Coming Up

Y’all might be wondering how my recovery process is going… okay, you probably don’t actually wonder that, but you might not be adverse to hearing about it right?

Well, actually, these last couple months, I’ve been doing really well. My life coach has been very helpful, mostly she helps me realize I already know the answer, I just need to believe that I do, and that God has given me the key.

I actually had a brief bout with nausea that was the worst I’ve had in a while, but it lasted probably just 20 minutes or so, and I was able to stay much calmer than I used to and help it get lighter instead of stressing myself into feeling sicker than before. Mostly, I catch it before it gets bad now, but even so, now that I know it usually passes quickly, I’m less scared of it.

I feel fine most days. Though with the Summer heat coming, I may have to take more steps to stay cool if I want to avoid that heat exhaustion.

My mental problems are also at a new low for the last year. I really can’t believe how bad it was not that long ago, it seems foreign to me now. I’ve always come out of these periods, since becoming a Christian, after a year or less. Usually less.

I never came out of it when I wasn’t a Christian fully, I had better and worse times, but fear plagued me constantly back then, whether there was a trigger or not. Christianity works for me because that fact that I’ve known freedom at all is something I didn’t really have before. Something important to remind yourself of if you go through hard times again as a believer.

I’ve realized too that the person I a has never really changed, she just went into hiding for a while, only occasionally showing herself, now, I see her a lot more often. I needed to believe she was real in order to be her.

You have to believe in your own healing, in the healing that has already taken place, in order to keep healing.

If you live your life as if you are still hurt, even once you’ve healed, then you might as well still be hurt. That applies to physical and emotional injuries too.

I suppose it’s about time I mentioned that my step-grandmother’s memorial is this month.

I plan to go, but would you believe that my aunt has already been trying to get in some emotional manipulation on my sister over it. It’s so nuts.

I now my dad will be there, likely as not, and I am trying to prepare for it. I don’t know that’ll I’ll share my strategies here until after the fact, if they don’t work, I don’t want to take the chance anyone will emulate me, but I think they will.

However, someone in my position might wonder what the prospect of facing my abuser in person again feels like.

I’m not looking forward to it, but I am not utterly terrified.

It’s because my circumstances are a little different than one would normally have with a violent person.

My dad is aggressive, but he’s not generally the type to lash out in public at someone without provocation, and he would not be able to seriously injure me at a gathering like this without someone stepping in, because too many people would be there. He would not like to lose face, he’s never hurt me that badly, physically. My feelings were always more bruised than my actual body.

Some might not even call it abuse, but I call it that because of he power struggle and attitude involved, and the roughness of how he did it.

I don’t use the word abuse lightly, however. I see it all the time, people call stuff abuse that I don’t think should be called that. Abuse has a particular feel of powerlessness on the victim’s part, and sick satisfaction mixed with excuses on the abuser’s part. It’s more than temper, thought hat is part of it, it’s to break you, make you submit, feel like trash.

I mean, what’s abuse to one person isn’t to another, sometimes, but that’s a very vague line.

I guess what I mean is, sarcastic comments are abuse to some people, but to others it’s normal banter, and I don’ think victims should impose their standard on people who see it as a way to bond, the tone and timing will tell you whether it’s destructive or not. Someone should always back off if you make it clear you are seriously uncomfortable, but if you know yourself, and know you feel weird only because of past experience, and that this person in particular is not actually trying to hurt you, it’s also good to try to grow thicker skin. We have to heal from both directions, insider and out.

For me, a little light shoving isn’t abuse. I knew when my dad was being rough, I know when my siblings are being playful. I can compartmentalize.

I realize I am lucky to be able to do this so easily, at least in some areas, though not all. I am far more sensitive to verbal stuff.

I got into another work situation where I feel disrespected and criticized unfairly, and blamed for what is not my fault. I wonder why I keep doing this… and then my sisters stores of working at a sandwich shop tell me I actually ain’t even seen it all.

Seriously, I get people telling me I should work on my babysitting skills, she gets people telling her she’s got no idea what she’s doing. Whose job is worse? Well, it’s income.

We both like what we do anyone, but nothing is ever a positive experience 100% of the time, that’s not realistic.

Notably, this time, I am handling it differently. I’ve always been bolder that my sisters anyway, I stand up for myself. But I used to do it immaturely by getting really defensive and rude. Now I choose my words more carefully.

My dad responds to criticism by getting defensive and losing his temper, that’s not how I wanted to be, but I couldn’t go the route of my mom and just never stand up for myself at all. I literally can’t, I think I’m incapable… trying was excruciating, and I failed.

So, with no role model here, I’ve had to learn by trial and error, but I’m starting to get better. I try to acknowledge people may have a slight point, or grievance, but I refuse to let myself be belittled.

I had a mom tell me today that at my age (22) I may just lack the experience to understand how to take care of a 5 month old, and how a mother feels.

I asked her “How many kids do you have?”

This is her first. She’s 30..

I’ve been in childcare for 15 years. Paid and unpaid, private and in groups, doing int alone, and doing it helping adults. I have two younger siblings I’ve had to be basically a surrogate mom to for several years, at least in some areas. I have two cousins I provide love, attention, and mentoring too. I have taught Sunday school for over 6 years.

I looked at her and I said “I understand you are his mom, but I will not let my years of experience be disrespected just because I am a little younger than you and your other nanny.”

Where does this lady get off? Sure, she’s his mom, but this is her first kid, having a kid doesn’t automatically mean you understand child reading, as I think the loads of messed up kids form broken homes is proof of. I’m 8 years younger than her, so what? She didn’t give me any prior experience she had with children.

The amount of disrespect nannies get is unreal. We take care of children, the most precious things anyone has, and we get treated like barely above slaves with no rights to opinion, no better qualifications, and no right to complain if someone is literally filming us why we are doing our job, without our consent.

Isn’t that illegal in other circumstances? Sheesh.

And yeas, the nanny cam is real. Some people think it’s myth, nope, I’ve worked for two or more families at least with one. And one family just straight up spied on me with their friends. They told me this to my face.

Well, it would take a whole other post to list all my negative experience babysitting, but it has been a great trial by fire for seeing how well I can get past my issues.

If you have low self worth and want to get over it, there’s really nothing like having someone treat you like an appliance in their house and getting frustrated over it to push you to stand up for yourself. Seriously, if you aren’t annoyed, it’s probably just reinforcing your problems, not helping you grow, get out of that job.

But for learning self control, self assurance, and what you actually want, nannying has it’s benefits.

Back to the prospect of seeing my dad again…

I am nervous about it, but I’ve learned that if I acknowledge that, and decide before hand what to do, it doesn’t often turn into panic… actually, it never turns into panic.

That may not work for everyone, but I am a more confident person in areas that aren’t related to abuse, so channeling that towards he areas that are is mostly a matter of self control and prayer for me.

I also have learned not to overestimate myself. I should try to face my dad alone. I need other people around. I shouldn’t treat myself like I’m expendable and can carry the weight of everyone else’s problems by taking his crap.

While it would be theoretically cathartic to tell my dad off in person, I don’t expect it to happen.

At most, I think, I could tell him to leave me alone, that I won’t be engaging with him, and this day is about Grammy, not him.

Now, my aunt once tried this when her son died, my cousin, and my dad completely ignored her, so I don’t expect that to work.

