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Top 11 Posts From My Heart In 2016

TOP-FROM-MY-HEART

From My Heart Posts In 2016

What do I mean by “from my heart?” These are posts that go deeper than a recipe post or a DIY post.

These posts are my favorite to write, and also some of the most well received by all of you, which makes this heart of mine so touched and happy. It is clear I often write from my heart when hardship hits, as there are posts on suffering, anxiety, grief & tragedy. But, I also capture meaningful life moments in posts on amazing family memories, this wonderful life I get to live, and my Todd.

Amy from New Nostalgia |Top Posts From The Heart

Saturday Morning Musings

Oh my. I must write more posts like this–the ones where I just sit across from you all with a warm cuppa and just chat about life. It is therapeutic, and you are all so dear to just allow me to share. It also captures the fleeting seasons of life, as this post was written just last summer, but life rhythms have already changed so drastically. Time for another Saturday Morning Musing!

Read more here.

 

Amy New Nostalgia Family |Top Posts From The Heart

A Family Update

Posts like these are so fun to look back on. I’ve talked about how this blog is my recipe binder, my memory keeper, my cancer journal & a place to connect with such a great and caring community.  It has certainly become something very special to me and my family over the years. It is especially comforting as a 2-time cancer survivor that my words and our memories are in a place where my 3 girls could easily access them and know the things I think about and am passionate about. This post captures the personality of my teens in this season of life. I don’t write as often about my girls now that they are teens.  It is a delicate thing, letting their stories be THEIR stories & not over-sharing. But once in a while…

Read more here.

 

Relief From Severe Anxiety |Amy from New Nostalgia Top Posts From The Heart

How To Find Relief From Severe Anxiety

Whoa. Reading this post about a year after writing it was…whoa. It brought back many memories of struggle. It reminds me how far I’ve come and how many prayers have been answered.

Read more here.

 

Top Posts From The Heart at New Nostalgia

I Am A Sinner If Its Not One Thing Its Another

This is the post where I write raw all my feelings of shame and failure as a Mom and wife, and then LYSA TERKUERST, one of my all-time fav writers and amazing woman of God, comments on it. She told me that the post was powerfully and beautifully written, with a few more sentences of wisdom that made my year. Yeah, that was a pretty amazing. Take a peek at her comment in the post!

Read more here.

 

Alison Rush Art |From The Heart New Nostalgia

Enter Into Others Suffering

This post is about my beautiful friend and amazing artist, Alison Rush. I want you all to know her. I will be going to her home in just about an hour and wish you all could come with me to meet her. She is pure joy.

Read more here.

 

Severe Anxiety Symptoms |Top Posts From The Heart

Severe Anxiety Symptoms

As I reread these posts on anxiety, I feel like they just might be some of the most important ones I have written. As much as I wish anxiety was not part of my story, reading comments and remembering the emails I get in response make it worth it. Sharing a bit of my very personal journal and journey has brought so many of you to share yours with me, too, and that makes it all worth it. I received an email from a teenage reader on Christmas night that shared her own anxiety story and thanked me for this post. Yes, it is worth it.

Words from my journal, here.

 

On Grief |Amy from New Nostalgia |Top Posts From The Heart

When Grief Hits

“… I also found myself in a pool of sadness, swimming in grief. Anxiety and depression can often go hand in hand. I am acquainted with anxiety, but never of that severity & had not experienced it accompanied with depression. Deep sadness was a new experience for me. Together anxiety and depression are a brutal duet that brought my life music & happiness to a halt. It was survival time. I was a survivor learning what survival really meant…”

Read more here

 

Help in Suffering Amy from New Nostalgia |Top Posts From The Heart

Help In Suffering

So often a song will spur a writing. That is what happened in this post. It is a cry out to God of help and thanks and praise.

Read more here.

 

Love Wins | Amy from New Nostalgia |Top Posts From The Heart

To Be a Part of Love Winning

I wrote this in response to the Orlando shooting and tell of the time my own sister was caught in a deadly mall shooting.

