Monday, August 26, 2013

Insecurity Can Kiss My....

Have you ever had one of those days where you're just anxious and insecure about everything? You're afraid to text your friends because you might be bothering them. You think that special guy/gal in your life is going to realize that you're not so special after all. You believe your parents are disappointed in you. You feel fat, dumb, clumsy, and generally inept.

I have. In fact, I'm having one of those days right now. And frankly, I'm struggling to kick insecurity's annoying little ass and get back to being awesome. So, I've come up with some thoughts for all of us struggling with insecurity. Here's hoping it helps you and me both!

I think the best way to kick insecurity's ass is to just prove to it that it has no hold. Text/call/IM/Facebook message someone. Anyone. In fact, message lots of people. When even one person responds for a second, that's evidence that you have friends, that you are worthy of response, that you matter.

Or maybe do something for somebody else. I mean, think about it, if you're insecure, there's somebody else who's insecure, too. So if you go do something nice for them, you'll help them kick their insecurity's ass, too!

Cuddle stuffed animals, live animals, or whichever friend lives closest. Cuddling actually has healing properties for depression, anxiety, etc. So do it.

Dance, run, do sit ups, anything that will get your heart rate up a bit. Endorphins are released when you exercise!

Read or watch something funny. Laughter actually is medicine.

Eat your favorite food (but in moderation of you're already feeling fat, cuz you don't want to make that feeling worse).

Okay, I'm off to try a few of these. Remember, if the anxiety, depression, or whatever gets to where you can't stand it, go to the emergency room or call 911. DO NOT let yourself turn to self harm of any kind.

Love you all.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

When Following God Hurts

Recently, doing what I know God wants me to do has caused me pain - literal and metaphorical. And while it's true that those of us trying to live out and spread the Gospel will suffer and that suffering will ultimately serve a holy purpose (Romans 5:3, Romans 8:18, 2 Corinthians 1:5-7, Philippians 1:29, Philippians 3:10, and so many more), that is of little comfort to those of us suffering.

First, let's be honest about how we view suffering. Most of us, when we hear that we will "suffer for the Gospel," imagine being thrown in prison for smuggling Bibles or killed for sharing our faith with others. We don't imagine verbal and physical abuse. We don't imagine that the cause might not be plain and simple evangelism, but simply obeying a call God has given. But this is also suffering for the Gospel.

Second, we tend to believe that suffering is holy when it happens to others; when it happens to us, it just sucks and we want it to end. However, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Yes, suffering sucks, no matter who's experiencing it. But suffering, if for the good of the Gospel, also has a holy purpose that we're not likely to understand on this earth.

Third, and this is important, even if you can't see the silver lining in your situation, always remember what my pastor says: "God is good and the story ends well." Did you catch that? God is GOOD and the story ends WELL. No matter what's happening to you right now, if you believe, you will have a joyful, pain-free eternity in heaven.

Fourth, cope in whatever healthy way you need to. Need to run off extra stress? Do it. Need to make hundreds of cupcakes for no reason? Go for it! (And send me some, if you don't mind.) Need to clean the house? Mine's available. Need to snuggle a baby animal or child? Just make sure they're either yours or you have permission to do so.

Fifth and finally, do not let your desire to follow God's will paralyze you. Draw a line - one that will save your life - in abusive situations, and have friends help you stick to it. I've known several people who endured abusive relationships and wound up bringing their significant other to Christ. However, I've also known some who tried and had to get out when their own physical, mental, and spiritual well-being became threatened beyond their ability to cope. Get out alive. Please.

If you need to talk about what you're going through, don't hesitate to comment or email me at

Love y'all!

Friday, August 16, 2013


Wow - so it's been awhile. Sorry, y'all! The good news is, I have been thinking about y'all!

Mostly, I've been wishing that y'all could be in the happy, healthy, healing place I find myself in lately. In spite of the turmoil of a grandparent having a stroke (and recovering nicely), a friend's unexpected death, a grandparent's death, beginning the process of splitting from an abusive spouse, and a huge maintenance bill for my car (I hate when it's time to replace tires), I'm doing well. I'm happy, I'm hyper, I'm more me than I've been in nearly nine years. At one point, I became afraid that I'd alienate some of my old friends because, well, hyper people often annoy me. However, my dear friend Sam simply replied by saying "I'd take you healthy and hyper any day."

So, since I've been experiencing a great, happy, healthy time, I've been praying that y'all would get to this place, too. I am happy to talk to you about steps to get here, or about anything that's on your mind. Really, anything. One thing I want to share with you, regardless of where you're at, is a song. The video is a touch eccentric, but really listen to the lyrics, because I think you're beautiful.

Alright, now, some practical things that have helped me get and stay in this happy place:

1. Regular time with God. It helped when a friend told me that he dedicates the entirety of Sunday to the Lord (in addition to time throughout the week, of course).
2. Hugs. I heard somewhere once that the average person needs eight positive touches a day just to survive. Get them, if at all possible.
3. Crying. Sometimes, I get so focused on being happy that I forget that allowing myself to feel and express emotion is also healthy and necessary to being joyful/happy. Let yourself feel, just don't dwell in the bad feelings. Feel them, express them, and move on.
4. Letting go of what's bad for me. For me, this means reducing my drinking, taking steps to escape an abusive relationship that doesn't appear to be getting any better, and trying my darndest not to worry.
5. Intentionally seeking out community. In other words, instead of caving into my introvert tendencies, I force myself to go out and associate with people. It's hard. It doesn't always work out so well. But when it does, it's incredible!
6. Helping others. There's nothing like an impromptu diaper drive for a homeless shelter to make you more grateful for what you have.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Hardest Words

You'd think the hardest words would be "goodbye" or "I'm sorry" or something like that. But they're not. They're much simpler, even. "I need" is a phrase that rarely comes out of my mouth in reference to anything more than a grocery list. My grandmother passed away this week, and in helping with the funeral plans and trying to ease the burden on my parents, I've noticed something: we all seem to have an easier time volunteering to help than we do admitting when we need someone or something. This is something that my mom, dad, brother, and I all share in common, and it's one of the few unhealthy things we share.

