Son, I’m Sorry I Gave This to You

I am a 41-year-old mom with three children. I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. My mother also suffers from anxiety, and she revealed to me that my grandfather was also known to be an anxious man. It’s in our family, we pass it on to the next generation, like some diseased baton in a relay race. The person in front of us reaches back accepting the gift without even looking behind them. I didn’t volunteer to hand this over to anyone; I’m sure my mom didn’t hand it over to me with ease either. I couldn’t prevent this from happening – well I suppose I could have chosen not to have children. That idea makes my heart ache.

A few weeks ago school started, and we started to see my six-year-old son becoming tearful at night. He asked me if he could be “absent” from school the next day. After some digging in it appears his new teacher (a male) is a rather tall man with a big voice. We believe my son is intimidated by him. I jumped, not brushing this off, and I spoke with the teacher and the school counselor. Both were receptive and helped to make plans to follow up with my son. All parties are seeming eager to understand my son’s feelings of “being sad and nervous” at school. I felt really good about the first step I took. I felt like we were making progress just by opening up lines of communication. I felt like I had given him this ugly scar that he will have to try to hide from others for the rest of his life and I don’t know how to help him because I so often don’t know how to help myself.

He had a soccer game on Saturday, leading up to the game he doubled over in the back seat, crying and telling me his head and stomach hurt. He didn’t want to play. I talked him into sitting on the sideline with me to watch, hoping he would want to join his team when he was ready. Thinking ahead, I brought his gear, and he changed his mind and played. He played with enthusiasm too! The process of leading up to getting him on the field was his first panic attack, at least the first one I have witnessed. He did overcome it, but I know what it is.

My husband and I deliberate for hours after the kids were in bed. What are we doing or what are we NOT doing right? What can we change? What can we do better? Will the other two children be like this too? Surely it has to skip at least one of them?

I know people will read this and say I shouldn’t apologize, but I am. Pardon my writing while I switch to talking directly to my son as if he (a child) could understand everything here.

I’m sorry, son. I know. I know what it’s like to want to do something so badly, but fear holds you back. I know what it’s like to think you can be something great, yet being the center of attention is terrifying. I know what it’s like to feel like no one wants to play with you, and you are too shy to make eye contact or ask others if you can join them. I know what it’s like to lay awake at a sleepover and beg the sunlight to pop through the window so you can feel like you belong with the other kids again. This is a lonely and scary road ahead. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I haven’t figured out how to dig myself out of the deepest crevice I threw myself in years ago. I am more than halfway out, I have overcome so much, but I’m not stupid, I know there is more. There will always be more.

I promise to you that I will be here for you to shake in front of, cry, throw up, or feel like you might poop your pants (yeah, isn’t that one fun). I will be here when you feel like eating in front of people is difficult, so you don’t (that phase passes I promise). I will hold your hand in long lines, tell you it’s okay to take a break and it’s okay to walk away – that’s not all true though.

You see, sometimes you have to shake alone, lose your breath alone, and let your mind race around one topic, alone. Sometimes you have to eat before you go out to dinner, sometimes you have to face the long line (or order it from Amazon), but most importantly you CANNOT always walk away. Sometimes you have to face it head on, and it will suck. It will be hard. It will be harder for you than it is for others and no one (but me) will understand how hard it is.

Seeing you torn up over a school day or a soccer game has stirred some triggers in me. I have sensed this early, so I promise you that I am going to help myself and help you. I am going to look for answers for both of us. This is new territory, but I know there aren’t always going to be answers. When that happens, I will lay in bed with you and read you Creepy Carrots and talk about Lego and Nerf guns. You are a kid. It’s not fair that you feel this way already. I’m sorry that you do. I’m trying to help. I want to get you the help I didn’t get myself until I was older. When you wait to get help it feels like the darkness of anxiety settles in your bones and it’s harder to shake. Maybe there is hope that we can get ahead of that happening. I’m not sure. Right now I want to make this easier for you. I don’t want you to suffer like me. I love you so much. I’m sorry I gave this to you.

