish my morning routine. This keeps me from having to take two showers a day or take one at night which I don't prefer. An added bonus is that symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other disorders tend to lessen naturally from the burned calories. As much as it might seem like work, will make you sore, and perhaps more tired at first, it is just as much medicine for your disorder as your prescription and counseling sessions. It's good for you all around and an added benefit is that it will make you look better too!

Know that you are not in for a quick fix. This is going to take a while. It might be six months, it might be a year. The goal is not to lose weight directly. The goal is to help with the disorder. The weight loss is just a wonderful added bonus. Enjoy the ride. This will also allow you to continue to exercise and help your disorder long after you hit your goal of how many pounds to shed. This is a lifestyle change not a diet.

Good luck if you try lose weight. Like working with a disorder, there are going to be ups and downs, successes and failures. There will be times when you want to give up and times that you are so proud you'd burst your britches if you weren't missing those extra inches. Personally, I'm down a pants size and still going! If you ever need encouragement, drop me a line! I don't have all the answers, but I can at least listen!