But I have a few back up plans. It’d be really satisfying to just say: “Look, I already know what you’re going to say, and you’re going to be abusive, and manipulative, and there’s nothing you can say that will alter my opinion of you, and no apology you make will convince me you are sincere, and nothing you can say will make me feel guilty or bad for you. You abused me, end of story. Deal with that reality, or stay out of mine.”

I’d never get to finish that speech, even if it’d work. But it’s fun to fantasize about it.

The reality is, it’s best to just avoid talking to him. He will probably try to talk to me, unless he gets some idea of proving he doesn’t need me by refusing to talk, e might say “I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable” Which is a lie. He would only do it to show how innocent he is to the family, if we were alone, he wouldn’t hesitate, so I will have to take great care never to be alone where he can see me.

It’d be best to have another man around I can trust, as my dad will be more bold with women watching than men, I think, he can be a bit sexist.

Anyway, those are my basic ideas. But the rest will have to wait till after the fact to see if it worked.

Many victims remain oblivious to what their abuser will do to them, as long as they are locked i the cycle. There is strong deception associated with abuse, the perps lie, the victim believe them because otherwise they would despair.

Once you get out, mentally, not just physically, you start to see through it all, and you can predict their tricks. Then you can prepare for it.

I have picked up this stuff quickly due to be observant by nature, and I had to manage my dad for years before I finally got away from him. I know that I cannot win with him expect by not playing his game, he cannot stand that.

I also now that truth is powerful, but it must be worded carefully.

Pro tips for anyone consider in confronting their abuser:

Don’t try to be nice. Don’t try to be subtle, don’t be vague.

Don’t do it at all if you think they still have power over you, and don’t do it alone. Don’t do it in private either, they can hurt you if you do. Others should be able to see you, even if they can’t hear you. I’m not at therapist, this to me is just common sense.

Don’t confront them expecting to change them. It should be either to establish a boundary, or for closure. They aren’t going to change.

Don’t expect them to take it with any degree of dignigity.

You can expect immature jabs, passive aggressive digs, angry outbursts, accusations, or self righteous “I was only trying to…” statements.

I would say not to dignify any of that with even acknowledging it, say what you must, don’t change it no matter what they say. They won’t listen, but you need to know you were able to say it.

This is all assuming it’s the right time and right kind of situation for this to be appropriate. Some people should never confront their abuser, or go near them again.

I will have to do it sooner or alter, or else act like a pariah in my own family, and not all of them are bad people, so I prefer to make realistic plans for how to deal with it.

But some will not have the luxury of any family they can risk seeing again, and there’s no shame in admitting that and deciding not to see them again.

If it helps anyone else, these two passages have really helped allay any guilt I feel over not seeing my toxic relatives:

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).

“Listen, O daughter,
Consider and incline your ear;
Forget your own people also, and your father’s house;
 So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.” (Psalm 45:10-11)

The Bible is so kind to people who have toxic relatives. Jacob is told to flee his brother who is plotting to kill him. Joseph is put in a position of power over his brothers who sold him into slavery. Tamar is given justice for Judah holding out on her. The list goes on.

Contrary to what may Christians think, it is not Christian to stay with an abusive person. Especially if that hinders your walk with God. Plenty of Christians left their families and went on their own to serve God. It is Christian to be single, it is Christian to marry and have children. Paul says we should turn people who refuse to live in a godly manner in the church out.

He also says church member should be kind to their family, and if they are not, they should not be in authority, maybe they are even false, if we follow his logic.

When my life coach pointed out this simple fact, that my dad was deceiving us into thinking he was devout when he was really not acting at all like a believer, it was a game changer for me.

Suddenly I felt hte fiel of not haivng to call what my dad did “trying to be a good chritian ” anymore, he was not trying, he was whining. There’s a huge difference.

Who knew, I was lcoser to God when I stopped playing alon eiwht his chruch, his prayers, his devotions, becaue the fakeness isckened me too much. AS a churhc girl, It hought It hsould like all those things mroe, but the duplicity was too much.

I now hate hypocrisy more than almost any other vice. I can’t claim I am never hypocritical, but I try not to be.

One other big change: I am starting to really believe that I am Allowed to have a happy life.

Whooo! Somebody get excited with me right now!

Maybe it’s okay to like myself. Maybe I don’t need to punish myself anymore. Maybe my anxiety isn’t permanent.

Some of you are afraid to believe that.

There are a few rare cases where someone has something their whole life in order to learn patience.

But I don’t think God would command us to be anxious for nothing, if most of us were not supposed to be completely free from anxiety.

In fact, that verse makes me think anxiety is not one of those life long struggles we are supposed to have.

We cannot force ourselves not to be anxious, but we can learn to stop ourselves from becoming anxious. The Bible said that thousands of years ago.

Perfect Love casts out fear.

I don’t feel full of love all the time, but I Know God loves me, I believe, it, I remind myself of it, and I don’t need to feel it for it to cast out my fear, I just need to now it.

You see, God’s love is so powerful, even the knowledge of it crushes fear, and the feeling of it makes you forget suffering period. I don’t feel it as often as I’d like, but I also don’t need to, knowing it’s there, behind everything, gives me hope.

“And now abide, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

I hope this post encouraged you, until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Not a Place but a Way.

Well, 2020 is almost over, and I got my Christmas shopping all done already. Yay!

I’ve had a full month of feeling much better too, praise the Lord!

So, let’s talk about that.

What happens to someone when they are first taking the stumbling steps out of the hell of constant trauma symptoms, to the middle terrain of starting to break free, before really moving into their new life?

At first you almost don’t believe it. My first few days without gagging, I really wasn’t sure what to think, I’d had a respite before. Then after 2 weeks I began to hope. At 4 weeks, I think I might have weathered the worst of this problem.

But I’ve had a month or so of respite before, it’s still a daily choice much of the time if I will believe this is more than a respite, but actually a change.

Especially when a flare up of allergies can cause similar tightness and gross feelings in my body, and I can’t tell which it is.

For me this is physical, but many people have psychological symptoms exactly like this (I do too, they’re fun), a small problem for one person might be the harbinger of a huge relapse for another… or it might not, in the beginning you don’t know.

I’ve heard in Christine Caine’s sermons where she mentions A-21, that after you rescue a girl from sex trafficking (there’s a few boys in it too, but the bulk of the victims are girls) they don’t know whether you are just going to continue their suffering, or you are actually here to help. Some are hostile, others timid, all of them are scared.

Abuse it pretty much the same, as with any kind of bondage, you go through a really terrible time, and then you’re so used to it that if that time begins to end, you’re scared. You’d almost choose the dank dark dungeon over the open highlands, because you know how to survive in the dungeon (barely) but you have no clue how to thrive out in the open. Like an animal that has acclimated to one terrain only.

Perhaps God would like us to become animals that can migrate, thrive in multiple places, and transition easily between them, but would we really like that?

In Mere Christianity, Lewis writes a chapter titled “Counting the Cost” where he warns that we shouldn’t think that Jesus will solve only the problems in ourselves that we think are bad, he will take all the problems, all the ones we secretly like, all the sins we want to pretend we don’t commit, and he will get rid of those too. “Give Him and inch and He takes an ell” He commands us to be perfect, “You shall be holy as I am holy.”

Being holy for us is like being free is for a victim of abuse, unnatural, new, frightening. Oh, it may be better, we know in our heads, but it’s just so gosh darn painful, can’t we just be “okay.”

