A Short Letter To You!

Dear blog and faithful readers,

I apologize for leaving you hanging. I am still here! I have a lot to say, but not enough time to say it. I started taking 9 hours of summer classes and since then, have been a bit busy/tired. Right now I should be doing homework or napping, but I am making a point to write a little something. For now, I’ll tell you what I hope to blog about soon.

Pictures of my car (which I still need to take) + more about it!
My summer classes
My weekend at Table Rock Lake with Ryan’s family
Other things we’ve done on our summer list so far
The review of the product I received from CSN stores (haven’t even had a chance to use it yet)
The giveaways I’ve won recently
Launch my brand new blog design + URL! Watch for it!
John Tibbs album release
Show recent pictures!

Any other requests? I’ll try to write a real post very soon! For now, I gotta get moving on homework. Thanks for sticking around!



A short letter to a long season

Dear Winter,

I’m gonna have to go ahead and put this out there…. You don’t have much going for you. Honestly, just the pretty blankets of snow and a couple holidays that you hold… but other than that, you don’t impress me much.

Even though I really do love the snow, I’m in the wrong part of Missouri. I don’t even see the white precipitation and yet I still have to put up with you. Bare trees, brown grass, cold temperatures… all unpleasant to all five senses.

But don’t get the wrong idea… Even if I lived somewhere with lots of snow, I’d be longing for the warm sunshine all the same. You just don’t do it for me, snow or not.

Your official dreaded arrival is a month behind us, but you were here long before then and you’re here for a while longer. You most certainly wear out your welcome… oh, but who am I kidding? You were never welcome. Or at least you should know that I didn’t invite you.

Oh, and did I mention you’re a tease? Sure, go ahead and give us a spring-like day in the middle of January… only to shove winter back in our face in the next moment. You leave me with spring fever, begging for more warm sunshine and 60+ degree temperatures. Is that you I hear laughing?

Okay, maybe I have the wrong impression that you are cold-hearted. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so hateful and give you an invite since you know, you’re already here

So, I’m giving you an invitation to go ahead and LEAVE. How about you hibernate for a while ever?

(Spring, hello again! I’ve missed you.)

A girl living in the wrong state

P.S.- I hope to escape you someday so I don’t have to write any more hate mail.

Therapy: Part III

Today was my third, one-hour long therapy session. Unfortunately, I won’t be going back until over a month from now because she will be on vacation and then there’s the Holidays. I’m kinda bummed about that, but I’ll keep working on what we’ve talked about and most of this healing just takes time.

Today I showed her pictures of my family and Ryan as she requested. I also read to her part of the letter I wrote to Ryan when we broke-up, which was about my self conscious problem that we talked about last time. Then I read her something I wrote when I felt depressed one night a few weeks ago. I told her that little frustrations or events can trigger depression and it just goes downhill from there because I start thinking about life and everything. I usually still feel a little down the next day and don’t get rid of the feeling until that night or even the day after that. She said I probably have mild depression, which is normal to have in my situation. Not only has my Dad passed away, but I’ve “lost” my Mom and I’m also in a transition phase of my life. I’m still living at home, but will soon need to move and start my own life, but this will hold me back. On top of that, I’m dealing with loneliness, anxiety, and my boyfriend is 380 miles away. Wow, that’s depressing just to say. Honestly, if this is just mild depression, I’d hate to feel anything worse. I know there is worse because I don’t feel like that all the time and I still have motivation to do daily tasks, like eat or shower.

She gave me a few suggestions for coping with depression. First off, I shouldn’t isolate myself like I currently do when I feel depressed. I must force myself to talk to people or get out or do something. Like a few weeks ago when I felt depressed, I made myself leave the house and go talk to my friend Tiffany (thanks to a suggestion from a blog friend.) Also, if I push myself to do that more often then I will feel depressed less often. In turn, I will also help my social anxiety. She also suggested that I eat protein for breakfast and have more for other meals. I currently probably don’t eat enough protein and it will help the chemical imbalance in my brain. Also, she told me to go to the health store and buy amino acid L-phenylalanine to take two times a day. It should also help increase the serotonin in my brain, but it will take several weeks to feel its effects. I’m going to start that tonight.

