To the one who hasn’t been his or herself lately…

I came across this tweet (by @alisonpool_)—oddly enough—on Facebook the other day.

to the girl...

To be frank, this has been my life for the past few weeks. I haven’t felt like myself. I have felt like a shell of myself. I see the person I am versus the person I usually am, and it scares me a bit. But, that’s the OCD, and the devil is using my mind as his personal playground. I don’t want to go into any detail regarding it, but the OCD has me worrying about things that haven’t even happened. It’s actually ridiculous, and though I realize that I’m being ridiculous, that what I’m obsessing over isn’t actually real, it feels real.

I know. I sound insane. Trust me, I feel it. Though, it doesn’t make it any less real to me. Which had me thinking about those who suffer quietly, who, like me, put on a smile and pretend to be fine when inside demons are ripping your mind to shreds, torturing you with thoughts of suicide, depression, obsessions, worry, fear, you name it. You aren’t alone. I promise you that. You. Are. Not. Alone.

I know that it feels like you’re drowning now, that nothing will ever be all right again, but that’s not true. There’s always a light that shines through the darkness. If you’re religious, that’s God. If you’re not (and even if you are), that’s your friend who checks on you or the stranger that smiles at you.

I had a thought the other night as I laid my head down and settled in to bed. It was the first time in a long time that I went to bed without a care, without some worry or fear or tormenting thought, and I thought, “I’m so glad to be normal again.”

That lasted exactly one night and half of a day.

What I’m saying is that some days you feel normal; others are struggle. I wish—and pray—that it isn’t like this. I want to be normal. I want to be myself again. And I will be. I will battle these demons. I will win.

It’s time to remind myself who I am. That I’m loved by a King, that I have help when I need it.

I’m not pushing my book, but it reminds me a lot of Lexi from Delivered by Angels. She felt hopeless, but God sent an angel to remind her that she was loved and could be saved. You can be saved. I can be saved. We’re not alone, and I think we should take comfort in that. And one day, we’ll be ourselves again. Our spark will return. I look forward to that day.

#youarenotalone: Jordan Elizabeth talks about depression and writing

Hey guys!

I know you haven’t heard from me in a while, and I’m terribly sorry for that. But life…

Anyway, today, Jordan Elizabeth, a fellow Clean Reads author, is guest posting on my blog today. Let’s give her a hearty welcome!

***

I wouldn’t call myself a depressed person.  I wouldn’t call myself a sad person.  I have, though, struggled with depression and sadness in the past.  People always say to “let out your emotions through writing.”  When I’m sad, I’ve done that.  

My dog passed away nine years ago.  I was devastated.  At the time, she was my everything, and most days I found myself going through life with tears streaming down my cheeks.  I needed to express that emotion somehow, and yes, I did talk about it.  People said they understood what I was going through, and I’m sure they did – they too had lost beloved pets.  Their words didn’t help, though.  So, I sat down at my desk and started writing. 

I wrote about my grandmother, actually.  I had lived with her since I was 16 to help take care of her while she battled dementia.  The GOAT CHILDREN came about through my experiences with her.  Yes, much of it is fictionalized, but the emotion was there.  There were a lot of scenes I cut during the editing phase because they were too raw.  Rereading them brought all of that back. 

What does GOAT CHILDREN have to do with my dog?  Well, I gave the main character a little sister: Phebe.  Phebe was based off my dog.  At the end of the story, someone passes away, and I put all of my emotion over losing my dog into that.  I’ve had people tell me how the ending chapters made them cry because of all that emotion. 

Another time I wrote about sadness was when I broke up with my first official boyfriend.  That story is currently unpublished, but I shoved all that emotion into Tabitha breaking up with James, and I felt awesome about it.  I loved taking it all out on poor James.  Nah, he deserved it!

You’re probably wondering now what stories reflect my depression.

None of them.

I can’t write while depressed.  I close in on myself.  I ponder, and eventually I come out of it, but in the meantime, I can’t write anything.  The words are all stuck and emotionless.  Depression makes me numb.  I devote myself to marketing so that I know I’m still doing something, but it isn’t the same.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to write during my depressions, but in the meantime, I’ll write when I’m happy and when I’m sad, and if you cross me…well, you might show up someday as a villain.

***

The Goat Children by Jordan Elizabeth

Thanks, Jordan. Have any of you experienced anything like this before? I have. Sometimes, it’s just hard to write. But there’s

always hope for brighter days ahead!

