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Marriage & Anxiety: Strength in your spouse OR strain on your marriage?

Apr 29, 2016 by

Marriage & Anxiety: Strength in your spouse OR strain on your marriage?

It’s no secret around here that I have suffered from generalized anxiety disorder for years. There have been moments in this life that anxiety has completely shut me down, times when no amount of prayers or tears could drag me out of it. I’ve seen counselors, I’ve taken drugs, I’ve  learned all kinds of deep breathing exercises… There’s a moment I remember from my adolescent years where my high school boyfriend (bless his heart) tossed me into a cold shower for lack of any other way to figure out how to calm my anxiety.  **note, this is not the ideal method**

Anxiety makes me feel less like the person I want to be. #mentalhealth #anxietyisathing Click To Tweet

The truth is, anxiety inhibits my interactions with others, it lowers my ability to be social and it keeps me from functioning in the ways that I would like to. One of the only things that has made a significant difference in my anxiety levels in years is my marriage to my husband.  Marriage has been a rock solid foundation which has given me stability, faith in tomorrow, and a general calmness that I have never experienced before.

There are three major ways that my marriage has supported me in my quest to conquer my anxiety and although there are countless other times I have relied on my husband to support me through this, these things below are at the forefront of how a healthy marriage can help anxiety sufferers. 

  1. My marriage has built my hope and confidence.

I spent a ton of time in my early twenties feeling like I wasn’t good enough. To say I was in a rut would be an understatement!  I was in a long-term relationship that was going nowhere and felt like it must be because I was lacking some fundamental element that would encourage him to want to marry me. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, and why I was unlovable. My anxiety grew by leaps and bounds in this chapter of my life. Most of my thoughts swirled around the lack of hope I had for my future and my low confidence in myself. My self-esteem was lacking and I felt like there was nothing I could do to get out of this slump.

Since those moments when my husband and I promised to be true to each other through good times and in bad, in sickness and in health I have discovered that my most basic fears have been lifted.  When we stood at the altar of course, the last thing on our minds was the absolute guarantee that we were making to each other. I don’t think either one of us took into account the kind of “crazy” that comes with anxiety that cannot be explained with basic logic. I’m certain we weren’t calculating what that actually means “in sickness and in health”. I don’t think we thought about the ramifications that come with making that vow. My anxiety is definitely one of the larger issues and challenges we have faced as a couple and although it’s not what one thinks of when they think of a typical illness, it is a disease none the less. The beautiful thing is, no matter how big the challenge is, we signed up to tackle it together when we made those vows.

Dan’s approach to my anxiety has really been quite simple. He chooses to love me regardless, faces my anxiety like his next mission and knows that God put me into his hands for a reason. He is selfless about it, and amazing. He focuses on reminding me that we are on the same team, we are in this together, and boosts my confidence daily. Simply knowing that I do not have to handle any of life’s struggles alone, especially my anxiety has helped to alleviate the frequency of my panic attacks.

Since we’ve been married, my husband has told me I’m beautiful 239578 times. He holds my hand when I feel insecure, he reinforces our vows, he promises to never let me go…how can I fear the future when I have that?

  1. My marriage has helped to put my problems into perspective.

If something minor is causing my anxiety, we are able to talk through the details in a real and logical way to prove to my inner anxious self that everything is going to be OK.

Earth to Molly: the world is NOT spinning out of control!

Knowing that communication isn’t always easy, especially if I am suffering with some unrealistic anxiety or unmet expectations, I realize that sometimes talking through a panic attack isn’t a reasonable option. However, when my anxiety cannot be attributed to any identifiable triggers, it is important that someone helps to bring me back to reality. My husband can do that.

I feel like by working on our communication and talking through the little things I am able to get a better handle on what is truly important, what is really at the root of my emotions, and what things can trigger my anxiety. When an anxiety attack will hit me is extremely difficult to predict:  sometimes it can be brought on by truly life altering stressful situations (ie: hubby’s next deployment) other times a wave will come when I’m standing in the produce section on a lazy Sunday at the grocery store.

Because we are deeply invested in this marriage and have a true desire to understand each other we make an effort to communicate our feelings and thoughts regularly. That being said we aren’t always good at it, but his ability to try really helps me get a handle on the big picture. Dan’s ability to compartmentalize things, rationalize and ease my fears truly is what I rely on daily to understand how the world works around me. When he can crack a joke about what’s really happening, or change my perspective on a matter of minor importance it helps me to get a handle on what is really going on. Putting things into perspective in a way that I can understand and hold on to has been really helpful in crushing those anxious feelings.Exploring the benefits of a healthy marriage on anxiety symptoms. www.lovetheeveryday.com

  1. My marriage has helped to identify and minimize my anxiety triggers.

We spend a lot of time together. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes and he can see things in me that I cannot. By connecting our lives in marriage we have tethered ourselves for the long haul. Because of this, we are able to spend quality time investigating the ins and outs of my anxiety.