“I want to feel others pain. I want to have ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart that cares enough to stop for a moment and just listen and absorb, to mourn with and feel with. I want to enter into pain with others because this is what love does…Evil creates pain. Love enters into the pain. Love wins.”

Read more here.

 

FORCED REST | Top Posts From The Heart |Amy New Nostalgia

Forced Rest

I write about a hero of mine. I just saw this precious man yesterday and life has not gotten any easier for him or his family since writing this post early last year. They take it day by day not knowing what each day will bring. Yes, he is my hero, and so is his sweet family.

Read more here.

 

My Love |Amy from New Nostalgia |Top Posts From The Heart

Let Me Tell You About My Todd

Last but not least, my personal favorite post from 2016 because it is about my very favorite guy. How fun that you all liked it too!

Read it here.

 


Well, I have had all the feels reading back over these 11 posts from my heart. THANK YOU for reading and allowing me to share. You all are so dear to me and so very very gentle with my heart.

Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ HEALTH/ Spiritual

Help in Suffering

Help in Suffering

“God, I look to you, Your where my help comes from.”

God I Look to You, Bethel Music

 

I listen to this song and it takes me back as often songs do.

A slight ache starts in my inmost being and I remember that time of desperation.

I listened to this song and my soul cried desperately to you.

 

 

You came.

You were there.

You saw.

You hid me under the shadow of your gentle wings. I was covered, hand-held. Never alone.

 

You held and helped me in my suffering.

 

God you reign and so does your timing.

I cried out for you to take it away.

Your timing was not what I desired, but I held on because I was held.

 

I trusted you and you showed me that you are safe,

you’re worthy of my belief,

your plans better and bigger than mine.

 

God I looked to you.

You were and are where my help comes from.

You gave me wisdom and showed me what to do

 

You led me right to  Psalms and to

the right book

the right therapist,

the right medical doctor

and the right medication.

 

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You made my path straight

You brought healing in your time.

You lifted me out of the muck and mire and set my feet firm.

 

Lord, I still need you.

When I cannot stand, help me fall on you.

When I stumble catch me, turn my eyes and face to you.

Help me to keep looking up at you.

 

I will love you all my days.

You have become so very real to me, especially in the trials this life brings.

 

You have not left me alone.

Forever all my days, I will praise you!

 


The time of suffering I mentioned above was when I was in the thick of anxiety. If you are in a season of suffering, hold on! Look to God. He promises to never leave or forsake His children. He is with you and will get your through.

HEALTH/ Spiritual

Enter Into Others’ Suffering

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If you do this, this entering into suffering with others, you might just glimpse a joy unspeakable. This has been my experience. There is so much suffering on this earth. I ask God to help me see those who walk through suffering and love them well.

He has allowed me to enter into stories of suffering and I see what a gift this can be, not just for them but for me. I come away from these interactions changed.

I go to encourage, and walk away encouraged. 

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Let me tell you about my friend Ali:

A young mom, we met at a conference for cancer survivors, the two youngest in the room.

Our eyes meet and she comes straight to the empty seat next to me, which was my hope. She is all beauty and bright-eyed. Her sense of style is effortless and spot on, her hair regrowing is a pixie cut perfect for her face shape, and her smile the best of accessories.

Our hearts connect, she invites me to her home and introduces me to her man and her two littles with cherub faces. Dare I say some of the cutest I’ve seen?

We eat greens and drink kombucha and talk all things cancer and life. We just get each other, our stories very familiar. That was in the spring.

Late summer her story takes a turn. We meet for coffee she directs my hand to her elegant neck and it looks like I am taking her pulse. It is quite a moment, as I feel her life pulse and what could cause death at the same time. It is cancer in a lymph node, the placement in her neck places her as an automatic stage four.

I write these words and tears fall for my beautiful friend.

But, here is what I see and want the world to see, too.

Her beauty overcomes and shines through and I see peace and joy and she proclaims to me with eyes bright:

“I’m keeping my eyes on Jesus”

I see love. I see Him reflected so clearly in those big beautiful brown eyes.

She is the epitome of grace, courage, hope, trust, joy and all things lovely. Despite an automatic stage 4, she shines.