I also brought in my letter that I hand-wrote to my Dad (which I wrote last night) and she wanted me to read it out-loud. Immediately I started crying and she said I need to cry, especially in front of people. I hate crying (especially in front of people.) The letter was 3 pages long so it took a little bit to read. There was so much more that I could’ve said in the letter, but it did feel good to write what I did (although sad too.) I wrote about how life has changed, my Mom, school, depression, etc. It turned out a lot better than I thought it would because I’m so used to typing out my thoughts and being able to edit in the process.

Since I talked about next semester in my letter, we touched on that for a minute. She said it is a tough decision whether to stay here or go to AU. One thing she said to be careful of is to not become emotionally dependent on Ryan if I live close to him. I would be very vulnerable to that right now in any relationship and should be cautious of developing unhealthy relationships. But she sees that it is hard to live here and constantly be reminded of what has happened.

At my last therapy session, she told me to memorize a few verses to say when I feel anxious. So far, I’m using…

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.”
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

If you have any other verses or wisdom about all of this, I’m open to it!

Therapy: Part II

*I don’t expect you to be interested in my problems, but if you are, that’s okay too. These posts about my therapy sessions are more for me; for reflection and so I can look back on them. This one is especially long.

My second counseling appointment was on Tuesday afternoon and once again, it ended all too quick. Too many problems, not enough time! I won’t be going back for two weeks, but it did get me thinking…. and it’s a great start. At least to one problem.

I feel both encouraged and overwhelmed when I reflect back on my appointment. It’s encouraging because we really got down to why I have anxiety and how I can work on getting rid of it, but it’s easier said than done. It’s up to me to go from here and make a change.

The whole appointment was about anxiety because I told her that this most recent visit to Indiana did not bring about anxiety as the previous trip did. It was anxiety that upset my stomach all weekend long. She asked when I developed (social) anxiety and I knew I had it awhile, but I never really thought of how long. I also knew it has been exacerbated because of recent events. However, with her help, I figured out it actually started way back in my elementary school years. I do remember feeling anxious about hanging out with a group of friends, so instead I would feel more comfortable having a friend here at my house. I remember being teased about it (which probably didn’t help). I avoided many social situations and it all went downhill from there. Ever since then, I’ve had the same feelings; sometimes worse, sometimes better.

The counselor tried to ask me to remember my thoughts in these situations, as to what I felt anxious about. It was really hard for me to remember the exact thoughts, so she tried to trigger my memory by giving me ideas. (Did I feel like no one would like me? Did I feel like I couldn’t say no in a situation? etc) It was easier to remember more recently what made me feel anxious. (For example…What if they ask me a lot of questions? What are we going to be doing? What if I get embarrassed by something?) I soon came to realize that my anxiety is connected with a problem I was already aware of. It’s a problem that I have been wanting to fix for a while, but it’s just been getting worse. I brought it to Ryan’s attention in a letter last year when we broke up, and I haven’t looked at that letter ever since. I couldn’t believe I had told him and I was too embarrassed to look back. It was a major step to tell him about it. (And the counselor wants me to show that part of the letter at my next appointment.)

It’s hard to explain and the problem doesn’t even really make sense. But for some reason, which may be a combination of my family structure growing up, genetics, and other factors, it plagues my life. (I love my parents, but I think it has to do with how I was raised. I don’t feel like they tried to nurture my interests and with a combination of my shyness, it does not equal a good combination.) Problem: I have a hard time being myself and not being shy or embarrassed about it. I mean extremely shy– maybe you it’s not even called shy. I feel uncomfortable and weird about having/voicing an opinion, saying that I like something, and just being myself. I find it very strange when I think about it, because really… it’s life! But another point she just touched on is do I even have a self? She said I do have at least “an embryo of a self” since I came in to talk to a counselor, but it may not be developed. I think that’s true. Very true. Because I don’t know really know how or I’m too shy to grow into who I’m supposed to be. Whew, this is deep, I know. And hard for me to tell others. But hey, being able to talk about it is a good first step.

Sometimes it is worse around some people more than others or even different. Around my family, it’s not too bad. However, I’ve always been this way around whoever my boyfriend is at the time. I was extremely worse with my boyfriend before Ryan… but I’m still pretty bad. If I ever come out and sound really excited and say that I really like something, Ryan is surprised and usually doesn’t believe me. (There are exceptions, like babies. Don’t ask me why.) He reacts like that because that’s not normal for me to say, although it’s normal for most other people. I’ll give you an example of how I was with my ex-boyfriend. When he would go through a drive-thru to get food for a late night snack or something, I would be too shy to say I want something. Ridiculous, I know! I got over that, but I still have many other struggles. I’m “shy” about music… about shopping… my blog (there are so many things I write that I probably wouldn’t say out-loud). The list is far too long, ridiculous, and this is embarrassing.