Fingers to Sky

Photo Credit Pixabay

When Fear Cleared I Found Anger

Fear has caused me to avoid certain situations, like long lines in the grocery store. I feared a panic attack and being stuck with no way out. Trapped. With therapy and self-awareness, I have started to realize a lot of the fear was attached to learned responses. My brain says “Holy shit, man! Panic! Something bad is going to happen. Get out now while you still can!” Truth is, I’m just waiting in a really long line that is moving slow. I have not had a panic attack in years, yet the feeling is still fresh. It is horrible and debilitating – and embarrassing. I learned that losing control like this feels like I’m dying; therefore I concluded that the potential risk of having a panic attack is good enough reason to avoid anything that could result in one. However, that fear is dissipating.

Previously I wondered what would replace anxiety when I was “cured.” Let me be clear, I do not believe that you can CURE anxiety. I do think you can relieve yourself from its grasp and live a productive life full of joy and sorrow and anger, all that ordinary life stuff without flipping out. Anxiety is low these days, but it will always be a part of me, even if it’s lying dormant. With fear at bay, I am discovering anger and frustration. Now, when I’m in line at the grocery store and no one is moving; the thoughts that rock through me are full of straight up hate: What the hell is taking so long? How stupid can you be? Just scan the friggin item and put it in the dang bag. Move people! Move! I have better places to be.

This recognition came as a surprise to me. The lid of fear is peeled back; what little prize do I find inside – anger. I wonder how fear and anger are connected? When I see my temper is rising, I try to suppress it, but it leaks out in shameful ways. I am short with people I care about. My husband, my kids, my family, friends. Self-care starts to suffer, I eat horrible, drink less water, don’t exercise, go to bed late and then don’t fall asleep, a dull headache plagues me for days.

Hello, internet. Seems there are a few things I can do to get ahead of the funk. Supplements, eating better, avoiding excess carbs and alcohol, be more active, taking breaks when life gets too stressful. All solid advice, easy to read, not so easy to put into motion. I think the most beneficial thing I have learned from therapy is that you don’t have to conquer all your vices today. It’s the small steps (sometimes microscopic) that have ultimately lead to success.

So, today I am drinking more water and setting a bedtime for myself. A time for bed with no excuses. I have recognized a direct connection between treating my body well and my mental health.

I’m even joining the gym – I hope I go.

My Dark Days of Infertility: Part 2

For over a year and a half, we went through more fertility treatments, each time ramping them up and exposing my body to more drugs/stronger drugs. Finally, my husband and I put up our hands and said STOP. We need a break. When we set up a meeting with our doctor to tell him we wanted to take six months off, he told me that my body was just getting older and he wouldn’t recommend taking a break. He also handed us pamphlets on finding an egg donor. My heart was racing, I could feel the static rushing through my head, threatening a panic attack. Inside I heard the words, run like hell! Though for some reason I couldn’t.

I asked my sisters if they would consider it, not entirely sold on the idea myself. My family did not take this well. It was hard to hear all of their concerns being thrown at me at once. To me, it felt like all I could hear was, “No we will not help you get pregnant. You aren’t going to have kids. Just get over it.” I know this wasn’t their meaning, but when people who aren’t involved tend to get involved, it starts to become overwhelming and draining.

My husband and I went back to the idea that we needed a break from everything and everyone. AND a new doctor, which we did find after interviewing several practices. This is one advice I would lay on anyone trying to find a doctor. PLEASE PLEASE talk to more than one person. I wish I had from the beginning.

We traveled to Alaska and then Costa Rica, tasting life as we went I started to feel a little more whole again and opened the door to a few friends so they would understand why I had been so absent. Most everyone was sympathetic, but then the commentary started. Here are the top three stories that made me want to punch someone:

  1. I know this couple who stopped trying and then it just happened for them. Maybe you should just stop trying so hard? – Let’s pretend you have an arrow sticking out of your heart. Now walk around and pretend it’s not there, go ahead, it’s so easy just to stop thinking about an arrow sticking out of your chest.
  2. I know this couple that adopted a baby and then got pregnant right after they adopted. – Good for them, I am not sure why this is relevant to my story. You basically just told me that someone got pregnant when I cannot get pregnant. How is that comforting to me?
  3. I’m sorry, I know it will happen for you guys. – No, you don’t know that. Do you have some ability where you can read into the future or something?

So, I withdrew from society again to avoid feeling pitiful around friends and hating their stories that were intended for comfort. Quietly we decided to give the new doctor a chance, his practice was not as intense, and we felt more at ease. He did further tests on my husband and me, he actually was able to tell me what was wrong. My progesterone levels were not high enough to allow for implantation. He looked at me with his soft eyes, he said, “We are going to get you pregnant on the first try.”