Several days later her text to me:

“I spoke with my Doctor”

“She said median survival for my stage 4 cancer is 2 years.”

“I plan on much longer than that”

She meets with doctors and loved ones and forms a plan, walking in trust that the God she loves holds and directs her path.

She is choosing a path less traveled, one that will bring toxicity and hopeful healing and she walks bravely forward right into it. This road leads to Houston, months away from her littles, (3 years old and 5 years old) and all that is familiar. This is the road that we pray will provide her with the “much longer than that.”

ali-family

In the meantime, God is providing all that she needs. She lives this and proclaims it.

She invites me to Houston and I go, and spend 4 precious and some of my most favorite of days there. I write a bit about that trip here, and share a beautiful breakfast recipe that my Ali lovingly made for me while I was there. This early morning act of service for me is just one tangible example of how entering into someones suffering brings blessing beyond. The recipe is amazing, but the memory of being served by her in the midst of her hardship, the morning of her chemo treatment, is the most precious of memories. Such a sweet gift, one of so many that Ali has given me by just being who she is.

Enter into others suffering. Gifts will abound, you will give, and will be astonished at all that will be given back to you.


Update: Ali is back from Houston and reunited with her littles and husband. She will have ongoing treatment here and periodic trips back to Houston. If you are a praying person, will you add her to your list?

ali-art

Ali is also an accomplished artist, and the above piece is her work.

Visit Alison Rash to see more.

FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Parenting/ Spiritual

Saturday Morning Summer Musings

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It’s a slow Saturday morning. I’m sitting in our sunroom, crossed-legged on the hard porch swing with a fly buzzing around my head. It’s hot and muggy, but the cloud cover and breeze in the trees makes me hope for rain and a bit of respite from the heat.

I woke up thinking about the past week, how summer has me frustratingly busy and unable to find time to write a decent post for this blog. Photos need edited and social channels need updated and I love it all but find myself wanting to post like the old days. The days when I would just type my thoughts and put up a photo with dull lighting and finish feeling satisfied instead of relieved.

This blogging turned job thing is an amazing but interesting blessing. I love taking time to give my best, post with excellence and capture beauty through the lens to share it with you. There is something about working hard to produce good content, to push the publish button, share social content and meet deadlines. I love it and cannot believe I get to call it my job.

But I miss this. This just typing away, unedited blabbing, starting a post without an outline or idea of where it will go or end. How pushing publish can give the same therapeutic feeling I get after spending time with a good friend. I miss it so I’m doing it. Thanks for allowing me, my good friends. I plan to do it more often.

Appointments

There is so much to love about this summer! Comparing it to last summer, well, there really is no comparison. Last summer was filled with doctor appointments, tears, illness and fear. This summer is not perfect, but oh what a difference! Doctor appointments do not consist of issues dealing with life or death. There are still appointments, but they are normal and for my teens. Orthodontist for brace tightening. dermatologist to keep teenage acne at bay, dentist for cleanings and optometrist for replacing teen’s lost glasses for the THRID TIME (insert sigh and eye roll here.) Life is still busy and the calendar full, but it is a bearable busy and I’m grasping to hold on to all these fleeting, beautiful moments.

Teen Driver

This holding of moments is intensified because I now have a teen driver who is working all of the time! What a relief it has been for me to have a driver, and a responsible one at that. My Teagan walks out the door daily and I watch her back and wonder when my baby became a beauty that sprouted wings and is soaring. Her summer is spent watching and keeping others safe while lifeguarding in a red tank top with a cross on it, and nannying 3 littles on her ‘off’ days. She is scent of sunscreen, sun-kissed hair in a bun, whistle around her neck, Bible and journal in her bag –just in case she gets a few minutes of quiet. She is laughter with friends often bringing them home unexpectedly to entertain and kick us out of the basement mid-movie so that she can connect and socialize. My baby is beauty and I’m missing her already and she has not even flown away yet.

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Camp

My Middle went last week, took a friend and had a blast meeting more. My Youngest goes this coming week and I am excited for the fun she will have. I’m ready for the longing I will have for her to come home that creeps up about 2 days before she is due. With Oldest working all day and another at camp, I get focused time with the one left. This is a new blessing, a quieter house with just one to love on. I’m looking forward to the week and purposefully kept my calendar as empty as possible.

