Why I Stopped Being So Nice

 

prayer

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I was not raised in a religious family. My father was and wanted nothing more to do with religion once he grew up and left home. My mother tried when my brother and I were little to take us to church, but we hated it. She finally gave up. She was also not raised in a religious family. I think she only tried taking us because as a mother she felt it was some kind of duty. So religion was never a part of my life.

I think my mom and I both had some belief in God, but it was accompanied by questions that neither of us could find answers to. So it was there, but blurry and buried deep.

In the past nine years I have lost my dad, my mom, my brother (which is all of my immediate family), beloved pets (yes, they are my children), friends and relatives. There have been over a dozen losses in that time and it has left me struggling to cope.

I have had an anxiety/panic disorder on and off my entire life and am now suffering from depression. When my brother died suddenly and unexpectedly last year, I fell into an anxiety ridden hell that I am still fighting my way through. And I am basically alone with this struggle. The title of this blog says it all.

I have read many books and blogs about anxiety, hoping for some new “cure” they might have found to get over it. Through this search for answers I came upon a book called “Help, Thanks, Wow, The Three Essential Prayers” by Anne Lamott. I bought the book and read it in one night. It touched me deeply and I was very surprised. It made me finally believe in God.

It has helped me to have some faith that I will get over my anxiety eventually and that God has a plan for me, which I just have to wait out. It has made me realize the many blessings I’ve been given over my lifetime  and prayers that were answered, even when I didn’t actually pray.

However, being the person that I am, and that being a bit over zealous about things, I realized I was suddenly trying to turn into an angel…never doing or saying anything wrong. I had to be a perfect person so God would continue to help me. Now, I like to think I’m basically a good person, but an angel I’m not. For one thing, I swear like a sailor…not sure why, but I do. I’ve done things that weren’t  horrible, but questionably not the noblest. I’ve gossiped and been jealous, tried to get even with people who hurt me…human things. And that’s just what I finally had to realize. I’m human.

When I reread the book, it reminded me that God forgives us these weaknesses and it’s ok. One day I got very angry at something someone said to me. Instead of confronting them about it, I kept “angelically” silent and let it pass. Later, I got even angrier at myself for doing that. It was totally called for to let that person know they had crossed a line with me.  That’s when it hit me that I was being too nice and it was not healthy or necessary.

I am now comfortable being more like my real self and not trying so darn hard to be “nice.” I still try to be the nicest person I can, but now if I get mad, I let it out. If I swear, it’s ok. I was holding in so many emotions that it was making my anxiety worse. I don’t think God expects us to be perfect, so I’m banking on that and allowing myself to be me.

What do you think about this? Please leave a comment and let me know your views…I always love to hear them! Below is the book I was talking about and it is an Amazon link, which is an affiliate of mine. All this means is that if you click on it and happen to buy the book, I get a small commission for it. If so, thanks in advance.

Remember, keep being your wonderful self!

 

 

 

A Love Letter to Fellow Anxiety Sufferers

hearts

By luigi diamanti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear fellow anxiety sufferers,

I will first say that I have suffered from an anxiety/panic disorder since I was a child. I’ve had years where it was controllable and then something very stressful would happen and it would return with a vengeance! You  know what I mean. I am telling you this so you know I truly  understand anxiety.   I don’t want to read about anxiety from someone whose never had it, so I wanted all of you to know I have lived it and continue to live with it.

What I want to say to all of you is this:

Don’t be ashamed of your problem. I know I still am and it makes it worse. There are many people who don’t understand what we have and make you feel very small and embarrassed and ashamed. Don’t  let them get to you. They are just too ignorant or uncaring or stupid to even try to  understand. You have no reason to be ashamed.

You feel weak and cowardly sometimes. This is so not true. It takes a huge amount of strength and courage to get through each day feeling the way we do. Even on the days when we are barely functioning, when we’re in the thick of it, we still get through. Give yourself a pat on the back and credit. You are amazing.

Always remember you are not alone in this. There are many, many sites out there to connect to and let you see how many people suffer from this. In fact, it is said that anxiety is becoming an epidemic these days. More and more of us are having problems with this, so don’t feel like you’re the weird one! I remind myself of this often and it makes me feel a little better.

