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You are not alone: When ANXIETY makes you feel crazy

May 26, 2015 by

You are not alone: When ANXIETY makes you feel crazy

This morning I had a big, crummy, panic attack. Not once of those “Oh my god I opened the electric bill this month and almost had a panic attack”… no. Not that. Nope, not a “Holy $#i! that spider gave me a panic attack!” And certainly not happy little butterflies that one gets in their stomach before a first date. No. Not that….

 

This was more like being chased by hungry dinosaurs and clowns with chain saws towards a cliff over shark infested waters. And it came out of nowhere -that’s the worst part.

 

I can handle emergencies, I can handle deployments, I can handle excessive amounts of blood and screaming toddlers from whence said blood flows. (The joys of nanny-hood and poorly designed playground equipment)….I was a rockstar-911-calling-superhero-with-a-fire-extinguisher that time a drunk kid drove his car into my neighbor’s house and the whole dang thing started on fire. I can handle an emergency with a cool head and amazing grace. Its regular ol’ life that catches me off guard some times.

 

Bible Verses and relaxation ideas for anxiety sufferers
You’ve probably figured out by now that I suffer from Anxiety Disorder. Most days this is not a big deal. Most days I even forget I have it. Most days I function just fine thank-you-very-much. Most days I am perfectly normal …. But every so often I get struck with a case of OMGICANTBREATHE followed by extreme embarrassment and often a killer headache and the urge to consume copious amounts of wine.
Occasional anxiety is of course normal and necessary for life. I would say that it is totally legit to feel anxious over an important decision at work, or a huge exam, or making a big decision, or right before a medical procedure. This kind of anxiety is one of those evolutionary necessities that tell us when to take action and keep us out of harms way. This is not the kind of anxiety I’m talking about. That’s not even close.
I’m not talking about everyday worries that are founded on something to be fearful of. I’m not talking about a worry or fear that is temporary… I’m talking about mind-numbing, baseless anxiety which renders its victim helpless and often in the fetal position on the floor.
It’s the seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks that upset me the most. I feel like I am a totally logical and rational person, but every so often, panic strikes. I know in my head that there is nothing to worry about and yet I’ll be standing in the middle of the supermarket feeling like things are out of my control. My heart pounds so that I can hear it in my ears, I get dizzy, I swear I’m having a heart attack…if it’s really bad I start to hyperventilate and suddenly I’ve convinced myself that I’m most likely going to die or be abducted by aliens any.minute.now.
The first time this ever happened to me I was a senior in high school thinking about going away to college. Fear and worry about leaving my mother alone, moving and saying good bye to friends and my long time boyfriend consumed my every thought. (This is normal. ) I had applied to 12 schools and was accepted at 11 of them. The only school that turned me down was, as luck would have it, the only one I really wanted to attend. Trying to decide where to go after that was a difficult process.

 

One evening, in the middle of a re-run of Saved By the Bell, I suddenly couldn’t breathe. It felt as though my body were closing in on itself. My boyfriend, who was sitting next to me, tried to console me, but it was as if I couldn’t hear his voice. It felt like the blood running through my body was too thick for my veins and my chest was constricting. I was convinced I was having a stroke or a heart attack, which of course made the fear worse. I wasn’t breathing…. Eventually my boyfriend carried me upstairs and dumped me into a cold shower. (I would not recommend this method.) It startled me enough though to bring my mind back to the present and to eventually calm down.


WebMD states that anxiety disorders cannot be prevented. But over the course of the past 14 or so years I have learned that there are some things you can to do help curb the symptoms.

  • Limit caffeine intake, and anything else that makes your heart race unnecessarily.

 

  • Talk to your doc! No really. I was so afraid that I was going crazy that it took me years to seek professional help. The doctor can recommend different therapies, herbal remedies and prescription drugs to help you cope.
    • One thing I learned was that often, just having the anxiety reducing medication in my pocket was enough of a secret weapon to keep panic attacks at bay.

 

  • Seek counseling or therapy as soon as you can. I went to a behavioral therapist for a while who taught me excellent relaxation techniques and counting exercises to help when I feel a panic attack coming on.

 

  • Learn to deep breathe. Controlled and counted breathing is an excellent strategy for both reducing anxiety and lessening the effects of panic. I breathe in for six-eight counts through my nose and exhale quickly through my mouth for counts of 4. This helps to get more oxygen quickly into my system and makes me focus on something other than worry.

 

  • Tackle known stressors. Stress is the enemy here. Really. I always understand, after the fact, that the underlying trigger of a panic attack was a much deeper and often hidden stress.
    Know that you are not alone and that this does not define you. Say it over and over to yourself. “I am not alone. I am not a panic attack.” (wait…. Talking to yourself, is that the first sign of some other mental disorder?)

OK but really, not only are there a gazillion other people in this world who stuffer from anxiety too. Above and beyond all that, God promises that he will not leave us in our times of suffering and that my friends, is pretty amazing.