If you’re interested in learning more about THE GOAT CHILDREN, Jordan is running a Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale on it! Check it out on Amazon for 99¢.

 

 

 

More about Jordan:

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Jordan Elizabeth writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog. Jordan roams Central New York, but she loves to travel.

Visit Jordan’s website and learn more about her!

Self-Harm and Tattoos #WATWB

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Hey guys! Welcome to another month of We Are The World Blogfest! (Can you believe it’s already been a month? Seriously, where is time going?)

Anyway, I’d first like to thank my fellow co-hosts this month: Michelle Wallace, Peter Nena, Andrea Michaels and Shilpa Garg.

I came across this inspiring post on Facebook one day, and it really warmed my heart. Let me preface this by saying that if you follow me regularly, you know that my heart goes out to those who are suicidal, depressed, and who self-harm. I wrote a book about it that broke my heart, and ever since then, I have tried my best to raise awareness to the fact that they are not alone. So, this news story, it really spoke to my heart when I read it.

This girl struggled with self-harm, and when she recovered, she wanted to cover up the difficult reminder of her past, a lot like my MC in Delivered by Angels.

Throughout her teens, Lovett has struggled with depression and self-harm. Although she stopped self-harming a few years ago, she says her scars are a constant reminder of her pain.

“It’s very hard when you’re a couple of years clean from doing it and every day you’re constantly reminded of what you did. It brings back memories of how you felt then. There’s a lot of shame that comes with it and guilt, especially when you’re around your family,” Lovett said.

So Lovett decided to tattoo something beautiful over her ‘ugly’ scars but couldn’t find a tattoo artist to take on the job. Apparently, tattooing over scarred skin is difficult and rarely looks as good as on a smooth canvas.

Then she met Ryan Kelly. The young tattoo artist lost his mentor and best friend to suicide last year and struggled with his own anxiety for most of his life.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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It’s encouraging to know that there are good and decent people out there who are willing to help, despite the difficulty of tattooing scarred flesh. He knew the pain associated with self-harm, and he just wanted to help. ❤ ❤

If you’re struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the National Suicidal Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.

And for more inspiring stories, please follow along on the WATWB!

Click here to enter your link and view this WATWB list.

Hairstylist helps teen with depression – #WATWB

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Thank you for joining us for another month of the We Are The World Blogfest where we spotlight positive news instead of the more popular negative news. And, we want to thank this month’s hosts for all of their hard work! Simon Falk, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti, and Mary J Giese.

If you’ve followed me or my blog over the past few years, you know I wrote a book about depression, and then I did a month on my blog about #youarenotalone. I came across this article on Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Twitter page, and I knew I had to share it.

A young girl walked into a salon to get her hair cut before school. She shared with the hairstylist that she was to depressed to even brush her hair. All she could do was get up and use the restroom. The young girl just wanted all her hair cut off, nothing special, but the hairstylist had other plans. They spent eight hours working to help this young girl out.

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Recognizing that this young girl deserved the best treatment the salon had to offer, Olsson made sure they took good care of her. They worked on her hair for eight hours, doing everything in their power to help this girl feel good about her upcoming school pictures.

“At the end of the day I want this to be a lesson to people. MENTAL HEALTH is a thing, it effects people all around the world and of all ages! PARENTS take it serious don’t just push your kids off and tell them to get over something they legitimately can’t. A CHILD should NEVER feel so worthless to not even want to brush their hair,” Olsson wrote.

Read the full story here.

I honestly believe we should help everyone with depression realize that they aren’t alone; that they’re worthy; and that they are human. It’s my goal as an author and just a person to help anyone I can see their worth, so this story really resonates with me. I hope this was a beacon to that young girl, a reminder that she is not alone and that she is worthy. ❤

We are the world, and we need to shine our light.

If you are interested in more, follow the bloggers on our linky list. Click here to view this Linky Tools list…

Imperfect

It’s been a busy past few months for me. Since January, I’ve released two books. Luckily, they were already written, but I’ve been drowning in edits, proofreads, sales, and marketing (which takes up more time than I care to admit), not to mention my own freelance proofreading business. But I won’t complain about that. It’s a very good thing to have business. All of that to say that blogging wasn’t on my “must-do” list.

As I was looking at my memories on Facebook, it occurred to me that I used to blog a whole lot, and I miss it. I really do. Though, it feels like I don’t have a good idea in my head to blog about. What else could I add to what everyone else is blogging about? Does anyone even read blogs anymore? I don’t know. That’s probably the anxiety talking. Ignore that.

