Life has been a bit crazy since I last posted in October.
At the end of October my dear sister-in-law, Carol, passed away. As you can imagine, it is hard to have someone you love so dearly pass away right before the busy holiday season. During that time it was lovely to spend extra quality time with family and dear friends.
If you have followed me for a while you know that I have had my struggles with anxiety. It hit REALLY hard in 2018, and after many months I felt like I was able to find some peace within the struggle, and I have even had a lot of days where it felt like I wasn’t dealing with it much at all. I have worked really hard to find the best ways to help me cope and dig into the root causes. Looking back over the past 18 months, I can def attribute much of the anxiety/panic attacks to loss and unresolved grief. It seemed to have a pattern where it flares up more after loss, and there has been a lot of loss in our life with family and friends since April 2018. My Grandmother, 2 nephews, sister-in-law, several close friends, a childhood mentor, and my second mom.
For the past few months I tried to keep myself occupied from thinking too deeply about it because that seemed to spur on attacks. I was able to go about my normal daily routines with work, teaching and running an household for the most part. I had days here and there where I felt the anxiety really creep in, but I have learned over the years ways to cope.
After Carol passed I physically kept it together, but felt like I was melting down on the inside. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I was focusing on more time with family and friends, and keeping my mind busy with all the fun of this time of year. I pushed the anxiety to the back burner and did my best to live each day with joy!
Joy was my word of the year for 2019! I am SO thankful that was my focus word because some days it was what kept me going! I put the word up all over my house and I even had several friends who gave me ornaments and decorations that said JOY on them!
Despite my efforts to continue living with joy, the anxiety hit harder than ever right after Christmas. I had some time off work and I had planned to spend some of it relaxing and some of it getting some projects done around the house. None of that really happened. It was hard to get myself going each day, and I was dealing with daily panic attacks and even more constant anxiety. It is like the down time allowed all those locked up feelings to bubble up to the surface! Let me tell you, it was not fun!
After feeling even more overwhelmed with life, I decided I could not do this anymore, and I needed to finally put on my big girl pants and get some help. I began my search for a new counselor and I am so grateful that I have found one who I really like and who has been helping me sort through all the grief and more. Even after our first session I felt a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I was able to start breathing again.
It has not been a easy season, and I know it is going to be a long road to fully grieve and work though all the emotions of the loss we have experienced. I decided that this is my year to go from surviving back to thriving! So my word for 2020 is THRIVE! I am grateful for those who have been a strong support for me, especially over the past few months, and for the progress I am making to get back to thriving!
A few events that have caused me to thrive as we step into the 3rd month of this new year!
Got a new car (my old one died at 226,000 miles), new certification for cycle, time with good friends, lots of fun teaching, growing with a new advanced training (more on that soon), I started running again, keeping myself healthy naturally both physically and mentally, and enjoying more time outside!
So here is to 2020 being a much better year and back to THRIVING!