My soul was rattled. How could he make such a promise like that to me? I had been through IVF three times already. I believed him though because I wanted to.

After three years of trying, we got pregnant with our son on the first try with the new doctor. Griffin is now a healthy, silly, loud (really loud) 6-year-old. I wish I could tell you that the darkness lifted. It didn’t, in fact, it morphed into something else. My children have always brought me joy, even when they are driving me crazy. I am fighting this fight for them, for me, for my husband, for everyone anywhere that is scared to fight. I’m fighting for all of us.

Social anxiety took a severe grip on me. I couldn’t leave the house alone, especially with my son. I feared something would happen to him or to us, but I wasn’t sure what or why I felt this way. Avoidance behavior started to run its ugly course. I discovered grocery delivery services, Amazon could bring me anything, and I only went to parties if a close friend or my husband accompanied me. It felt okay. I actually felt like this was okay. I still found joy in my life. A new baby was hard, but I loved him so deeply, I remember just watching him fall asleep in my arms and wonder how I was so lucky.

The anxiety became a way of life and avoiding things that triggered panic to take over. I got really good at it, so I didn’t face the real issue.

Part 1 of this story can be found on my blog here. I thought part 2 related more to posts The Bipolar Writer’s audience would appreciate and relate to, so I wanted to share here.

Compared to My Siblings

The frustration inside of me bubbles to the surface with a sharp bite. My parents treat us differently. I know this because I have ears and eyes and use them like most humans. It’s not hard to pick up my father handing my sibling a wound up wad of cash to “help her out.” Or when my parents show more interest in my sibling’s career choice (it’s within the medical profession), while I try to become a content writer I hear, “that’s interesting.” What I want is someone to say, “Good for you! Follow your heart! Money doesn’t mean anything if you’re not happy.”

See what I just did here? Over and over and over in my head, I weigh out the differences between my siblings and me. How we compare, who is thinner, who is stronger, who makes more money, which takes more handouts, who dresses better. Then I replay my own scenario, instead of hearing a monotone response or something equally lackluster, I envision the message I want to. I want them to say I’m talented, smart, courageous – something! Anything that makes me feel approved or praised.

I have a generalized anxiety disorder. Maybe I should have mentioned that sooner or if you are like me then you may have picked up on my battering thought process. It’s something we anxious people like to do. I’m insecure, I want someone to randomly ask me, “So, how is that writing career going?”  Then I could tell them I’m taking significant steps towards my first paying gig! Instead, I haven’t brought it up because I feel their response wouldn’t hold a candle to the thrill that I already feel inside.

Therapy has helped me with this area, even if the frustration and comparing still surface, sometimes unexpectedly. The answers I seek are already in my complex heart. It’s time for me to put myself on the pedestal and know that if I am seeking approval from others or I dream about praise, these things are already sewn into my soul. I know I want people to say I’m doing a good job, so therefore I already feel that I am. I’m going to have a party for myself that celebrates big steps and small steps. I’m going to do this today! Starbucks here I come! Make it a Verde.

Yes, I do feel like Stuart Smiley, but you know — gosh darn it I’m worth it. I may tease, but this is no laughing matter. You are worth it, and you don’t need other people to tell you this. In case you do though, I just said it, so I will repeat it. You are worth it!

 

Brought to you by Fingers to Sky: Soul Searching. Writing. Gardening

Asking: Is Medication the Answer?

Anxiety creeps in and doesn’t whisper sweet nothings into my ear. It screams at me, “You are weak! No way in hell can you do this! Quit! Go hide!” I shake my head, trying to relieve my brain from this damaging downward spiral. It’s no use, it won’t stop.

While I have made a lot of progress, I still feel as though there are things I should have overcome at this point in therapy. For years I have avoided medication. There are a lot of reasons for this, but mainly I think it’s because I’m scared. Sometimes I wonder if taking a pill would really calm the angry voices inside, the self-doubts, the mountain of fears. Is it really that simple? A daily regimen of drugs, foreign toxins introduced to our blood, recreating and shifting our brain chemistry. Would it leave me the same person I am, but a better version of myself? It’s so hard to believe it’s that simple.

Also, weight gain terrifies me. That is probably a stupid reason to avoid helpful medication, but it is the truth, please don’t shame me for speaking my truth.