God certainly would be one to say “It’s okay if you’re not okay” but what He will add is “Because I will make you more than okay.” Far more than okay. (My sisters and I once named an imaginary band of characters we liked “More Than Okay” as a nod to how God goes above and beyond what we envision for ourselves–yes we are geeks who imagine bands for our faves. Everyone has weird habits.)

I think another good analogy for this is the difference between getting a message and going to the Chiropractor. I’ve had my sister massage me for a long time, she’s gotten pretty good at it, I like really hard massages too, deep tissue. Sometimes he’ll spend an hour on it.

And it brings relief, but no matter how good it feels, within an hour or so, I can feel my muscles prickle back into a strained place, or a few days later, I need it again. A massage just brings relief, it doesn’t fix anything. Massages really are just meant to be temporary solutions. But some people make regular appointments, and some businesses have in-house masseuse, because they want that relief constantly.

When you think about it, it’s a great example of how we spend a lot of money to enable our unhealthy life choices like sitting at desks staring at screens all day. I’m not against a massage now and then, but if you need it every week or even a few times a week, you’re probably doing something wrong, even if you have no choice about it, your body knows it’s not meant to move that way.

By contrast, an adjustment at the chiro feels a lot less good, I personally feel a lot less period when I get adjusted. It’s a relief, but the real difference is how you can move afterwards. I feel looser, more balanced, or less bunched up in certain places. A massage just doesn’t get the same effect. But, I can feel weird for days afterward, and it’s a step by step process, improving a little more each week, but full relief does not come everywhere at the same time. Plus, it’s hard work to walk the right way, to choose purposely to stand on both feet the same way, to sit up straighter and not strain my neck as much.

But, I’ve been reading “Get Your Life Back” John Eldredge’s latest book (at least as far as I know) and he talks about something very similar, the difference between relief, and restoration.

He pints out how all our distractions like food, TV, Social Media, or alcohol, provide a short relief from our pain, but they don’t provide restoration, and they can actually prevent it because it becomes harder to tune in to what we even feel anymore.

I’ve noticed it in myself, one reason I am stressed so much is I moved more and more off relaxing activities like reading, being outdoors, and using my creativity, to things that involved my technology.

I have gotten into some bad habits, but even so, I spend less time online than the average person, if I feel this tired and drained by it, how much more does everyone else? (In the West anyway.)

I didn’t realize till this year how much of my approach to negative emotions was about wanting relief. I might give lip service to the idea of deeper healing, but mostly just wanted to feel better in the moment. The same with the physical stuff, I don’t really want to think about my body’s alignment and my digestive track being messed up from years of anxiety, I actually hate thinking I have bigger problems.

It turns out God was after Restoration in my life. As the Word says “I will restore to you the years the locust has eaten.”

A locust is much like an abusive cycle, it devours everything it can get it’s little claws on, and leaves you nothing. Locusts are a plague, we have grasshoppers in America, or used to, did the same thing, no getting rid of them, you just have to wait till it passes.

No denying it, having a dad like mine robbed me of a lot in life, I’m beginning to acknowledge that loss and I learned new ways he hurt me all the time, it may go on for a while.

And, I’m not like those people who deny they lost anything. “I don’t need that jerk anyway! I’m doing just fine without him.”

There’s a speech from a popular show, I don’t know the name, where a deadbeat father fails his son again, and the son talks to his real father figure, saying at first that it doesn’t matter, he begins listing all the things he learned how to do without his father, like drive a car, and such. The other man just listens in silence. Finally the son ends it with the honest, upset question “So, why doesn’t he want me?”

And yeah, I have to say, that’s a question that never goes away. I’m not sure even God can answer it.

You see, God, He can’t imagine not wanting us. He lives to Love, He Is Love. If there’s one thing that puzzles God, (if I can speculate about such things) it is probably when we humans don’t want to love each other, even the most innocent people to us, our children. God would never beget a child He didn’t want to Love, yet we humans are foolish enough to do it.

My dad began rejecting me when I was an innocent baby, how do you reason with a man like that? When asked, he told my sisters “It’s just the way I am.” Yeah, but you shouldn’t be that way Dad, you’re seriously broken, you need to be fixed.

So, I am left wondering why my father doesn’t want me.

There are some questions that can’t be answered because they are beyond reason, some people simply are incapable of love. It’s hard to accept, but it’s true. They can change, but they have to want to. Becoming dead to love is a choice, but it’s often made long before the person even realizes fully what they are doing, when they do, they may choose to stay that way in order to protect themselves.

My dad decided I wasn’t worth it. That cut deep, and still does. But I know that humans cannot motivate each other to change, very often. There’s exceptions to that, but usually, it can’t be done.

Its really nothing wrong with me, there’s nothing wrong with you either. Even if you’re a bad person now, and you know it, that’s not why you weren’t loved. Humans are simply broken, often empty creatures. It’s rare we are able to become good parents without God’s help.

So, since I did nothing to bring this on myself, I also can’t fix it. That’s why it’s about restoration. I need to be given back what I lost. Security, Love, Joy, Self-Worth. Things that were ripped away from me, I do not exaggerate (I think people with good parents can’t imagine how cruel bad parents can be, and that’s probably a good thing for them, but sometimes Victims get dismissed as being over-dramatic about our lives by people who just haven’t lived it. So, let me just say, I try not to exaggerate, when I use strong language, it’s because I think it’s appropriate.)

I guess in closing, I’m trying to say that Healing is not always fast. In the church, we often talk and sing as if healing is one prayer away.

That’s a product of our instant relief mindset. If you read the Bible, both OT and NT, you’ll see deliverance often takes time and patience, and we’re even told to be glad when it does (working on that still). There are the big time miracles, but things like trauma just don’t go away all at once.

There’s a misunderstanding in much of the Church, though not all, that all problems are alike, just attacks of something at random, or when we’re weak. Some problems are that, but many stem from patterns and years of trouble in our lives. Especially like in my case where the church was bound up in the trauma of abuse, though it was unwittingly so. It’s sickening to me how people like my dad can use the church as a tool, but within any human group, there are blind spots. At least if you look for them.

We sing that God is just one prayer or song or moment away… but what about when God chooses to make us wait longer than that?

The Bible has lots of examples for us, but we seem to forget the context for them. It’s something I had to reconsider of late.

So, praying for relief, and singing about it, have not got me very far. My anxiety isn’t calmed when I’m still focusing on it.

But when I slow down, and breathe, and just let it be, I get a little bit of traction.

Which is why I think this Oh Hellos song sums up much better what many of us need right now:

At the edges of my fingers, never quite closing round it, that peace like a river always flowing, never getting. Seems like maybe it’s not all that much a place, as it is a way. And ways don’t ever seem to want to stay too still, too long./

Isn’t that what’s it’s all about? The slow trickling that sets the banks in half, the sweet melody it makes as the canyons crack. I want to give it all I got, and I want nothing, no I want nothing back./ Whatever kingdom come, it probably won’t come quick, no might clarion to announce it, no single use ark to discard in an instant. Like Theseus’s ship, we’ll fix the busted bits. Till it’s both nothing like, and everything, it’s always been. It’s a wonder we expect a thing to stay the same at all./

Isn’t that what it’s all about? We keep fixing what we know is only bound to break, what’s worth saving’s never worth letting go to waste. I want to mend what I’ve got instead of throwing it away./

Ain’t nothing comes easy, no nothing comes quick, it’s gonna hurt like hell to become well, but if we set the bone straight, it’ll mend, it’ll fix, and we’ll be well.

