The Root Cause of Worry, Anxiety and Fear

The Root Cause of Worry, Anxiety and Fear

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Worry, anxiety, and fear are the same thing. They’re the same emotion, just experienced on different levels, like stair steps.

Fear is a negative emotion caused by a real or perceived threat to our well-being. Anxiety means being uneasy and nervous about something we can’t control—an event, person, or problem. Worry is to mentally dwell on difficulty or trouble. This chronic concern is the lowest level of the emotional staircase.

The first step is worry. Worry turns to anxiety. Anxiety becomes fear.

Scripture commands us not to do any of those things. Don’t worry. Don’t be anxious. Do not fear. God would never command us to do something if we didn’t have the ability not to do it.

As a kid, I was always worried. My life was filled with fear and anxiety. You wouldn’t have known it, because I carried myself with confidence. But deep down, I had emotional problems.

Those problems turned into fear when I entered the ministry: Fear of men, fear of failure, fear of rejection, anxiety about everything. Even though my church was thriving, my life was filled with fear.

The root of all fear, anxiety, and worry is an orphan spirit. God was my father, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know He was taking care of me. I didn’t understand how much He loved me—and how much He loves being our Father. Like an orphan, I had no idea who my Father was.

Today, I’m both a father and a grandfather. My grandkids call me Pappy, and I love being their Pappy. They are never a bother to me. One of the greatest joys of my life is when they ask me to do something.

However, compared to God’s love, my love for my grandchildren looks almost evil.

God wants our lives to be free from worry, anxiety, and fear because these emotions distract us from God. They rob us of our families and joy. And yet we are in complete control of them. Worry and anxiety exist only because we allow them to.

How do we overcome them? First, we have to consider these thoughts to be agents of the enemy. They have been planted in our lives by the devil. Every morning, when you wake up, treat worry, anxiety, and fear like your enemies.

Second, turn every anxious and worrisome thought into a prayer until you find victory. Tell God, “This is what’s bothering me today.” Transform your worry list into a prayer list. Phil. 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Third, confess that God is your loving Father and He cares for you. Let go of your orphan spirit. Orphans are on their own and have to take care of their own problems. But we are not orphans! Start rejoicing that you have the best Father in the universe.

Well-fathered children are fearless children. That’s why God tells us not to fear, not to be anxious, and not to worry. He is the answer to every problem, and like a loving, gracious Father, He has promised to take care of us.

7 recurring dilemmas faced by the chronically ill. “Should I or Shouldn’t I?”

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Public Domain

After almost 15 years of being mostly housebound by chronic illness (which includes chronic pain), here are a few of the dilemmas I’ve faced over and over. I’m confident that I’m not alone in my “should I/shouldn’t I?” world.

Do I accept an invitation from a friend to get together or do I refuse it?

If I refuse the invitation, depending on who issued it, it may be the last one I’ll receive from this person. In addition, if I refuse, I’ll feel even more isolated from in-person contact than I already do.

If I accept the invitation, I might be too sick to visit when the day arrives. I don’t want to disrupt my friend’s plans in this way. Before I became chronically ill, I was so dependable; I wish I could be that way now. Not keeping a commitment tends to make me feel bad about myself, and that’s not good for me, so sometimes it feels more self-protective to just turn down an invitation from the start.

Do I tell family and friends how I’m faring with my health or do I keep it to myself?

If I talk about my health, I worry that they’re tired of hearing about it. Recently, a woman wrote to me about a chronically ill friend whom she loves and tries to support, but who does nothing but talk about her medical problems. The writer said that no matter how their conversation starts, it always turns to the subject of her friend’s health. She told me that she has problems of her own that she’d like to talk about, but it never happens. She wants to be honest with her friend, but is afraid she’ll offend her if she tells her how she feels.

If I don’t talk about my health, I increase my sense of isolation because, let’s face it, chronic illness is a major feature of my life. Not a day goes by without my having to think about it, and not a day goes by without it impacting me some way. Sharing my life with others brings me closer to them.

Do I keep a routine follow-up doctor’s appointment or do I cancel it?

It’s a strain on my health to make the trip to a doctor’s office. That’s why the question of whether go to a routine follow-up where I have nothing new to share can be a dilemma for me. (I currently have two routine follow-up appointments I’m supposed to make…but I haven’t.)

If I go to the appointment, it may be a waste of my time. (A funny side-note: I recently kept just such a follow-up where I had absolutely nothing new to report to my primary care doctor. Two hours later, back at home, I came down with a bladder infection. I sure could have used that appointment then!)

If I cancel the appointment, I might miss some new information the doctor has. Since I’ve been treated for breast cancer, I’ve added three types of oncologists to my “routine follow-up” list. I’m always tempted to cancel, but I’ve learned one thing that I even joke about with my husband: never cancel a follow-up appointment with a cancer doctor! This may not be true for everyone but, afterward, I’m always glad I went because I never fail to learn something useful.

Do I try to look my best when I’m around other people or do I let my looks reflect how I’m really feeling?

If I try to look my best, I’m concerned that people will misinterpret the state of my health. Doctors may not realize how sick and in pain I am. Friends may not understand why I have to cut short a visit. Family may not understand why I’m not pitching in at gatherings.

If I let my looks reflect how I’m feeling, it can negatively affect my morale. It’s good for my emotional well-being to spruce up a bit!

Public Domain
“Imprisoned Spring” by Arthur Hacker (1911)
Source: Public Domain

Recently, I was invited to give a short book talk at a place that’s special to me. Unfortunately, it was a two-hour drive from where I live. Before I got sick, that would have been no big deal but now, even with my husband driving, it’s well beyond what I can comfortably handle. I went, and I’m glad I did; but I’m also glad I don’t have any commitments like this in the future. The payback has been very tough.

Do I try a new treatment someone is urging on me or do I take a pass?

If I try the treatment, not only is it likely to be expensive, but I might be setting myself up for disappointment if it doesn’t work. In my book, How to Be Sick, I write about how important it is for our peace of mind to work on accepting, without bitterness, that some things work for us and some don’t. And yet, I can’t help but always get my hopes up at least a little bit.

If I don’t try the treatment, I could be passing up something that might help me. Not a week goes by without someone suggesting a new treatment. Sure, I know immediately that some of them aren’t for me. But what about those that sound reasonable? This “should I/shouldn’t I?” dilemma is one of the most difficult I’ve faced since becoming chronically ill.

Do I pursue a new interest even though it exacerbates my symptoms or do I stick to my old routine?

If I pursue it, even though a whole new world might open up to me, I’ll may feel more sick as a result of the mental and physical exertion.

If I don’t pursue it, I’m limiting my already limited options even more. In addition, I’m passing up a chance to focus my attention on something other than my health. This is a “should I/shouldn’t I?” dilemma I’m facing right now. Many years ago, I tried my hand at painting. In an effort return to a creative task that had brought me such joy, I recently got out my paints and brushes (I use water-soluble oils so I’m not exposed to turpentine fumes, etc.).

Unfortunately, I’ve found that working even for a short time uses up my energy stores and, worse, exacerbates my symptoms. The result: When I paint, I feel more sick. And so, I have a dilemma: should I continue to paint and feel more sick or should I stop doing something I’m feeling passionate about at the moment so that I’ll feel less sick? I’m in the process of deciding.

What I want, of course, is to paint and to not feel more sick, but we know from the Buddha and The Stones that you can’t always get what you want—a life-long dilemma that presents itself for my consideration every single day.

I’m aware that those of us who struggle with our health don’t have a monopoly on being faced with dilemmas in life. We do, however, tend to share the same ones. I hope this piece was useful to everyone.

How to Help Friend With Fibromyalgia or Pain Flare-Up

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Two Women Relaxing On Sofa With Hot Drink In New Home

5 Questions to Ask Someone Experiencing a Flare-Up of Symptoms

For anyone who experiences chronic pain, one of the worst aspects of chronic illness is experiencing flare-ups. Flare-ups are an increased, severe onset of symptoms of one’s chronic illness. Flare-ups can also include additional symptoms only experienced during the flare-up stage, and not usually experienced during non-flare-up stages. For instance, people with fibromyalgia often report a feeling like their whole body is on fire during their flare-up stage (pun not intended).

Flare-ups are debilitating. Flare-ups are isolating. Sometimes they seem never-ending. Loved ones of chronic illness warriors often feel helpless during flare-ups because they don’t know what to do. Let’s be honest, there are very few things loved ones can do during a flare-up. With that in mind, here is a short list of very basic, but very important questions friends and family can ask during this hellish stage:

1. “Is there anything I can do?”

The answer to this question not only helps the chronic illness warrior, but the person asking the question. Friends and family feel helpless watching their loved one in pain, so any suggestion for how they can help makes them feel useful and needed. My go-to suggestions are heat packs, cups of tea (in a light mug, sometimes with a straw if I still can’t manage to hold the weight of the mug), and my pillows. I frequently ask my family to help me adjust my pillows and re-heat my heat packs. This makes the chronic illness warrior feel more comfortable (there might not be much to be done to ease the pain), but also helps them relax more in the hopes of falling to sleep. At least in sleep, the pain isn’t as bad. Although, frequently waking up from the pain and experiencing bad dreams or nightmares from the pain are very real examples of the relentless nature of chronic pain.

2. “Have you taken all your medication?”

Even if someone is vigilant about taking their medication, this question is always a good reminder of any over-the-counter medication their doctors have told them they’re able to take in addition to their prescription medication.

3.Can I put a distraction on for you?”

While a distraction certainly doesn’t take the edge of the pain, it does help distract the mind from knowing the body is in pain.

By “distractions,” I’m not talking about amateur theater (although that might prove rather entertaining). I referring to other forms of entertainment such as DVDs or music. Funny movies or even funny YouTube clips are especially distracting from pain. I find I’m the most distracted from the pain when I’m watching something I haven’t seen before.

Lively music is usually better during a flare-up because if music is too slow and soothing, it personally causes me to be more aware of my pain levels. For instance, while meditation music is very calming (Iwould recommend it for panic attacks), I wouldn’t recommend it when experiencing a particularly bad flare-up of fibromyalgia pain. One of the strange “quirks” of fibromyalgia is noise sensitivity (among other things), so, on the other hand, if music is too upbeat or loud, it increases my pain levels. Popular radio stations are a good place to start for a bit of musical equilibrium.

4. “Can I call someone for you?”

Sometimes it helps to have company. Much like a sick person in hospital, it’s comforting to sometimes just have someone there, even if neither one of you are talking. A friend watching a movie with me at home proves to be a comforting presence. A family member sitting beside me while I’m trying to fall asleep helps reassure me that everything is all right and that I will get through this flare-up. Even someone gently holding my hand as I try to fall asleep helps; it reassures me that it’s safe to fall asleep because someone is there for me.

5. “You know you’ll get through this, don’t you?”

This is one of the most important questions to ask to someone who’s experience a flare-up. (OK, it was originally a statement, but I changed it into a question so I could include it in this list.) There is no specified time period for a flare-up. Asking this question reminds the chronic pain warrior that a flare-up is generally short-lived, whether it’s for a few days, a few weeks or a few months. It reminds themthere will be better days. Most importantly, it gives them reason to hope. For without hope, we have nothing.

What It’s Like Living With Both Depression and Anxiety

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Reflection of the girl in the window

Depression is like a sinkhole. One minute you’re standing on firm ground, and the next minute you’re falling into a pit of darkness. Depression is crying over something simple, like dropping a glass on the ground and breaking it, but not crying when something drastic happens, such as a family member passes away.

Anxiety is worrying too much about things we have no control over. Anxiety is like a river. It never stops flowing. Sometimes, anxiety skyrockets and we end up feeling too much, but it can also dry out. Then we don’t feel like constantly worrying, moving or being busy. A river never stays dry for too long — it always becomes alive with water once again. Also, a river will erode away at the walls encasing it, just as anxiety will eat us alive.

Depression and anxiety together is like staying in bed and skipping school because you don’t want to deal with anybody else. Then, worrying for the rest of the day because you don’t want to fail. Having both is like wanting to go out and hang out with your friends, but then talking yourself out of the plans because you don’t want to have to make the effort.

Did I work too hard on this project? I shouldn’t have put this much effort into this. Stop being such an overachiever!

Just stay quiet, it’s not like anyone is listening to you anyways. I mean, do you really think they care?

Alright, I’ll just go in here and pay this bill. I’ll be right out into the car. No one will be looking at me. Right? Right?

I don’t feel like getting up today. No one will miss me.

I missed the test today! Oh no, what if they won’t let me retake it? I knew I should have gotten up today. Oh no.

Look at yourself, do you really think you’re worth all the trouble you make?

I’m going to go through self-checkout. No one has to talk to me. I don’t have to stutter over my words. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Depression doesn’t just show up when something bad happens. For me, it’s always about the little things. Someone will look at me wrong. I drop something on a bad day. The weather will affect me. Even just thinking about something from the past will trigger me. But something bad can happen, and I won’t feel as affected. Then, the depression will build and just burst one day over something simple as shutting a door too hard.

Anxiety isn’t just something people make up because they need an excuse as to why they work too hard or try too hard. Anxiety is a motivator for many of people but for all the wrong reasons. Anxiety pushes people too hard for little things, such as a poster project in school, a practice writing exam, their looks, how they dress, what they eat or how they do everything they do. Anxiety convinces people they need to be and look a certain way in public.

Can I not just have one damn day where I’m content to go into public with just sweatpants, a baggy tee shirt and a messy bun? Do I always have to put on makeup, wear some tight fitting jeans, a nice shirt, do my hair just to go to the dollar store? Am I conceited or do I just care too much?

Sometimes, depression will win over my anxiety. I will go into public dressed in those sweatpants and baggy t-shirt. I will look like a complete mess and I won’t think anything of it, until I wake up fully, later in the day. Then, I will be consciously wrapping my arms around myself, shying away, scolding myself in my head for looking the way I did.

Can I not wake up one day and just be happy and content with who I am?

Is it that hard? Are you sure you’re not faking this for sympathy?

Why would you be depressed? You have no reason to be depressed.

Anxiety is just your excuse. Grow up.

Waking up every day is a struggle. It’s like waking up with an elephant on your chest and having to move around and act normal with that extra weight on you. Anxiety will never be an excuse. Anxiety is me. I am anxiety. It is a part of me. The same goes to depression. Depression and anxiety are two of the things I would never wish on anyone, even my archenemy.


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By: Candace Todd

1. For every decision I make, there is a battle raging in my head.

Decisions and commitments are my worst nightmare. Every time I get asked to hang out with a friend, or go out to dinner with a family, or show up for a school function, my mind immediately starts listing pros and cons. And let me assure you, it always manages to come up with far more cons. Most of the time, when I do commit to something, it’s out of obligation or fear of being left out.

2. When I get up and leave suddenly, it’s because I need to.

Sometimes being around people is just overwhelming. Someone may say something everyone else takes as a joke, but it hits right where my insecurities are. When that happens, I just have to get out.Now. All I need is a few minutes away to recollect myself and get my breathing under control, and then I’ll come back. When I do come back, please don’t ask me why I left or if I’m OK. I promise I’ll tell you, but not until I’m in a better headspace.

3. I like to get invited to parties, but I don’t really like to go.

When I don’t get invited to something, my mind starts racing:

Maybe they don’t like me. Maybe they’re all going to talk about me there. Maybe nobody likes me.What if they’re all just pretending to like me. Maybe I’m not as good at hiding it as I thought.

But when I do get invited and go, my thoughts are somewhat like this:

You’re not fun enough. You’re not having a good time like everyone else. You should go make some new friends; people will think you’re a snob if you don’t. Make sure you smile. But not too much or they’ll think you’re weird. Why are you even here? You know you should’ve just stayed home.

It’s an endless cycle of second-guessing myself. Most of the time, it’s just easier not to go.

4. When I ask for help, it means I really need it.

I have a hard time asking for help. And not because I’m cocky or think I’m too good for it, but because I’m afraid of showing you the real me. Too many times, I’ve let my guard down with someone, shown them how needy I really am, and they’ve left. So I don’t do that anymore. I’ve learned to “suck it up,” as they say, and figure it out on my own. Asking for help is really a last-resort type of deal for me. Which means if I do ask for help about anything, I really need you to help me. Or else next time, I’ll drown before reaching out to someone.

5. Just because I don’t respond right away doesn’t mean I’m mad.

Texts and emails are kind of my worst nightmare. I read them over and over, searching for some hidden meaning. Only when I’ve completely overanalyzed the whole thing do I even think about responding. And of course, that could be another 20 minutes of typing and retyping, until I’ve found the “perfect” thing to say that will never be misinterpreted. And then I may send four or five rapid-fire messages after that just to clarify what I mean. So give me some time. I’m not mad, just overanalyzing.

6. When you pull away from me, I think I’ve scared you away.

I know, it’s kinda hypocritical, right? I tell you to give me space and that just because I pull away doesn’t mean I’m mad, and then I turn around and think the same thing about you. But I just can’t help it. Every message that isn’t responded to, every sarcastic reply to something I say, every time you cancel plans we had, I can’t help thinking you are fed up with me and my clinginess. Like maybe I showed you a little too much and you couldn’t handle it. It scares me. And then I get even more clingy, asking if you’re mad at me, or if I did something wrong. Please don’t take it personally. It’s the self-doubt talking. The more comfortable I get with you, the less it’ll happen.

7. The person on the outside is not usually the person on the inside.

The person you see on the outside has it together. Straight-A student, involved in multiple activities, always busy, completes every project on time and to a perfectionist standard. And you probably think, “Man, she has her life together. She really knows how to get stuff done.” What you don’t realize is I have to be this way. I literally cannot sit still. If I do, the thoughts and nervous energy will choke me.

Relaxation is hard, because doing nothing invites what I call “the void.” It invites staring off into space, losing track of time, feeling too much all at once. So it’s much easier just to keep busy, so I don’t even have time to think about anything except what’s next on my to-do list. I’m this way because it keeps me from falling apart, not because I’m put together.

8. There are so many people living like this. 

It’s one of the things you wouldn’t know unless you’ve experienced it. I didn’t realize how many people around me struggle with anxiety every day until six months ago, when I finally accepted that I was.

Now I look around, and all I can see are little tells in the people around me. Slightly widened eyes, a hand on the chest, arms crossed tightly as if hugging themselves, the tight-lipped smile and weak, “I’ll be right back” that really means they need to be anywhere but here, and fast.

So many people live this way. And all we want, for the most part, is compassion. Just a gentle voice or act of kindness that shows you understand we’re struggling. Seriously, one moment of kindness goes a long way.

Can Medical Marijuana be Used as Treatment for Fibromyalgia? New findings

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Hard to treat and impossible to cure, many sufferers are curious about whether cannabis can help treat their discomfort.

Robnett, who is also the founder and executive director of Colorado-based Cannabis Patients Alliance, was one such patient. Recalling how in 1987 a car accident triggered her fibromyalgia, she later learned that an endocannabinoid deficiency could be to blame. She fell to the floor and cried, but her sadness was swiftly replaced with anger. Recognizing cannabis might be able to help, she asked, “How could the one thing that could supplement what my body wasn’t making [is something] the government could tell me I can’t have?”

For years Robnett took doctor-prescribed pharmaceuticals, but she detested the side effects and was concerned about drug interactions. “In 2009, I started medical marijuana. By 2011, I had quit all of my pharmaceutical medications and now use cannabis exclusively,” she explained.

Cannabis Use Won’t Prevent You From Getting Insurance, But It Might Cost You

Robnett said that at first it took her a bit of trial-and-error, but it didn’t take long for her to become convinced cannabis was preferable to pharmaceuticals. “From season to season, even day to day, the severity of symptoms can change because of the weather, stress, or hormones,” Robnett said. “Cannabis allows me to self-titrate. By being able to vary how I consume and types of strains, I can more effectively treat the symptoms.”

At night, Robnett medicates with an edible. Because edibles can take a bit to kick in, she begins her routine by vaporizing with an indica strain which quickly enters the bloodstream and immediately provides relief. While vaporizing works quickly, it doesn’t last through the night. “The edible takes much longer to affect me than vaporizing, but lasts much longer, and I can sleep through the night,” she said. “Getting a good night’s sleep helps keep my symptoms under control the next day.”

Ingest or Inhale? 5 Differences Between Marijuana Edibles and Flowers

During the day, she’ll use something higher in CBD and lower in THC to minimize psychoactive effects while alleviating her symptoms. Chronic fatigue is also a common symptom, and Robnett said the high CBD counters the fatigue, giving her energy to get through the day.

Cannabis for Treating Fibromyalgia vs. Prescription Drugs

Prescription pills

Robnett is not alone in her experience. The National Pain Foundation conducted a survey in 2014 of over 1,300 patients. Remarkably, nearly a third — 30 percent of respondents — reported having used medical cannabis.

Of the more than 390 survey participants who had used cannabis, compared to FDA-approved pharmaceuticals, far more people reported cannabis as being effective:

  • 62% reported cannabis as “very effective” in treating their symptoms
  • 33% reported that cannabis “helped a little”
  • Only 5% said it did not help at all

Best Cannabis Strains for Fibromyalgia

Contrast these results to FDA-approved medications:

  • A mere 8 – 10% reported Cymbalta, Lyrica, or Savella as “very effective”
  • 60 – 68% responded those drugs “[did] not help at all”

No wonder “big pharma” is scared of cannabis! In the hierarchy of evidence, a survey is not weighted the same as a random-controlled trial (RCT). However, given the relative safety profile of cannabis and absence of adverse side effects compared to the FDA-approved medications, the data clearly suggests more research is warranted.

Synthetic Cannabinoids for Fibromyalgia

Spice, or synthetic cannabis

There has been just one double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized, controlled trial (RCT) of synthetic cannabinoids. Researchers concluded nabilone was a “beneficial, well-tolerated treatment option” that could be a viable adjunct to other therapies.

But, anecdotally, patients report they prefer botanical cannabis. Only 10% to 20% of the THC makes its way into the bloodstream after metabolizing. Furthermore, nabilone doesn’t come cheap! 30 capsules cost more than $1,000.

Robnett is happy with cannabis. “With cannabis I can vary by strain and consumption methodaccording to how I feel or what time of day it is. More importantly, over the 28 years I’ve suffered from this condition, I found cannabis is by far the most effective and efficient treatment.”

The Complete List of Cannabis Consumption and Delivery Methods

Given the widespread frustration patients have with available treatments, and the devastating nature of fibromyalgia on those who live under its grip, it’s hard to find a morally defensible reason to deprive patients like Robnett the right to not only alleviate their suffering, but find a new lease on life.

Have you used cannabis to treat fibromyalgia? If so, share your experience with us in the comments section.

What are the Best Cannabis Strains for Pain?

Indica and sativa cannabis plants

My Husband Loves Me, Chronic Illnesses and All

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As I’m sitting in bed, I watch as my husband does load after load of laundry, putting it all in its proper spot. This is after he went to the store for groceries and drove an hour each way for a business meeting earlier today.

I’ll watch as he cooks dinner and does the dishes after. And then I’ll watch as he bathes our children and then tucks them snugly into bed. We both kiss them good night and sit together as he reads a story. Then it’s back to the bed I go.

Lately, I feel like I’ve been watching life from the sidelines. I’ve watched as my husband work so hard. I keep thinking to myself, “I am not enough.” I think this despite being told repeatedly by him, “Just having you with us is enough.” But to me, it’s just not.

Having multiple chronic illnesses can strip you of your very being. It makes that negative voice in your head so loud it can become deafening. It’s exhausting just to make it through the day despite doing nothing.

I have Chiari malformation, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), multiple cranial neuropathies, intracranial hypertension, arthritis, papilledema in both eyes, daily vomiting accompanied with constant nausea and more. All of these together create a perfect storm, and it can feel impossible to stay afloat. But I’m lucky. I’m lucky because I have a support system that keeps me above water.

My days aren’t pretty, my hair isn’t done. I’m lucky to make it into a pair of clean pj pants. I never expected to live like this. I’m everything you’d imagine a man wouldn’t want, and yet, day in and day my husband stays by my side and loves me to the ends of the earth. And every single day I ask myself, “Why?”

I’ve learned these acts he does daily are a stronger show of love than any surprise vacation or date night. It’s more priceless than any piece of jewelry could ever be. He has taken over what I can no longer do, and he does this with kindness, gentleness and love.

When you meet someone, fall in love and get married, you don’t expect to take the whole “in sickness and in health” thing seriously until you’re old, your hair’s gray and your joints are weak. But we were coping with “sickness” and “health” nearly five before we were even married.

And I say “we” but I mean him. He had a choice. But he loves me. He has chosen to love me. He knows our road won’t be easy, yet he’s buckled up and ready to ride. He loves my smile, my affection and how I love our girls.

He loves me, sickness and all.

So while I feel like I’m not enough today, I’m humbled to see that I am to this man. One day, I hope I can see in myself what he sees in me when kisses me sweetly, when he brushes my hair from my face, when he wipes tears from my cheek and when he holds me nose to nose while quietly whispering, “I love you.”

To the Mom Living With Chronic Illness Who Feels Inadequate

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How Girls With Anxiety Love Differently

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How Girls With Anxiety Love Differently

You’re swimming in an ocean, and without notice or warning you begin slipping under the surface. You kick and kick, slowly losing your breath. You can’t breathe, but you keep kicking. No matter how hard you kick, how hard you try to scream, no one can hear you or help you. Your lungs are burning from the lack of oxygen; you can’t reach the surface. You keep reaching toward the sunlight; you see the surface, but you can’t get there. You’re stuck 10 feet under. You’re without air; you’re without your breath; you black out.

That’s anxiety. Anxiety consumes you; anxiety becomes you, and for hours you’re alone. You’re drowning, and no one can save you, no matter how loudly you yell.

As a result of constantly feeling like this, girls with anxiety have their guard up. We handle almost everything with worry, and we are on edge, wondering what will set off our anxiety next, and just like that, we’re back feeling like we’re in that ocean.

Girls with anxiety love differently. But I promise you, we will love you like no one else ever will. We will love you like you are our one and only, you’re our safe space, you’re the person we know we can trust, and our love for you and our appreciation for you will never go unnoticed.

We need reassurance.

Please be patient when we ask you for the tenth time if you’re leaving. We are not in control of our anxiety most of time, so we always want to know what you are thinking, so we are not blindsided because we want to be in control of something in our life. Even though we make you repeat yourself, do not ever think we are ever doubting you. The feeling we get when you know you aren’t leaving is so calming. We will love you for it, forever.

We need to feel safe.

Overprotective? Yes, please. Girls with anxiety need to feel safe in their relationships. We are independent, so don’t get confused. We just need a little more safety. We need to know you are there, and you care. When we are out in public, we really don’t like randoms hitting on us or making us feel uncomfortable, and we’d really like for you to step in and handle it calmly. Because we need to feel safe, girls with anxiety will never go out of their way to converse with randoms. You are our safety net, and you are the only one we will ever want. Please always remember that forever.

We form close bonds.

We lean on you a little more than normal girlfriends. When we’re happy, we’re happy; when we’re sad, we’re a mess. If we feel an ounce of anxiety, you are the first person we need. You are the only person we trust to handle us when we’re shaking, and when we are gasping for breath. Because you see us so vulnerable, we form a bond with you that you won’t ever have again, I promise you.