 

Construction

Everyone should have a Cory in the family. He is my hard-working brother-in-law who teaches during the school year and constructs during the summer. His work is seen all over our home, from the swings in our backyard, to our porch, porch railing, drywall in basement, a new kitchen–the list goes on. Last year he gutted our failing kitchen and created a new one that I smile at daily. I have yet to share it with you all but I will! This year he is tearing down old siding and putting up new. It is a gift to have him around. I learn from watching him, he teaches while constructing, showing by example what quality and hard work looks like. His hammering starts most mornings at 7:30, it is a familiar routine that brings a surprising comfort instead of intrusion.  I sit and have my coffee, toast and journaling/prayer time with the background music of a saw and hammer. It pushes me to start my day and continue on, working hard with a servant’s heart, just like Cory.

 

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Swimming

Grandpa and Grandma have a pool. The are amazingly generous and let the family use it. They have a pool house which is very convenient; we don’t have to intrude with our wet suits into their home. They set up a family google pool calendar which allows us to reserve it and share it with others. This has been going on since my 13-year-old was 3 and I still can’t get used to the gift that is. We’ve made so many memories there, and each summer more are created.

 

Flexibility

I am learning this. I love a schedule and predictability, which is probably why I find comfort in early summer morning sounds of tools. I love knowing what to expect. Summer is always a challenge for me to adjust from a schedule to none, especially now that I am a work-at-home Mom. I’m learning to let go of expectations and roll with the punches. I’m learning that parenting teens means being available when needed but letting go and letting wings spread at the same time. I’m learning there is little to no predictability when it comes to teens and summer.

Today I thought my Oldest would be life-guarding all day and my Middle would be with friends all day & I would have a full day at home to do whatever I want until a family wedding tonight. At the beginning of this post I wished for rain and it came and caused both of my girls plans to change. I stopped this post right in the middle of talking about the family swimming pool to rescue my girl from the farmer’s market crowds and rain. I drove with bedhead and in shorts and my Todd’s t-shirt, my slow morning became fast & off I went.  It might be uncomfortable at times to release my schedule, doing whatever I want, and babes who are becoming beauties, but really, is it? It all depends on my perspective. When I think of what could be and what is, I’m so very thankful. Thankful for life, for family, for summer days that bring sun or rain, and for you–my good friends who let me share about it.

Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ Music Renews/ Spiritual

When Grief Hits

SEVERE-ANXIETY- Grief

Grief.

It is a word my counselor used at the end of our first session,  “I see someone who is grieving.”

2015 was a year of grieving. It was a year I lost my voice and this blog took a bit of a standstill, which had not happened since I started it back 2007.

CS Lewis says of grief in A Grief Observed:

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.  I’m not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid.  The same fluttering of the stomach, the same restlessness, the yearning.  I keep on swallowing.

Other times it feels like being mildly drunk or confused.  There is sort of  an invisible blanket between the world and me.  

I find it hard to take in what anyone says.  Or perhaps hard to want to take it in.  It is so uninteresting yet I want others to be about me.  I dread the moments when the house is empty.  If only they would talk to one another & not me.” 

This puts words to what I was feeling.  Grief brought on anxiety and the enemy ran with it. I lost who I was as I became a person with no words to type.

I felt like another person as my introverted self who was used to craving moments of a quiet, empty home now felt lost, I didn’t know what to do in the silence.

I was coming out of grief after years of fighting cancer and multiple surgeries and medications and all the loss that it brings. I was embracing what it was to live new.

But then my hardest of hard grief hit, grief over our sweet daughter whose story took an unexpected and abrupt turn and hit extra hard due to her young age.

Her story is her story and will not be told in full here, but illness of her own took over our girl and she was not recognizable to us, or herself. A severity of illness, taking us all by surprise, and into a battle that felt much harder than my previous cancer battle.

Mess with me, I can deal, at least so far.  Mess with my precious baby, and I battled hard to stay strong through her battle, but in the end, anxiety sank me.