Ain’t nothing come easy, no nothing comes quick, but I want for you this:That you are well. I want for us this: That we are well.”

The Bible says Peace is like a river. Isn’t it odd that it does not say Peace is like still water? A lake or pool maybe? No, it’s a river. Seems more like something Pocahontas would like, because it’s always moving. It’s not much like the eastern idea of serenity is it?

But, with the help of this brilliant song, I began to understand why the Bible might use the image of a river.

I found that peace if I chased it, and tried to treat it like a place to camp out, was fleeting. What comforted me one day didn’t the next, what worked one day didn’t the next. I can move one way and feel better, the next day I might feel worse.

But my understanding of healing and health was off. I wanted to just lie down and be at peace. But if I lay down, my mind would dwell on my fears. If I held still, it would catch up.

But trying to move, to make myself think of other stuff, didn’t work either. Trying to pray or worship out of it didn’t work. I was often scared even doing that and my mind went right back to worrying (I still have this problem).

What started to change that was when I realized a little that this is a journey of learning how to walk differently, to walk with God step by step, as Rich Mullins sang, and walk in straight paths. It really is a way, and Jesus actually calls Himself The Way, not a place. God is a shelter, a strong tower, but Jesus, our savoir, is The Way. Being saved comes by learning to walk in Him. God bails you out, but Jesus changes you until you no longer need to be bailed out (of course it’s more complex than that, but I’m trying to give a vague idea of how it works here, not a whole theology of who does what).

How can I describe it? I think the song puts it better than I can. Peace and Healing is the slow trickling that wears down the banks and cracks the canyons, which you might see as our problems and obstacle to change, just like water erodes rock now. It happens so slowly you don’t notice, it’s not loud, it’s not announced with a clarion.

It’s not something you can pray once for, not like the reference to an ark, this isn’t the Flood, a one time disaster, it’s an ocean we have to keep crossing, a river we have to float down.

And when our vessel (which can mean ourselves, in the Bible, and also a ship) is fixed bit by bit, it will be nothing like it was before, because it’s new, and yet it will still be us, far more ourselves than we were before, so it is everything it’s always been.

I think when the song says that I want to mend what I’ve got, be cause what’s worth saving is never worth letting go to waste, it means that if we think we are worth saving, we must believe we are wroth healing. That we should not hate what we are, but be willing to be fixed bit by bit, and not throw out our whole selves. We are given this raw material to work with, what we let God make of it is another matter, as Lewis pointed out.

Finally, the song reminds us that a truly good person will want us to be well. and tells us that it is never easy or quick, that it hurts like hell to become well (and often physical therapy is more painful than the original injury, if you totaled it up) but if you set the bone straight, it’ll mend. In other words, you have to correct what’s been wrong, you have to be set on the right path, you have to be changed, and then you will heal.

I will only heal when I have been changed, but you could just as easily say, I will only change when I have been healed. Both are true because it’s a simultaneous process.

That’s why human cures rarely work for stuff like this, many people I know chase a healthy diet, exercise, and outdoorsy lifestyles, and many are still sick all the time with serious problems. But they are only trying to heal, they are not trying to change who they are. They probably can’t.

And people who try to change how they are by force, will fail even harder. The bone has to be guided and held back into place, you can’t do it yourself.

Which of course, is why you have to be careful when you think about that river. Remember that you can ride down a river with no effort on your part except staying straight. That’s how Peace is, you let yourself be moved as God moves you. Not by your own power, not trying to stay still. It’s more work to stay still in a river than it is to move.

This turned into an essay, but I kind of like it. Until next time, stay honest and get healthy–Natasha.

Another post about recovering from abuse and anxiety

(Title says it all, you were warned. )

You know, when you’ve been abandoned and abused by your parent, it is real tempting to dull your pain by think there is nothing good about them.

It would be easy, I mean, all the stuff I’ve remembered, and experience, because of that jerk, I really don’t have any reason to like him or try to find good in him.

I am not one for sugarcoating. Not one for saying “he did the best he could” when I know, by his own admission, he didn’t really try. It was never that important to him to try.

I don’t want to miss him. Like Romeo, I want to cut out the part of me that belongs to my father’s bloodline, and be done with it. There are times that is a quite pressing desire, and I know my sisters have had it also. Like Todoroki Shoto from MHA, there’s a side of us all we hate and want to reject, even if it means rejecting our own selves.

I don’t know why I got to think of all this today, I’ve finally started to feel better, been eating more, I ate Thanksgiving dinner, Hallelujah! And I’ve eaten better since then, and felt far less sick, and no gagging has happen in nearly two full weeks if I make it through tomorrow, all this is reason to be ecstatic.

Yet, I also got to see some of the pain my other family members are in this week, the holidays tend to bring it out, I suppose. And I guess we all take turns having a crisis and breakdown.

Me, I’ve built myself a support system of friends, doctors, and counselors, as well as my own family, I can turn to a lot of people when I feel bad. People ask me how I am.

But not everyone in my family has gotten that far yet, and it’s rough on them.

I am slowly learning to let go of anxiety, but it’s nerve-wracking to know that at any time it could pop up again. I had a job interview today for the first time in over a month, my health has been so bad I didn’t even apply for several weeks, but now that I feel a little better, I decided to risk it, I’d like to earn some holiday cash, after all.

But I woke up and I felt he anxiety trying to grab me, my throat, which felt much better yesterday, tightened up. My stomach has been not really nauseous, but jumpy and twitchy, and though I ate, it remained nervous.

But I played my new Skillet CD in my car on the way to the interview, and sang out that I feel invincible, I’m undefeated, and I want to live (and if you know what CD has all 3 of those songs, congratulations, you’re a dedicated fan).

I don’t think I got the job, but I did good, and I am getting better at these interviews, plus my last one went very well and that’s a confidence boost.

Anxiety tends to whisper “well it might not have, you could have gotten sicker and not been able to do it.”

But the reality is I felt okay while working that job, and God gave me the ability to finish well, even if I only worked 6 days total, with kids that feels like a long time. I put my all into it, and that’s the important thing.

Reality versus Fear, isn’t that the constant battle of anxious people?

Reality? God did come through

Fear: That next time He won’t.

At some point, you just have to pick one. Either you try and fail, believing God will catch you, or you don’t try because you’re too scared you might fail even if nothing bad has happened yet.

It sounds ridiculous to people who don’t have anxiety, but to those who do, it’s like facing a dragon every single day to get up in spite of your fears and do what you need to do.

Id o believe it will be easier for me one day, I believe one day, I ‘ll wake up and the idea of gagging or being sick won’t even cross my mind. It could take a year, but I believe it will happen.

But until God has fully healed me, that’s not the case, and I have to choose.

The secret to Christian life, as far as will power goes, is that we choose something over and over until it cease to be a choice because God has made it part of our nature. Scientists call it forming a new habit, but a habit is something you can change without too much concern, this is a character trait that’s essential to who you are.

Right now, being a healer, being a brave warrior, feels like it’s not who I am. But one day, it will be indispensable to me, I won’t be able to not be that way anymore. That’s my idea of success, who’s with me?

Of course, Love is all that will enable me to do that.

