How to Make Sure Getting Help…Helps

How to Make Sure Getting Help…Helps

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Good morning!

It’s Friday! In case you are just tuning in, Friday’s around here are all about anxiety relief. Today’s post is for EVERYONE. Those struggling with extreme anxiety, depression, OCD, eating disorders, everyone mentally ill (not as bad as it sounds.) In today’s post, I am discussing YOUR PART in the journey to peace.

If you have been reading this blog any length of time you know that my war cry is to GET HELP. You can click on the Anxious? tab above and probably any post you choose will be urging you to get medical help for your mental illness.

But it is crucial that you know that you have A LOT of work to do on your end. You can’t just go in for an hour appointment once a week or so and expect to get better. A therapist is crucial but their job is to educate and guide you in your journey. Do not underestimate the importance of this. Knowledge really is power and we are not meant to go it alone. I thank the Lord so much for doctors, therapists, and medication. They are truly blessings to all of us.

But here are three things that you must do to make sure that getting help actually helps.

How to Make Sure Getting Help…Helps

Want to Get Better

I struggled with anorexia, bulimia, anxiety, depression, and OCD for close twenty years. Geez, when I type it all out like that I was quite the mess. Haha! In those twenty years, I saw five different therapists. One when I was fifteen. One when I was eighteen. One when I was twenty-two. Then two in my thirties. I tried one but then switched to another that was a better fit for me.

So why did most of those bouts of therapy end up unsuccessful? Not because of the therapist. Because of me! It wasn’t until my thirties that I finally wanted to get better. I know that is hurtful to some of you because it was hurtful to me when I heard it back then. But it was true nonetheless. I had so many fears of what would happen when I let go of my disorders. I had no idea what was on the other side. Until you get to the point that you are so sick and tired of living the way that you have been and decide that you will take whatever is next no matter what it is, you don’t want to get better.

Mother’s sending your daughter’s to therapy because you are terrified you will lose them, know that it isn’t a waste of time and money. Many of the things they hear will stick and be applied later on. But do not be discouraged if the therapy is not effective at this time. Because right now, you are the one that wants her better. Don’t give up. Just keep praying that you will both have the same desires soon.

Tell EVERYTHING

This is crucial. You must tell the therapist what is going in order for them to be able to help you. I think of the times that I went in for a session when I was younger. The therapist would ask “How are you?”, I would say “fine” even though obviously I wasn’t or else I wouldn’t be there. I guess I just expected her to draw my problem out of my head. That’s pretty ridiculous, right? We can’t expect them to help us with things that they don’t even know we are struggling with!

Many times the reason it is so difficult to tell them everything that is going on is because we are embarrassed. When it comes to mental illnesses, things get WEIRD. Most of us experience a lot of shame and are embarrassed to share. Please, let me put your mind at ease. You are not alone my friend. Even if your therapist hasn’t heard your particular weirdism (my friend Sarah’s term), they either have heard something similar or will in the not so distant future. But most likely that have heard your issues before. Really. I need to make a post of a bunch of the weird things that my brain sent my way throughout those twenty years. I’m sure you would at least find it highly entertaining if it didn’t make you feel better about opening up in your sessions. Actually, I just shared one of my weirdisms the other day in this post! Check it out! I was obsessed with the apocalypse. 🙂

Do What They Say

Every therapist I saw gave me action steps to do until the next time I came to see them. Until my thirties, I did not give priority to them and therefore it wasn’t until my thirties that the therapy helped. DO THESE. We are all busy. We have many commitments. In my last post, I made a point to stress what we should actually be committing to. This is your wellbeing. DO THE ACTION STEPS.

I hope you all are well but if you aren’t, you are definitely not alone. There is help to be found and hope to be had. Please do not hesitate to ask me to pray for your journey. I would love to and promise I will!

Blessings and peace to you all,
Angela

 

 

 

What You Really Need To Be Committing To

What You Really Need To Be Committing To

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Good morning!

It’s that time again! Here’s this week’s Free Fitness post!

This post is for the binge eater, bulimic, or anyone who has been stuck in the same cycle for far too long.

If you haven’t noticed already by almost every other Free Fitness post so far, the single most important thing to address when trying to lose weight or get healthy is not food, not exercise, but YOUR MIND.

This study shows only twenty percent of overweight individuals actually lose weight and keep it off. Why do you think that is? I know! Haha! I know because I rode that blasted rollercoaster for twenty years! Yeesh.

The success rate is so low because fixing your head is MUCH harder than trying a diet or workout program. You can’t Google it. No one’s selling it. Most of the time you aren’t even sure what the problem is let alone how to fix it.