Together we have discovered some of the best ways to minimize my impending panic.  We now know that I am more likely to feel anxious when I don’t have a plan and a back-up plan. Dan is able to help me make lists and organize our day into a manageable order. In these ways we stop some of the anxiety in its tracks. I know that the weeks leading up to big changes are often the hardest. He’s pointed out that when I don’t get 8 hours of sleep I’m more likely to be triggered by something random, and when I’m hungry I’m just more prone to irrationality than other times.

We’ve also written down a list of the things that help me get through anxious situations (Drink very cold water. Turn off the radio. Pray. Count something. Make a list of what needs to be done next. Sit on the floor. Breathe. Hold something in my hands. Etc.) and he will tactfully remind me of them if I’ve forgotten.


The bottom line, of course, is that anxiety isn’t fun for anybody involved. It takes an infinite amount of patience and a whole bunch of trial and error. There are absolutely days when I want to wring his neck and moments when he totally shuts down and cannot help me. There are times when I want to scream at him (and I do) because he tries to logic-out my problems. There are days when he calls me “crazy” and I call him “mean” (toss a few curse words in here and there and sometimes it becomes a full-fledged battle). There are times when the tears outnumber the condolences. There are certainly times when anxiety gets the best of me and I am not the best version of myself. Sometimes my anxiety takes a pretty big toll on our marriage, and I know that my husband struggles to understand where I’m coming from and why I’m melting down. Anxiety is actually pretty tough on our marriage sometimes.


In collaboration with my friend Kristin, we’ve teamed up today to talk about how a healthy marriage can help anxiety and, on the flip side, how anxiety can put a negative strain a marriage.

To read the other half of this collaboration, head on over to Kristin’s blog, The Peculiar Treasure, to read about how anxiety can negatively impact a marriage.

**Kristin blogs regularly on The Peculiar Treasure but you can also locate her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Baby Showers are the Absolute Worst | Baby Shower

Mar 25, 2016 by

Baby Showers are the Absolute Worst | Baby Shower

I know I shouldn’t compare apples and oranges, but it’s really hard to restrain when the bellies of all my closest friends are starting to take the shape of the aforementioned fruit, meanwhile we are still over here TTC.

 

Did you know there’s such a thing as pregnancy envy? How ridiculous. This isn’t a competition, but sometimes we allow ourselves to feel that way.  There is quite literally a constant stream of pregnancies around me, it starts to eat away ,a little, at my resolve to be positive about this whole thing. I know I am not the only woman in the world to be waiting on motherhood. I know I am not alone in this. However sometimes it’s hard to ignore the hurtful comments. It’s hard to ignore the fact that I am quite quickly running out of magnets for the fridge what with all the pastel colored baby announcements I have to hang up to torture myself with.

That being said, I went to a baby shower this weekend. The Mom-to-be is a coworker of mine, whom I adore. I know that she too had some struggles on the path to pregnancy and I am super excited for her. (It should be noted that I would attend 100 torturous baby showers to celebrate her and her pregnancy. ) I also appreciate her shower was on a Sunday, and not on Saturday, thus not ruining the entirety of my weekend… The shower itself was pretty and sweet. It might have been fine even, it I were able to join the ranks of women with children, or had a battle story of my own to share, but instead I found myself surrounded by tales of woe, destruction and horror. Not only was this incredibly depressing, but it also spurred the twinges of jealousy. Things started floating through my mind like: How dare they complain like that? I’d be so happy to have those problems. Although, actually bloated feet and a torn, unrecognizable vagina are not actually on my top ten things to do list…Baby Showers

I’m sure when I do become pregnant I will want to complain too. I’m sure it will be freaking awful and I will be a hot mess.  I know that pregnancy and new motherhood is probably both a difficult experience as well as a blessing, and I also know those gals meant no ill will… but I still left the shower in a state of unease. Feeling both jealous and sad. I hope I will remember in the future when I am actually a mom, that detailing my birth story in excruciating detail will scar the single girls and the childless for life.

I should have known better of course, and been prepared. Everyone knows that attending a baby shower puts you in the midst of a conversation that will inevitably circle around babies and parenting for the better part of two hours. It shouldn’t have surprised me, and the truth is, if I had thought it through a little better I might have even declined the invitation and just sent a gift. If I had thought it through I would have realized that attending a baby shower would be emotional Armageddon. If I had thought it through I would have had a few cocktails first… If I had thought it through I would have remembered that at the heart of the matter,  I hate baby showers anyway.