For one of the first times ever in my life, two nights ago, I cried for someone else’s pain. Someone close to me. And I have never, not in my memory, ever been able to do that, much as I wished to. I was so out of touch with my own sadness, it was hard work to even cry for myself, forget someone else. Some women are so empathetic they can cry for a fictional character’s sadness, me? I rarely cry unless it’s a bittersweet ending, that gets me.

So, I knew that somewhere in all this pain and chaos in my life, God has made me more compassionate. I’ve gotten more in touch with my own feelings.

This morning, I acknowledged it, I said “God, I am nervous.” But I gave that to Him, and I was able to get up and not feel sick.

I’ll tell you all right now, I am still nervous about the job, I am nervous about my health going back downhill, and I am scared of the uncertainty of the future. Since that is what is really is. I don’t know what will happen, and that is what frightens me.

God has not tol me what wil happen, only tht I will be oaky.

And to bring it back to what I started with, I started thinking about that, as I remembered how my dad used to sometimes have a tender, soft look in his eye. Rarely toward me, unless it was mixed with a kind of pleas for pity, but with movies, books, and stuff that we aren’t as guarded about. My dad used to cry watching Hook, or A Walk to Remember, or Fiddler on The Roof.

How do I reconcile that with the cruel, spiteful person I know him to be the rest of the time?

It’s the hardest thing about coming to grips with abuse, the knowledge that your abuser, however bad, is still human. It’s easy to forget about a demon, if you believe in those, you might know that. When you’re dealing with a purely evil being, you don’t find it hard to distance yourself from what they do, you can’t possibly sympathize with them. People who try are fools putting human emotions on something that is not human. It never will be. (Paradise Lost is bull, if you’ve ever head of it. The evil would never be so noble as Milton makes him out to be, it’s ridiculous.)

But even the worse of humans were once human, and can by sympathize d with. It’s terrible to remember that humanity, a little. Because I remember how I wished it was something I could have access to. But I was barred out since I was born, and there was nothing I could do about that. I think my mom must have felt the same way.

The reason abusers have such a powerful draw on their victims is that glimpse of a soul that we have a sneak peek to, you see, abuse is all about deception, but the one part that isn’t deception is powerful the way a drug is powerful. When an abuser reveals their brokenness to you, they aren’t faking it.

They have the twisted ability so hateful to healthy people, to use their pain as a weapon. The pain is real, that’s why it cuts deep, but they can project in onto other people. It’s often used in anime, and it always gruesome when it is because it rings true to real life.

They use their pain, but it’s a farce because they don’t actually intend to let you help heal them, just to act as a pain killer, briefly before they take it out and beat you up with it again.

What stings is that they also have good qualities. My dad had them, but abusers use their good points as a weapon to. That’s whats so deeply twisted about it. It’s not just one or the other, everything becomes about ensnaring you and keeping you under their power. Their goodness becomes as hateful to you as their evil, worse even, because it tastes like honey, but like with that scroll in the bible, it turns sour in your stomach.

Still, I miss that part of my dad, I miss what could have been. The part of him that is still a real person, that he keeps locked up, even from himself. I know it doesn’t justify a thing, it’ just adds more regret to my memories.

And I thought of this, and of how all this has affected me, and how God has been there, and it make me think that maybe what an abuser really needs to hear might be what I’d like to tell my dad, if I could safely do so:

“Be glad, Dad, that we are not left to ourselves. That we do not have to live with the knowledge we drove someone else to suicide, or depression, or fear, because we can know that God takes care of His own, whatever we do. Be happy that everything is not about you, instead of resenting it, because no one really wants that who understands what it means.”

See, the really good thing is, other people’s happiness is not up to us. We can be part of it, for sure, and we should be, but we can’t determine it. However good we are, or however much we suck.

I think an abuser could only change, truly, if they knew that. They must realize it for themselves, in their lives, and then realize they don’t control the fate of their victims either (I don’t include special cases where they have killed them, clearly that’s not the same kind as I’m talking about.)

I wonder too, if someone might read this who has those kinds of regrets. For what they put other people through. Maybe you need to hear this, that even with all you do and don’t do, God is in control.

It hurts like hell to become well, as the Oh Hellos have put it, but if you really want it, God will do it, in some form or another.

I believe that both because I have to, or else despair, and because I am starting to see it in my life. Slowly.

It’s gotten bad, but here I am. It could get worse, but I think it will get better. As a friend told me, it will never be as bad as this again. Even if problems do reoccur later in life.

Anyway, even getting into all this can trigger anxiety for me, but I choose to do it anyway so that I will learn to let go. I can’t be afraid of my past if I want to heal.

And to all of you in the same boat as me, hang in there.

I speak as a person who has anxiety, who has had it, like an unwelcome visitor in my life, but who does not intend to keep having it.

No going back, only going forward. Yes, and Amen.

I encourage you to make that decision for yourself. That, whatever you’ve had your whole life and have now, you will not spend the rest of your days with it. You will get free, no matter how long it takes.

And if you’re like me, you will then go on to make the enemy regret the rest of his days that he ever gave you fuel for the fire of your passion to help other people get free also.

I think we have to get free for our own sakes, but once we are free, we can’t help but want to see others free also.

Anyway, until next time, stay honest and get healthy–Natasha.

Curing Anxiety with the Cosby Show, and other things.

Sorry it’s been so long, I got kind of busy last week.

Whew! I may keep this short (which for me is less than 1000 words, of course).

I am starting to do a little bit better with anxiety, and I thought it might be a good time to share some of the ways I deal with anxiety, some are light, some are deep and heavy, but if I’ve learned one things about mental problems, it’s that you have to take a holistic approach to them, it’s never just one change, it’s a lifestyle.

The fact is, people who are anxious live an anxious lifestyle until the symptoms become indistinguishable from the cause. For example, not getting enough sleep causes anxiety, then anxiety causes you not to sleep enough, thereby creating a viscous cycle.

In my case, I have led a love deprived life for so long, it’s become hard to even recognize that as the source of my anxiety.

Lately, the anxiety has gotten worse with me trying to resist it, going so far as to have an attack, because you get anxious about being anxious. (Sanders Sides anyone?)

Anyway, let’s get to the meat of it.

1. Prayer

Praying Hands Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Before you do anything else, you have to prayer. Some people say meditate, I say that’s hogwash. Perhaps it can help some people, but for me, left to my own thoughts, I find no peace. I have to get outside myself, focus on a Higher Power being able to help me.

I will say, it hasn’t been easy. A lot of times God has felt blocked from me, by the heavy cloud of dark feelings I have. I don’t think He was ever gone, or even really silent, but my receptivity tends to wane with the more fear I feel. But prayer is still indispensable, especially if I am alone.

I do find it’s better, if someone else is around, to ask them to prayer for me, hearing them say it aloud builds my own faith. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.”

2. Physical Touch

On the note of asking people for help, something that’s been doing wonders for me is just being hugged when I start to have an attack of panic or fear. Even when I feel sick, as I do a lot when I’m afraid, if someone hugs me for 10 minutes or so, I feel calmer, able to deal with it.

Sisters Hugging Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

This is part of my story, I was touch deprived as a baby, briefly; and then i developed a hypersensitivity to being held, kissed, or touched at all, and I started hating it, as a result, my family slowly stopped touching me for several years of my life, except every so often, or if I initiated.

