I Remember When…

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Before I really get into this post, I’d like to wish everyone well, especially with what’s going on right now. I’m not super into mentioning the virus, because I know we’re already being bombarded with stories and facts about it, but I do want to recognize what’s happening and wish everyone the best of health.

Now onto what this post is really about – the fact that while we may still be struggling with something, we should (and oftentimes, need), to focus on the good. The following is from a post I just wrote on my Instagram feed @b.w.ginsburg48. My account is private, but please feel free to send me a request to follow me if you so choose.

From my Instagram:

Lately I’ve been feeling kind of down. My birthday is soon and while this makes me happy, it’s also brought up some fears. I’m in my late 20s and I struggle with anxiety. I’m unable to work right now due to this and I worry that I’ll never get through my anxiety like I want to and never be able to work. But then, this morning, once again, I realized something. I have made 𝓼𝓸 much progress over the years – 𝓼𝓸 much. Sometimes I may forget this and maybe some people don’t realize it, but I’ve come a long way from how I used to be. My anxiety used to be worse and things that were once way more difficult have become simpler due to me practicing my fears on a consistent basis. So yes, while I still may struggle and have a long way to go, I have come far and made a lot of progress. You know what? You can as well.

So if you’ve been feeling down lately because you don’t feel you’ve accomplished enough and/or you’re worried about your future, please try to remember how much progress you 𝓱𝓪𝓿𝓮 and truly 𝓬𝓪𝓷 make. Have faith in yourself and try your hardest. Also, if you ever need to talk, I (as well as many others), are here for you!

What Really Matters

Hey everybody! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’d like to talk about something that I often experience that can be very difficult for me.

First and foremost, let me preface by saying that I have, and am continuing to make, a lot of progress. I know this for a fact and am quite proud of myself. However, I still have moments when I experience panic attacks and become extremely anxious.

Yesterday was one of those times. I went to visit my grandma with my mom. I have been to the place where my grandma lives before, but never have I gone inside. This time I did though. I held onto my mom as we walked in the parking lot and up to my grandma’s room. I sat down occasionally in chairs, but did very well. However, when we entered my grandma’s room, the chair nearest the door was occupied by my aunt and I couldn’t make it to the other side of the room. Therefore, I sat on the floor. My aunt got up from the chair for me, but when I tried to stand, I was too shaky and weak to even make it the foot to the chair.

I hated this. I hated that my aunt, cousin, and grandma all saw me struggling like this. I’m even upset that my mom saw me like this, though she knows I’ve been making progress. I love her, but I know she still judges me when I get extremely anxious in front of others and in general.

In some ways, I’d like to be one of those people who don’t care what others think. I’d like to say to myself, “Even if these people happen to be judging me, I know I’ve been making progress and it doesn’t matter what they think”. The truth is though, that I do care. I don’t like the fact that it seems that many times when my relatives see me, they see that I’m struggling so much.

My dad said something important this morning – something I know is true. My other relatives don’t see me a lot. They don’t see all the progress I’ve made like my immediate family does, like I do. Still, while I know this, I don’t like that when the rest of my family do see me, they sometimes see the anxious side of me. I don’t like the idea of them not realizing just how much better I’m doing.

Don’t get me wrong – there are times when my family members notice, and comment on, my progress. In fact, the same aunt that I saw yesterday, told me over the holidays how well I was doing. I also know that my grandma has noted how much better I’ve been doing. Even with all of this being the case, I still don’t like when my family sees me struggling. I still worry that they think something is wrong with me or that it’s something more than anxiety. I guess I just want them to realize I‘m making progress.

Still, deep down, I know it doesn’t matter what others think. Whether or not people realize that I’m making progress, I am. That goes for all of you. If you’re making progress, nothing anyone thinks can change that. Whether or not someone commends you on how well you’re doing, if you’re doing well, then you are. Be proud of yourself!

Warrior and Worrier

You’ve probably seen the slogan all over countless forms of merchandise – warrior not worrier. Here’s my question: When did it become a matter of either or?

Don’t get me wrong. The ultimate goal when it comes to struggling with stress and anxiety is to worry less. However, I don’t think that just because we may struggle with anxiety, means that we are not warriors. In fact, dealing with something so difficult and not giving up – continuing to try our hardest to overcome our obstacles – is what makes us true warriors; true fighters.

The idea that we can’t be both; can’t be someone who both worries and who fights to overcome those fears, is preposterous. The notion that if we have anxiety, that makes us weak? Ridiculous. We are strong individuals who have the ability to get through our anxiety.

So next time you see a mug or T-shirt that says, ‘Warrior, not worrier’, remember that it is possible to be both. Remember that it is trying your hardest to overcome your obstacles and not allowing them to take control that makes you a warrior, not necessarily being free of all struggles.

