Alcohol Use Disorder, Jesus, Mental Illness, self care, self love, Sovereignty, Vulnerability

I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord

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“19 So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”  Ruth 9:19-21

“8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”  Philippians 3:8-11

From She Reads Truth, Ruth, Day 3

“If prayer is a picture of believers lifting one another before the Lord, there are times I have been full-on carried. I don’t mean they’ve just walked alongside me or encouraged me to go on. No, they have picked me up from the pit and held me high before the Lord, my spiritual self limp and lifeless, desperately in need of the life-breath of my Savior. It sounds melodramatic until you’re in the thick of it, too spent to sigh another “please” or “amen.”

Naomi’s circumstances were indeed awful. She’d buried her husband, lost two sons, and said goodbye to a daughter-in-law. She had no hope of a grandchild, no path of provision. “I went away full,” she told them, “and the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21). Yet, there was no fist-shaking at heaven. No renouncing her faith. Naomi believed God was sovereign, even in her tragedy.”

“Circumstances change, but they do not change our God. And they do not change the saving power of Jesus Christ. We need not waste time shaking our fists at heaven when we can run full-force into His arms, trusting He can redeem even us, even this, even now.”

Life is so hard, but God is sovereign.  He has a plan even for the darkest tragedy.  I have seen him used my struggles to bring about healing for others.  Just sharing what I go through everyday with mental illness, alcohol use disorder, and trauma helps others to not feel alone.  It helps others to share and be vulnerable.  It helps others to get it out.  It’s not me, it’s Jesus Christ with-in me that allows me to be so vulnerable. I care too much what people think to do it on my own.

Asking friends what they are doing for self care helps them to remember to take good care of themselves.  It helps them to dig deep and realize that they are worth taking care of.

Again, this is not me, but it is the power of Jesus with-in me.  He is using me for His glory.  It’s not about me, but about Him.

I don’t always share that.  I am selfish much of the time and want the glory.  But I’m learning that without Him, I am nothing.  He gives me purpose.  He gives me strength and courage.  He gives me boldness.

My daily prayer is that God will use me to bring about glory to Him.

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Alcohol Use Disorder, Anxiety, Counseling, EMDR, Mental Health, self love, Trauma

Trauma. This Word Can Mean a Lot of Things.

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Until recently, I would not have said that I’ve been through trauma.

When I think of trauma, I think of war.

I think of domestic abuse.

I think of growing up with parents doing drugs.

I think of being raped.

I haven’t been through any that.

I recently started going to a new counselor, and after talking with her for 45 minutes, she listed 4 traumas that I have been through.  Then I talked with a psychologist for social security disability, and she felt the same way.

So, now I’m trying to figure out what that means for me.

What trauma have I been through, you ask?

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Well, it started at the age of 3 1/2.  I was sexually abused by a 9/10 year old.  I won’t go into the details here, but let’s say it was pretty bad :-(.  What’s sad is that you know that 9/10 year old had to have been abused as well.  I actually don’t remember this, but I’ve learned that it still affects me.

From the age of 6 through junior high, I was bullied.  Not just made fun of.  I was ostracized by most of my grade.  I was punched in the face multiple times.  Knocked off a swing and stepped on.  Punched on the arm multiple times.  Probably more that I can’t even remember.  I would see a counselor at school often because of this.  I practically hated myself.  I felt like I was flawed in some way and that there must be a reason nobody liked me.  I still struggle with this to this day.  I overcompensate often and have a lot of social anxiety.

Then, when I was 19, we were at a dance hall celebrating someone’s anniversary.  My Pawpaw and Meemaw (who I visited at least once a week) had just finished dancing, and he went to sit down next to me.  As he was sitting down, he had a heart attack and died immediately.  On his way down, he fell against me.  Then, I watched them do CPR on him, knowing that he was already gone.  I was in the room at the hospital with my Meemaw when they came in to tell her that he had died.  I lived with her for a month or so after he died, and it was really hard on both of us.  Honestly, this probably has the least affect on me of all four traumas that I have experienced.

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Probably the hardest for me is my brother’s death.  It was a very gruesome death.  He was at my parents’ house, and he used my dad’s rifle to commit suicide.  The top of his head was blown off by the rifle.  My mom was home and saw him :-(, so I would say she has it worse than me.  I was the first person she called, and she screamed, “Your brother blew his brains out!”  When we pulled up, they were carrying him out in a body bag.  My parents didn’t want to leave, so while we were planning his funeral, they had to put a sheet up to keep us from looking in the room.  Serv Pro came out and they had to throw away everything in the room.  It was so bad that they had to completely strip the room… ceiling, walls, carpet.  I remember walking by the window outside and seeing a piece of his brain on the window.  I don’t understand why they didn’t clean that off for so long!