So what do you do? You commit to one thing, fixing your head.

The reason is that once you have fixed any disordered thinking and/or chemical imbalances, all of the other things will follow. You will be able to stop eating when you are full. You will be able to quickly move on when you don’t. You will engage in the right kind of exercise for you. The shame that has shrouded you for years will fade until it’s no longer there. And best of all, you will have great advice to give someone else who is struggling with eating and their weight like you once had.

How do you go about fixing your head? To start, you get a good doctor and a good therapist. Look, you and I both know how long the vicious cycle has been going on. It’s time to face the fact that your brain is just as worthy of receiving medical help as every other part of your body. You don’t waste any time going to the doctor when you have the flu or a broken arm because if you didn’t get medical attention, the problem would only get worse. How much worse has your problem gotten? Go to the doctor. Talk to them about your issue of overeating, how long it’s been going on, everything. Ask them if they know a good therapist who specializes in eating disorders.

AND THEEEEEEEN… 🙂

You know this is a Christian blog so you won’t be surprised at this.

for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  1 Corinthians 2:16

For me, all of the things above came when I finally understood what is important here.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  Philippians 1:21

Do you understand this verse? To live is Christ. Why? Because when we understand the depth of what was done for us on the cross that day, we are changed. We become slaves. Slaves to Christ.

What does being a slave have to do with binge eating?

I am telling you all, there is no greater peace, no greater joy than to be the slave of Christ. It is truly a peace that surpasses all understanding. I quote Philippians 4:7 because I am aware that many of you reading can’t imagine how this would be.

I think many of us who would call ourselves Christians have gone through life hearing that God is the answer and that we need to cast our cares on Him, and that we can do anything through Christ who gives us strength. How is that working out? Be honest.

Everyone is looking for the secret. Well, here it is.

Get on your knees and ask God to make you into a pleasing disciple.

Open your Bible, ask God to give you wisdom, and knowledge, and understanding.

No matter what, keep seeking the Lord. Through testing, and trials, and tribulation.

Then the peace will come and you will realize that you are a new creation! Your life will be Christ and to die will be gain.

Today I urge you to just stop with the temporary fixes. They are only taking away time that can be devoted to what  I am discussing today. Seek the Lord.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  Matthew 7:7-8

Today, commit to seeking the Lord.

Blessing,
Angela

 

OCD: What Have You Assigned Meaning To?

OCD: What Have You Assigned Meaning To?

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Good Morning Peaches!

I hope you are well, my friends, but if you are not, maybe something in my Friday’s anxiety post will help.

Today’s topic: Assigning meaning.

*Note- What I am discussing in today’s post is going to sound extremely strange to those of you without OCD. It is important to know that though these people are suffering in their minds, they are still intelligent, highly functioning members of society. Your boss, your best friend, the neighbor you wave to daily may very well have OCD and you don’t even know. A person with OCD is aware that what they are experiencing is not normal and want desperately to be better. A silver lining is that your friend with OCD has had to work extremely hard to find out what thoughts and feelings are worth following. They would be a good one to ask if you are looking for advice. 🙂

What Have You Assigned Meaning To?

What does it mean to assign meaning?

We assign meaning when we give ourselves a personalized significance to something. It’s not the meaning. It’s our meaning.

The inclination to assign meaning to things is something that everyone has, not just the person with OCD. But while someone without an anxiety disorder will not be distraught by the meaning they have assigned, the person with OCD will become highly anxious, fearful, and obsessed.

The nature of OCD is to try to bring order in a very disordered way. If you have OCD, you know that numbers play a huge role in the disorder. Our brain brings certain numbers to mind and those become part of our compulsions (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

Let’s say that you have assigned meaning to the number seven. You have done so because at some point your brain has given you a signal to pay attention to the number seven. In the person with OCD, these signals are so strong that they are extremely difficult to ignore. Because of these feelings of urgency, they think there must be significance to this number so it becomes a part of there compulsions.

I will detour for a minute to discuss compulsions for those that don’t know what they are.

OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. All of us, OCD or not, have random weird thoughts. But there is a fear response that arrises in the person with OCD that causes them to obsess about whatever it is. Because the fear response is so strong, the person begins to act out compulsions to get relief from the anxiety that they are experiencing due to the highly disturbing thoughts.