Choo, Choo! All Aboard the Progress Train!

So today I did something that I’m very proud of – I went on a train ride with my mom. Not only did I go on the train, but I did exceptionally well! I only really became anxious one time during the trip and that was due to the fact that after we went to the dining car, the train began moving before we could make it to our seats. I became anxious and shaky and had had to wait it out until our next stop so that we could return to our seats.

I had a wonderful time today and honestly, I don’t think I would have done this well last year. In fact, I didn’t even go last year because I didn’t think I could. Not only did I make the effort this time, but I succeeded. I am so grateful for the experience and so grateful that I did so well.

Trust me when I say that I know how difficult it is to struggle with anxiety. I may not understand your exact form of anxiety (everyone who struggles does so in different ways), but I do understand what it’s like to go through something that can be so scary and sometimes, seem so hopeless. However, I know for a fact that there is hope and that with consistent practice, you can get through your anxiety. I know I say this all the time, but it’s true. It may take time and things may not go even when you start making progress, but progress can occur and it will if you continue to try your hardest.

If you’re going through a rough time, please do not lose hope. I know that’s not always easy, but there are so many amazing things in the world to experience and you can do so if you work hard and have faith in yourself. I wish you all the best and hope you’re having a great month so far! As always, thanks for reading!

 

Advice to Stores and Other Businesses

Hi everybody! I hope you’re all doing well.

Today I went shopping with a relative and did really well. In addition to having a great time, I ran across something that I thought would make a perfect blog post – it’s a topic that I’ve thought about on several different occasions.

The store that I went to today had chairs to sit in. While some of these chairs were for sale, there were also some chairs near the front of the store for customers to sit in, I assume so they can rest while shopping. I know what some of you are thinking – ‘so what?’.

To me, the store having these chairs to sit in was a big deal and an incredibly smart decision on their part. I’ve often thought that every establishment should be required to have some sort of seating – some way for customers and even workers to sit down if they need to. Whether one needs to sit because they have anxiety or struggle with another health issue, are elderly, or just need a break from shopping, etc., I feel that there should be a place where they can do so and not feel uncomfortable or as if they’re being judged for doing so.

I’d like to say that I understand that businesses cannot always accommodate every single person. I know that it can be difficult to do so. However, I don’t think it would be unreasonable for most businesses (if not all) to have chairs for their customers and workers to sit in if need be. Not only is it good for the people shopping, working, or doing whatever it is they may be doing, but it is good for the employers as well. The more people visiting an establishment know that they will be comfortable, the more often they’ll want to visit.

So here is my advice for stores and other businesses: please put some kind of seating in your establishment. Customers, guests, and workers deserve to feel comfortable and have a place where they can rest at times. To those places who already have chairs for people to sit in if they have to, I commend your decision. You are the places that make life enjoyable and make those of us who struggle feel like we’re valued and respected.

Stop Downplaying Your Progress and Success!

Hi everyone! So last week, I had a great time shopping with my mom. While I didn’t do a ‘perfect’ job, I did do really well when it came to going out and not allowing anxiety to get the best of me. I never had to leave the store early, I walked around, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

With that being said, there were moments when my anxiety did increase and I found myself doing less than spectacular. At those moments, I found that I began to beat myself up. My mom kept saying how well I was doing and yet, I still felt down on myself. Here’s the thing – there was a time when I wouldn’t even try to go into those stores. There was a time when I’d have to sit on the ground whenever I got too anxious to stand (true, they were furniture stores, so instead I sat on the couches, but I did get right back up and continue shopping!).

In the back of my mind, a part of me is still wishing I would have done even better. For example, I wish that I wouldn’t have had to hold on to my mom for the majority of the shopping (there were times when I didn’t). You know what? It’s okay to wish that. It’s okay to wish that I would have done better. Why? Because it’s good to set goals for ourselves and it’s good to want to accomplish more. At the same time, however, we have to give ourselves credit for what we did accomplish. I am so proud of myself that I went shopping to so many stores! I haven’t done that in a long time. All week was full of getting out and having a good time. It felt great! The more we practice facing our fears and overcoming our obstacles, the more progress we’ll make!

So stop downplaying your progress and success. The next time you hear yourself saying or thinking I did okay, but… or I did really good, but… stop yourself and realize that you did a wonderful job. Tell yourself that you’ll continue to work harder (and follow through with that promise), but at the same time, be proud of what you’ve already accomplished. None of us are perfect, but the fact that we continue to make progress makes all the difference in the world!

I hope that you’re all doing well and please remember that you’re not alone in your journey to be free from anxiety and any other issues you may be dealing with. Thanks for reading!

What’s Been Going On

Hey guys! I hope you’re all doing well. I thought I would update you as to how things have been going.