God promises that he will not leave us in our times of suffering and that my friends, is pretty… Click To Tweet

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

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When Teachers Make a Difference: Thank You Note Edition

May 21, 2015 by

When Teachers Make a Difference: Thank You Note Edition

I am working on a template for a Thank You Note to Students From Their Teacher…. and it’s a bit more difficult than I imagined.

I’m linking up today at a few places, but the best one is over at The Day Book because as I think about wrapping up the end of the school year their link party is titled Awkward and Awesome… I can’t think of a better way to describe my 7th grade students. As the year winds down, I want to be able to tell them just exactly how awesome they are. In doing so, I have the bright idea of writing each one of them a personal note letting them know how much they shine, and how much they’ve meant to me. I didn’t think about how much of an undertaking this was going to be before I started! Its starting to be a time consuming project,  but I want to make each of them personal to the student and I want to make them feel special. So here’s what I’ve got as a basic template.

 

It is important to let kids know that they matter. Click To Tweet

 

Dear ______________,

It’s that time of year again, and I am faced with the sad ending of our time together. It’s a little bit bittersweet to be saying goodbye. This is especially true since I’ve been able to be with most of you for two full years. I am sad to see you move on to 8th grade, but it’s so sweet to see all the personal and academic growth you have made in the 7th grade. I am especially proud of you for your growth in _____________.

I want to take a moment to thank you for being the awesome kids you are. First, thank you for being patient and honest with me. This was my first year teaching 7th grade at _______School and there were times when I was learning too. I appreciate how willing you all were to just go with the flow and give feedback when you thought something wasn’t running as smoothly as it could. We had a lot of laughs this year, I will always remember ______________________________________.

I hope you always remember that you are capable of much more than you think you are. We read incredibly complex books this year and I am so proud of the thinking skills you were able to develop!

Most importantly, thank you for your positive attitude and your willingness to learn something awesome every single day. I love this job, I love hanging out with you guys and I love watching you learn.

I will always consider myself your teacher, and you will always be “my kids”.  Don’t hesitate to come see me as you progress through your academic career, I like to know you’re making good choices and being kind.

When you look back on 7th grade a year from now, ten years from now, fifty years from now, I don’t know if you’ll remember much of what you learned, but I hope you remember you were very, very loved and you are incredibly special.

Go. Do great things. (I know you will). I’ll be cheering you on from here.

So much love,

 

 

 

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Crockpot Sausage, Kale and Lentil Soup

May 18, 2015 by

Crockpot Sausage, Kale and Lentil Soup

I just love Crockpot recipes. There is something so peaceful in knowing that there is a batch of something yummy simmering away in the slow cooker while I’m at work. Coming home to a healthy and easy meal is one of life’s simple pleasures.

This week I made a really wonderful Sausage and Lentil Soup in my crockpot. It was a super easy week night dinner idea that made both my husband and I happy. I had enough leftovers to take to work for lunch the next day and it was even better the next day! It is also super healthy and filling,  so it’s a win-win.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 64 oz of chicken or vegetable stock. (I used Costco brand chicken stock)
  • 1 -can diced tomatoes
  • 1- can black beans (rinsed)
  • 2 Cups Dry Green Lentils
  • 2 cups chopped and de-stemmed Kale
  • 2 cloves diced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • about 1 celery stalk chopped
  • 1 lb. crumbled and cooked sausage, drain grease off first by cooling on a paper towel (use your favorite kind)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar

Sausage, Kale and Lentil Soup in the Crockpot | www.lovetheeveryday.comThis is so easy:

1. Place carrots, celery, garlic, canned tomatoes, canned beans, lentils, sausage, bay leaves, thyme, cumin, pepper, salt, and garlic salt into crockpot.

2.  Pour Chicken or Veggie Stock over everything and stir gently.

3. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

4. About 15- 20 minutes before eating add chopped Kale and vinegar to crockpot. Stir. Place the lid back on and allow to cook for those last few minutes to properly wilt kale.

5. Enjoy with salad and fresh bread. Or topped with a dollop of sour cream. Yum!

 

 

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Be Gone Boring Chicken! Hello: Weight Loss!

May 13, 2015 by

Be Gone Boring Chicken! Hello: Weight Loss!

 

In our house we are trying to make healthy eating choices this month. But, with my lack of self-discipline and both working 40+ hours a week we are really struggling! Also there are things like cookies and cupcakes that are constantly calling my name…

Chicken Meal Ideas www.lovetheeveryday.com


 

Getting Bikini Ready:

I want to be able to lose a little weight before my friend’s wedding at the end of the month. We are also planning a vacation in June so I’d like to be bikini ready before then. All that being said, we have been eating a whole lot of chicken lately. I’m getting so bored of chicken, so I set out to find some yummy chicken recipes that will make my tummy and my waistline happy.

We found fresh, new chicken meal ideas! #weeknight #dinner #weightloss Click To Tweet

 

Pineapple Chicken Quinoa Salad

I’m immediately drawn to recipes that are easy, or that use some of our weekly staples anyway. In our house we eat a ton of quinoa and so this recipe over at Layers of Happiness which combines my love of quinoa with a sweetly satisfying pineapple addition made me super happy. Jen and Emily have a bazillion more yummy looking dishes I want to test drive too! I can’t wait to try this one. And, it only takes about 20 minutes to make which is my kind of meal! This looks perfect for lunches!