I wrote about the sinking here, and along with my prolonged anxiety, I found also found myself in a pool of sadness, swimming in grief. Anxiety and depression can often go hand in hand.

I am acquainted with anxiety, but never of that severity & had not experienced it accompanied with depression. Deep sadness was a new experience for me.

Together anxiety and depression are a brutal duet that brought my life music & happiness to a halt. It was survival time. I was a survivor learning what survival really meant.

Ecclesiastes says there is a time for everything. A time to weep. A time for grief.

Those months of grieving in 2015 were long and hard. I look back and remember the tears that would just appear sudden and silent, falling down my cheeks anytime I would hear the words “how are you?” My mouth would open but tears would replace words and I would try to answer but mostly kept silent & went inward.

I could not hold the flow back. It was not a sobbing type of tear, but a quiet, constant flow that would just come whenever I would try to speak of my inward pain–which was almost never–unless someone asked those 3 words “how are you?”

The words would be asked and there were the brave that would continue to come toward and were able to get me to talk even while tears flowed. I remember the saltiness of tears tasted when I would open my mouth and speak.

I remember the relief I felt after months passed, medications were found, and I could speak without the saline taste of tears.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens….a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

I think of the song, the one below:

Turn Turn Turn

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

This summer, 2016, for me, has been one of dancing & laughing, but I will not soon forget what it is to mourn & grieve. I know God bottles our tears & will not waste a single one.

I know there is meaning and purpose in pain when one knows the kindness of their Maker & chooses to turn their tear-stained face to Him.

God and His promises were the only lasting hope I could find while grieving, and it was one that held. I was held.

Are you grieving? Know that Your Maker loves you so very much, and holds you and your tears, too.

Remember: there is a time for everything, and as the world turns so does everything and relief will come as all turns, turns, turns.  Remember while in the spinning He’s got the whole world and YOU in His hands.

{Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds}

Update: Since writing this post, I have learned that a sweet friend’s cancer has returned & I find myself reading these words I wrote about grief and thinking hers.

Yes, this is a summer of dancing for me, but I still and enter into the spinning grief of others, for we are made to mourn with those who mourn and I do. My heart is so sad for her.

Will you pray for my sweet friend? She has 2 young kids and wants to see them grow up. I won’t share her name here but God knows it and when you speak of her and lift her up to Him. I would be so appreciative if you do.

…………..

More From New Nostalgia:

 Severe Anxiety Symptoms – Words From My Journal

14 Ways To Find Relief From Severe Anxiety

Top 5 Ways To Relieve Stress

Going There–Mental Illness

Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ Spiritual

14 Ways I Found Relief From Severe Anxiety

SEVERE-ANXIETY-FACE

About a week ago, I wrote a post titled Severe Anxiety Symptoms – Words From My Journal. The response I received from this post has been big and I’ve spent the week reading so many of your precious, personal stories.

Thank you for sharing with me and letting me know that the post mattered, that telling my story allows you to feel less alone in yours. You share with me and I in turn, also feel less alone. There are many of us in this together. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health)

There are so many who can relate to the pain that anxiety can bring, and often anxiety can lead to depression or visa versa, for these two often go hand in hand. One can trigger the other.

I read and heard your stories of both depression and anxiety.

A dear one wrote, “I am on the bed right now, nauseated , heart pounding, trembling, etc.”  She shares her heart and mine breaks for her. I’ve been in that place.

When you want to just curl up in a ball and stay in bed all day please know that there is hope. When your hearts feels like it is pounding out of your chest and you really don’t know why, know that there is hope. When you feel alone, know that you are not.

I will share a few ways that I found relief from my severe anxiety. I pray that some of these suggestions can help bring hope and help to someone else.

SEVERE-ANXIETY- Collage

14 Ways I Found Relief From Anxiety

 

Know God’s Got You

~Know that there is a place where you can lift your eyes & where I continue lift mine. You are never alone, God will help you & He can turn ashes into beauty.

