7 things that I feel daily because of anxiety

  1. Worried. My mind is a constant whirl of “what-ifs.” I oftentimes get annoyed at myself because I worry about the smallest things; things that are so insignificant, if I told anybody, they’d laugh at me. I feel a pain in my chest and diagnose myself with cancer. I get a migraine and think I have a tumor. Yes, this is my reality. 
  2. Sad. Most of the time I get extremely upset when I’m super anxious, so that leads to sadness. Then, my mind kicks into overdrive and it, again, makes me upset. Finally, I get sad because I feel like I can’t fix it. Yes, also my reality. 
  3. Like a burden. If I need somebody or I reach out to somebody, I feel like I’m a complete emotional burden to them. I feel like my problems are so minuscule when compared to others; yet, they bother me so much. Again, my reality. P. S. If you ever need somebody who understands, come to me. You will be far from a bother to me. Promise. 
  4. Emotional. I am one of the most emotional people ever. If I’m happy, I’m SO happy. If I’m sad, I’m SO sad. If I’m scared, I’m SO scared. You get the point. I have extreme emotions and I’m not proud of it. So, when you hear me sobbing during that happy scene in a happy movie, just overlook me…please. SO much my reality. 
  5. Silly. I feel like recently anxiety has become such a trend that when you say, “Hey, my anxiety is literally killing me today. Like, I can’t get out of my house without having a panic attack,” people roll their eyes or dismiss it. This is an extremely aggravating reality. 
  6. Helpless. The majority of the time when I’m anxious, nothing will help me. Nothing. Which, in turn, creates more anxiety. I’m having anxiety just writing this post because I know I’m going to freak people out and everybody is going to worry about me. Please don’t. I am pretty helpless when I’m having an attack. Helpless reality. 
  7. Tired. Most days, I am so emotionally drained by the end of the day, I could cry for 3 hours and then sleep for 3 days. My brain works so much throughout the day, it amazes me how I can still function sometimes. This reality is…tiring. 

Anxiety is tough. The daily struggles are real. If you need help, you know where to find me. Stay strong and don’t let your inner worries manifest into something bigger. You’ve got this. 