Here is an example of how this is played out. Someone hears of the terrible tragedy that someone has run over their child. It is the normal response to imagine this happening to ourselves. But where someone without OCD is deeply saddened by the news, they are able to carry on with their daily lives as they did before. But for the person with OCD, they are not only deeply saddened but their brain sends all these warnings signals (fear response) to the point that they feel they need to protect themselves from this happening to them. They now have intense anxiety when getting into the car to back out of the driveway or parking space. They check behind the car seven times. Getting in the car, closing the door, opening the door, getting out, checking for children, repeating seven times. When they have completed their “ritual”, there is a brief feeling of relief. But it doesn’t last long and the urge to act out the compulsions only grows stronger each time they complete a ritual.

So back to assigning meaning.

These posts are not therapy. These posts are to hopefully make you aware of what is happening to you and that you are not alone. You are not crazy even though it definitely seems like it. And that there is help!

First, you must become aware of your obsessions and compulsions. What are you obsessing about? What numbers is your brain bringing significance to? Many times it is blatantly obvious what your obsessions and compulsions are. But other times it not. I will tell my experience to help those of you that are unaware that what you are experiencing is OCD because it is all mental. Yes, this will all sound insane but lucky for all of you I am not humiliated by anything anymore. 🙂 From a young age, after hearing about the book of Revelation (not reading, hearing), I became obsessed with the end of the world. When I was around eight years old, I had a dream that I was in my bedroom looking out the window. I saw the moon even though it was daytime and was overcome with fear that the apocalypse was going to occur shortly. When I woke up I was distraught (fear response). From then on my brain sought out evidence that the end of the world would occur around something to do with the moon. The nature of OCD is to find evidence that there is significance to your obsessions. Everywhere I looked after having the dream, I saw the end of the world coming. On the news, in the Bible, in my community, everywhere. You can read more about why this is in my post The Searchlight of OCD. Because the nature of OCD, is to convince you that your thoughts and feelings are true, I believed that the end was near from the time I was eight years old, until I was in my thirties.

No one, not even me, new I had OCD. Why? Because my compulsions were all mental. Because I wasn’t washing my hands five times or locking my doors ten times no one noticed. But I did have compulsions. Because my apocalypse obsession began with hearing about the book of Revelation, the numbers that I assigned meaning to were the numbers given significance in the Bible. Seven, twelve, forty. My brain’s way of keeping check on my obsessions was to do everything in sevens. I was constantly counting in my brain in sevens, doing things on times that either was seven or added up to be seven. If I was doing something important, I made sure it was on the seventh of the month or the seventh day of the week or at least the numbers of the date would add to be seven. Twelve and forty had different meanings. If there were forty days between moons or anything that I deemed significant for that matter, I was filled with anxiety and worried that the end was near. Same thing with twelve. You can bet I was a nervous wreck leading up to 2012. Haha! It’s all obviously ridiculous but it was very real to me at the time and I know so many of you are experiencing the same kind of thing and need to know that it is ridiculous. You are longing for someone to show you proof that it is ridiculous.

Friend, there is proof everywhere that your obsessions are ridiculous. But your brain is programmed to find proof otherwise. Understanding this is crucial.

I also share my OCD experiences with you so that you can see in black and white what happens. You see how my obsessions and compulsions stemmed from some truth. There is a book in the Bible that is about an apocalypse. The numbers seven, twelve, and forty are in fact significant numbers in the Bible. There are verses about the moon and stars being signs from God. But the truth stops there. My OCD brain added a bunch of NON-truths to this and then found evidence to support them! But even though I assigned a meaning to all of these things, none of them were the meanings.  Nothing good will happen because it is 7:00. Nothing bad will happen because it is the 6th of the month. It doesn’t at all matter how many days are between full moons, or constellations, or eclipses. Do you now see what OCD does? It spins the truth in your mind and then seeks out evidence to make it true to you.

I hope this may have opened your eyes to what is going on. If you identify with any of the above, here are some action steps to take.

  • Make an appointment with a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders.
  • In the meantime, make a list of your obsessions and then try to identify your compulsions. They are the things that you are driven to do when the fear response arrises.
  • Try your best to take your thoughts and feelings captive. Do not be so quick to believe them. Try to remember where they came from and try hard to sort out what is truth and what is not. This is HARD work. You will likely not be able to do it alone but you can do what you can until you receive professional help.

I know a lot of shame comes with OCD so let me just give you some encouragement. You friend, are learning to do something that many never will! You are learning to not be driven by your thoughts and feelings. This is such an IMPORTANT lesson that unfortunately many don’t learn because they don’t have to. Believe it or not, all of this will help you on this crazy journey called life.

Blessings,
Angela