I had no clue this caused deprivation and a lack of feeling loved, I began to feel the loss as a young teen, and reach out more for it, but my ad, as if in some kind of punishment, then said he’d respect my wishes about not liking touch, after ignoring them for years when I said I didn’t like it, as soon as I said I needed it, he wanted to “respect that” he’d already stopped touching me, but you’d think he’d be glad to get a chance to work with me on this, and figure out what I’d be comfortable with, y dad was never one for subtly.

The rest of my family really didn’t get it either, and up until the last two years, it stayed that way, I wasn’t hugged very often.

Now, they are starting to realize I need this, and reach out and do it, I still have to ask a lot of the time, but I am learning not to be embarrassed about this too.

Note: I am not saying you should push an anxious person to let you touch them a lot, even if they do need it, that trust may not be there to let you work with them on it. I recommend asking them what they are comfortable with, and starting with very small touches and if they don’t respond negatively, try hugging lightly. I’d say never do a bear-hug or full-frontal hug with someone who still acts nervous when you touch them, it’s just too rough. That’s just my experience though, not professional advice.

3. Moving

My sisters actually found out about this technique, and have been employing it longer than me, but with their encouragement, I’m starting to do it more.

Getting out of the room you’re in, especially if you can get outside, is a great way to stop anxiety, especially if you are having an attack where you can’t breathe. That time you feel so trapped, being out in a wider space makes it better.

Also, for me, walking, even if it’s just in circle, up and down, helps. When I get anxious, especially early in the morning, my body is stiff and tight and I carry tension in my back, throat, and shoulders. So walking in an upright position, stepping lightly, and trying to walk the way my chiropractor says to to practice stretching out the right way, relieves some tension. It seems to decrease the chances of a nervous reaction to food, or stress.

Pacing a Trench - TV Tropes

Walking outside is the best combination.

4. Drink Water

So many things feel worse when you are dehydrated, my appetite gets worse. When I feel anxious, my instinct is often not to eat, but also not to drink, to just hold still and try not to do anything to make it worse, which is the worst thing to do.

Here's how drinking water can help in reducing diabetes - Times of India

When I can’t eat, drinking lots of water keeps the nausea down to a more manageable level, and usually helps bring back my appetite. It’s important to stay hydrated after being adjusted too.

5. Relaxing Entertainment

This won’t be the same for everyone, but I find that watching a lighthearted, wholesome piece of media while I eat helps me feel less anxious while eating. Playing music will help too, but the more my focus is taken off myself, the better.

One show I’ve been watching everyday while I eat is “The Cosby Show”. say what you will about the actors, this had to be one of the purest, best, most wholesome shows ever made for TV, at least at that time.

Where Is the Cast of 'The Cosby Show,' 26 Years After the Sitcom Ended? |  Inside Edition

I can’t even describe how good the writing is, subtle, heartfelt, true to real life, without disrespecting a particular race, gender, or age group. Most of the episodes don’t have a “lesson” per sec, but are just about a family loving each other, doing kind things for each other and other people, and spreading that love around. Weathering life with each other.

Perhaps it’s because my home life was not like that as a kid, though it is becoming more that way now, that I like watching this. It shows me what could be, and reinforces the changes I am trying to make. I don’t have to roll my eyes and say “that’s such a toxic way to handle it” like with most shows.

There’s some movies I go back to also, when I need to be uplifted. Usually it’s not inspiring movies for me, just movies about family, and getting through life while finding meaning in simple things. Perhaps what I most need encouraged now.

Inspirational stories are great, but at a time like this, they can put pressure on me to heal faster than I can really heal. We are in such a hurry, as a generation, to outgrow our problems, and overcome, but we don’t want to learn patience in order to do it. We just want to be better Now.

And we can get better, quickly, or slowly, depending on God’s will, but what everyone needs to hear is that you will do both, if you life to adulthood and face struggles.

Sometimes healing is like getting surgery, you go in, it’s done, and you just have to recover afterwards.

Other times healing is like physical therapy, months and years of work and reinforcing and changing how you do things until you’re on the right track.

And if one thing gets to be quick for you, something else will be slow. It’ll be different things for different people.

Mental illness is often a long process, I’ve heard of people who got delivered of it in one go, and that’s great for them. God can do anything, but the majority of us have to walk a path. God is glorified whether it’s fast or slow, because it is still by His grace anyone recovers.

I believe even non-Christians owe their healing to God, who else gives us the things that cure anxiety? Most of them are God created things, Nature, Music, Love. Even art is just reflecting God’s creation.

Perhaps it’s even good to notice this stuff while you are still young, because if you walk it out for a few years, and get through it, you have the whole rest of your life to be free.

I may not like having this now, but when I’m 30 or 40, I’ll be glad not to have waited till then to realize all this, by then I’ll have been practicing living without fear for a very long time, maybe when I’m 80, I’ll have forgotten what it feels like to be anxious.

I don’t think anxiety is a permanent condition. The people who say it is usually have only been dealing with it for a few years, and usually without God, even therapists and counselors tend to deal with the same patient only for a few years. how do they know it wasn’t eventually possible to kick this stuff completely.

It may always be a part of your personality to be tempted by anxiety, but all us anxious people know the difference between being tempted, and actually becoming afraid. The suggestion flashes before your mind, and you either latch onto it and sink, or you ignore it, and swim ahead.

I have been anxious since I was a kid, but not all the time. If it can go for a season, surely it can go for a lifetime.

I may not be out of the woods yet, friends with similar problems to me say it’s taken them a few years, or longer, to get free, some are still in the process; but they did get free.

It probably takes 2 years on average to change your lifestyle enough to not encourage anxiety, and it may take 5 years or more to not be tempted by it hardly at all. If I had to guess, assuming you were working on trusting God, and building up better habits all that time. For those of us who give up on it, of course it takes longer.

My dad has had anxiety since he was born, pretty much, and is now almost 60. I have come farther in one year than he has in his whole life. Though I think there were times he did better, but from his stories, he’s never been rid of it.

But my father doesn’t try to be rid of it. He prays, but makes no lifestyle changes with that prayer, and doesn’t seek the kind of counsel and reassurance that would help him, unless a lot has changed since I last saw him.

Me? I’m changing everything, one step at a time, and my life is becoming the kind of life I wanted for so long. It’s far from finished, and it will never be perfect, but what is Possible in my mind had expanded a lot.

I think that’s a good place to stop. I hope you found some of this helpful, or enlightening, or fun, and that you are continue to fight your battles. If I helped even a little, t was worth it. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Me, my name, and I.

To add to this list of things going wrong in my life, our microwave is busted, and we live off leftovers and homecooked meals in my house.

Oh well, I guess we’ll have to rediscover the art of reheating on the stove or oven until we can get a new one. Maybe by the end of the week.

It’s funny how stuff piles up isn’t it? C. S. Lewis observed that when things begin to go right they generally keep going right for a while, the same when things begin to go wrong. It’s like our life is a pendulum. The old saying for it goes “it never rains but it pours.”

With a slight dying down of my physical symptoms, my depression and anxiety and intrusive thoughts re-surged, this seems to happen every time, the two really seem connected.

But every time, I am starting to reach out a little more. To more people. Broadening my range of who I will rely on for help. It’s not easy for me to do that, as I’ve been burned many times even by Christians, by people who say they want to help but never call you or want to talk it out.

This is not an indictment against the Church itself, I blame this culture of distance and isolation more, we’ve forgotten not just how to support each other, but I honestly think we’ve forgotten what people even need from each other. Why else do so many self help books try to explain it to us?