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Running

I like to run. Usually when I say this to people, it’s met with a dreadful groan. And I totally get it! I used to do the same. However, I have a completely different perspective now. 
I have always ran. Maybe not that much, but I always have. For me, it’s been a form of exercise that you only need two things for: your legs and motivation. 
At the beginning of my senior year, I was reluctantly talked into participating in cross country. My thoughts consisted of how in the world can people run for three miles straight?! I was not confident. I did it so I could do a sport with my freshman sister during my last year of high school. Little did I know, it played a huge role in my life. 
I had ran two 5Ks prior to starting cross country. I started out slow during practices. There was a lot of run, walk, run, walk…
I would get frustrated at meets because it was a three mile course and I had no idea how to pace myself accordingly. I would get even more frustrated when I would push myself and run the entire race without walking; yet, people who used the whole run, walk strategy would beat me. Ugh! Finally I went to my coaches and I was like, “I need to figure this out. It’s driving me crazy.” They gave me some good advice and I progressed throughout the season.
It came to the district meet. I knew that I wasn’t going to be first, second, even fifth, but you had to get in the top ten to qualify for regionals. I needed that. After all of this hard work, I did not want this to be my last meet ever. 
I went into districts so nervous that I was sick. Runners: you know what I mean. Stomach turning…you get the idea. I got to the start line and I gave it my all throughout the whole race. When the last (about) 0.2, I was sick. The whole time I just wanted to throw up so I would feel better. My coach met me and the beginning of the end and said, “Captain. You have to pass her.” The entire time I thought I was already out of the top ten, so I was confused, but, nevertheless, I did what he said. I mustered up every last ounce of strength and heart I had and sprinted to the end, gagging across the finish line. I stopped at the end, projectile vomited everywhere (a little TMI), then burst into tears because I thought I had lost my chance at regionals. I mean my sister and I had gone to walk the course the evening before, I was praying diligently for God to give me the strength, and I had just lost it.
I went to the bathroom to clean up (lol), and I came out to a bunch of hugs and “good jobs.” I was so confused. I walked up to my dad and he said, “What’s wrong? You made it.” What? “If I counted right, you made it.” There was a little glimmer of hope. 
The truth was, I had made it. I was tenth place, but I had made it with my best time of the whole season. I went into regionals knowing that it would be my last race during high school and it was great. 
Now. Fast forward to a few months after the season ended. My sister came to me with the idea to keep running and do a 10K (6.2 miles). I immediately knew I couldn’t do that. But, somehow, she talked me into it. We started running and all of the sudden, three miles didn’t seem like so much. We did the 10K and guess what? I was fine. Good, actually!
I don’t know what shifted between then and now, but two days ago I ran 11.23 miles straight–no run, walk! AND we’re signed up for a HALF MARATHON. A FREAKING HALF MARATHON in a little over two weeks. WHAT?! The thing is, I’m confident that we can do it! When did struggling to run four miles straight turn into running thirteen straight? All I can say is Jesus himself must have looked at me and given me some sort of strength. I don’t even know. 
I do know, however, that if I pace myself, I can run pretty much as far as I want to without stopping. I know that may not seem important to some people, but to me it’s CRAZY progress. 
On a serious note, running is sort of numbing and empowering to me. I can run, contemplate life, exercise, pray, sing, talk, and do whatever and be happy. My limbs may ache, I may be wheezing (literally), but I can run and I know it. I’m not fast, but I have endurance. That’s all that matters. 
Serious note #2, I couldn’t have done it without my sister/best friend, my amazing coach (who is running the half with us and I’m pumped), and all those who supported me during XC season. 
So, thanks to all those who believed in me, welcomed me to the team, listened to me complain and be frustrated in the beginning, and cry tears of every emotion at the end. It was a lot of sweat, blood, and tears, and it was the hardest sport I’ve ever participated in, but it taught me so much! (And I haven’t gained the freshman 15 yet, haha). 
To my sister: thanks for pushing me and not making me do anything alone. I need you and you’re always there. 
To Coach Schenck: I literally would not be where I am without you. Your personality and our talks get me through runs and your faith in Christ makes me feel so blessed to have you as my coach. Thanks for always pushing me and making me feel like I actually could do it, even when I was convinced I was dying. You’re awesome!
To Coach Salyer: thank you for always giving us those few extra seconds at Friday practices, always being right there with us, cheering us on, and just being an all-around awesome coach. We couldn’t do it without you!
To my dad: thanks for always being there at the start and finish lines cheering us on. I literally love you more than words can describe and you’re the best man I know. 
To all the XC parents: thank you for always providing snacks, drinks, and encouraging words because, let’s be honest, those are the most important things at meets. 
To my teammates: you can’t get rid of me too easily, I’ll be there throughout the courses next season cheering you on!
Now, let’s run a half marathon!! 

The cans and can’ts of Christianity

I am a Christian. 

I do not judge. 

Why have these two ideas become so abstract when placed together?

Christians have, over time, evolved into a group of people who are greatly stereotyped among their aquaintances or even those who simply view them from an outside perspective. I remember when I was little, it was never frowned upon to be a follower of Jesus. This may have to do with growing up in a small town and not being exposed to much diversity at a young age; however, I never heard a bad word spoken about Christianity. That is, until I had the capacity to understand the underlying, derogatory terms used against this religion and regularly witnessed (mostly on broader social media) the biased, stereotypical views most non-Christians had of Christians. 

I grew up being taught there was a right and wrong way to do things: black and white, no grey. I was told that you would always know in your heart what was right and wrong, but that isn’t always the case. There is one reason for this that I can understand. We were taught what not to do. 

What have I found this means? It means that churches taught that you can’t curse, you can’t get tattooed, you can’t have sex before marriage, you can’t be gay, you can’t question things, and you can’t stray from what we’re telling you! 

Now, before everybody who knows me and is reading this has a panic attack, let me explain. 