Like I hate, hate them. I hate that there is no alcohol present (I know we are celebrating a pregnant woman here, but still the rest of us shouldn’t have to endure party games without a beer in hand). (**side note: when I do become pregnant and someone decides to throw me a shower, please remember the non-pregnant are enduring the shower and serve them a cocktail or two.) I hate that there are party games to play at all. I hate that in order to purchase a worthwhile baby gift I have to spend shit tons of money on a gadget that I don’t actually know what it’s used for, or be the asshole that buys baby washcloths and a onesie they will outgrow before they wear.

Next time, I will go for a moment. Hug the soon-to-be-momma fiercely, tell her how genuinely happy for her I am. I will eat cake, I will leave my obligatory gift, and then I will make an excuse involving a gastrointestinal emergency related to my lactose intolerance (believable) and head for the door.

Because I am excited for her. And for my other co-workers, and two of my best friends, and my sister, and my dental hygienist, and the girl down the street, but I don’t want to have to wallow in your ever enlarging shadow while I binge eat cake with pink and blue frosting.

Binge eating pink cake, and other reasons I hate baby showers. #fertility #babies Click To Tweet read more

First steps for the newly engaged: Where to begin?

Mar 7, 2016 by

First steps for the newly engaged: Where to begin?

“We are officially engaged!!! Now what?”

When I received the long-awaited phone call this weekend from my dear friend announcing that she and her high school sweetheart were finally engaged I was jump-up-and-down excited. Her voice was happy on the phone when she was telling me her news and then shifted to nervous confusion when she added: “I don’t know what to do now”.

Oh,this is the simple part! And the fun part!

Step one:
Enjoy. Bask. Stare at your ring. Hold hands with your honey. Make diamond sparkles on the ceiling of the car as you drive. Take selfies. Imagine your honeymoon. Enjoy the moment. These early, blissful moments as you prepare to start the planning process are fleeting and rare and beautiful. Embrace them. Take a week or two and just let the idea of marriage simmer. Enjoy the excitement that your friends share with you. Enjoy every phone call you get to make to announce your engagement. Love it. It goes by all too quickly and you should be able to linger a little in the “happiness bubble” that is a new engagement.

We're Engaged! Now what_

When you’re newly engaged it is easy to be overwhelmed. Take a moment and breathe in the happy.!… Click To Tweet

Step two:
While you’re lingering in the happy bubble, it is a good time to call all your nearest and dearest to spread the news. You don’t want someone you love to have to find out on Facebook that your boyfriend popped the question! Make sure you make a list of those people you’ve called and those you haven’t. (On your real to-do list: Decide if you want to send engagement announcements now, and also if you want something printed in the paper as well. This will give you plenty of time to have engagement photos taken!)

 

engagement photos| What do do first when you're engaged? Step 3:
Then, start dreaming. Buy the magazines and make the Pinterest boards. This part is fun too! Ask your friends for advice. Look through other peoples’ wedding albums and dream. Dream big. Plan your dream wedding, think about all the things you’d do if money were no question and you could do anything. Now is the time for dreaming. You can make all the big decisions in a week or two. For now, you dream. You stroll up the aisle in the hardware store and grab paint chips to see which colors go well together. You make zero decisions and you don’t look at prices. You’re engaged! Take a moment to love this time period in your life.

 

All the other decisions come later.

Right now, right this minute, you relax and you be in love.

 


Colorado natives looking for engagement photos? I know just the photographer! *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*

It’s ENGAGEMENT SEASON!

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Day 19: Spread Love Like Jelly Challenge (Tell someone!) | Say I love you

Mar 3, 2016 by

Day 19: Spread Love Like Jelly Challenge (Tell someone!) | Say I love you

Day 19: Spread Love Like Jelly Challenge (Tell someone!)

Today is easy.   Today is important.  Today is fun.

 

 

On the almost-last-day of the #spreadlovelikejelly challenge I am prompting you to make sure that you tell the people in your life that you love them.

Tell your mom. Call grandma. Tell your coworkers and your former teachers and your baby sitter. Send an email to the lady who was the secretary of your first job, tell her she made your day every morning. Tell the person who walks your dog and your sunday school teacher. Tell them, tell them, tell them! Tell them so that they can reciprocate. Tell them because it feels good. Tell them because life is short and love is sweet. Tell them because one day you’ll be sorry that you didn’t.