I don't know if this is useful or not, it's just one of the thoughts currently pinging around in my grief-clouded mind, but I fully believe someone needs to hear this: it's okay to say "I need you." It's okay to ask someone to help you out with something. It's okay to ask someone for a hug. It's okay to ask for some alone time to just rest. It's okay to ask someone to come over, or ask someone not to show up. It's okay to ask for whatever you need to protect your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

One caveat - do try to ask in a way that is not damaging to that person's health, either. It does no ultimate good to inflict damage on someone else in order to save yourself.

Bottom Line: Stand up for yourself. Ask for what you need.

Monday, August 5, 2013

When it Pours

I'll be honest, I'm writing this blog post hoping that I'll write myself into something useful. Hope you'll join me for the ride.

Have you ever had one of those times in your life when everything just seems to happen at once and you just can't deal? Like, you're still trying to process the fact that you were raped, a friend died just a week and a half ago, you were verbally abused in public just a couple days ago, and now you find out your grandma is dying? I mean, hypothetically, of course.

And here's the thing - this collection of horrible events never happens when you have nothing to do and you can actually afford to lay on the couch watching Supernatural while downing pints of ice cream (again, totally hypothetical) like you're doing. No, it happens when your enormous paper is due in less than two weeks, the apartment needs cleaned so badly that child services would not let a child live there, your car needs its oil changed (desperately, like, should have happened months ago), and you really need to prep for school starting in like two weeks.

Let's just stop pretending this is hypothetical. This is my life right now. And it's hard. And it sucks. And I'm more triggered now than I've been in quite some time. And all I want to do is curl up under one of my quilts and alternate between sleeping and watching Supernatural (my favorite show, in case you hadn't picked up on that yet). Instead, I came here to write to y'all, and to me. So, here's my list of ways in which I plan to attempt to cope while it continues to pour like crazy in my world. Please feel free to email or comment to add more suggestions.

1. Watching my favorite things or listening to my favorite music while continuing to do the things that need to be done. This allows comfort without wallowing.

2. Spill it all to a trusted friend. And I do mean all. The anger, the frustration, the pain, the confusion, the denial, everything.

3. Let the little things go. There's plenty of big stuff on my plate, no need to get upset at a rude server or something stupid like that.

4. Continue to work on what needs to get done, but also allow myself regular breaks to do whatever else I want.

5. Workout. Seriously, it helps.

6. Ice cream. Enough said.

7. Continuous prayer. God can handle my constant swings from thankfulness to anger to sobbing. Not many people can, so I figure I might as well unload it on Him instead.

Friday, August 2, 2013


No, that's not a typo. It stands for the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. I discovered GISHWHES when I joined twitter (@ConfidentVessel) and started following Misha Collins, who is a super cool human being. At first, I was skeptical, since you have to pay to enter and many of the challenges look completely ridiculous. However, then I kept digging.

First, GISHWHES benefits Random Acts. Second, many of the scavenger hunt items are acts of kindness, such as coats for the homeless, hugging a veteran, putting on a puppet show for hospitalized children, etc. Third, I realized that even the ridiculous items are important, for reasons detailed below.

Alright, how could doing yoga in ski gear or making a kilt of cucumber be important? Let me tell you. (I'll be focusing on the benefits of GISHWHES for those of us who struggle with mental illness, though these apply otherwise as well.)

1. Doing such ridiculous things requires that you cease judging yourself briefly.
2. Laughter is nearly guaranteed, and we all know that laughter is good for you!
3. You're encouraged to meet new people, but in a lighthearted, minimally threatening setting.
4. Taking chances is rewarded, even if things don't go perfectly.
5. Getting to know Misha Collins through the things he makes you do. And trust me, that's good for everybody's mental health.

So, I hope that, if you can afford to, you'll join me in the GISHWHES this year. If you can't afford to, stay tuned, because I'm sure I'll be posting requests for your help with some items! And, even if you don't participate, I will be encouraging you to do fun random things that week as well.

Here's to our health!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

On Overreacting

Sorry for the hiatus, y'all. I had some Internet access issues. Turns out they had accidentally unhooked our cable instead of someone else's. It was an accident, but I had been so frustrated and almost angry with the company.

This may seem like a trivial thing, but it got me thinking: how many times have my emotions run out of control over something incredibly stupid? How many times has it been due to my mental health issues? How many times have I blamed my mental health issues when it's really just something everyone struggles with?

Let me be clear: those of us who deal with mental illness DO perceive, experience, and react to some situations differently than "neurotypicals" do. However, we can learn to react in appropriate ways, where necessary (not every "different" reaction needs to be "normalized"). In fact, learning to step back and evaluate the cable situation allowed me to treat the technician with respect, where I would have otherwise bitten his head off.

When you find yourself feeling emotional, I encourage you to take a step back, breathe deeply (but don't hyperventilate) and really assess the kind of response the situation REQUIRES, not the one you feel.