With several friends openly taking medication I wonder if they are better off than I am. I want to break free from the cycles of self-doubt and fear. I feel like I’m on this plateau, stuck on progress. I had one goal, to be able to go into a store and walk through the check outline by myself. I have done this here and there. Though the anxiety that creeps in every time I consider doing this is haunting. So much so that I still avoid doing this whenever I can.

This is classic avoidance, I know this. I should care more, create a goal, but I don’t want to. The motivation to face my fears is strongly lacking. Would medication change this also? Maybe I would suddenly feel like joining a running team and volunteering at my son’s school. Hmmm, probably not. I have to fly out of state twice in the upcoming months. While flying has never been a trigger for me, there are a lot of triggers in an airport. All the LINES that don’t move!!! No way out!!! Oh my god, I am sweating just by typing that!

I have a prescription of Lexapro in my nightstand drawer, from over a year ago, that I never took.

This post is more of a question to followers of The Bipolar Writer. If you can share your story with medication, I am all ears and very grateful. I will never pass judgement on those taking or not taking medication. Shame free zone here!

Brought to you by Fingers to Sky

 

Juggling, Hiding, Saying No

When there is a relatively calm week with nothing outside of the ordinary happening, I can easily handle a hiccup or two. Now, if you expect me to be able to juggle multiple situations at one time, I may start to withdraw. Like a turtle drawing his head into his shell, I close myself off.

The static in my brain starts to send out sparks, misfires occur, rapid thinking, jumping to conclusions, and hopeless impressions wander through me. You can’t do this! Just quit! My inner demon whispers. This advice is so tempting. Quitting is easy. It might sting for a while, but the wound heals pretty quickly in most cases.

There are times when we pile on too much, and saying NO can be healthy, and part of self-care. However, we must be aware when we raise our hands in surrender to soon. Trying to avoid something that is demanding, or labor intense, we might turn our head at a challenge before we find out what we are capable of.

It’s too difficult, it’s too hard, I can’t do this! There are too many things going on at one time. I can’t juggle all of this at once!

Excuse me for throwing out a term so loosely, because the truth is I do not meditate in the traditional sense. I have tried, it’s just not my dish. When things pile up and start to crash down upon me however, I do say to myself, “It’s time to meditate on this.” To me this is taking a break, a step back. Thinking out all the logical options, and most importantly coming up with boundaries and goals. Breathe through it. If a situation is elevated beyond a determined margin, then maybe it is time to make an exit. Until then, it’s time to stick with it!

I find that when more than one task (even if a pleasant) falls on me, I start to get a little erratic. I haven’t been able to stop this from happening, but I do recognize it more quickly than in the past. I’m not sure if this is my anxious tendencies or just a normal human response to a lot going on.

Continued stress can do horrible things to our mind and body. Not accomplishing goals or backing out of a commitment can also wreak havoc on our inner self. Sometimes we need a little stress to propel us forward. Understanding our limits is important. More important yet, is pushing these limits in a healthy manner so we can gain achievement and self-worth.

Brought to you by Fingers To Sky

Anxiety: The Story Goes Round and Round

A friend reaches out to invite me and my family to her house for a cook out this weekend. She mentions a few other friends that will be there that I know. I recognize the names she mentions and instantly look forward to the gathering. Without hesitation I respond “Sounds great! What can I bring?”

This sounds like your typical acceptance to an invitation. However, the minute I respond my anxiety and excitement start to battle. Here is where my mind goes and why:

Excitement: This will be fun!

Anxiety: Wait a second! She just mentioned several other people that are coming to the party, that means she didn’t invite you with the first round of invites. She probably only invited you because you can almost see her house from yours and she didn’t want you to feel left out. Maybe another of your friends asked her to invite you, out of pity. She invited you last because she wasn’t sure if she wanted to invite you at all. It might be because she thinks your annoying or too loud or too crass.

Keeping score? This is exactly how my thought process went.

Excitement: 1

Anxiety: 6 and counting

Why did this happen? My anxious brain turns to worst case scenario anytime a self-reflection takes place. Anxiety is a beast that takes on so many forms and oozes out in diverse ways. I have recently discovered how much it affects my thought processes. Understanding that anxiety raises hell in my head creating unwanted chaos, has helped me weed through my cracked way of thinking. I can’t STOP my brain from doing this, at least not yet. I CAN remind myself that anxiety is trying to take over, it’s causing some irrational thinking that will lead to nothing positive. I CAN choose to ignore it.

