shedding the old

on this final Friday in October, I feel a strong desire to speak my truth. I feel it’s important to shed the final layer of the old by being honest with the world. It’s scary to be this honest on such a format but I hope by my sharing I can help someone else. Most may see my life as wonderful….I travel often, I have amazing friends, family who loves and takes care of me, yet I always found myself looking and searching for something more. I was never content with my life and never content with myself.I wasn’t striving to have a picture perfect life but I wanted to feel happier than I felt. Unknowingly, I had been fighting severe anxiety for a very long time which caused much of the discontentment. I couldn’t turn my brain off. I couldn’t make the racing thoughts stop. And at times, the anxiety paralyzed me 100%. A lot of the time, I didn’t even know what was happening as I didn’t know what I was dealing with. My anxiety peaked it’s ugly head a few years ago and I literally spiraled out of control. I couldn’t get out of the awful cycle (not to mention, a heartbreak was thrown in there that made it much worse). I would avoid social activities and just go home and sit by myself, get mad at myself for feeling this way and then just cry. I was so consumed by my own hate self talk that I was ruining my own life and my relationships with those I cherish most. I was paralyzed and no matter what fun thing I was doing or cool place I went, it didn’t stop. Nothing I did helped. Even when I learned I had anxiety I still did not know how to fight it or cope with it. No matter what I did, the “I’m not good enough” thoughts and worry about every little choice and decision just would not stop.

Over the last few months, my self discovery lead me to really take control of the anxiety. I accepted what I had been fighting for years and decided I did not want to waste any more of my life. I went to counseling, worked with a life coach, and even went to an energy healer. I took up running, started praying….even did a prayer challenge, began openly talking about my challenges with others. I was able to let go of the past and the matters of the heart and in the process of all this, grew to love myself. I came to understand that I’m the only one who can change and truly the only one I can always count on, so I should be kinder to myself. Just because I have anxiety, does not mean I’m not a good person or a contributing member to those I cherish most. I realized that hiding it and being ashamed was not benefiting me at all. It was making it worse. Since starting these things, the self love has grown tremendously. Loving myself has been the biggest contributing factor to beating the anxiety. I see hope for myself for the future and I’m enjoying the little things about my day…and honestly, I feel like the Katie before all this took me under.
Perhaps I’m making this sound more dramatic than it is or it may be challenging for you to identify with this, but let me just say, it’s no joke. Granted, I haven’t suffered the way many others have or to the same extents that some have but it still was very real for me. And if you haven’t dealt with this debilitating way of life, then you count yourself very blessed. I believe we all deal with things like this at one point or another in our lives because of situations or circumstances but talking about it and owning it makes me feel less alone and more proud of myself for all I’ve learned and grown into. Not to mention, I feel a release of the shame and embarrassment I had felt for so long. The old is gone and the new is here to stay. And I’m grateful, so very grateful. As I end my long novel, I encourage you to be kind to others, be loving to yourself, and enjoy every moment no matter what.
a big thank you to my family and friends who unknowingly helped me along the way.

 

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gray is okay

in honoring myself by being honest, I say- this week has been a challenge for me. The fear of the future and the unknown has started to paralyze me again. I had been fairly successful in maintaining perspective and looking at everything in front of me one step at a time. but as things go, the big picture became double wide in my view again and it caused my anxiety to rear its ugly head.

the thing about my anxiety is that it comes in phases and waves. for the last 6 months or so, it was like a hurricane. it was relentless…never giving me a break or room to breathe. It became so severe that it inhibited me from making any decision. I was paralyzed in fear of all the unknowns. I couldn’t even make a decision about what to do for my lunch! It was debilitating to say the least. I think a lot of that happened because I was truly facing myself and learning how to be at peace with myself…ya know look at and accept the bad/negative stuff no one ever wants to face. Together with facing myself, I was trying to let go of a past hurt (a huge undertaking) on top of realizing that what I thought was going to be my future was not making me happy. I was miserable and I was making everyone around me miserable (unintentionally I may add).