There is nothing wrong with you. You have an anxiety disorder and it’s not your fault. You did nothing wrong to bring this on. Some people are just prone to having this and others aren’t. The same could be said for lots of illnesses. But because it is categorized under mental health, it puts an unfair taint to it. Let’s face it, some think we’re just crazy. We are not crazy. Absolutely NOT. So don’t worry about that and ignore those that make you feel that way.

Always keep hope and faith that things will get better, because they can and will. Read about what causes this (I recommend Claire Weekes books (and yes, this is an affiliate link, which means if you click this and buy one of her  books, I will get a small commission, which is how I’m trying to make ends meet. BUT, I never recommend something I don’t wholeheartedly believe in). It really helps to understand what your body is doing and why you feel the way you do. Her books explain everything in a simple, compassionate way. She also explains her method of curing yourself, which is what I’m working on now. It makes a lot of sense and is certainly worth trying. It’s not a gimmicky cure at all, just a very logical approach to it.

The main thing I want to say is…I feel for you. I wish I could reach out to everyone whose suffering from anxiety and give them a hug, just to make them feel safe and understood. That’s what we need the most. I’m hoping that my blog will be a place for us to gather and share comments and ideas, so we can feel supported. I write about grief and other things here too, but a lot of it is about anxiety. So please come and share your story with me. We need to stick together so that we feel okay about ourselves and feel hopeful. This is such a huge part of recovering…feeling understood and supported.

With much

love and hugs to all of you,

Sheila xoxo

 

 

Why Are We All So Afraid?

fear

Photo by pakron at www.FreeDigtialPhotos.net

People have always had fears. That’s nothing new, but these days it seems there is a tremendous amount of fear going on. So many blogs I read are testimonials to this…people writing about their fears and how it’s affecting their lives.

I’m afraid of so many things. I’m suddenly alone in the world, having lost all of my family in the past nine years, and I’m scared. I feel like a lost child.

I have an anxiety/panic disorder and am also depressed as hell these days and I am so afraid I will never get over it. That I will never be my old self again.

Like everyone else, I worry about money. I worry about getting cancer or something equally fatal. I worry about my cats. And my friends who are having problems. I worry about what’s going to happen to our world. All of which leads, of course, to more fear.

But tonight I had to stop and ask myself…why are we all so afraid? And the answer I came up with is because we all have REAL reasons to be afraid.

The famous Roosevelt quote, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” is thrown around like a magic cure. We just need to say this and believe it and all will be well.

Hmmmm…not so easy.  If you are having horrible money troubles and can see no end in sight, you are going to be afraid. It would almost be weird if you weren’t. There is a REAL reason to be afraid. You might lose everything and end up on the streets.

If someone you love is extremely sick, they might die. Another REAL reason to have fear. So many REAL reasons and seemingly no way to ease our reaction to them. Is it even possible to not be afraid of certain things?

I have read so many self help books on this topic and there is some good advice in some of them. But generally, the tips they give don’t help much when you are in the thick of it. So what’s the answer? Is there one?

I would love for this post to be full of awesome advice on how to get rid of your fears, but it’s not something I’ve conquered, so sorry. I have no answers.

I will say, however, that the one thing that has helped me the most is reading others stories…I am not alone and that is an important reminder. Misery loves company, but not in a bad way, as far as I’m concerned. I think it’s more a case of just knowing that others are feeling the same way, which can be comforting. You aren’t crazy or strange.

The other thing that has helped me is having faith that things will be ok. It doesn’t matter where that faith comes from, just that you try hard to believe that things do work out. And they really usually do.

So to all of you who are scared, hang in there. I remind myself that you never know what’s going to  happen next and that it could be something wonderful. We only think about the worst, but we have to realize that good is waiting for us too.

I wish we could all come together for a huge group hug. That we could all connect and feel supported and loved. That would help our fears. I’m hoping that my blog helps you feel supported and connected and that we can help each other in that way.

I am sending out a hug to each and every one of you. May you all have some peace from your fears.

How do you handle your fears…please tell me in the comments. I love hearing from you!

 

 

 

When Your Heart Hurts

hurt heart

Photo by Idea go at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yesterday the news was full of sad stories, from bus crashes to a school stabbing and all sorts of other sad things. Then a friend dropped by and started telling me about two of his friends who were sick and not expected to make it. By the end of the night, my heart hurt.