The thoughts will come like a wave crashing inward. Instead of letting it rise and rise, I now let the wave recede. I recognize the thought for what it is, intrusive and negative, and then release it. The waves may come in sequence and for a duration of time, but I strive to let them continue to roll away each moment they surface.

I hope you find some peace with mental illness. As James says: Always keep fighting.

The First and Last of the Dark Days

I learned from another blogger that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I think many of us with mental health concerns find the stigma around it to be truly terrifying. It can push us inward and leave many of us feeling unwanted or hushed. Suffering in silence and alone is not healthy for anyone, including those around us. Today, I wanted to share with you a quick glimpse of my first darkest of days and my last. There have been many times in between, but consistently I pull myself through, and each time I do, the darkest days come less frequently, and are not as dark as the previous.

September 1996. The pressure to choose a major, before I returned for my third year of school, was being hammered upon me. The weight of this decision was unbearable. I saw many friends easily sticking with a major, planning out projects, collaborations, and internships. The feeling of not belonging created a snowball effect and caused me to fall into classic avoidance behavior.

On the first day I was late to class, probably not by accident. I can’t remember what class it was, but I do remember the feeling of standing outside the door, hearing the professor already speaking, that hallowed silence from the rest of the students, and I knew I couldn’t go inside. My first panic attack occurred outside of that room. I felt like a heavy blanket was thrown over me, I couldn’t breathe or concentrate. My legs felt weak, thoughts in my head were disjointed, and flight or fight kicked in. Flight won.

I dropped out of school that week. This was the beginning of the anxiety and panic attacks that I kept hidden from friends and family. I choose at that time to suffer in silence because I was confused, scared, and embarrassed. The darkest days turned into months and years, eventually it seemed I grew out of it, and was hopeful it was behind me for good. I think what occurred was I learned to avoid triggers and found confidence in areas I didn’t have before through life lessons and eventually returning to school.

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May 2017. The last time I felt this way was after my third child was born. By now I had learned some coping methods and found professional help on and off, though the feeling of shame still prevented me from being open with loved ones. I had this beautiful healthy baby, and I’d done this two times before. This should be easy. So, why was it so hard? Lack of sleep, constant breast feeding, and lack of overall care for myself, all played into my downward spiral. I was becoming very short tempered with everyone around me, I insisted on keeping my house spotless, and controlling every detail of the family. I believe I was on the borderline of OCD, accompanied with postpartum anxiety.

One day my parents and my sisters were being indecisive about something, what it was I can’t recall. I screamed at one of my sisters over the phone, something I never do. My blood pressure must have been through the roof, something rose up inside of me and clicked, I have a problem! This is not normal. I need help.

Being that it had been 20 years since my first panic attack, anxiety was not new to me. I recognized that I needed help ASAP and if I didn’t get it all of those around me would be feeling the brunt of my actions. It wasn’t fair to them. I found a new therapist through postpartum online hotline, one within my insurance network. I did research online to my symptoms, read articles about diet and supplements that would be helpful; I researched other medications as well, continued with acupuncture, started to be more physically active. Most importantly, I caught myself when my temper was rising. I knew it was due to anxiety, just knowing this helped me curb it.

The first of the darkest days was the hardest for me, it was so new and confusing. Over the years I have learned to overcome so much. The journey is ongoing. Anxiety is a part of me, but I fight it. It doesn’t control me like it used to, and I will take that as a WIN.

Trauma Didn’t Cause This

For years I searched for a reason or cause for my anxiety. Some of us have these demons because of something traumatic that happened to us. This however, is not my story. I am not taking away from those that have this experience: we all have different journeys. Some of us are born with our brain firing off differently. For me, my little brain fires off in ways that produce an abundance of overthinking. Thoughts that are at times irrational and negative, killing my confidence and causing me to believe bad things happen because I deserve it. While my anxiety is not due to a singular traumatic event, but it can cause them. Raise your hand if you’ve had a panic attack in Old Navy, simply for being in a long line. Anyone else? No? Just me?

I ran into an old friend just a few days ago – someone I haven’t seen in well over a decade. I have always been drawn to this person because they were interesting, charismatic, and there was something else to them that I could never put a finger on. I think this person has always made me a little nervous, like they could see things I’m often successful in hiding from others. Maybe it’s because I also see it in them. This person said to me that our past is what creates us, our burdens today are because of traumas that happened to us when we were younger. I said that wasn’t always true; sometimes people are born this way. He disagreed, and politely told me that I had trauma in my life, I just don’t remember it.