I’m going to share my list of people. The ones who I plan to make it a priority to tell that I LOVE THEM this week. I’m going to make a list for next week too!  Its going to take a few days to check people off, but I’ll work on it over the upcoming weekend. I encourage you to make your list too. Treat it like a check list and tell them how much they matter. Start. Start right now. #spreadlove

#spreadlove #spreadlovelikejelly Tell people you love them while you can.

  • My mom who is awesome in all ways
  • My grandparents who can take credit for most of what I know about life
  • My little sister who has so much life to figure out
  • My nieces who should be told every day how fiercely they are loved
  • My assistant teacher who works her butt off for me and our students
  • My 1st boyfriend Joe, who taught me what it means to love someone
  • My step-siblings who have accepted me as one of them
  • My students, who need so much love
  • My 5th grade teacher who inspired me
  • The ladies in my bible study who have become my family
  • My best friend Kate
  • My husband who puts up with all of my nonsense
  • My cousins who were my very first friends
  • My best buddies from high school who supported me through all the awkward that is adolescence
  • My coworkers who are like sisters
  • My aunts and uncles
  • My little brother who has always been one of my favorite people
  • My bridesmaids who are amazing
  • My college roommates
  • …the list goes on.
Tell the people in your life that you love them. Tell them right now! #spreadlove #sayIloveyou… Click To Tweet

Who will you tell today? Who will you tell tomorrow? Who will you tell every day?

Go on! Get started and #spreadlovelikejelly.


 

Did you miss the beginning of this series? Not sure what I’m talking about or why? Pop back over to the instructions page to see the brain child behind #spreadlovelikejelly

Day 1: Love yourself

Day 2: Compliment Someone

Day 3: Send a handwritten note

Day 4: Writing Challenge

Day 5: Have Patience

Day 6: It’s the Little Things

Day 7: Random Acts of Kindness

Day 8: Speak Love

Day 9: Find Inspiration

Day 10: Choose Love

Day 11: Put Others First

Day 12: Speak Kindly

Day 13: Be Present

Day 14: Feel the Love

Day 15: Love Your Pets

Day 16: Embrace God’s Love

Day 17: Leap Day Love

Day 18: Grant Grace


“Nothing can make our lives, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” –Tolstoy

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Day 15: Spread Love Like Jelly Challenge (Love your Pets)

Feb 27, 2016 by

Day 15: Spread Love Like Jelly Challenge (Love your Pets)

Sponsor a challenge they said. Write every day they said. It will be awesome… they were right. It is awesome. But it sure is a lot more difficult to write everyday than I had anticipated. I’m sorry for missing yesterday. It was a horrible day at work and a long day of cleaning the house to prepare for our next guests!

Today though, on challenge day 16, which we are going to pretend is day 15….
I challenge you to focus on loving the furriest

members of your family.

I don’ t think it needs to be repeated how important dogs are in our lives. From lowering blood pressure to being the ideal exercise partner I think it’s covered all over the web how important dogs can be to their humans.

If you know me in my real life at all, you know that my pups are members of my family, and important ones at that. I am thankful for them every day because they never fail to put a smile on my face and greet me at the door, butts wagging.www.lovetheeveryday.com | #spreadlovelikejelly | How to best love your dog

However, sometimes I know that I come home from work and am easily irritated by them. No matter how busy I am though, or how terrible my day is they are still showering me with affection. Sometimes I do not reciprocate. I kick them off the couch, don’t want to play and haven’t had the time to give them the attention they deserve. They don’t care how bad my day was, or how awful my hair looks, they just want a belly rub.

Our pets are our biggest cheerleaders, our most loyal companions and literally members of our family. Researchers have shown that dogs even can feel the same kinds of love for their owners that young children feel for their parents. Now, that’s cool. #spreadlovelikejelly | www.lovetheeveryday.com  | Love your pets today.

Today I challenge you to accept the love that the furry members of  your family are dying to lavish upon you, make time for the belly rub, and #spreadlovelikejelly.


Did you miss the beginning of this series? Not sure what I’m talking about or why? Pop back over to the instructions page to see the brain child behind #spreadlovelikejelly

Day 1: Love yourself

Day 2: Compliment Someone

Day 3: Send a handwritten note

Day 4: Writing Challenge

Day 5: Have Patience

Day 6: It’s the Little Things

Day 7: Random Acts of Kindness

Day 8: Speak Love

Day 9: Find Inspiration

Day 10: Choose Love

Day 11: Put Others First

Day 12: Speak Kindly

Day 13: Be Present

Day 14: Feel the Love


“Nothing can make our lives, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” –Tolstoy

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