• jaedakotapoetry

positives outweigh the negatives; even when it doesn’t seem like it

Updated: Jan 3

“God is in the small things, as well as the great.”

Robert Krantz


Hi friends. If you’re like me, sometimes you tend to look more on the negative side of things. It’s not that you’re not grateful for things in your life, it’s just that when things don’t go according to plan, sometimes we tend to ruminate over what we thought would happen or wanted to happen. Recently I had a great conversation with someone who helped spark the topic of this post. Sometimes it helps to talk about our issues out loud, so that others can help us make sense of them or help us realize maybe we’re not looking at the situation fully.

Everyone has things in their life that we regret. Maybe you went for a career that you found out you didn’t like as much as you originally thought. Maybe you got in a fight with someone, and it caused your relationship to be strained. Maybe you had an amazing opportunity that you didn’t take. There are things in life that we regret, and we always hear people say, “you can’t live in the past”. And those people are right. We can’t live in the past or worry about the future, but that’s what anxiety is isn’t it? Anxiety a lot of times is ruminating over past things we did or worrying about what we will do in the future. It’s really hard to live in the present and enjoy what’s happening around us.

The conversation I had with this person involved times in my life where I struggled and how it made me question my relationship with God in a sense. As discussed in previous posts, I grew up with a strong relationship with God. I had a lot of faith and trust in Him. And I still do to this day, but there have been times I have questioned Him, and as a Christian and the faith I grew up with, I didn’t like how that made me feel. I didn’t like questioning something in my life that was such a big part of me. It caused a lot of stress to me.

My anxiety has definitely gone up and down throughout the years. There are times that I am very low and my anxiety is pretty constant and then there are times where my anxiety is only a tiny little morsel I can push aside. Knowing this is how my anxiety works, it can be very frustrating. It makes me feel like I don’t have a complete handle on my anxiety, because one thing can happen and then, poof, I am right back to square one, like all the work I had been doing meant nothing. There were a few times in my life where this happened, and I consider them my “lowest points”.

After I started having panic attacks at 17, it took me close to a year to get somewhat of a handle on it. But when I did, I felt very free and independent, and it was a great feeling. I went to college, started my first adventure on my own, and was handling my anxiety just fine. Eventually the stress of school, exams, and finals, got the better of me and I started having more frequent panic attacks. They got so bad that I decided to drop out of college after my first semester and move home. Me moving home led to even more frequent panic attacks and eventually I turned into a hermit. It was so bad that driving 10 minutes by myself was a success. Then it took a few months to get back on track with my anxiety and I was starting to feel better again. My first up and down with anxiety was over.

When I was about 22, I was back in college, going for a career I was really passionate about. I was working two jobs and doing school full time and I was handling that stress better than the first time around, because I had learned coping skills. Then there were about 4 months that my mom was sick. I lived with her at the time, so if she ever needed to go into the hospital, me or my sister would take her in. Looking back, I honestly don’t know how I managed my anxiety at the time. Once she was better and everything was behind us, I fell apart. Which to me, didn’t make sense at the time. I think I was holding everything together for myself in those months until I knew she was okay, then I decided to stop pretending I was okay. I started having panic attacks more frequently and that’s when my OCD took an all-time high. I was having intrusive thoughts like crazy.

For those of you who don’t know, intrusive thoughts are random and disturbing thoughts that pop in our mind and make a person really uncomfortable. Most people with OCD can’t let the thought go and they ruminate over, wondering why they were having it in the first place. It’s a very stressful thing for those experiencing it.

Anyways, it took another few months for me to get a handle on my anxiety again, but then I was back to going to school full time and working and was able to manage it again. That wave of anxiety had drifted away.

Finally, the last experience I made me get to a low point was when I moved away from home and went to grad school. Honestly, this is the hardest one for me to talk about. I got into a really great school for Occupational Therapy, which was a career I was very passionate about. My anxiety was hardly bothering me at the time and I was able to actually move all the way to the school, which was 6 hours away from where I lived. For me, this was a HUGE step. The first week I was down there, I felt so amazing. I finally felt completely independent and felt like I had my own life away from where I lived. For me, I guess it was a chance to prove to myself that my anxiety didn’t define me and wouldn’t ruin this opportunity. Sadly, I was wrong. I developed vertigo after being there for about 2-3 weeks. For someone who had health anxiety like I did, it was a terrifying thing. The doctors I went to said it should have gone away in about a week, but here I am writing this 3 years later and I still experience it. When I had it, it was hard for me to rationalize that it was vertigo, because no one knew where it came from or how long it would last. The unknown is what terrified me. Eventually, the anxiety got so great I started missing classes. Then I was afraid to drive places. I was afraid all of the time and I was far away from family, so my anxiety was constant and worsening every day. There were days I would just lay in bed and sob because I felt trapped and terrified. It was the lowest I had ever been with my anxiety and I felt no way out. To be completely honest, taking my own life crossed my mind. That thought alone made my anxiety skyrocket. I felt completely out of control of my emotions. Finally, I knew the only way I could escape it was to leave school and go home. I dropped out of college, moved home, and regretted that decision almost every day since.

I think the thing that bothers me most about those experiences is how quickly my anxiety came back. It made me feel like I have absolutely no control over it, even when I feel like I do. I would go from having complete control of my anxiety to becoming a hermit and letting it consume me. Because of my struggles with anxiety, I started questioning some aspects of my relationship with God. It wasn’t that I didn’t love or have faith in Him anymore, but I think I started questioning if He had my back. Having these thoughts troubled me, so when I spoke with that person about all of this, it helped me realize something huge I was missing. She explained to me that it sounded like I was lumping those few big negative moments into one big issue and thinking because of them, God didn’t have my back.

It made me realize that I had been forgetting about blessings He gives me every day, that I probably don’t thank Him for nearly enough. Yes, I was struggling those times with my anxiety, but I forget about all of those moments every day that He is helping me get through my anxiety. The times when I wake up anxious and don’t want to get out of bed, but He gives me the strength to do it anyway. The times when I feel myself calm down in a situation I normally would have been severely anxious in. The times that I happen to hear a sermon talk about something that I am going through at that time and feel reassurance from it. Any time I think of the family and friends He has blessed me with. It’s the little blessings every day that I needed to remember. This helped change my frame of mind and be more thankful. It helped me be more positive and helped me see my relationship with God in a better light. I also used to hear this quote:

“I have faith that when my own plans down work, God could be protecting me from something that wasn’t meant for me.”

- Unknown

Maybe all of those things I felt were taken away from me, were actually just ways for me to avoid what wasn’t meant for me. That’s what faith is all about isn’t it? Trusting in the One who made us and His plan. The one thing that gets me through some days is knowing He has my back and loves us.

Everybody has times in life where they struggle, and some may seem much bigger than others. Although it is difficult to see the positives surrounding us when we are consumed by negativity, we need to try. Otherwise, life will seem dull when it is supposed to be beautiful. Let’s continue on this journey together, friends. Stay tuned.

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