Category: Guest Posts

A Powerful Story of Anxiety and Overcoming Obstacles

I’m incredibly honored to have my friend, Cat from Frugal Living and Crafting, share her story of dealing with anxiety as my monthly Inspire the Best You feature! Her story of dealing with anxiety and still doing her best to live life the way she chooses is so inspiring to me. I hope you find something in her story that resonates with you as well!

My name is Cat.  I’m 36 years old, and happily married to my husband, Jeff.  We’re the proud parents of a cat and dog, but none of the two legged sorts of kids.  I’m a free-lance writer, and  I also blog at Frugal Living and Crafting.  

I was originally diagnosed with anxiety when I was 5 years old.  I had almost constant nausea, and often had a very difficult time keeping food down.  Trips to multiple doctors gave no answers to why I was so sick, and being afraid of doctors, it only made the situation worse.  It took an ordinary family doctor to figure out that my “illness” was the physical manifestation of anxiety.  I was hospitalized, and given ways to deal with my anxiety when it struck.

Nighttime was one of the most common times for my anxiety to flare up.  Often, when I tried to stay the night with friends, I would end up calling my dad at midnight to come pick me up.  I felt less anxious when I was at home with my normal routine, and knowing my dad was usually awake most of the night.  Many times, I was so thankful to come home that my anxiety abated almost entirely, but equally as many times I would spend the rest of the night ill from it.

I went on to be an anxious teenager, still having most of my trouble at night.  My parents were very strict about my grades in school, and when I knew I had not done well on something, I would often literally worry myself sick about it.  Sometimes I ended up tearfully confessing that I had gotten a bad grade, long before report cards came out, just to get it off my chest.  I typically got grounded anyway, but they were usually less angry if I had warned them first.

Two major events in my life occurred when I was 16.  I started dating the man I would marry in 4 years, and spend the rest of life with.  And my father left my mother and me and moved across the country.  My anxiety was sometimes off the charts because I was so used to having my dad around, especially at night.  But Jeff was my rock, and we often chatted to the wee hours of the night to help me get through them the night.

I muddled through life with my anxiety always in tow.  It was the reason I dropped out of college.  After leaving school, I got a job and still, I muddled through.  About 10 years ago, my anxiety took a turn for the worse and I was having a tough time doing anything.  I was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the same time, and suffering with the symptoms of that as well.  I spent a week in a mental hospital while doctors tried to find medications that would work for me.  In the end, I couldn’t control the anxiety enough to function and I became disabled and had to leave my job.

Living by the rules of my anxiety has been my life since then.  Often, I’m too anxious to leave home, or too anxious to leave home alone.  I worry about everything.  The nights, however, are still the worst by far.  Some nights my anxiety affects me so badly that I feel like I can’t breathe, and end up shaking and sobbing in my bed.  Sometimes getting up and reading helps, other times I can’t focus on the words.  The biggest balm for my soul is having Jeff at home, but he works nights so I am often left to fight my demons alone.

By now I’ve learned a few tricks to head off a panic attack.  Focusing on a deep breath, letting my belly expand as I breathe in, helps.  Simply getting out of my own head and doing some writing or reading a book can also be helpful.  These things are only helpful if I catch it before it reaches the state of a full blown panic attack.  Once that has happened, there’s nothing to do but wait it out and try to recover as best I can afterward.

These days I just take things one day at a time.  If anyone reading this suffers from anxiety, know you are not alone.  It’s a difficult road to travel, but sometimes reaching out to someone, just to talk, can help ease your misery.  If you don’t know who to talk to, feel free to reach out to me at frugallivingandcrafting@gmail.com .  I’m a pretty great listener.

My thanks to Bonnie for allowing me to share my story, and I hope perhaps it helps people understand what it’s like to deal with anxiety, and perhaps abate the loneliness for someone who also fights the battle.  

My Struggle with Self-Love & Confidence… To Publishing My First E-book

I am very honored to have Alisha Overstreet from The Improv Caregiver here to share her story about struggling with self-love and confidence, and then going on to write her first eBook. Alisha is the Inspire the Best You feature winner for April… and also one of my most inspiring friends! I’m so happy to know her and learn more about her today! I hope you find her story inspiring for your own battle with self-love and confidence, as so many of us struggle with that, including myself!

For as long as I can remember, writing has come quite naturally to me. My father is a published author, has written countless poems, and has always encouraged us to channel our emotions and experiences through writing. Whether it was gifting my sister and I a journal, or encouraging us to be creative with our words and foster our language skills; he has always the one to boost our morale.

I’m not a speaker! Period!

I don’t do well speaking in front of large groups…in fact, I don’t do well speaking in front of a small group. Actually, let me be absolutely clear: I don’t even like to have in person debates with family or friends. The very people I should feel the most comfortable with, still don’t make me feel confident enough to discuss complex ideas and theories I know by heart!

But I write! And I write well. I’m not Agatha Christie, Danielle Steele, or J.K. Rowling, but I enjoy writing.

I can concoct a 20-page research paper in my Psychology class including factual information and clear presentation without an issue. I can write post on my blog about caregiving, being married to a veteran and the struggles of motherhood with a special needs child all day long. Give me a reason to talk about mental health stigma, politics, or psychology and I could go on for days.

But…don’t force me to present any of this in front of people!

As a caregiver, I have struggled a lot with self-esteem and confidence. The isolation that comes with this role can be devastating. It is no wonder many of us end up dealing with our own struggles and fighting our own demons.

For years, I fought with my perfectionist doppelgänger; and I still do. She’s always been able to knock me down when I felt the slightest bit of success. She has always been able to find the tiniest of flaws in any of my successes. Overall, she’s been quite victorious in knocking me down many, many times. No matter how many times I get pushed down or fall, I only have to get up one more time.

I might have fallen 50 times, but I pushed myself one time to get back up. And right now, I’m on my first time getting up after my 50th fall. Over the last two years, I’ve spent money we don’t have, started on an academic path that doesn’t seem to fit my personality or current lifestyle, and I have fought my way through grief after a miscarriage. My doppelgänger took advantage of it and knocked me so hard on my behind that I almost gave up on getting back up.

But I figured: I only have to get up ONE time!

So, I did. I am standing tall and I am writing.

Everything my father has taught and encouraged me to do is starting to come full circle. My grief, fight and strength has evolved into this new-found love for what I am capable of. This does not mean that I have achieved complete serenity in terms of loving myself, nor am I at a point in my life that would warrant me to slow down. I simply have a better understanding of what my limitations are.

I am now encouraged to share my struggles, fights, self-esteem issues and grief more than ever before and use this to create positive channels that will not only help me in my personal growth journey, but also touch others who share similar experiences. With this, I have set a goal to publish my first e-book this year. It will be a milestone; a kind of coming full-circle experience for me.

And I hope I will continue to be granted the opportunity to write, share experiences, and connect with individuals around me. As it stands, my doppelgänger is losing the current fight; which would put the score at Perfectionist Doppelgänger: 50 / Me: 1.

Not too shabby!

Alisha from The Improv Caregiver
I’m a caregiver and advocate for my combat-veteran husband & son with High-functioning Autism/ADHD. I share the realities of life as a family caregiver and tips & tricks I’ve learned over the last few years in my role as caregiver. I’d be delighted to have you join me.

Blog: www.theimprovcaregiver.com
You can also find her on: Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook