So many times in my life, since being aware of the effect Bipolar Disorder has on me, I have been scared to chase my dreams. I get this surge to push on, knowing the voice in the back of my mind is speaking to me about how silly I will look when I try to push past the hidden nightmare in my mind.
I was diagnosed at 11, but up until I was 23, I wasn’t aware of how much bipolar disorder impacted my life. I had a cycle of behaviors that would start out promising then end up becoming the shadow of hell I never thought I would experience.
Today, I finished my school enrollment to begin my journey to finally attaining my degree. I had thought I would have already done this, but it didn’t work in my life until recently. I have had my hands full with two kids and one of them being autistic and needing a bunch of support.
My feelings have been a mixture of worry, excitement and anxiety that I will somehow mess this up. For the first time in my life, I know exactly what I want to do, and I am excited to embrace the future and allow myself to be excited. I will be studying Neuropsychology.
I feel like I have been holding my breath, just waiting for the world to go back to something I recognize again.
But it just doesn’t…
Today, my sister called and told me she tested positive for Covid. My best friend is awaiting her results. My sister lost her sense of smell and taste, while she is very pregnant with my nephew. My ex called to tell me his father and grandmother are both positive for Covid and his uncle who’s fighting cancer, is in the hospital dying. That is just the small stuff though, because I am trying to survive my greatest fear… something I literally knew I was afraid of but just tried to be positive and not bring it into my life….
My son has had what everyone thought was a polyp in his nose. Today, I learned it may be more than a polyp. So my mental capacity for coping is pretty much consumed by this at the moment.
If you have seen the show Legacies, there is a scene at the end of the movie where Hope is trying to find Josie inside her mind. As she is there, the darkness comes and Josie falls apart and becomes weak. She literally feels like she can’t fight it because it’s much stronger than she feels she is.
Hope says, “if you write this story, then you can rewrite the story!” Josie ignores her advice, completely sure that she isn’t able to do that.
This is me right now.
The darkness is back. It hasn’t been back since I returned from my trip to Bali, but now it’s back and I feel weak and powerless.
It’ll keep coming back and i keep wondering when I will finally fail in the fight.
I have been blessed, and I have been cursed. Life is a double edged sword.
In my life I have had the amazing experience of a strong, loyal and fiercely connected family. It has been a blessing unlike anything I could ever put into words.
But it’s also a curse to love so many people.
When you are capable of deep empathy, the more people you love, the more joy and pain you are destined to feel. I am not angry over my aunts death anymore, but I feel like I walk around with a whole in my heart and soul.
My family is my heart. My family is my world. When they leave this life, they take a piece of my heart with them because we are connected heart to heart.
I have experienced exponential loss in my 33 years, but they all hurt in a different way. I lost my cheerleader in Aunt Joanne. I lost my night owl who would comfort me when I couldn’t sleep in a 3 hour conversation about life and nothing specific.
I wouldn’t have been any better off if she died from any other cause besides the Coronavirus, but I would have had the chance to hug her and let myself be hugged by her one more time. The simple comforts of a hug can change a lot about how you experience the loss of someone you love.
Life doesn’t feel the same at all without her, but I know where she is and how much the Lord must enjoy her. I know we enjoyed her so much.
My anger quelled today. I realized a number of things that were flawed in my thought process about my aunt dying at the hands of the pandemic.
The magic that I believed in was tested and I feel like I partially failed at that test. Here’s what I learned.
Anger is Part of the Normal Grieving Process
My anger was bad, but it was part of my personal grieving process. Had I acknowledged that fact, I would have come out of it a lot faster.
When you lose someone you deem special, and they go so fast that you feel like you barely even had a moment to digest what was happening before the outcome, it is frustrating. I will always miss her laughter as well as the fun conversations we would have. This is hard to accept because I really enjoy her jovial personality and all the amazing times I have had with her. Knowing it won’t happen again, gives me a loss of control which is frustrating and enraging to me.
You Can Have Trust or Control…
I did a bible study a few weeks ago that had never left me. The Bible study devotional said:
“Nothing is going to happen without me being forewarned and prepared to face it.
The problem, however, is that trust and control do not coexist. You can have control or you can have trust, but you can’t have both.”
YouVersion Bible App
Reading this really opened my eyes to some truth I never realized. I have spent my life thinking I was trusting when truly I was forcing myself to be controlling of each situation in hopes I could navigate the outcome somehow. I am now making a conscious effort to be more trusting.
I have to tell you, choosing to trust is a more beautiful way to live. Living with trust over control is also one of the most challenging things I have ever had to do. I didn’t realize how much effort it is to change an adherent quality of myself until I started making an effort.