I was 7 months pregnant with Levi.  Being the only other child, I had to take care of everyone else.  I didn’t have time to grieve.  I’ve still only cried a few times over it.  I’m sad that I don’t have emotion over it.

I went through terrible postpartum depression with Levi (probably because of Joey’s death).  I couldn’t function.  Robert has said that I was in a complete fog and barely took care of our kids.  He had to do the laundry, make meals, clean the house, etc.  He would come home from work and I would hand him Levi and leave.

I started drinking to feel “better” when Levi was about 8 months old.  I can remember the first time I realized alcohol would help my depression and severe anxiety (well, technically it didn’t… it was short term).

I have learned recently that a lot of my severe anxiety is because of trauma!  Who knew?

This is what EMDR will help.  I will truly be able to process so I can move forward.

Interested in learning more?  Click the contact page above and contact me!

Addiction, Alcohol Use Disorder, Anxiety, Bipolar 2, Counseling, Depression, Disability, EMDR, Hypomania, Mental Health, Mental Illness

Working Through the Hard Stuff with a Counselor… And Trying to Win Disability

Conceptual representation of the bipolar disorder

Yesterday was a big day.

I was in town all day.

First, I met with a psychologist that works for Social Security for her to determine that I have the illnesses that I say I have.  I was there for about an hour.  She was great.  I felt safe with her (unlike the last time I had to do this).  She told me that she has no idea how the process works, she just does her job and sends the report to them.  Social Security is the one who makes the final decision.  So that was helpful.

We talked about my abuse.  We talked about the extreme bullying that took place (physical and emotional/mental).  We talked about the counseling that I went through as a kid.  We talked about my Pawpaw’s death (he died in front of me, falling on me as he fell to the ground).  We talked about my brother’s gruesome suicide.  I went into the details of this.  This is always easy for me to talk about, but impossible for me to have emotions about it.  It’s so weird.

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We talked about my bipolar 2 symptoms (she seemed to agree with this).  We talked mostly about my extreme/severe anxiety and how that is something I deal with every single day and it turns to panic attacks when I work.  We talked about my hospitalizations.

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We talked about my alcoholism and how much of the reason I drank was to quiet the anxiety that I deal with on a daily/hourly/minute by minute basis.  We talked about my obsessiveness within my anxiety and how I obsess to handle it.  To feel control over it.  I was super anxious when I was there and I think she could tell.  At the end she asked me some simple questions, then she gave me 4 words to remember at the end of the questions and I couldn’t remember all of them (I remembered 2).  She told me that when someone is anxious they have a hard time remembering things.  It doesn’t mean I have a bad memory… it just shows my anxiety.

I love that she didn’t tell me at the end that I don’t have bipolar, just depression.  The last time this happened the doctor told me immediately after our conversation that I didn’t have bipolar.  She seemed to agree that I do.  And she definitely told me that I have extreme anxiety.  She thinks the anxiety is caused by the trauma I experienced.

We’ll see what happens.  They told me it should be about 30 days until they have made a decision, so now I just wait.  I’ve been at this for a few years now, so I can handle 30 days!

I’m thankful for possibility to receive disability, and I am now okay with whatever decision they make.  I have to be okay with it.  I really can’t do anything else beyond this.  I have done it on my own, through a company that deals with disability, and now with a lawyer.  I am spent.  No more options.  I’m okay with that!  It’s time to move on with my life either way!

After I met with her, I went to Chick Fil A and ate (for the first time in a long time).  It was so nice to have something other than what I’ve been eating every day for a long time!  Then I went to Walmart and bought things for Levi’s birthday (wrapping paper, icing for the cookie cake, sugar, flour, etc).  That made me happy!

At 1:30, I met with my new counselor.

She is absolutely everything I need in a counselor.  She’s warm and inviting, she really cares about me, reminds me about God’s grace, and she has been a counselor for 30 years.  She definitely knows what she’s doing.  She also said that my anxiety is from the trauma that I experienced.  We talked a lot about each trauma, and she wants to work on the bullying first.  She thinks that’s why I have so much social anxiety.  It should help the obsessive/compulsive part of my anxiety as well.

We will be doing EMDR therapy to work through the bullying that I went through.

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She will use these “tappers” to do it.

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They vibrate one at a time and works on one side of the brain at a time.  The point is going to try to get me to have emotions about the trauma that I went through so that I can really process it.  We’ll see how it goes!