It’s funny, I bet people from centuries ago would find it ridiculous. We humans have always advised each other about what others need, but we used to keep it to a basic religious philosophy with personal experience, not thousands upon thousands of options.

I think one of the only true differences between this age and the past is the options.

It’s actually interesting if you study communication throughout history, you’ll note how as it increases, so do people’s options worldview-wise. The invention of the newspaper and pamphlets basically was the reason the Revolutionary War was fought and won.

The telegram made the Railroad more effective and safer, and made War News easier to relay over long distances in a short time, changing how we fought wars.

And now computers and internet have made knowledge about anything and everything accessible to people who are barely literate.

The true change throughout the world is the swapping of ideas more easily and readily. You can see it as a good or a bad thing, but it’s a fact, and it’s not likely to go away.

I almost think this crisis has got us all thinking way too much on a global or national scale. If you think about how miserable other people are all the time, how can you ever let yourself be happy? Anne Frank wrote of that in her Diary while in hiding.

Personally, I only feel more depressed when anyone alludes to COVID. It disheartens me to be reminded of how everyone supposedly is discouraged and depressed.

I get the same feeling when I watch anime, maybe you other weebs have experienced this, but is anime not the most depressing crap ever? Even the happy ones can be depressing.

I think it’s the unfinished feeling of their storytelling, no problem even feels truly resolved by the end of the story, the message is generally, “they’ll just keep going with the same problems, for all eternity. Gleaning happiness briefly form others, but never forgetting their sorrow.”

Come on, that literally could be a tagline of an anime or manga.

Western stories are entirely different. Something gets resolved at the end, whether it’s sad, like most European stories, or happy like English or American stories usually are. At the end, you can say as Jesus said “It is finished.”

Oh sure, you know theoretically that the characters will live on in the fictional setting, but the story you need to know is over.

I think that’s why there’s arguably more fanfiction about anime and other Asian mediums, at least more that is constructing a cohesive storyline, and not just having fun with it and trying a few different settings out. I mean the 200+ chapter longs stuff. (The kind I write)

All my longest fan fics have been about anime or anime inspired shows. Save for one, but that one was done more sporadically in some ways.

There is just something so irrevocably depressing about the idea of going on forever trying and never quite succeeding, like a bird in the water toy.

I think anime is addictive for that reason, because it never feels finished, people always want more, most probably don’t even realize they are waiting for that ending. That’s why weebos hop from anime to anime, trying to find one that satisfies that need for a good ending.

Yeah, I know, one year as a weeb and I’m an expert? Maybe I’m wrong, but I know the affect it’s had on me is exactly what I’m describing, I am never satisfied, and if I like the ending, I still want it topped by something else, I still have something to be desired.

Unlike stuff in my country. I have wanted plenty of sequels for my favorite movies, but that has never made me unsatisfied with the original. Not like anime.

I imagine plenty of weeboos would be mad at me for knocking anime in this manner, or they’d sheepishly agree with me, sometimes they are surprisingly honest or self deprecating. They are also by and large, depressed.

I know maybe two who aren’t, at least I haven’t heard form them that they are, but I’m not sure.

And the fandoms have to be some of the most depressed sounding people I’ve ever heard.

Why am I bringing it up? Maybe you alredy guessed I see a connection between this and how depressed young people are in general.

Oh, I’m not blaming anime, though a lot of it is not helping. I think youth are drawn to it because they already are discontent with their lives. But I think anime magnifies it, I’ve noticed it much more since I started watching it.

The truth is, I don’t think young people actually mind being depressed that much. They are so used to it, it’s popular to gripe about it on line, and if you are the rare person who isn’t (not an anime person definitely) you feel no need to talk about it. Misery loves company, right? Contentment is quiet.

I never feel the need to write about it when I feel happy, because I am just happy, it’s when I am suffocated by sadness or fear that I need an escape.

I never am clear on what I’m escaping from exactly, a lot of empty possibilities that will never happen? Myself? Reality?

I got to say, young people are more afraid of spectral threats than we are of real ones.

We’re hiding out form the trouble in the world, the possibility of the apocalypse, the looming threat of society’s well being being left to us and the fact that we are not as a whole, the last bit prepared for that.

I digress.

I’m trying to figure this out because I want not only to be saved from this horrible trend of depression and discouragement in my age group, but I want to be able to pull others out of it. I get heavy hearted when I think of the amazing, sweet, kind people who feel like they are crap because they have depression and anxiety and mood swings.

I wonder if I was the only one who struggled with this, would I feel better? It would suck to be a loser (as I’m sure I’d feel like I was) but it’d be encouraging to know most people aren’t like that and there might be a way to be normal.

Jesus said “I did not come to call the righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” and “it is not healthy people who need a doctor” But being healthy is meant to be nomral.

(Is it even normal anymore? Seems everyone has a diagnosis of something nowadays. A lot of it is neurotic too.)

Well, I am not trying to add to the depression. I want to suggest that a lot of it is just… false.

Not that the feelings aren’t real, of course they are, but I know half of what I get depressed over is not reality. It’s what I fear my reality is, or will be. But in a moment of clarity, I know it’s not true, and probably never will be true.

Getting depressed over how dark the world is is easy, but it’s not based in Reality.

The World is Dark, the world has been dark since the fall, but people have never derived their joy from the world, if they were smart, but form each other and from God and from doing good work. Solomon wrote that that is the best thing to take Joy in.

Everything in the world is vanity, without the Love of God to give it meaning.

The most lasting man made things are the ones that reflect God’s Nature the most. Beauty, Simplicity, Courage, Glory, even Terror, all feelings God invokes in us, and symbols of those things have stayed with us.

I don’t write to you as someone who’s got this figured out, I’m seeking it. I’m trying to find how to Live. I am sure at least it involves getting outside myself and my own head, forgetting what I think I know about coping with my life, and embracing what God actually says.

All of which seems impossible, but God is a God of the impossible.

In the words of many Christian songs, I am reaching the end of myself. I am running out of my own ideas. And whenever I really do finish, I think I am gong to find God waiting there, and it’ll be clear at last, what I only got glimpses of up till this point, it’ll be in full color.

I must be so close now, if I can even guess that’s the end of all this.

I think if I had that revelation, I would not need medicine, or therapy, because those are for people who have not yet found it, but are still looking.

I am waiting to me other people my age who feel this way, who will encourage me to think that way, who are not willing to give up and succumb to the depression of the world.

I get really tired of it you know, not just of being miserable, but of thinking of what a nuisance it is.

I literally get anxiety about driving the new car I wanted for ages and was so grateful to get, yet I can’t take it out many days without feeling afraid I’ll crash it, either on purpose or on accident.

That really ticks me off, because it’s a gift, and I want to enjoy it, and how dare the devil try to ruin that for me.

I go to hang out with kids and I feel sick, or I feel sad or out of it, even if I felt fine beforehand. and I just get so freaking ticked!

I wish this anger was enough to propel me out of this mindset, but anger does not destroy fear. I can still feel that chain to it, even if at times I almost forget it.

Hannah Hurnard describes that well in “Hinds Feet on High Places.”

And anyone who’s been set free knows that you know when you know that you are free, when that last shred of hesitation has gone from your mind. When you have stopped drawing back.

Maybe it takes a thousand baby steps outside your cage before the door really slams shut behind you.

I don’t know.