“I lift my eyes up….my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven & earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“To provide for them that mourn…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

 

Ask For Wisdom

~I prayed constantly for wisdom in searching for answers for my severe anxiety.  God led me to answers, slowly but surely.  It was in His time, not mine.

 

Tell Someone

~tell a trusted friend, a medical doctor, a therapist, a psychologist or psychiatrist.

I did all of the above. I was desperate for help and answers, and the more support in finding those answers, the better. It took all of those people I listed above to get to the answers I needed. You never know who and what God is going to use to bring relief to your suffering.

{Example: It was a medical doctor, an OB to be exact, that had an answer to my morning nausea & weight loss. As we were trying to figure out what was causing my severe morning nausea, she gave me a medication specifically for women with morning sickness, one that is taken the night before. This was a key step to stabilizing me & helping me wake up steadily instead of waking up to heaves of nausea due to my severe anxiety. It allowed me to eat early in the day, which was huge as nutrition was another key to getting better. I took this medication for about 3 months, long enough for me to stabilize and for us to figure out my physical symptoms were not due to cancer returning but to severe anxiety.}

One of the most precious gifts to me during this time having a dear, MOST trusted friend. One that had walked a similar road. We used Voxer app and talked daily. It was so healthy to talk to someone who would love and accept me no matter what, someone who could handle my tears as they flowed freely while I talked. Find that someone and be willing to open up to them. I you don’t have someone like that, pray that God would provide someone for you.

 

Pursue Help

As stated above, one of the key things I did to get healthy again was to pursue help. I brought in as many professionals as I could. I went to many, many appointments, as I knew that there was an answer but it was not just going to come to me. Because of my cancer history, we had to rule out recurrence, so the number of my appointments and tests were overwhelming, but I continued on. I pressed on and pursued help for the sake of my family & because I had faith that God would lead me to what I needed. It was miserable to go when I was feeling so unwell,and I hated spending my summer in doctors offices, but it paid off in the end. There is help out there! Pursue it, and if you can’t, ask a loved one to help you pursue it.

 

Be Open To Medication

If your symptoms are severe, you will probably need medication, even if for a short time. I am not a professional, obviously, but please see a professional if you cannot seem to get to a healthy place on your own.  I cannot tell you what a blessing medication has been to me. I do not know where I would be without it. It is a gift and one that I do not take for granted.

 

Just Do The Next Thing

There were so many days where I just felt so miserable and couldn’t think straight. I had nothing to give. I was too miserable to lay in bed but too miserable to do anything either, at least that is how it seemed. My new mantra during that time was “Just Do The Next Thing.” Most of the time, the next thing was as simple as getting up.

I remember just getting up and standing by my bed, and then thinking and talking myself through what came next.

 

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Make my bed.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Get dressed.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Take the girls to school.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Dishes in dishwasher and throw a load of laundry in.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Drive the girls to the pool.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Get self to a doctor appointment.”

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Eat even though you lack appetite.

 

By just doing the next thing, I got through my days and eventually got through the summer and eventually got the answers I needed.

 

Do What is Necessary

Do what is necessary, and if you can, do a little more, but keep it minimal and simple.

I was in survival mode, but I still had to live for those I love. I am a survivor & fighter, and this was by far the hardest season for me, even including fighting cancer. Anxiety kicked me hard, but I still had to be a Mom & Wife, even when I was sick everyday. My minimal looked like the “Just Do The Next Thing” above. Getting dressed, dishes, laundry, meals for my family (super simple meals), blog when I could, & then rest. Baby steps and one foot in front of the other. I felt I was trudging through quicksand most days, but if I stopped, I would sink. Motion is a must when it comes to anxiety and depression, even if super slow motion.

 

Keep Trying Different Options

If what you are doing is not working, try something else. I had to try several medications before finding the right one. I had to go off all of my cancer meds to see if that was what was causing my physical symptoms and weight loss. It took time and persistence. I tried at least 4 different mood meds. Eventually, it was an anti-nausea medication and an anti-anxiety medication that worked. In the past, I took an anti-depressant, and for some reason that did not work and what my body needed was purely an anti-anxiety medication. If I did not keep trying different options, I would have never found an answer.