For starters, just last weekend, I went to a restaurant I’d never been to and hung out with my mom and her two friends. I had met her friends before, but never spent much time with them. I had a great time and even fell in love with a new food – Crabmeat Rangoons! Anyway, in terms of my anxiety, I did really well!

Yesterday, I went out again. After heading out to my mom’s (where I did well, as usual), I went out to see her best friend. I’ve known this individual for many years and while she can be nice at times, she can be very cruel and can say some very hurtful things.

While this friend of my mom deals with anxiety, she isn’t always the most understanding when it comes to mine. This is frustrating both because I find it simply rude and hypocritical. How someone who suffers with anxiety themselves can treat someone else with anxiety so horribly is beyond me.

I will tell you all something that while I’m not proud of, is important to share for this story. Sometimes due to my anxiety, I hold on to someone I trust’s arm when walking. Upon seeing this, my mom’s friend said “That’s enough of this,” and tore my hand off of my mom’s arm, making me feel unsteady and anxious. Her friend went further to say that I could “hold on to her” and made me do that instead.

I was extremely upset that my mom’s friend made the comment about me holding onto my mom ‘being enough’. It’s already hard enough seeing myself struggle, let alone having someone say cruel things and literally rip me away from feeling comfortable.

After that incident, my mom and I went out to a store. My mom told her friend that we would both be back. Going into the store, I did well, but upon leaving, I began to become anxious. Upon having to sit down (unfortunately on the floor), I noticed a few people staring at me.

I understand why people do this, I do. I know it’s not normal for someone to simply sit on the floor. I hate that I go through this. I understand one’s curiosity in seeing someone sitting down in a strange spot. Still, I wish that people would be more supportive and less judgmental. Also, I think if someone thinks that something might be wrong, or that someone might be going through something, that they should maybe check if the person is alright, instead of blatantly staring at the individual. We’re not stupid, we see you staring, and it only makes things worse for us.

To continue, while I was trying to get my courage back up so that I could head to the car with my mom, I saw a literal sign in the store. My eyes were drawn right to it and I truly believe that I was meant to see it. Maybe that sounds strange to some, but it’s what I believe.

I know some of you may not be religious and that’s fine, but I thought I would share the quote on the sign. I hope it inspires you like it did me.

“Good things happen when you believe in God, who always believes in you.”

Also, here’s something else that is important to remember when you’re struggling. You have made progress before and just because you may be having a difficult time at the moment, does not mean that you’re not stronger than your obstacles or that you’re not improving. We all have days that are better than others and none of us are perfect. It’s okay if we struggle sometimes, it doesn’t make us any less successful.

I wish you all the best. Please remember that you are strong and that it doesn’t matter what others say. As long as you are working hard on a consistent basis to reach a positive goal, that’s all that matters.

May: Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness month. While I admit I didn’t find out until I saw it on Instagram, I still consider it an extremely important topic.

As many of you know, I struggle with anxiety. I’m happy to inform you that through practicing on a consistent basis, I’ve made a lot of progress. However, I still struggle with a lot of things and there is still a lot of improvement to be made.

There are a few things in particular that I’d like to talk about today. First and foremost, never give up on yourself. I know how easy it is to wonder if you’ll ever get through your anxiety and other issues. Trust me: with hard work on a consistent basis, you will. It may take a while, but you’ll get there.

Another thing I want to talk about is how it seems that many people are under the impression that anxiety and other mental health issues are always a ‘silent struggle’. While some people do keep it all bottled in, there are people that express what they go through – whether or not they want to. Also, while some issues can be invisible in that it’s hard to tell that someone is struggling, sometimes it can be pretty obvious that someone is going through something. No matter how mental health issues are illustrated (or not illustrated, for that matter), it does not indicate that someone is weaker or stronger than someone else. It is simply how their mental health shows itself. Either way, we need to support each other and help each other overcome our obstacles.

I’d also like to talk about something that’s a pretty big problem in the world – misconceptions about those who struggle with mental health issues. There are too many to name them all, so I’ll just focus on the ones that I’ve actually been accused of.

1.) My anxiety is just a way for me to stall growing up – This can’t be further from the truth. I want so badly to get a job, be able to do the things I once did without feeling anxious, etc. I hate that anxiety has gotten in the way of that. I don’t enjoy it at all.

2.) Anxiety is easy to ‘snap’ out of – Another misconception. It’s not always that easy to just ‘think yourself’ out of feeling anxious. Anxiety has the power to hold on for dear life at times. Sometimes it takes great force to get rid of it.

3.) Anxiety isn’t real – When a person is anxious, it can feel like it’s the end of their life. Everything can feel impossible and what was once easy, seems like the hardest thing in the world. Anxiety exists and it can be debilitating if you don’t learn how to take control.

4.) Anxiety is just an excuse to be lazy – This kind of goes hand in hand with number 1. Again, I hate not being able to do some of the things I once did without feeling anxious. Also, I enjoy doing things and working hard. Anxiety is not being lazy.