With all that being said, by honoring my journey to choosing trust over control, I have quelled the anger of my aunts passing by remembering that I have to trust that this was meant to happen.
Additionally, a conversation with my aunt B. opened my eyes to how being inquisitiveness doesn’t always serve us. Sometimes you have to accept the intricacies of human existence as it is because you cannot change the past. Why question what happened when it all worked out as it should? (But I suck at this because I need answers when frankly there aren’t always answers readily available.)
Love is The Beginning & Love is the End
The last thing that helped stop the angry and frustrated thinking was remembering that I loved aunt Joanne. I loved her like a mother figure, like someone who believed in me with fierce loyalty no matter what I did. I never felt as if I deserved that level of faith, but if she was capable of that for me, don’t I owe her my loving support in her departure?
Love begot the world, and love will be there in the end. She was loved and maybe she didn’t hear it enough, but at the end, we made sure she knew how loved she truly was. We comforted her with our voices while she laid in a coma, telling her how much she meant to us. I will never be able to thank God enough for that.
The pandemic is terrible. Many people are dying alone. It’s enraging and devastating, but please try to take a moment to pray that God is opening his gates to all these souls, even if they haven’t had the chance to come to Him before dying.
I could never believe anyone is unworthy of the love of our Lord, no matter what the Bible or religious leaders teach. The Jesus I have come to know is so full of love that there is no way he would leave even the worst of us to burn in some hell fire. That love from Jesus makes the anger within me feel less severe.
I didn’t intend on turning this post into a religious one, but when death, grief and loss are involved, it’s hard not to share faith and belief.
Today I am grateful I found a way to let go of my pain and anger. The feelings are still raw and the wounds deep, but I know that I can’t be angry forever. Thank you all for not judging me as I ranted about my disgust and rage yesterday. I am only imperfectly human and the shock crippled me.
My family barely braced for the loss of my aunt Joanne, before she was gone faster than a speeding train.
I am feeling the pain, agony and desperation of loss in the air and it’s suffocating me. I feel like each death is leaving its mark on me.
Death is a part of life. I know that but why does someone have to die alone?
I just hate life today and I hate this whole fucking Covid situation. I have always had trouble doing this goodbye thing. My stomach is in knots, I can’t sleep because I loath nothing more than grief. I don’t do well in situations that are fast moving. It’s the one thing about faith I have struggled with.
Today I am struggling to understand why I am forced to say good bye to someone who is so special to me. It’s making my heart really heavy. I feel about as useless as I can feel. I hate feeling useless, and I hate saying good bye. So I won’t do it.
“Oh Haaa,” she would say with her eyes wide and her mouth perched open with a shocked look on her face.
Then came the contagious laugh and you can’t help but to laugh. Who says, “Oh Haaa?”
She was a person who loved life and laughed at everything in a way that made everyone laugh. She was a fighter who bravely faced incurable stage 4 cancer and was living with it, then Covid-19, where she met her match.
My aunt Joanne was a beautiful person who had her flaws but she was a great person who cared deeply for me and the rest of her family. She may have needed the peace of death, but I wasn’t ready to say good bye and now I’m angry. I’m angry and devastated when I started to believe there was hope. I believed she could fight and win, and when she didn’t, it felt like the air left my body and I went limp inside.
All I want is to see her laughing at me for my silly shenanigans right now. To hug her and tell her I love her just one more time. I know it doesn’t matter what I want anymore, but I really miss her and I really don’t know how to see the positive in her not being here anymore.
I have experienced loss, and each one takes its piece of me. I can’t think of a way to let her go peacefully because I feel like I can hear my soul screaming and my heart breaking in my ears. I don’t know how to let go of be people that are and have been so special in my life.
WHY THE FUCK DOES IT HAVE TO BE HER? I am so bitter and angry. God, tell me why? Tell me why her and not me? I finally glue myself together, made myself believe there was a method to this madness, and now a virus is taking people willy-nilly. I don’t know why she was chosen, but I’m angry. I’m so angry I can’t think of the good of any of this fuckery anymore.
Fuck life, death is a constant reminder that we have no fucking choice that this is coming. Suck up the shittiness and then your reward is death, and if you are faithful to God you might live forever in Heaven. I don’t even know if there is such a place because he doesn’t give us so much as five seconds to accept reality before someone we love is gone. She didn’t deserve to die alone, no one does. She was already afraid to die. This is fucked.
I don’t want to talk or think or hear anyone’s half hearted bullshit, I just want some fucking answers!
The Lord needs to give some answers! Not a Bible that was written and rewritten a hundred times. Give us a sign we have a reason to believe there is a fucking reason for this bullshit, for the pain and suffering, because I’m losing my reasons to believe you give a shit about me or anyone else.
