Most days, anxiety can creep up on you and be a pain in the butt! If yours is anything like mine, it shows up in the most inconvenient times. Is there ever really a convenient time to be anxious? Heck no, but there's definetely situations in which becoming anxious out of nowhere absolutely sucks. Example #1, I tend to randomly get anxious before going into work or before going out to eat. I have gotten better at learning myself and my patterns. Most times I can actually feel when I am about to get anxious. Isn't that crazy? Like one second I'm chill and then the next second my mind is telling me to freak out.
It is said that anxiety affects over 40 million adults in the U.S !! WOW !
I have listened to numerous podcasts and sermons about anxiety and have spent the past couple years trying to figure out why I worry so much. It wasn't even until recently that I really started examining the moments in which I am feeling anxious and worried. I get out a journal and I write down exactly how I feel and what I think might have triggered the sudden anxious thoughts.
This is what I have found to be true for myself..
I am anxious when people don't respond to my texts.
I am anxious driving.
I am anxious when I compare myself to other women on social media.
I am anxious when I don't start my day with Jesus.
I am anxious when I don't make others happy.
This is just a SHORT list of some of the things that trigger my anxiety.
Anxiety has been a huge challenge in my life. It has caused me to stray away from relationships, friendships, outings with friends and family. It has been a big factor in my day to day life. Sometimes I do not want to get out of bed and find excuses to stay home because I am worried about certain things happening. I have realized I do not want to be controlled by fear and worry. I acknowledge that up until now , I have been controlled by these things. Anxiety is challenging, but I am learning how to challenge it back. What does that mean? It means that as soon as I have these thoughts that I know are not helpful - I cancel them out. Sometimes it even helps for me to say out loud " I am cancelling this thought ".
I refuse to let this feeling ruin my day. I refuse to let them ruin my life.
I hope you can stop being challenged by your anxiety and instead learn how to challenge it instead !
Where to start! I feel overjoyed to share my story of transformation. Although I feel blessed to have recognized the change God is doing in my life, it definitely has come with a lot of hurt and a ton of questions. I've spent days bawled up in anxiety , but also lots of days dancing and praising his name.
My story really starts about 5 years ago. I was 15 years old, making a huge move from an almost non-existent town in Wisconsin to a vastly populated city in Colorado. It was the start of something new for the whole family. Although, it was a big change it was an exciting one and I was eager to start my new life. At the time I was a very insecure 15 year old, leaving the only home id ever known and moving to a very unfamiliar place where I experienced things I had only seen in movies. It was summer and my parents encouraged me to attend youth group on Wednesday nights at a church close to our home. I really enjoyed it and needed to make some friends.
Although I was surrounded by mentors and believers my age, I was struggling hard with an eating disorder and was trying even harder to keep it hidden. I spent a lot of time with my sister that summer. It was a good distraction and kept my mind off of food and worrying about whether or not I was gaining weight (my main fear at that time). She lived about an hour away from us in Denver. I had really only heard of her before from my parents and met her maybe once previous to moving there. I spent most weekends with her and her boyfriend at the time, and although I was thrilled to finally be spending time with my sister , it came with lots of hurt. I was sexually assaulted that summer by someone I didn't know, but trusted.
We are told all the time as children to trust adults and listen to them. At the time I was putting my trust in my sister's boyfriend, a police officer. Unfortunately , I had no idea of the hurt that would develop from it. I was harassed physically and emotionally. He frequently sent me inappropriate facebook messages and wouldn't leave me alone. I spent the last five years of my life feeling guilty and dirty. I felt like I had participated. No one knew about it and I wanted it to stay that way for the rest of my life.