I suppose I can’t argue about something I don’t remember, though I do have a pretty good memory, fortunately or unfortunately. I have also spent years trying to attach my anxiety to something that happened to me. I’ve tried to place the blame on something physical so I could see and touch it, to no avail.

While trauma is not the cause of my anxiety, it nevertheless has shaped me. At times it makes me stronger and wiser, then in other instances it cripples me. These crippling areas are a work in progress. However, as I dig deeper into my psyche I’m realizing that anxiety has always been there. It manifested its way inside of me differently throughout the years. During childhood I had difficulty making friends and excelling in school; as a teenager I thought others talked about me behind my back, and feared recognition; in college, panic attacks started along with the fear of being in closed rooms. In my twenties, being put on the spot, or having to take the lead would cause near hyperventilation; in my thirties I went through infertility, and it was one of the darkest periods in my life from which I am still recovering. It left me unable to trust my body or the medical profession. Finally, today I still struggle with social situations and being on my own in public indoor places.

See there? All of my life. Misery is a part of me, but I don’t know many that have not had something distressful happen to them. I have been hit by a car while on a bike, almost fell to my death in Alaska, been grabbed by men in clubs, been unable to get pregnant for many years, suffered miscarriages, buried friends and family I loved, dumped by someone I thought I loved, and I’ve wiggled my way out of an abusive relationship before it got ugly, just to name a few. I don’t think we fully recover from the physical or emotional effects of pain; we take a piece of it with us for the rest of our lives.

Trauma does shape me, yes: I cannot disagree. My anxiety causes my reactions to unpleasant situations to sometimes be illogical. But, it is not the root of my anxiety. Today I am learning to recognize triggers, reprocess them, and find healthier ways of coping. It’s working. I have had this with me my entire life, and I know I will always carry it, but it will not own me.

 

Fear Heckles Us from the Sideline

While my insights here point to my own personal fight with anxiety, I believe anyone overcoming a sizable obstacle can relate.

At this point I am well beyond the stage where I’m confused about my body’s involuntary reactions to certain situations. The heavy chest, hard-to-breathe, head tingling, inability to concentrate, and tunnel vision feeling is hardly new. I’ve got years under my belt with this; therefore, I have developed coping and avoidance techniques to help me get by. Albeit, not always the healthiest choices. What happens after we finally jump over the obstacles in front of us is unknown to me. The unknown is something I am not very comfortable with.

I have put in a lot of muscle to appear normal and cheerful to the outside world, and it works. Any time I tell someone I suffer from social anxiety they say “Really? I had no idea.” That is a mark in the win category for me – or so I tell myself. My mask continues to conceal my true identity. I’m kind of a superhero (or villain) in that way. I’m not really sure which, or even if they are interchangeable.

There other side to overcoming these obstacles is what I am fighting for. When I overcome it, there will be new expectations that others put on me and I put on myself. I’m not sure what this looks like, but I have been thinking about it a lot lately.  I have lived with this for my entire life, and it has become deeply rooted in me and my personality. I’m not sure what I look like without it. What would replace it? Or perhaps there would just be this empty hole that used to be filled with anxiety, irrational thoughts, and nerves. I have a hard time believing that it will vanish, even if it is slow to dissolve. Something must take its place.

One-day fear will no longer hold me back: I will be able to move forward without questioning things to a pulp and gauging its trigger effect. On the other hand, others will hold me more accountable and some things I don’t enjoy doing won’t be so easily side-stepped. Half of my consciousness says I’m doing this to free myself from the tangles of fear and to open doors I never thought possible. Though the reality is I would also be free to do things I don’t enjoy. I believe that the fear of progress is preventing me from moving forward more quickly. Though I know this is not a race and the finish line is a rather gray area, I can’t help but to think I should be moving faster.

If it’s possible to overcome this hurdle, I’m trying to get a good picture of what the other side looks like. To anyone who has suffered from mental health, an addiction (yes to cigarettes and sugar too, so easily brushed aside by many non-sufferers), or an unhealthy attachment to another person, the other side can be terrifying. Even if in our hearts we know that the other side must be a better and safer place. Even when we spend time and energy to overcome obstacles, fear continues to heckle us from the sideline.