I never choose where I want to eat with someone. I think that’s part of it and my ex-boyfriend and I used to get in fights over that. I like other people to choose, but the counselor said I need to start choosing occasionally ….or eventually it will catch up to me and I’ll feel like people are making decisions for my life. Also, it makes other people do work for me when I act like this, which is not a good thing. It would eventually catch up to Ryan, and he would grow tired of it. Sometimes I feel really bad and down on myself because of this way that I am, and wish that Ryan could have a “normal” girlfriend. But as the counselor said, he loves me and wants to be with me — I just need to fix this. I’ve already known that I cannot get married until I solve this problem. There is no way I could live with someone, share a life with them, and act this way. I told this to the counselor and she said I am wise to know that and I’m right. Unfortunately, my marriage would be at high risk for divorce. Scary to hear, but I already knew. It just confirms the seriousness of it when at therapist tells me. I certainly do not want to be like that and I have no choice but to fix it. The good thing about all this is when I become more comfortable with myself, it will help my anxiety and I think I will feel so much freer. (Also, for the distant future– I couldn’t have kids in this condition. No way.)

But how in the world do I fix this?! Although there are solutions, it is difficult. At least to start out.

She gave me a few suggestions. First, I need to choose some scriptures that I can memorize and repeat to myself when I feel anxious. Verses about God’s love that really speak to me. God did not design me (or anyone else) to live like this. Through Him, I can be set free from this anxiety. His Love for me (and you) is so much greater than this. He did not give us a spirit of fear. All of this comes down to fear. Also, when I am anxious, she said to tune in on exactly what thoughts are causing it. I should also start voicing my opinion more, starting out small saying things that I like or don’t like and not keeping things in. She gave me a book to read about misbeliefs in anxiety, depression, anger, etc. I should focus on the good attributes of myself and not think negatively toward myself.

She asked if I knew that feelings aren’t true? I guess I didn’t. I think she said that thoughts cause feelings, which cause my stomach problems (or sometimes migraines in other people). If I keep those thoughts in (which she said not to do) my body will try to get rid of them somehow- hence the stomach problems. If I don’t take care of this, I could have serious stomach problems. And other problems too, obviously.

So I have a lot of work to do. I really wish I could snap my fingers and be fixed. But unfortunately, it will take time and effort. And strength and courage. And lots of other things, but I’m determined that with God, I will do this.

Next appointment… I need to address depression.

Therapy: Part 1

On Thursday morning, I had my first counseling appointment that my Aunt set up for me with my permission. I was kind of nervous and anxious because I didn’t know what to expect, but as soon as I got there my nerves were eased.

She’s a sweet older lady, who happens to also have a theology degree and incorporated faith in the conversation the whole time! I was so glad because I couldn’t imagine being counseled without God in the picture.

I wondered how she would begin the appointment. She started it by asking about my family- immediate, aunts and uncles, grandparents… their ages, causes and age of the ones who have passed, my relationship with them…etc, and the conversation kinda went from there. Also, she asked about my spiritual life.

She asked how my family was dealing with the grief of my Dad passing and I explained how we are grieving separately. She stated exactly how I felt, “It feels as if I have lost both of my parents.” Yes. Not only that, but my family.

Strangely enough, she made me feel normal. She complimented me a lot, saying how I was very wise and mature. She said something like, “I’m not sure that you should have to pay me!” It made me feel good, but I told her I didn’t know how to fix my own problems. Obviously, that’s why I was there, but she said I seemed overall mentally healthy. I also explained how I don’t think “what ifs” about my Dad’s disease and passing, and I just accept that God had a reason for it all. She said that shows that I have a lot of trust in God.

I explained more of my situation, but we didn’t get too in depth about it yet. She encouraged me to step out and try to meet Christians on campus through some type of organization. Also, she said I just have to face my fears and she brought up the scripture about God not giving us the spirit of fear.

She said only Jesus can heal my broken heart from losing a parent and it will take a while. No denying that.

I wished the hour-long appointment was longer. It ended too quickly but I’m going back on Tuesday. She gave me an “assignment” for next time — to hand write a letter to my Dad, explaining how life has changed since he has passed. I’ve yet to do that since I’ve been in Indiana this weekend.

I’m hoping for the best! I’ll be writing about the other appointments as they come.