That summer sparked a lot of emotion in me, but also brought out something in me I had never experienced before. I was desperate for attention and acknowledgement. My eating disorder had spiraled out of control and I was feeling more depressed than ever before. I believe it was around that time when I was put on anti-depressants. I was so manipulated and my mind was so warped to the point of telling the only person I trusted - the same man who did this to me. It's crazy looking back on it but I used to tell him how I was feeling and let him in on my depression and anxiety surrounding food.. little did I know he was the one who inflicted some of this behavior on me. I was trusting the person who had severely hurt me and I was living in denial.
That fall as I started school as a sophomore, I was even more insecure and holding onto some pretty big things that no 16 year old should have to carry. All I wanted was to make friends and be seen. I wanted to be someone completely different. This was supposed to be an exciting time of my life with all the change around me, but truthfully it was the hardest time of my life. I tried to put most of my time towards things I knew made me happy; this is when I auditioned for the school play and was 1 out of 17 selected to be part of the cast. Looking back, my time acting in High School was the only time I enjoyed and felt like myself. The rest of my high school days consisted of a few unhealthy relationships and lots of confusion and heart break. The opposite of what I needed but it was the only satisfying thing for me; to be seen and wanted. This behavior of mine even lasted after high school and carried on into my 6 months of college once I moved to North Carolina.
It really wasn't until end of 2018/beginning of 2019 that I really started to notice that I wasn't in good shape and needed a change. I had been on and off again with God. I had been to the doctor countless times the past few years, switching my medications - trying to find something that worked because I felt as if I was losing my mind and I didn't know why. I thought I was really just depressed and I would just have to live like that forever. I thought maybe the past played into it but I didn't want to address that part. That was the one thing I had control over and I buried it deep and didn't want it to come to surface. I've learned now that when you try to bury things that deep, you lose who you are and you hurt yourself and your relationships the longer you let it live.
I kept this part of my story a secret until I met Trevor. I was scared to open up about it because I didn't want to have to remember everything and I was also very guilty and had lots of shame. I knew I was serious about Trevor and if I wanted him to be in my life , I needed to tell him. He was there for me, cried with me and held me as I told him of the ugliest parts of my life. He told me he wanted me to at least tell my family. I shut the idea down right away and told him it would only make things worse and I didn't want to destroy my family.
I held onto those same feeling for months until November 24th, 2019. I told my parents which resulted in me contacting my sister in Colorado to tell her as well. It was the hardest thing I've had to do, but I was doing it so I could heal. My relationship with God at this point was the best it had been and I was solely trusting him. Without God, I couldn't have done it but that day I felt a weird, almost surreal peace over me and I knew it was the right thing to do. God is righteousness and if I want to live a life that reflects his love, I need to bring my past to light.
It was hard. I cannot describe the pain that comes with digging up old feelings and then releasing them to the people closest to me. I am 20 years old and have spent the last 5 months digging up past hurt. I lost all my family in Colorado and that is Okay. I have found that in order to move on and heal, it is necessary that I remove anything toxic, including people.
I have learned a lot about myself these past five months, but even more about God. I am in awe of his forgiveness and his grace. He never left me. He will never leave me.. these are words I turned over and over in my head on the day I had my interview with an FBI investigator in Charlotte. On this day I gave my complete statement. I sat with the investigator for a couple hours in an empty room that felt the closest thing to any interrogation room you've seen on any crime show. It didn't feel real, but again I felt this sense of peace I can't describe. I won't ever be able to describe the feelings I had that day.
I am not good at expressing myself verbally. I have a hard time with public speaking and an even harder time talking to people about my feelings out loud. That day was different, I was so confident telling her every piece of my story and I even remembered some details I hadn't remembered prior to coming in. Afterwards, we walked out of the room and she told me that I had no reason to feel shame. I was told that was happened to me was illegal and wrong and I shouldn't have to go on with my life feeling guilt. Most importantly, I was told it wasn't my fault. My eyes filled up with tears and I let out a cry I had been holding onto for years.
I left that night feeling different but I still knew a lot of unknown was up ahead. After several months of phone calls with police officers and investigators, I was told that my case was being dropped due to them not having enough evidence to charge him. I was crushed, but I understood.