If you’re reading this and you struggle with a mental health issue, chances are that you’ve run into a plethora of misconceptions about whatever you deal with. I’m sorry you have to go through this. Stay strong and remember that it doesn’t matter what others think – it matters what you know. For those of you who know someone who struggles with a mental health issue, please try to be understanding and rid your mind of any misconceptions. If you have any questions about what someone struggles with, please ask them kindly. Don’t just make assumptions.

 

Being Proud of Progress (even when you’re not perfect)

As human beings, I think it can be difficult not to be tempted by negative thoughts. It’s hard when we struggle not to beat ourselves up, to put ourselves down for all of our missteps. However, it is important to remember that we are making progress and that even though we’re not perfect, that does not take away from our success.

Let’s take yesterday, for example. I went to church and did extremely well. I usually sit next to a relative and this time, because someone was sitting where my relative usually sits, I couldn’t. Therefore, I sat in my usual seat in back next to someone I’ve never met, and my relative sat in the pew in front of me (a good few away). You may think that doing well during mass while someone that usually sits next to you, instead just sits a little further away, isn’t a big deal, but to me it was. It meant that I could be independent and have enough faith in myself to believe that I could get through mass without becoming anxious – which I did! I didn’t really get anxious at all!

After church, I discovered that my relative and I would be staying after a while to help decorate. Even my relative was unaware of this. We ended up staying after (a whole two hours) and while I did struggle a little, I did pretty well all in all!

Now here’s the thing: I did get very upset with myself when I struggled. I felt miserable and I was mad at myself – mad that I couldn’t stand up to my anxiety and overcome its power. I allowed my anxiety to take control and for that, I was very upset. However, at the same time, I did get – in the end – get through it in that I didn’t let that one moment control the rest of my day. I got through that moment and I continued on with my day. You know what? The rest of the day went well! How awesome is that?!

I understand how difficult it can be not to get fed up with ourselves when we allow our obstacles and struggles to take control. At the same time, though, we can’t forget about the progress we’ve made or the fact that we are able to overcome our obstacles.

So, don’t forget to be proud of your accomplishments! Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t allow your moments of hardships to convince you that you’re not strong enough to get through whatever tries to hold you back!

More Progress!

Hey everybody!

I have some great news! On Sunday, I made some more progress with getting through my anxiety!

When I go to church, I usually sit in the back against the wall. I’ve gotten used to sitting there and I do extremely well. This last Sunday, however, someone was sitting where I usually sit, meaning that I had to sit somewhere else. While I was nervous at this idea, I felt confident that I would be okay. Still, during the service, I became a bit anxious.

It wasn’t easy sitting in a new spot. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but sitting against the wall where I know I can lean my head if I have to (I haven’t had to in a long time, but just knowing I can is a huge help), was nerve-racking. As many of you who deal with anxiety probably know, when anxiety hits, it can feel as if you’re trapped and while sitting in a different spot, that’s how I started to feel at one point.

When I started focusing on how I was sitting somewhere different, that’s when my anxiety hit. You might be thinking that I should have just stopped thinking about it right away, but that can be way easier said than done. My mind was focused on it and then I started thinking about how there was nowhere to rest my head if I needed to. Panic began to settle in.

However, I got through it. It wasn’t easy, but I did. I started focusing on other things – on my grandparents (who have both passed away, but used to be at church with my mom and I when I was younger), on the necklace I was wearing around my neck that reminded me of my grandpa, on what was being said in church, and on my hair which I was twirling nervously, but that helped me relax. Eventually, I calmed down and I got through mass! It wasn’t easy, but I did it!

While to some, this may not seem like a big accomplishment, I know otherwise. Ever since I’ve started going back to church, I’ve been sitting in the back (other then one time when I sat in the front when my grandpa died – another sign of progress), but this time was different. I did something that I’m not used to – even though I was anxious – and I got through it. Taking small steps towards reaching one’s goal does matter and being able to stay the whole time during mass while being anxious is a big deal!

It felt great that I got through my anxiety on my own. Yes, my mom was sitting right next to me, but I never told her I needed to leave or anything like that. There would have been nothing wrong with that if I did, but I didn’t. I got through it on my own and that hasn’t always been easy for me in the past. Counting on myself to calm down has always been difficult – I tend to obsess on my anxiety, which leads to me feeling the need to leave wherever I am. Even now as I write this, I feel slightly stressed. It’s a scary thing feeling anxious and not knowing if you can get through it. But again, I did and it felt amazing!

To all of you out there who struggle, with hard work on a consistent basis, you can and will get through your anxiety and over any obstacles that come your way. It just takes time, patience, and a lot of effort. Try your hardest to have confidence in yourself – you deserve it!