When I say it hurt, I mean that literally…that horrible ache that happens when you are just too sad for words. I get that often. I hurt for all the people who are going through any sort of misery or trauma. I hurt for all the animals and children and old people that are being mistreated. I hurt for the starving, ill people in the world and for everyone who is grieving. Sometimes it’s just seems too much to bear.

I also hurt when I think of everyone I have lost and how much I want them back. I remember good times with them, but sometimes this makes me hurt worse…I’ll never have them again. Memories can be a double edged sword. Happy on one side, extremely painful on the other.

What to do when your heart aches? How do you pull yourself out of that? It’s something I struggle with constantly and sometimes what I try works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I try to change my focus to something else. Sometimes all we can do is just not think about it anymore. Not easy, though…it takes a real solid distraction to get there.

I start a gratitude list in my mind. Even though things are so terrible and sad, there are things that aren’t and I start naming all of the good things in my life. This works fairly well. It reminds me that I can’t just look at the bad side of things.

I go to sites that let you donate (for free) with clicks. If I had a million dollars I would give more and actual money, but since I’m not, it’s the best I can do. As long as it’s helping, that’s all that matters.

And, last but not least, I sometimes just feel the hurt and sob. Tears are a wonderful way to release pain. A good cry can help to let out all that achiness in your heart.

What do you do to heal the hurt your heart feels? I would love to hear in the comments below.

Love to all of you and may your heart not hurt.

When Being Alone is Better

lone tree

Photo by Jennifer Ellison at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I will admit to feeling very  lonely sometimes and wishing there was another person in the house with me. For many reasons. It can be so hard to live alone and have no one to share things with or depend on.

In the “perfect world”  picture in my mind I would have someone who loved me, cared about me, understood me and accepted all my faults and problems. But, this is not likely to happen. The world is not that perfect. So, it got me to thinking that sometimes it’s better to be alone.

I  have anxiety/panic disorders and most people don’t understand them. So having someone around who didn’t would put more pressure on me and certainly not be helpful at all. I am grieving so many losses (most recently my brothers passing) and I need to be able to burst out crying if need be. This can get on others nerves and make you feel guilty about being so emotional.

Just trying to take care of myself is exhausting. Trying to take care of someone else at the same time would be overwhelming. Sometimes we are not good company when going through trials and tribulations and it is a relief not to have to be “on” for anyone.

I realized that I  have nothing to offer someone else…and I don’t mean that in a bad way (or at least that’s what I tell myself). I have always been there for others and still am, but I am depleted at this point. I feel ashamed sometimes that I feel this way, but have reminded myself that we can’t always give. Sometimes we can hardly give to ourselves, let alone anyone else and that’s okay. We don’t  have to save the whole world. Many times we are just trying to save ourselves and it can take all of our energy.

So, I may feel lonely a lot, but I also feel relieved too on some level. The next time you are feeling particularly lonely, think about the pros and cons of having someone around. The cons may outweigh the pros. It is often kinder to yourself to be alone and be able to cope the way you need to, without worrying about what effect it will have on someone else.

The one person I would give anything to have around is my mother.  When she passed away, I lost my rock, my security, my safety, my best friend. But I am glad she doesn’t have to see me going through the problems I’m having now. Selfishly, yes, I would love to have her here to comfort me and tell me everything is going to be alright, which she had to do my whole life. But I am glad she doesn’t have to bear that burden anymore.

I guess when it is all said and done, we often times only have ourselves to count  on, so being alone is a way to try to learn that and deal with it. I am trying to and I hope that all of you who are suffering are doing well with that too. I wish all of you comfort in the fact that we really aren’t ALL alone, in the sense that there are many of us going through the same thing. The one place we can be together is through sharing our stories on sites such as this one. We can support each other and feel less alone, with others who know exactly how we feel. So please leave a comment and tell me how you feel. I honestly want to know and I honestly care.

 

 

Go Ahead…Feel Crappy…It’s Okay!

depressed woman

Is this how you feel today?
Photo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Anyone who has read my blog knows I suffer from an anxiety/panic disorder and have depression from too many deaths in too short a time. I only repeat it in case this is the first post you’re reading, so you’ll know where I’m coming from.

I work extremely hard ever day to deal with my anxiety and I have really relied on positive affirmations, which are a huge topic right now! Everything you read tells you to be optimistic and post positive quotes everywhere, which I have done. And I truly do believe they help.

