People always ask me why I do what I do.
“You give so much, but came from so very little.”
Uh, thanks…I guess?
I think that’s what sets the survivors apart from the victims. The doers from the dreamers and the strong from the weak.
We get it.
We’ve been there and back. To hell, that is.
We know pain.
We know hunger, sadness and loss.
And we don’t ever want another to feel what we had to in order to be who we are.
And that’s why I do what I do.
I recently started an anxiety discussion group in my city.
I had a fair turnout for the first meeting.
My husband respectfully joked that I probably wouldn’t have a large number of attendees, as this is an “anxiety” based group and there may be some with social anxiety that would not be able to make it that night, they’d cancel or just not show. And I needed to prepare for that. It happened that way and I get it.
Believe me…I totally understand.
For the ones who did come out, I explained my reason for this group….my “Why”.
I had a really long winter. It was full of new and old traumas. It was exhausting and dark and difficult.
And, I am so very grateful for it all❤
In the midst of my depression and anxiety, I found beauty. And understanding….Of a time gone by.
My God took me to a new level of empathy for my father and brother, and for those who suffer from these illnesses.
It’s maddening, the anxiety.
I’ve described it to some as though you are being possessed. You can see your strong, calm self in the distance, but just can’t seem to reach her. You know you want to be social and happy and light…but are held down by this huge, defiant hand.
It is a funnel cloud you are swept up in, with no way out.
Believe me, I get it.
And there is hope.
In today’s world, we have so many more resources than our parents, grandparents and older siblings did.
There is yoga, meditation, fitness, nutrition and counseling; just to name a few.
My hope for my group is to educate each person on these areas to alleviate some of the burden of anxiety.
To allow acknowledgement, acceptance and action to take hold over this illness.
What I know is that we are more alike than we are different. We are stronger than we think and more awesome than we believe. And we need to recognize that!
In my lifetime, I watched my father destroy his beautiful family, hold his wife “hostage” from who she was, quit jobs, fall to alcoholism, become isolated, and lose the meaning of life…he actually stopped LIVING.
I never understood. Until this past February.
He was so far gone. So deep in the mud. There was no way out.
He didn’t know he had resources.
You didn’t talk about mental illness in his “day”.
He had to be strong.
And you know what?
Sometimes he couldn’t be.
His sadness expelled as anger and rage.
His fear as withdrawal and isolation.
His anxiety took over who he truly was.
And, I miss him.
I lost a lifetime with my Dad to this demon.
I would get glimpses of him from time to time. I learned of his soft side, when we talked in the middle of the night.
He was a good person, deep inside.
He was struggling and misunderstood, as so many are.
And I want to help people change that.
It’s a demon.
One of strength and control, that is relentless. And I want that demon to know that I am stronger and more determined than it 🤺
My father lost his battle.
So did my brother, at the age of 36. He, too, suffered anxiety and depression.
His way of coping was with pills and vodka. And when that no longer silenced the “noise”, he took back control the only way he knew how…. by taking his life.
You are not alone. You are not alone.
As real as the symptoms of anxiety are, the remedies and coping strategies are even more real.
I have worked for years to conquer my anxiety and now realize it is a battle that I will fight for the rest of my life.
However, in realizing that, there is power.
In knowing what I have to do to stay healthy and in control, there is even more power.
And in accepting that I am not perfect, there is so…much… power.
Don’t be afraid to talk about it.
Don’t be afraid to share.
To be flawed, real, and vulnerable.
It may help someone❤
I came across this beautiful quote below a couple years ago and it made my heart flutter.
I have been blessed with my experiences, strengthened by my God, and here to serve as a light.
A “warm, yellow light”.
I am here and ready.
Ready to empower others to be “here” too.
Be strong. God’s got you. ❤