The Bible does state things we should and should not do. It also mentions sins that we happen to deviate from every day. It also gives us commandments that we fail to comply to regularly. I feel like each person who studies the Bible has a different interpretation of it. No, I don’t mean that people should take it and apply what they feel they should to their lives and ignore the rest, but…

What I think does not matter. 

Woah. What? Yeah, what I think doesn’t matter. At all. 

I have come to find that the single most relied-upon idea that Christianity has supplied me with is love. Loving without conditions. Loving without fear. Loving with faith. Loving through battles. Love. Love. Love. 

God may have given us actions that we should never do as Christians, but he also sent his son to die upon the cross so that we may be forgiven of those sins. 

No, I don’t agree with some progressive ideas that are changing our country so drastically, but it doesn’t matter! God did not send me here to judge, he sent me here to love. Some sins that Christians focus on when condemning somebody…wait. What’s wrong with that sentence? 

“. . . when condemning somebody. . .” 

That is NOT our job! Our job is to show others who may be struggling that they can have a person who is always there for them, ready to pour mercy upon them willingly. Our job is to open our arms to those who have had doors slammed in their faces and embrace them with all of our might. Our job is to prove that forgiveness is directly related to willingness and…get this…open-mindedness (which is something many Christians struggle with daily). Our job is not to take Jesus’s job…it’s to educate others on what his goals are

Jesus did not come down onto this sin-filled Earth to say, “Hey, you! You don’t mind to tell everybody exactly what they can and can’t do and condemn them to hell if they do otherwise, do ya?” No, he came down to show us how strong his love is for us and remind us that forgiveness is always an option. Change can happen through Christ. A little faith is all it takes to move mountains. 

So, instead of preaching to our youth the cans and can’ts of Christianity, why don’t we teach them to love without limits…to portray Jesus’s love in everything they do

I can promise you, as a person who strayed from her faith at one point in her life, to someone who is growing in her relationship with God daily, when I was at my lowest, I was way more uplifted when someone supported me and showed me what was possible rather than shoving it down my throat and exemplifying all of the mistakes I had made. I felt insecure, so I stayed away from the people who shamed me. When you feel insecure, you look for a safe space. Jesus has become my safe space and, let me tell you, it was not through somebody pulling out a Bible and yelling the verse at me that pertained to the sin I had committed. It was through somebody with open arms showing me that there were more options and that it was possible to turn back…to get back on track

Life is not simply you, running across a bridge that is falling behind you with each step you take. Life is a winding road with many crossroads…but Jesus’s footprints are marking the way, following you. And, best of all, holding your hand when you’re ready to redirect onto the right path. He isn’t pushing you from behind. He isn’t dragging you along. He’s holding your hand. 

So, if you encounter a Christian who is shaming you for the sins you have committed or are committing, just know that they are doing just as much wrong as they think you are. Not all Christians are shove-it-down-your-throat, you’re-going-to-hell people. There’s some, like me, who are willing to listen and support anybody in need. 

One of my favorite words is compassion. It’s beautiful, as is the meaning and the action. I consider myself a very compassionate person, and I think that’s how Christ would want us all to be to one another. Not guilt-tripping each other or judging one another, but holding each other up when someone’s knees are weak…when their faith is wavering…when they are lost.

Let’s not teach our youth what they can’t do as Christians, let’s teach them what they can do as Christians: love, be compassionate, support, be forgiven, etc. 

That’s what Christians should be doing. That’s the kind of Christian I am. And I think that’s how Jesus would want me to be. 

I’m the loyal friend (and here’s the product)

You’ve probably heard people say it before. “Trust no one,” they say, with an eye roll and a head shake, hoping you’ll probe for more answers. “Everybody stabs you in the back eventually.” Is there truth in this statement? 

There are a couple of people who will never embrace you in both arms, with one hand rubbing your back and the other holding the knife that will stab it. Just for the sake of suspense, however, I’ll save for the end. 