Having said that, I also have days when I just want to scream and cry and cuss out the higher powers. Telling myself “things aren’t as bad as they seem” just doesn’t cut it. I know you must have those days too.  Those horrible times when you are so tired and emotionally worn out, from whatever ordeal you’ve been dealing with, that you just can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.

I finally realized that to stay positive every single moment of every day is impossible and just causes more stress and anxiety sometimes. I become afraid (anxiety’s fuel) that if I felt crappy and didn’t fight it off, I’d just spiral down into a panic attack. Sometimes I know I have to reassure myself to get through, but I have discovered that sometimes I just have to let myself sink into my “crappiness.” Just let go and know it’s okay that I’m feeling this way.

“How you feel now is totally natural in the circumstances, so stop struggling with yourself and leave it be.”

I read this somewhere (I wish I knew who to credit for it, but I don’t remember) and it helped a lot. We are feeling bad things because bad things have happened to us, so it is normal to feel bad. So simple, yet something we tend to fight off. It is like the process of grieving. You have to feel everything to get past it. You can’t deny or block your feelings. I think this is true of anything traumatic we are going through.

So, I now give myself permission to feel crappy and let it be. Not all the time, because I have to change my thinking to change my anxiety, but once in awhile, when it’s really tough, I let go and try not to fear the bad feelings. If you are suffering, try this out and let me know how it works for you. Just let yourself be free of guilt or shame when you give into the bad feelings. As the quote above says, “leave it be.”

Much love and peace of mind to all of you.

 

 

 

 

 

When You Don’t Belong To Anyone Anymore

Love yourself. Photo by podpad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Love yourself.
Photo by podpad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was reading something the other day and it mentioned “the family you belong to” and seeing those words hit me like a brick. If you’ve been reading my blog, you k now I have lost all of my immediate family in the last eight years and have been feeling totally alone. The few relatives I  have left are very far away and we have never been very close anyway.

Seeing those words reminded me painfully that I didn’t belong to anyone anymore. I’m twice divorced, never had children and have very few close friends. The ones I do have live elsewhere (something common when you’re dad was in the Air Force). So, I’m basically alone.

Which brings me back to not belonging to anyone. I just never thought about it that way until I saw those words. It brought a whole new wave of grief that I really didn’t need. After crying myself silly, I thought about it in a less emotional way…something not easy for me, but a habit I’m trying to develop.

What I realized is two things.

One, I would always belong to my family, even though they aren’t here anymore. I believe their spirits are still   around and so they are “here” even if I can’t see them. So I do still belong to my family.

Two, I belong to one other person and that person is me. I belong to myself, now more than ever.

So, when we don’t feel like we belong to anyone anymore, it’s not true. We do still belong, if only to oursleves…and that’s something. They say that ultimately you can only count on yourself and as upsetting as that may be (it was for me) it can be reassuring too. If we can treat ourselves well, with compassion and kindness, then that’s one of the best companions you can have. We need to feel that we have our own backs.

I’m not saying this is easy. Even though I’ve been contemplating all of this for days, it is still not feeling totally comforting, but I’m working on it. Would I rather have others I belong to? YES! But I’m trying to look at this in a more positive frame of mind and the thought that I belonged to me is somehow a soothing balm.

If you’re feeling this way, be kind and loving to yourself. You belong to you and you deserve it. Much love to all of you.

 

 

Your Words Have So Much Power

Does someone need your help?  Your words can do it! Photo from www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Does someone need your help?
Your words can do it!
Photo from www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you have read my posts here, you know I’m going through grief, anxiety and feeling alone. What I wanted to talk about today is the power words have. We’ve all heard this and know it, but do we always think about it?

I have a friend who is helping me somewhat, but he has no idea how his words hurt me so many times. He does not understand my anxiety disorder and constantly puts pressure on me to do things differently. That’s the last thing we need when we are anxious and fighting to get through every day. I try to tell him this and then he gets mad and that makes it worse.

Going through what I am, it has made me more conscious of my own choice of words to people. I have always been empathetic and tried to be comforting to people having a problem, but I am even more so now. I realize that, for me, sometimes just the right words can make all the difference in my day. So I hope that I can make the difference in someone else’s day too. That would mean the world to me.