I’ve always tried to be transparent with y’all with my blogging. Why? Because it makes me more human. I even opened up about something last week that really bothers me. It’s something I never wanted to admit about myself, especially let others see.

I don’t want you all to think that I’m perfect, because I’m not. I’ve made that obvious, I hope. And over the past few months, I’ve really noticed that. Not that I ever thought I was perfect. I’ve never thought that, but it never stopped me from striving to be perfect.

I’ve always had this complex where I couldn’t let anyone see my weaknesses. But that was because I didn’t want to see my weaknesses. I beat myself up over small, stupid things I did, and I realize now that was just the anxiety talking. Because, who is really perfect?

I took the Bible verse Matthew 5:48 way too literally.

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

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I strove for this perfection, and when I didn’t even come close to it, I beat myself up and felt extremely guilty about how I wasn’t perfect. Honestly, I still struggle with it.

I’ve been dealing with some personal things lately, mostly anxiety, fear and worry. (And you can read that in last week’s post.) But, I’ve not only been dealing with this, I’ve been dealing with beating myself up about having it.

I’ve even been struggling with my self-image more. Has anyone else noticed my lack of #youarebeautiful and #loveyourself posts? Yeah… It’s because I haven’t felt that way in a long time now. I was just searching through clothes online the other week, thinking about buying some new ones, when I had many thoughts:

  • “I wish I had the confidence to dress like that.”
  • “Oh that’s cute. But it wouldn’t be cute on me.”
  • “I really need to lose more weight.”
  • “I really need to lose a lot of weight.”

I closed my browser and stopped looking. I didn’t buy any new clothes.

Daily, I wonder, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be better? Why can’t I be perfect?” But the cold hard truth is that I will never be perfect. I will struggle with things, but I don’t have to let those things define me. It’s hard to live that way. I’m trying. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m really working on it. I’m working on me, and that’s about all I can say at this moment.

It’s okay to be imperfect. I hate that I am, but it’s okay. It’s okay for you too. We may deal with this hatred of being imperfect, but we can’t stay here. We have to keep moving. We have learn that we will never be perfect, so there’s no reason to get anxious about it and stay in that anxiety because we aren’t. And if you believe in God, we have to give it to Him. We have to let Him help us.

You’re imperfections are part of who you are. Maybe it’s time we started embracing that and if we’re ready to change, start out slowly, start working on how to fix it. It doesn’t have to happen overnight. In fact, I’ve been dealing with some things for years. But I’m working on me, and that’s okay.

Consumed… an OCD story.

Almost a year ago, I answered the call of God to be a co-youth leader for the teens of my church. I knew this was what God wanted of me. It was something I felt stirring in my spirit for a few years, but I wasn’t sure if that was what God wanted exactly. He had already called me to be an author, to spread His message of hope and love through the written word and my platform; did He truly want me to do more?

With God, there is always more, I found. He doesn’t call us to sit back, and we all have different callings, some many, some few. God can see the bigger picture; we only see pieces of it. So if God called me to teach, then by all means, I’ll teach. I said yes obviously, and I have enjoyed every minute of being the teacher to these beautiful teens.

If you know me, as a YA author, helping teens is something I’ve always wanted to do. God gave me a chance in a different way than expected, but it’s been amazing. What hasn’t been amazing is the fact that I have been consumed with fear since I said yes to God’s calling.

I’ve struggled with OCD most of my life. It isn’t something that is well-known about me, but it’s been a struggle. And here lately, it’s gotten worse. Well, since last year I’ve struggled with various degrees of OCD from germophobia to all out consuming fear of certain situations and things happening. I won’t go into detail because it’s difficult for me to talk about. My family knows what I’ve been struggling with and some other close friends and church members, those I can trust and confide in, those I know who will pray for me.

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I reached my breaking point from July to now. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had fallen into a trap, and this fear consumed me.

I taught the teens how to overcome their worries and anxieties, but I couldn’t do it myself. Guilt immediately overtook me, then. I know the Word of God. I know what it says, and I know the promises in that Word. I watch BVOVN daily, and I hear those ministers teaching about those promises. But my problem is that I don’t spend nearly enough time reading the Word.