My experience with relationships: 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the friend who will listen. I love that characterization of me, I really do. I’ve been the one that you may not talk to for months upon months, then one day you’ll stumble across me in the wake of your heartache and all the memories of loyalty come rushing back to you. You’ll remember the time I hugged you with all I had so you wouldn’t feel alone. You’ll remember when I listened to the newest gossip about the poor girl on the cheerleading squad or who broke up with their boyfriend for some irrelevant reason, with my caring head nod and promise to secrecy. You’ll remember that time you got something off your chest that sent chills down your spine to even think about, and I received it with the fire that would burn it. Your heart raced as you realized what you let me in on and you swore me to never breathe a word about it. Never even think about it. Then you went home and pondered how to keep me quiet. Should I never bring it up again and hope she will forget, or should I suck up to her and beg and remind her? 

Surprise. 

I never spoke a word to anybody. Why? Because you told me not to. Yeah, I’m that one. You forgot you even spoke to me, but your secret is safe with me. I won’t bring it up to you or anyone else. 

Trust…it’s a beautiful thing. 
I like to think of trust as a piece of pottery. You spend so much time building up this piece. It gets stronger and stronger as time passes. It dries and becomes normal. It’s trusted and sturdy. Maybe even forgotten. Until one day, you bump into the table it’s on. It hits the floor with a shatter, and you don’t even have to look down to know there are more pieces than you can count scattered about the ground. There is no rebuilding it. You can glue all you want, but it will never look the same as it once did. 

Deep, right? I know. 

Yay for analogies. 

An honest count of how many people I trust with my whole heart involves one of my hands. 

Here’s the thing. I’ve learned over the years that I am a very rash person. If you’re nice to me, I will literally give you my all. If you respect me, I will respect you. If you are loyal to me, I will be loyal to you. And, if you’re not, I will still be loyal to you. That’s the catch with me. I like to think about treating people like they treat me, but that’s not the reality. I treat people how I think everybody wants to be treated. For example, every person on the planet needs someone who will love them, support them, and be trustworthy and loyal. I will be that person. And because I’ve had a lack of those types of friends in my life, I will be that person for literally anybody. I know how it feels to wrack my brain to think of somebody who will just listen to me, so I can simply get it off my chest. It’s the worst. And, because of that, I’ve turned into what seems to be a punching bag. 

Again, with the analogies. But really. I’m always there, ready to take in whatever you’re about to give me, and I continuously rebound no matter what you tell me. But do I give it to anybody else on the other side? No. 

If you lose my trust, fine. Apologize and I’ll know not to trust you anymore and we’ll be “fine and dandy.” However, you won’t lose mine. 

Here’s why I am writing this:

I can’t find anybody who will give me this same loyalty. 

With the exception of my fiancé, I wish I could name more than a few friends to you that haven’t turned around and done something derogatory toward me. 

Let me just say, I don’t talk about people. If I talk about people openly around you, consider yourself lucky and one of the few. I think everybody has their own secrets and I think the second those get released, they get twisted in the wind like hair. Everybody deserves for their side of the story to be heard. If your side is understandable, go you. If your argument is self-serving, attention-seeking, and irrelevant, forget you. Sorry. 

Everybody needs somebody who they aren’t scared to talk around. 

That’s not readily available. 

I have found out that I can’t speak openly around those I used to be able to, so I’ll stop. 

My favorite thing about these situations is oftentimes, the people you’re speaking to and trust enough to speak about someone else around are chiming in on their feelings toward that same person. Guess what? They’re usually not positive. 

Next, I regret ever speaking about anyone to anyone because that was foolish. 

Then, I am hearing from others what so-and-so said that she said that you said that I said. 

No. 

Even though I get frustrated with this situation, I’m still not going to disclose the information you so kindly asked me not to out of spite because I said I wouldn’t. 

Woah. How long has it been since you’ve had that?

So, back to the two people you can trust. 

  1. Yourself
  2. Jesus

Yep, that’s about it. So, moral of the story is this: don’t trust people openly as I so often do. I don’t even have a solution to this, because basically most people suck in this department of a friendship or relationship. 