But I am not content to just get a patched up version of wholeness. Where I can function, but not flourish. I know I could probably have that, if I took pills, and was willing to be selfish the rest of my life, always taking, never giving except when it didn’t feel like a risk, I could take the easy route.

I could have gone in for that a long time ago, I’ve considered it, and while it may be a step in the future, too many people park there who don’t need to.

I still want to me mad enough to believe God actually does heal us completely, and set us free. I know people He’s done it for, I’ve read the stories, I want a piece of that. Why should I settle for less than the Best?

Why should I settle for less than what God would give me, if only I would receive it?

Oh, but I do.

You all don’t know how often I choose to feel worse than I have to. I’ve done that for many many years, and been warned about it before. It’s sad.

And I want to stop doing that. I’m tired of treating myself like I deserve that. I may not be able to fix myself, but I don’t have to sabotage the help I do get.

Lastly, if you’ve read this far, here’s a fact about me I haven’t mentioned here before.

Natasha is my pen name, but my first name means “Joy” or “Rejoicing.”

It’s always struck me as ironic, from a very young age, how I never felt happy. If I did, it scared me. It wasn’t joy.

Someone even once told me that, they were one of my peers. And my father used to mock me for it all the time.

I’ve experienced joyous times since becoming saved, but many times my name still felt entirely inappropriate, yet people have prophesied for me constantly throughout the years that I will have so much joy.

And year after year of not seeing it, I wonder, “what the heck?”

And now, dealing with serious depression, anciety and helath problems, I want to laugh.

But… I heard at an event I was at that “if you struggle with depression, you’re meant to walk in Great Joy, if you struggle with fear, you’re meant to walk in Great Faith.”

Supposedly, one of my gifts is Great Faith.

Funny, isn’t it?

But at some pint, ladies and gents, you have to decide what you believe. Yourself, your family, your fears… or God.

I fight it, but at the end of it all, I have always chosen God because I know that is right. Paul or Peter said “Let God be true and every man a liar” (meaning not that all men are liars, but that that it is better to think that than for a second to think God could lie, because then we’re all lost).

So, I will keep doing that, and keep you posted for whenever my breakthrough finally comes. Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Where I’m at.

What a month last month was for me. Crazy.

It’s not usually a good idea to list the bad things that happen to you, but sometimes you have to in order to just appreciate that you got through it.

So, in the course of a month, I:

  1. Got rejected from at least 3 job applications after an interview.
  2. Got a mouth infection (not fun) and had to be on antibiotics that made me feel nauseous.
  3. Had a huge attack of intrusive thoughts.
  4. Had a huge attack of anxiety about all of the above
  5. Then got what we think was mild food poisoning, along with my sister, and had a 2nd period in one month, a weird phenomenon that happens sometimes and made me feel even sicker.

Still recovering from that last one, but I am feeling better. Still I felt so sick I barely ate anything for 3 days and just managed to eat a little better yesterday. Don’t know if it was hormones, allergies, bad food, or some unholy combination of all three.

Somehow, even after all that, I still have felt closer to God than before.

I don’t think God gave me all those problems directly, and with prayer, thankfully, some of them are going away, but God didn’t just lift them off immediately either.

It’s ironic that a lot of my problems are self-inflicted after the intial issue that wasn’t in my control.

I eat less when I’m stressed, so the more worried I get about feeling unwell, the less I want to eat, and the worse I feel as I get hungrier.

I worry so much about making it worse by eating, I forget that not eating makes it far worse.

My sister asked me why it bothers me so much to think of throwing up, and I didn’t really have an answer. It just always has. Even if arguably that’s not the worst thing ever ( I hate it), what I hate most is how ill I feel before and afterwards. It gets to where I’m more afraid of the idea than of the reality.

It goes back to when I was a kid and felt sick a lot because of anxiety. I would try to figure out what kind of sick I felt, and obsess over it, but I’d think “as long as I don’t throw up it’s not the worst.” I’d pray, begging for that. When I’d feel better a few hours later, it was relief.

The thing is, it’d ruin my time, whatever I was doing. All I wanted was to be at home, curled up with a book, or by the toilet, even if I knew nothing was going to happen.

I guess I never questioned if I could be any different. After I got older and my faith got stronger, this problem went away for the most part, but it rears up every now and then with my allergies, or stress, or PMS. I rarely ever actually get sick, even colds, but I freak out any time I think I might be.

So, getting sick twice in one month has me tripping, you can imagine.

At least, it would, if I let it.

But in another way, God used both these experiences to show me how deeply I worry about health. And let it steal my peace and joy any time I have a glimmer of sickness, real or false.

When I get worried, it’s hard for my body to heal anyway, or to even want to. I almost don’t want to try, for fear it won’t work, because then…then what? I guess I feel I couldn’t handle it.

The reality is that’s not true. As with most things, this fear is mostly just shadowy illusions, not based in what’s likely.

I can’t even say if having physical symptoms is worse than emotional. Some of you who have mental illnesses probably think you’d trade for a physical one in a heartbeat, or it might be the other way around. Every problem seems easier to deal with then our own.

Well, our struggles are tailor made for us, I think, in more ways than one. I inherited this struggle with my health from my Grandparents, like with so many other fun things I deal with. I had two who were obsessed with their health constantly.

My dad also constantly felt bad, and just lived with it, never feeling he deserved any better.

Now, me, I’m trying to kick all this. Not that I beleive I will never get sick, but that the same constnat problems I’ve had my whole life can go away.

I know that not every problem goes away, but so many of mine are stress related, and being stressed isn’t a state of mind I want to stay in.

I doubt most people think of me as a stressed person, who know me. I don’t come off that way, because external things rarely upset me as much as other people, my battle is always inward with my own issues. It’s hard to explain that to people.

God showed me how much I think of this stuff. And I am getting a glimmer too of how often I pity myself.

My dad always pitied himself, but he wasn’t compassionate to himself, and I can act the same way. I will feel sorry for myself for going through all this, and beg sympathy of people, but I will be hard on myself at the same time, with a frustration toward my body for not cooperating with what I want and not letting me do what I want.

As if what I want is always best. It seems better than doing what I used to and embracing it as an excuse to hide, but perhaps the pride of thinking I know best is not really better, just different.

Yet, after the first day of feeling really sick, to the point where I dry heaved and gagged, but nothing came up, my sisters and I prayed, and then I got up and danced around my living room, feeling better, but not completely, and I did manage to eat a little after that.

I didn’t get that bad the other days.

But I thought, I would have never done that in the past. Somehow, I felt fine, even though I didn’t feel fine. How is that possible?

God is weird sometimes.

I don’t know how all this will end, I’m learning as I go. I don’t even know how applicable it is for anyone but me, the reasons people struggle are so different.

But my thought it, maybe all this is happening now so I don’t spend decades of my life with the same problems as my dad had. Always thinking I couldn’t do anything about them.

Maybe it’s necessary to learn this now, to prepare for my calling. Certainly it’s interesting how much God can teach you just from living everyday life. Some of us go on big soul searching journerys, some of us stay home and live ordinary lives for 20 years till one day God tells us to move, like Abraham.

Whichever it is, I guess I’m learning, like Paul, to be content with where I am at, to believe it’s where I need to be, and God is growing me through this. Even if it seems painfully small at times.

Though, G. K. Chesterton thought that the ordinary things in life were the most enchanted.

I guess I’ll end with that thought, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.