I am the person who needs affirmation from others on decisions, on reminding me who I am, lifting me up when I’m down, along with being a verbal processor. But when it came to all the above, I decided I needed to deal with it all on my own. I needed to face myself with myself and no one else, I had to be the one to let go of the past and not talk about it to anyone else, and the whole future part was just too terrifying to even talk about out loud. So not talking about any of that to others brought on another huge change. And when I did share, I felt guilty because I was miserable, probably being slightly annoying as it was the same stuff over and over again, and being a selfish friend. So I found myself sitting in my own misery and depression, not taking steps, realizing things I did not want to deal with, and all alone. It was dark and lonely and necessary. And let’s just say the anxiety was a flowin.

Now that I feel myself on the other side of that darkness, I recognize it was my season. This was my season for change. This was my season for me to sit with myself and find what I’m made of and if those in my life couldn’t see and accept that, then that is on them. I can only do what I can do and control how I communicate and what I say and if that is not accepted, it’s not my fault. That’s another piece of this….I was learning to love myself and be kinder to myself. I couldn’t be responsible for EVERYTHING that was going on around me. That is just not fair to myself and I finally saw that.

As I continue to walk through this transition season, it’s not all perfect and figured out and ya know, that’s OK. These changes can’t happen overnight but I’m taking steps in the right direction. I can finally decide again. I am cutting people out of my life that no longer fit into what is beneficial and healthy for me, I’m taking the steps to follow my dreams of what I see and feel I want to do with my life and most importantly, I’m being kinder to myself. Now that the fear isn’t paralyzing me anymore doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to have moments or that the anxiety doesn’t rear its ugly head. Anxiety is something I’m always going to face and have in my life. And I’m OK with that. Nothing is going to “fix” it or make it go away. It doesn’t make it bad or me a failure of a person. It’s part of me and I’m finally at peace with that.

So back to this week….the bigger picture became too much for me to deal with again. Was I really supposed to be doing this? Could I get into grad school? How was I going to do on the GRE? Where am I supposed to be going for grad school? Will I make wrong choice and end up miserable?????

I talked with my dear dear friend who gets the feelings I’ve been having and can give me a different perspective. She told me that since we are black & white thinkers—things are either one way or another, there is no gray….that can lead us to be paralyzed in decision making. We see choices as right or wrong instead of choices leading us down one path or another. There is no perfect decision because we will never know the unknowns. We can only do what we can do and make the best decision in the moment and that no matter what, it will turn out OK. All decisions will have bumps in the road….nothing will be easy but if we choose a path that doesn’t get us to where we want to go, doesn’t mean we failed. We just took a different route. I struggle a lot with failure as well & her sharing all this with me gave me a perspective I don’t have most days. It clicked….no decision is perfect….any decision will be right for where you are meant to be….and that gray is OK. Being in the gray world is OK. It was empowering for me to hear and accept that. All we can do or concern ourselves with is what is right in front of our faces. And when it comes to my future, I can only do what I can do now and the best I can and trust that everything will work out how it’s supposed to and that if things don’t go as I want, I’m not a failure.

This season has been anything but easy. I’ve really fought off a lot of inner demons that have held me back for a long time. Worrying so much about what was or what could have been inhibited me greatly.¬† This week has reminded me it’s ok not to have it all figured out and setbacks and moments are perfectly normal and acceptable. It’s also reminded me how far I’ve come and that alone is encouraging and empowering. Me alone recognizing that my anxiety is heightened is a step. I’m shedding so much of who I was and turning into who I want to become and that is amazing and wonderful and makes me feel that joy I have been missing for so long.

I want to take a moment and thank all of the people in my life who have gone through this with me whether they knew it or not. For the kind words, the understanding, the love they showed me. I will never forget that or how knowing I had you in my corner during those darkest days saved me. Life is not meant to be lived alone and I’m blessed to have some pretty amazing people in my life.

I’m shedding the old Katie and no matter what happens, I still firmly believe, it all happens for a reason, even the “bad”.¬†Gray is good. Gray is life.