Okay. Be loyal if you say you’re going to be loyal. If you’re not, at least tell me about your other faces. Example of trustworthy people. So they do exist. Yay. 

*disclaimer: Don’t read into this and try to apply it to my life. Apply it to yours. 🙆

A Rant About Pet Owning

I. Love. Animals. I literally love them with all of my heart. I have 1 dog, 4 cats, and I’ve had many pets in the past. I would skip a meal before my babies would, and I promise that’s a fact. Here’s a few things I’ve gathered from owning and loving pets and how I’ve seen others treat their own:

1. Never, and I mean NEVER, harm an animal. 

If you have ever harmed a pet or any animal in general, or even thought about it, disassociate yourself from my life right now, because you have evil in your heart. If you could look into puppy dog eyes and wagging tail or a kitty’s little nose and whiskers and hurt it, you need mental help. It is absolutely appalling to me that some can do that. Seeing some of the things I’ve seen on Facebook or hearing stories makes me nauseous. And as a result of that, if you’ve hurt an animal, you need help and a whole lot of forgiveness from Jesus. Animals are innocent and loving and depend on us, so how could you take advantage of that?

2. Adopt, don’t shop?

Yes x 1,000,000! If you want a dog or cat, go to your local shelter! The idea of innocent animals being put down simply because they’ve not been adopted kills me. If I could adopt every animal out there, I would. No kill shelters are the best, but help them out! Or, even better, help the ones who are on the verge of ending their time at the shelter…it’s heartbreaking. 

3. Get your pet neutered! 

If you have a pet, especially an outdoor one, fix them! We have an overpopulation of strays who either end up in a shelter or in bad homes, so prevent the stray population from growing! 

4. Trial and error?

Getting a pet is never a trial and error situation. It is a lifetime commitment. I am so sick of seeing people get a new animal and deciding a few weeks later that they don’t want it anymore for petty reasons. “It got too big!” or “It was a mutt and it wasn’t what I expected!” or “It barks all the time and is too hyper and too much work!” If you adopt a dog or cat, it comes with consequences. You need to be able to love and care for that animal no matter what. You’re not too good for the pet, the pet is too good for you. 

5. Research, research, research!

I cannot stress this one enough. Let me just say this: ALL BREEDS HAVE DIFFERENT CHARACTERISTICS. That means if you adopt an animal of a certain breed and it hasn’t been researched on and it happens to be a protective, aggressive, or active breed, don’t punish the animal for your failure as an owner! They need space and love and if you can’t give them that, rethink your decision. My dog is super sweet and small and precious. I know dogs, though, that are bigger and like to jump and play…and that’s normal! If you’re going to get enraged at a breed that jumps on you or nips at your hand or barks at you, get a cat or some other breed! If you’re too lazy or unprepared to do the research on the breed, it’s your fault when you “don’t get what you expect.”

6. Do not impulsively adopt an animal if you’re not prepared to care for it for years to come. 

I know, as an impulsive person, that it’s really hard when you see a cute puppy, but I know that if I were to adopt him on the spot, I would take care of him no matter what. So, if you don’t have that mindset, get out of your head. 

7. Yes, that puppy is cute, but in the future…

I know that puppy is cute, but that’s a German Shepard puppy and, guess what? They GROW. They grow and get more set in their personality and change and get old. So be prepared for that. Don’t adopt a puppy only to give it away when it’s grown. They develop relationships with you, don’t break their hearts. 

8. Finances.

Animals cost money! If your pet gets sick, it’s your responsibility to give it the care you’d give anybody else. You take it to the vet and get its medicine and feed it and give it treats. You do not adopt if you can’t afford it. Be ready for the money situation. 

9. All animals are different. 

Each animal has a personality. Each animal has people it will protect and love. They all have characteristics and feelings. They feel pain. They feel hurt. They feel love. So, love them. They are as innocent as babies and if you could do something to harm them, well…let’s just say I could see you harming some other things as well. You have immediately lost my trust if you hurt an animal. Rarely do animals ever deserve fatal punishment. Each of my pets have different personalities and I love them all the same. Seriously, I’ve been heartbroken over animal death and I still am. Pets touch places in my heart people never will. 