Opening up about what happened to you won't always result in criminal charges. It won't always result in physical consequences. You may have to learn to heal without the ending that you expected. I am okay with my ending because I know that sometimes life is not fair. At the end of the day I did what I had to do and I'm moving on.
I wouldn't have been able to share this or be comfortable speaking about it if it weren't for my loving lord and savior. He is all powerful, all knowing. I have found my rest in him and because of his love and forgiveness, I'm able to grow.
If you are going through something similar, I strongly suggest letting someone in on it. Someone you trust who also trusts God. From there, take steps to healing. Seek counseling, whether professional or maybe through your church or life group. Most importantly, seek God because he is really the only one who can heal. God can re-write your story just like he is re-writing mine.
Happy May Everyone!
Sooo.. I'm Engaged! Trevor proposed on Feb. 29th 2020 and it was the best day ever.
I have been looking forward to giving all the details and writing about this for the past couple months, but I have been very preoccupied... but now that I am back and better than ever - I'm comin in hot with the news!
Anyways lets get straight to it! February 29th was leap day! In case anyone didn't know. It was a Saturday and Trevor spent the day working while I spent the day with my family. It was a great day! My family and I went to City Barbecue for lunch ( please go there, its amaze-balls) and Trevor called me that afternoon and asked me on a date. He told me to dress nice and I remember telling him no on the phone lol. I drove over to Matthews, NC where he lives and we left to go get dinner at our favorite sushi place, New Zealand Cafe (also amaze-balls - please go there too).
We had to wait to be seated for about 30 minutes when we got there because its a very small and busy place, but once we got seated we were pumped and ready to do some serious business. I also have to mention that the tables in that place are like centimeters apart so we were getting friendly with the couple beside us. I mean that literally, we were sharing life stories and practically eating off each others plates. Half way through dinner I got up to use the restroom and apparently during that time Trevor had pulled out my ring that he had hidden in his jacket, and showed the couple. From there, their conversation went something like "So yeah I'm asking her tonight!!'' "What no way congrats !!" And then I came back and I didn't suspect anything out of the ordinary so they did a good job wrapping it up just in time. We finished our dinner, said goodbye to our new friends and headed to get ice cream at Marble Slab - another gem. While we were waiting in line to order our ice cream I brought up the topic of getting engaged . Now let me just say we had talked about marriage often and we even had a timeline we both were comfortable with but I still had no idea it would be then!! I thought it would be at least a couple more months before he would pop the question. Trevor later explains (after he proposed) that he got super nervous because he thought I knew but really I was just drilling him - per usual. I kind of forgot his response to me asking so many questions about when we would get engaged, married, etc but it was along the lines of "why are you asking me so much, just trust me".
After ice cream, I thought we were driving back to his house but he pulled his truck over abruptly between two little shops where there were lots of Christmas lights still hung up and random (not romantic) music playing. Trevor told me to get out and practically drug me over to the lights and random music.. there it started to hit me but I really thought it was a joke. He obviously was trying to be sweet and talk to me and be sentimental but I couldn't stop laughing and I kept telling him to shut up. I am so mean, also I wore jeans and a flannel ...and in my head I was seriously beating myself up for it. I can't be getting proposed to in this outfit, but he gave me a warning and I decided to be stubborn. Please, take it from me ladies - if your man tells you to dress up for some reason, any reason at all..just do it.
Anyways, as I'm laughing, the music changes (not planned) and it felt perfect. Trevor gets down on one knee and tells me loves me and asks to marry me. After several "shut ups" I say yes and feel utterly shocked but very happy. It was a wonderful night and I was so surprised. We ended the night by calling my parents (had to wake them up out of bed) and lots of happy tears. Along with going back to Trevors house to announce the news to his family. We feel so supported and so excited to start this journey together. I am thrilled to be able to share it with you all!