 

Know That Talk Therapy is as Important as Medication

I was very thankful to be able to see a therapist and talk through what I was experiencing that the time. This was super helpful, even when at the beginning I could barely articulate what I was feeling and just ended up with tears streaming. Those early sessions I did a lot of listening and nodding. I eventually got to the point where I could talk and it was super helpful. My therapist watched me become a different person as I found the right medication, and then she walked me through the healing process, as she knew that now I was stable and could hear what she was saying and talk through the trauma of it all.

Can’t afford therapy? I understand. Mine was gifted to me. There are other options. A great one is one I have recently found and followed. His name is John Cordray and he calls himself the Calm Expert. He is a licensed therapist and has great wisdom. There is an option to hire him, but he also gives great free advice on his YouTube & Periscope channel.

 

Eat When You Can

Nutrition is so important. I lost 20 pounds in less than 7 weeks. It was not pretty. It scared me. I didn’t have an appetite and had nausea all day until early evening. I was not able to take supplements, and I believe this was a huge part of my downward spiral. I was not nourished and there are so many vitamins and minerals that are vital for brain health.

B vitamins, Omega’s, Vitamin D, Probiotics, Multi-Vitamin, Magnesium & Zinc are all examples of what I take now and are huge for mental health, but I could not tolerate them when I was in the midst of severe anxiety. Again, it took medication for me to become stable, regain my appetite, lose the nausea and be able to tolerate supplements.

 

Surround Yourself with Comfort

A cozy blanket, a cup of tea, soft music, candlelight. These things seem small, but even the smallest bit of comfort helps when anxiety is taking over.

 

Exercise

I know, I know. It seems impossible. At times it was. I can’t speak too much on this subject as I still continue to struggle with it, but I KNOW walking makes a huge difference in my day. Simple, even slow walking gets you out and moving, and is beneficial, especially in the sunshine.

 

Push Truth to Your Brain

This one was huge for me. I knew I had to replace fear, worries & lies with truth. I knew I had to keep my faith as strong as possible. I did this by reading, by listening to podcasts, and by watching YouTube videos.

 

The Bible was key for me, as my personal belief is that it has the power to transform. I use the YouVersion Bible app on my phone and followed plans specifically for anxiety and hope.

Jesus Callinganother app on my phone that I read everyday. A small snippet of truth that would get me through the day.

Switch On Your Brain-a book (affiliate link) that I read that was so good that it is on my list to read again.

Journaling the PsalmsI wrote a post about this when I was at the tail-end of my severe anxiety. It details what it is and how I did it, & how it helped change me.

Affirmations–a dear friend sent me daily affirmations on cards that she has. I will be creating similar cards soon to share on the blog.

Podcasts--even while laying there, miserable, one can listen to a podcast. I highly recommend Daily Hope With Rick Warren & listen to it often while on a walk or doing housework. I also love listening to my own pastor, Pastor Bryan Clark of Lincoln Berean Church

 

Know That There Will Be An End

Never lose hope. Know that there are answers. Know that with God all things are possible. Ask Him for help, for He is the Ultimate help in trouble and calls Himself our Comforter.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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I hope this list helps. I will continue to share bits of my journal here at New Nostalgia & continue talking about anxiety. I think it is so important to talk about as so many are suffering.

What about you? Have you ever had anxiety? Depression?

If you are comfortable sharing, I would love to know your story & what has helped you.

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Severe Anxiety Symptoms – An Excerpt From My Journal

Top 5 Ways To Relieve Stress

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Disclaimer:

NEVER DISREGARD MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL CARE BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.

 

DIY/Crafts/ Homemaking/ Spiritual

When Hopelessness Needs a Remedy + Simple Curtain Hack

a window with a curtain hack

**This is a guest post by Deidra Riggs.  She is my dear friend and neighbor, and I am so excited to have her here as guest at New Nostalgia.  This post is just a glimpse of her authentic, loving heart—a heart that has been there for me & prayed me through some of my toughest life moments. Read on to know why her heart is happy these days, and enjoy the Simple Window Hack at the end of the post.