This is something everybody should read before making nonsense decisions that will dictate an animals life. I love animals and if you feel the slightest bit unfit, either reassess or make yourself fit to care for a pet. It is a commitment, but it is rewarding. I wouldn’t change a thing in my farm of a house. 

I Was Supposed to be Happy

I was supposed to be happy when the day came that so many girls dream of. I was supposed to be happy that I was engaged to my best friend. I was supposed to be happy that I was going to start my life with the love of my life. Instead… 

I was so excited and joyful, only to be slammed with, “You’re how old?” and, “You’re just so young…” and, my personal favorite, “Marriage is HARD!” Then, I was completely overwhelmed and defeated. 

Can I just say, I am 18 years old. Wow, young, I know. I have been in the same relationship with the same man for my entire high school career who is almost 3 years older than me. We started dating in 2013. We have been through hell and back. We have had ups and downs and all arounds, I promise you. However, he is my best friend. 

I can assure you that I understand that wisdom comes with age; however, I also believe that wisdom comes with experience. Guess what? I have experienced a lot with him. I have experienced being heart broken over death and making important decisions and graduations and family issues and personal issues and you know what? He is still right by my side, cheering me on. He understands me…sometimes better than I do, I think! I love having somebody to hold me when I’m weak and push me when I’m strong. I’m in love with him and I have been for years. 

We know it’s going to be hard. Trust me! And I can assure you that I am not getting married tomorrow. We know financially it’s going to be hard and we know that we’re both still in college. We know we shouldn’t get married within the next month and we know we shouldn’t have babies next year. We are well aware and, believe it or not, we are capable of making mature decisions. I can promise you that he and I can talk and communicate through a problem better than a lot of married couples! 

Moral of the story is this: if you have an opinion about my young engagement and my future plans, power to you! But believe me when I say, I don’t really want to know about how awful and hard marriage is going to be, according to you. Let me find out for myself. 

As for me and my fiancé, we are going to continue to love and trust each other and dwell on our engagement and future. You can choose to dwell on ours or your own. 

And for those who have completely supported us and sent us well wishes, thank you! Truly. We really appreciate having people who are rooting for us and have our backs. We’ll remember you when the wedding comes around! 😉 Have a blessed day everyone!

the election of 2016

Donald J. Trump. Republican nominee. Imperfect


Hillary Clinton. Democratic nominee. Imperfect


But…

Barack Obama. Democratic nominee 2008 and 2012. Imperfect

Abraham Lincoln. Imperfect

George Washington. Imperfect

All of the United States’s presidential candidates in history: imperfect

This election is so very chaotic, controversial, and becoming less and less about actual presidential duties, in my opinion. Both candidates have made horrible mistakes. Hillary has absolutely abandoned and endangered this country. Donald has said some really horrible things about women and other minority groups. 

People say that we are picking the lesser of two evils (truth), but here’s the thing: the winner will still be evil. So what can we do as a country?

1. Prioritize. I’m all for equality and as long as you respect me, you do you. However, I believe that, let’s say, terrorism is more important than some other issues that get much more media attention. 

2. Cling to God. This nation is in utter turmoil and it feels like there is no end to the election, the controversy, and the danger. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know what else to do besides pray and pray and pray for this country because the good Lord is coming back someday and every day that passes is looking closer and closer to that day. 

3. Stop turning against each other. It is historically proven that we will get nothing finished if we are all fighting constantly. Be respectful of others’ opinions. Take into consideration the rights and wrongs. When do we get things completed? When we come together. When do we come together? When bad things happen. Maybe we should stray from this idea and stick together from the beginning. 

Somebody is going to win. That somebody will be either Clinton or Trump. We, as Americans, must accept this fact and plan for the future. We are America. We absolutely cannot stray from our roots; we are one nation, under God, indivisible. 

You may be a Democrat. You may be a Republican. First and foremost, however, you should be an AMERICAN.