I know what I should be doing. I know that I shouldn’t let fear rule my life. That being said, if anyone has struggled with OCD you know that it’s hard not to obsess. In fact, the disorder is called obsessive compulsive for a reason. It means you obsess over things, like germs and what germs could be lurking around every corner. One of my things is that I can’t use public bathrooms without breaking down in tears about what germs are lurking there. Unfortunately, not everyone washes their hands after using the bathroom, and that really bothers me. Don’t go spreading your germs that way. Please. Fecal matter really gets me. And blood—I don’t even want to talk about that.

It’s not like I chose to live this way. I don’t want to live this way, and I have done everything in my power to stop it. My mantra lately has been 2 Timothy 1:7.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

One of the things that God has given us is a sound mind, so I take these consuming, obsessive thoughts and remind myself that I don’t have to live this way. Because I don’t. It’s God will that we’re healed, and though I know that, dealing with it is still difficult.

I had a thought the other day, and a revelation hit me.

It went something like this: I can’t do this anymore. I don’t know how to fix it.

And it hit me. It was then I realized that I had been holding on to my fear instead of truly giving it to God. My next thought was “You can’t fix anything, you idiot. Only God can.” I can’t fix my chemical imbalance, but I know a God who can.

I recently confided in a friend of mine, and she has given me some great advice and help. I’m doing my best to change my routine, to face my fears, and it’s difficult. I won’t lie, but this morning, after finally getting some sleep. (My fears and worries have even consumed my dreams, causing me not to rest properly.) Something my mind wanted to worry about popped up, and I just had enough. I am tired of worrying about things I can’t control, about things that aren’t really even valid fears.

I’m tired. I’m worn. I’m weak.

But in God, I’m rested. I’m vibrant. I’m strong.

In God, I have peace.

I’m a work in progress, but I know which way to go now. And that’s where I’m headed.

One thing I’ve learned about this is that I truly am not alone. And you aren’t either. Whatever you’re struggling with be it OCD or something else, something that you feel like you can’t fix on your own, you aren’t alone. I’m here for you. God’s here for you.

If you need prayer, please send me a private message via my website, and I’ll be in prayer for you.

God bless.

When you realize you aren’t practicing what you preach… #youarenotalone

This goes much deeper than loving myself.  This gets into my mental state.

Let me just preface this by saying that this is difficult for me to talk about. For the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with some stuff. For my sake, I don’t want to go into details, but I wanted to talk about it.

I went at this alone because I couldn’t talk about it. I didn’t feel like I could talk about it because I felt like what I was dealing with was stupid and not worthy of discussion. I felt like I needed to deal with it on my own, but I was miserable. I didn’t feel like myself, and I even found myself praying that God would heal my mind.

It went deeper than just mental. This was spiritual too, and I was at war. Part of me even felt like I didn’t deserve help, because what was plaguing me wasn’t worthy of speaking about. And that was wrong of me to think.

Whatever you’re struggling with, it’s always important. There is always someone there to listen to you, to pray with you.

In this case, it was my parents. I finally broke and told them just how bad what I was struggling with had gotten over the past few weeks.

Disclaimer: I do want to state that I’ve never been diagnosed with any kind of mental illness, depression or anything similar. I don’t claim to struggle with any of these. But, as a highly emotional person and someone who has tendencies to obsess over things that haven’t happened or mistakes I made, sometimes, my brain can get overwhelming.That’s what happened this time. It happens a lot, I’m afraid to say, but I usually deal with it. On my own.

Again, that’s a mistake. You are NEVER alone. Sometimes, I forget that I deserve help just as much as I know you deserve help. I am bad about preaching these important things but never practicing them for myself. And that is wrong too.

I have to learn to take care of me, just as much as I get the pleasure of spreading positivity around. But I’ve got to work on me.

I’ve heard it said that in order to love others, you first have to love yourself. And I get that. I believe in that. But I forgot to love me. I forgot to take care of me. I forgot that I wasn’t alone, that I didn’t have deal with pressure and emotions alone.

And it got me to thinking. There are others who live this way too. They struggle with their feelings  until it becomes overwhelming, and sometimes, it doesn’t turn out too well for them. Today, I want you to know that you have to take care of you—and that means stepping out and reaching out to someone who can help you: parents, teachers, friends, husband, wife, sisters, brothers, whomever. There is someone out there who can and will help you. Don’t do this alone. You are NOT alone. Please don’t feel like you are. Together, we can overcome anything.

Am I perfect? No. Am I over this I was speaking about earlier? Not completely. I still struggle with it on a daily basis. But I’m working on it, and I know that I can trust my mom and dad with these fears and anxieties. And there is someone out there you can trust too.

#youarenotalone