Check this recipe out at www.layersofhappiness.com

Check this recipe out at www.layersofhappiness.com

 


 

Hummus Crusted Chicken

Then I stumbled across Sara’s blog which details her weight loss journey and her healthy lifestyle choices. I love this hummus crusted chicken idea, and although she chooses to make her own hummus in the recipe, for ease of weeknight meal prep I will most likely use the hummus we already have in the fridge. Yum!

Check out Sara's weight loss journey at http://saraestakeley.blogspot.com

Check out Sara’s weight loss journey at http://saraestakeley.blogspot.com


 

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Lastly, this week I’m going to give this Buffalo Chicken Chili a try. Tammy at Organize Yourself Skinny makes it sound so easy and so yummy! She’s also got a bunch of other ideas, tips and recipes for healthy living and is super inspirational!

I’m going to work on adapting it so that I can turn it into a Crockpot Recipe instead of one that I have to prepare when I get home from work. Although I do like the idea of making it ahead and turning it into a freezer meal as well.

buffalo chicken chili

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The Separation of Church and Hate: You are a Catalyst for Change

May 11, 2015 by

The Separation of Church and Hate: You are a Catalyst for Change

I grew up in a Baptist church community in upstate New York. It was called “Open Door” and its name is a misnomer. There were, of course, wonderful people there, who believed the same things that I do, who love the Lord and who preach the bible. It’s not their faith that I have come to question, it’s their ability to share the love of Christ. When walking though the doors of this establishment, I didn’t feel loved, I felt judged. I didn’t feel forgiven, I felt condemned.

I grew up in this church environment where it seemed like we were against everything. Abortion, gay people, democrats, even Disney movies were the topics of things we needed to stay away from , things that were sinful, things that were bad. I remember a time when a young man wanted to play his electric guitar along with his sister as she sung Amazing Grace, it was expressly prohibited. As a teenager I felt that everything I did and everything I wore was under intense scrutiny. When I went off to college I stopped attending church because it didn’t fit well into my busy schedule and I wanted to spend time with people and in places in which I felt happy, not in places where I felt judged.

Widening the gap between Church and Hate: What is it about "church people"?I don’t know what it is about church people, but we have a tendency to be a bit off-putting. For some reason, there is a disconnect between living like Christ and living for Christ. As Christians I think it is pretty typical for us to judge one another more harshly, and to especially judge those who are outside of the church. I think our intentions are good, we want to share biblical truths, and teach moral life values… but somehow along the way I think we lose the point. Although the bible does explicitly lay out the ground rules for living a moral Christian life, and faith in God does by definition instruct you to live by God’s justice and commandments, this fails to take into account God’s love, which is equally important.

When my mother was a young woman and a member of the fore mentioned church, she went through a pretty ugly period in her life. When she was faced with divorcing an adulterous husband and raising a child alone while working full-time, her attendance at church waned dramatically. Rather than offer her the support and love she so desperately needed at the time, the church elders called her to let her know that if her attendance didn’t improve, she would be dropped from the membership. My mother has never been a part of a church again, in fact she rarely, if ever, attends.

Now, as an adult, I am making choices about my faith that are modeled far more on my desire that you know you are loved than my concern over whether you are gay, having sex, or dressing immodestly. As young Christians I feel that it is our responsibility to change the stigma that surrounds “church people” as we strive to love more like Christ did.

As young Christians it is our responsibility to change the stigma that surrounds “church people”. Click To Tweet

The church I attend now, as an adult, expresses love daily. Sure, we still know that the consequences of sin is death, but the church elders spend time weekly, generously showering the congregation with messages of acceptance. On Sunday my pastor made this excellent analogy, comparing the church to a hospital. Can you imagine, he asked us, if you went to the hospital when you were sick and needed medical care, then, just as you were settled into your room someone came in asking: “Are you ill? What’s wrong with you?” —“I have pneumonia” you would respond, and if that hospital were like many churches you would be told to “get out!”…. much like those that come to church seeking hope and love, only to be turned away when they aren’t acting Christian enough.

I know there is a fine line between church and hate. I know that it is a politically charged debate and that people get fired up over what they believe to be morally acceptable. I challenge you to be conscious of this in your interactions with others, in your evangelicalism, in your life: knowing that you are the first step to widening that distance between church and hate, you are the catalyst for change, you are called on to live and love like Jesus.

You are the first step to widening that distance between church and hate. Click To Tweet

I challenge you to be the light in a dark world, to be one of those Christians that people look at and wonder what makes you so different? What makes you so kind?

A challenge for Christians to change the stigma of church people.

As Christians it is our responsibility to be a light that people flock to. I challenge you to be so kind people wonder about your sanity, I challenge you to serve others, even those you disagree with, maybe even those you don’t even like…because we aren’t called on to judge others, we aren’t called on to make a point, we are called to be so full of grace that we, step by step, change the world.

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