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I’ve been having a secret celebration in my heart these days.

One year ago today, I was one sick woman. Last February, I had a business trip in California and, when it was over, I flew to Vancouver to meet up with my husband. It was the week of Valentine’s Day. Rarely do we do anything really special for Valentine’s Day, but last year, we decided to take a trip so that my husband could ski and I could write.

We had a great trip. While not the best ski weather (it rained nearly every day), it was good for us to get away and spend some time together. At the end of the week, we flew home to Nebraska and, not long after we’d settled back into our routine, I came down with a nasty virus.

It was one of those viruses that wrestles a person to the ground in about twelve hours. At first, I thought it was just a cold, and that I could press my way through it for three or four days. I was wrong. By the end of the first day, I knew I’d have to surrender and so, I climbed into bed, hoping to doctor myself back to health with Tylenol and NyQuil. But this one was a doozy. I was achy from the fever and worn out from the coughing. My head maintained a constant ache that made me wonder if someone had implanted a knife behind my eyes when I wasn’t looking.

That virus knocked me down for two entire weeks. Somewhere in the middle of those fourteen days, my husband drove me to see my doctor. She checked me out and then patted me gently on my knee. “This thing is going around,” she said. “It’s nasty, and you just have to tough it out.” So, home I went. Back to bed.

Now, worse than being sick with that virus was the fact that it rendered me incapable of doing anything but lie in my bed in my empty house with nothing but the thoughts in my head. My husband came home each day at lunch to check on me. At night, he’d bring me dinner and sit with me in the bedroom. But, for most of the day, I was all by myself and it that was not good. Not good at all.

Depression is a nasty bugger. For me, it usually begins with a sad or scary or sinister thought that won’t let go. It keeps running itself around on a little track in my head and, before I know what hit me, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of hopelessness. If you’ve ever experienced it, you know what I’m talking about. In those times, it’s a struggle to hold onto any shred of anything that offers hope.

Last year, in my bed, hope came through the window. I’d turn over onto my right side and peek out through the curtains, looking for a slice of blue between the branches, or listening for the call of the cardinal. Sometimes, a robin would land on the peak of the roof just on the other side of the screen. Most of the time, the hope lasted for just a few minutes, but a few minutes of hope is a magnificent deposit in the battle against deep sadness. Slowly, over a few weeks (at the tail end of that virus, I got a nasty case of strep throat which set me back for another week), my body healed and I was able to get myself outdoors. There, with daily doses of sunshine and fresh air and the promise of Spring, my mind found its way back to wholeness.

This year, I was silently fearing February. I know it was an irrational fear, but it was there, just the same. I was afraid I’d get sick again and wind up with a repeat of last year. But, here we are, all the way into Spring! Hoorah!

There is no guarantee that I’ll never be sick again. I probably will be, because we live in that kind of world. But, each time I pass by a window, or hear the song of a cardinal, I’m reminded of the power of hope, even in the smallest dose. And you, sweet warrior? You who know these feelings, too? I’m praying the power of hope over you today. May it reach you through the window of even the tiniest faith, and restore your beautiful soul.

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:5)

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CURTAIN-HACK-PIN

SIMPLE CURTAIN HACK

Here’s a little decorating hack for the windows that surround you. It’s one I’ve used for many years and I love it because it’s sooooo inexpensive and easy! Not a single tool required. All you need is a tension rod, two tea towels, and some drapery hooks on rings. The total cost of this easy window hack? Less than $15!

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Picture of Deidra RiggsDeidra Riggs is a national speaker, editor, and the founder & host of Jumping Tandem: The Retreat. She has been a featured speaker at Q Women, TEDx, and The City Gates Initiative, as well as several women’s events, including Allume, Winsome Retreat, the Beautiful Life Conference, and Compel. She is a contributing writer for Incourage, and her work has been featured online at the Washington Post and Today’s Christian Woman.

Deidra is the author of “Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are.” Her second book will release in the Spring of 2017. Deidra and her husband are the proud parents of two adult children, and the happy inhabitants of an empty nest. They live in Lincoln, Nebraska.

 Follow her here:  Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest
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