There are several sites I visit every day for inspiration and comfort (and I will list them below). The things I read there are the things I need to hear. Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone in my life to say them to me, so I have to read them instead…but it helps. I am not trying to sound pathetic (although I think I am some days!) but just stating the raw truth of my life.

Remember how powerful your words are. Use them wisely and kindly. You never know how much you might help someone with just what you say. It could change their life, make them feel loved when they need it the most, help them gain courage, ease their pain, help in so many ways you will maybe never even know about.

My words to you today are:

Things will be ok. You will be ok. Just have faith in that and know that you are not alone.

Here are some of the sites I love:

www.bravegirlsclub.com

www.kristinnoelle.com

www.owningpink.com

These are just a few, but check them out and please come back to visit me here. Until next time, be gentle with yourself and others.

 

 

 

 

My Wishes For You For 2014

stars in the sky

Star light, star bright….
Photo by nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am not one to make New Years resolutions or long lists of goals. To be perfectly honest, the whole New Year thing has never been on the top of my list. It was always just another day to me.

But something is different this year. I feel like giving New Years wishes to everyone. It’s been a very rough 2013 for me and I’m sure for most people these days. I see such misery and pain in the eyes of strangers in the grocery store. Everyone seems to be dealing with some sort of grief or worry or depression. It breaks my heart.

So my wishes for all of you for the New Year are as follows:

I wish for you true peace of mind.

I wish for you to have your problems resolved or at least relieved to some degree.

I wish for you to feel loved.

I wish for you to have something really inspiring and terrific happen to you.

I wish for you not to feel alone.

I wish for you to know that even if you don’t think there is a soul in this world who cares about you, you are wrong. I care about you. I truly do.

The list could go on, but my  main wish is that you never give up hope. Things will get better. There are so many of us who feel alone and even desperate about ourselves and our emotions. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog…because I wanted to reach out to others who felt alone with their lives and scared and depressed. I want to try to unite all of us so we can know that we are not alone, and hopefully help each other on some level.

Please leave a comment and let me know how you feel. It would mean the world to me. Happy New Year…it will be okay.

 

Why Is It So Hard To Be Good To Ourselves?

question mark

Photo by Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have always taken care of people. Even as a child, I was the little mother, who took care. It wasn’t that I was raised that way or made to take care for anyone, I just was that way. I took after my  mom,  who was the same way.  As I got older, I took care of my friends and in later years, I was a caregiver to both of my parents. When my dad had cancer, I took care of him because my mom was too frail and I didn’t want her to have to do too much. When my mom became ill and developed dementia, I took care of her and both of them died at home, which I was always grateful for. I could take care of them until their last moments.

The day my mom passed away, the Hospice nurse (they are angels on earth!) told me, “You’ve taken excellent care of your mother and now it’s time to take care of yourself.” Well, this didn’t happen. About six months after this, my best friend got a divorce and felt desperate and alone. To make a long story short, she moved to where I am and had some mental problems. I ended up taking care of her. She and my brother got together and he unexpectedly passed away seven months ago, leaving me with no more family at all. Her daughter took her back to live in another state. She passed away a couple of months ago, again unexpectedly. All of this was a life altering shock and left me deep in despair and anxiety.

Now I am desperately trying to recover and I know that I have to take care of myself. I’m used to taking care of people…so why is it so hard to do it for myself? I realized the other day that I am not as good to myself, not as forgiving, caring, or gentle as I am with other people. Does this sound familiar to you? Are you, too, one of those who can’t seem to take care of yourself as well as you do others?  Why is it so hard to be good to ourselves?

Why are we so hard on our poor souls? I know I am very critical of  myself and I’ll bet you are too. I can’t give myself the same hope I gave to  others. I try, but too often I end up feeling more hopeless and trying to fight the negative thoughts in my head…all the “what ifs” and  “what am I going to dos.” I think there is an element of feeling selfish to think only about myself. Then I remember that I’m all alone now and so it’s ok to think about just me for a change. I have to to survive. But it is turning out to be a long, hard lesson to learn. Sometimes I think I don’t care as much about myself as I do others. I keep reading that you have to love yourself. Why is it so hard to do?

If you feel the same way, please leave me a comment. It helps to know you’re not the only one who has a problem and it  is my deepest hope that anyone reading my blog feels less alone.

Take good care of yourself…you have my permission. Love yourself as much as you love others.

 

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