We will love you like no one else.

We tend to be a little much at times, yes. However, we trust you with our entire lives. Anxiety is real; what we feel is real, and knowing we have someone there who is attempting to understand and not leaving no matter how many times we question it. We love you because you are our protector, our lover and our calmer. You are so much more to us than a significant other. You are our world, and we are so incredibly thankful for it, and we will tell you 10 million times a day.

We will never let you go to sleep without feeling loved. No matter how many times you ask if we are OK, we always say yes because your happiness is more important than our own, even though you always know when something is wrong. We will hold you like no other woman will, and we will appreciate all the small things you do.

Anxiety controls your body. Anxiety controls your heart. The simple “we need to talk” throws our body in flight-or-fight mode, and we lose feeling. The simple “I don’t know anymore” turns our hearts inside out. Breakups are hard, but girls with anxiety will struggle to find themselves again because they put so much faith into you. They love you more than you can ever comprehend, and once you love like that, it’s almost impossible to ever love like that again.

So, if you are dating a girl with anxiety, she is not a mess; she is not a prisoner; she is not a burden like she always thinks she is. She is a gift that should be treasured. We tend to need a little more TLC, but we will cherish you for it. Girls with anxiety love differently. But I promise you, we will love you like no one else ever will.

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stop manipulators FI

Some people are masters at bending others to their desires for money, time or attention. They prey on insecurity and use it to trap others in a cycle of abusive behaviors that serve their own interests.

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, we all know a master manipulator or two. But if one of them has you stuck in his or her web, you can break free. You just need to learn how to confidently stand up for yourself.

Not sure how to do that? Don’t worry; here are 8 ready made phrases to help you put your manipulator in his or her place.

1. “Nope.”


People tend to act as though they’re entitled when it comes to requests for help, especially if they’ve gotten used to you always saying “yes.”

But in reality, you don’t have to do everything someone asks of you and you don’t have to give a reason for objecting. Your resources are your resources.

Yeah, saying ‘no’ isn’t always going to be easy. But much of the battle is in your mind.

2. “Back up.”

Manipulators often use emotional or physical intimidation to get what they want.

If they’ve resorted to that, they’re likely banking on you cowering and heeding their commands. Call their bluff instead to throw them off guard.

Whether they’ve gotten a little too close or are asking far too much, asking them to take a step back (literally or metaphorically) sets boundaries.

3. “Come back when you’ve calmed down.”


This one works if your manipulator is using drama or trying to create a high emotional state to make you stop thinking rationally.

Make it clear that you’re not going to fall into that trap. Ask them to take a moment (or a day… or two) to calm down before making their request again.

If the manipulator in question is your child or teenager, this will teach them good communication skills.

4. “My feelings matter here, too.”

Some manipulators put their feelings on a pedestal. The aim is to make you forget about your feelings until you’re doing everything in your power to make sure theirs are priority.

Put an end to that nonsense by making it clear that you have feelings and needs as well. Life does not revolve around one person and neither should a relationship or friendship.

5. “That’s unacceptable.”


Manipulators look for easy targets. They want someone with loose boundaries who’s not going to put up a fight when lines get crossed.

By letting your manipulator know they’ve crossed a line, you make it clear they’re not going to have an easy battle with you. They’ll likely move onto someone else pretty quickly.

6. “Go away.”

Save this one for the worst of the worst.

I’m talking about the people who do all sorts of nasty things to you and then call you the next day to ask if you can help them move.

I’m talking about the people who you haven’t heard from since high school that pop up randomly and ask you for money.

I’m talking about the people who… You get the picture.

Some people just have no place in your life. If someone has a proven track record of lies, deceit and manipulation, serve them with an eviction notice and don’t look back.

What’s your favorite way to deal with a manipulator? Share your method in the comments below!

Looking for ways to strengthen a relationship? Check out this video from David’s Facebook page for a few tips!

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