About “Confession: I Was Dying with my Gifts Still Inside”
Procrastination. The not-so-gentle nudge of the what-if’s. The thoughts of the world not accepting your words, therefore rejecting your biggest dream.
Does it sound familiar?
All these things that many of us experience everyday lay the ground work for this short chapter with Rae’s confession of how she almost didn’t create this life changing book.
This chapter really encouraged me because it showed me that someone with an incredibly huge gift for writing suffered from the same fears I have day after day as I try to aim for my dreams. No one is safe from the inner critic, but it isn’t about the critic, it’s about how you man handle the critic and push forward to be what you are meant to be regardless.
This chapter unlocks the fear of rejection that the author experienced because of being in her own way. This is a common fear of great people with great ideas.
As a child, my mom was constantly saying to me, “you don’t need approval from the world to be yourself,” or “stop sabotaging yourself before you have a chance to try.” My mom is a pusher. She never allowed me or my siblings to give up or stop trying to achieve our goals, because against all odds, she never stopped striving for her own. If you stated a goal to her, she pushed until you attained said goal.
As a kid, I hated when my mom did that. I actually thought it was super annoying and unhelpful. As an adult, she instilled this desire within me to meet my goals and be my own motivator in attaining them or evolving the goals.
When I became an unmovable ball of fear, suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, all her lessons felt lost inside my mind. I allowed myself to get in my own way. The worst part is that I didn’t notice I was doing this to myself. That is why this chapter brought me to a deeper understanding that even though I deeply needed this book, the author feared I wouldn’t think she was worthy being the authority of the words within it.
I’m glad she choose wonder, pushed past her anxiety, and created this book that changed my life in many wonderful ways.
I think that books that focus on anxiety and panic miss the important things that are happening behind the anxiety and panic. “Choose Wonder Over Worry,” hits every scenario till you figure out where you are struggling and why. It doesn’t take a doctor to unlock the healing power within ourselves, it only takes a will within us to recognize our difficulties and remedy them.
Another interesting part of this chapter is when Rae brings up the topic of comparison. She mentions how her friends are creating their books and bringing them into the world while she is still stuck in a loop of personal criticism.
I’d watch with envy as friends brought their books into the world. I’d be happy for them, of course. And, my soul would ache watching someone else accomplishing a dream that’s still swirling around inside of me.
In my own life, I have always wondered how some people are able to do these incredibly cool things while I sit back and wish I could do it. I compare myself to them and suddenly I feel completely insecure about who I am versus who they are. When you truly break it down, you can compare all you want, but there is no comparison. We are all completely different, we all have 50 ways to say the same thing, but we are not always understood the same way.
For example, I used to do computer sales for a big office supply company. If one of my coworkers was working with a customer and the sale wasn’t going well, they would come find me or another coworker to help. This is because the whole point was to achieve the goal of a sale. There was no personal commissions, so the only important thing was to make sure the customer left with a computer and protection plan. Even though my coworkers all said the same thing, why is it that only one of us achieved the sale?
The simple answer is the way the information was presented. If sales person A didn’t have the tone of voice, the demeanor, or the right arrangement of words that catered to the customer, they weren’t going to buy.
It’s not a comparison, it’s the way it is! We might really like someone but they just don’t mesh well with our own comfort seeking needs. We might really enjoy talking to someone but perhaps we won’t buy from them because we don’t feel that the person is making a strong case. The main thing is that we all have a way of expression that works with some and not with others. Another great example is multi-level marketing, where some do amazing and others are lucky to make one sale.
Comparing won’t change the outcome. What you do is just a small part of the whole picture and this chapter really unlocks that within me.
Choosing Wonder IS the easiest choice. Wonder expresses how much you value the feelings of anxiety and how badly you want to heal those feelings. Amber Rae offers some amazing advice in her authentic book, “Choose Wonder over Worry.”
I have read and continue to read this incredible book I found by chance called, “Choose Wonder Over Worry,” by Amber Rae. Let me say, I give this book 10 out of 5 stars because 5 just doesn’t seem like enough.
I have been through a lot in my life and I don’t remember experiencing noteworthy anxiety until I was in my early 20’s. Now, after years of suffering, reading blogs, forums, medical journals, books, anything that would help me understand and overcome this intense fear I had inside, I found this book.
This book was the first thing that truly resonated with me and it’s taken me so long to write this blog because I couldn’t think of the right words to express to everyone of how invaluable this book became in my healing journey.
While I read this book, I have become obsessed with highlighting the best parts. When I finished reading, I had highlighted nearly the whole book. Every chapter fulfills the lessons I need in order to be the best me and offer my best self everyday to everyone.
She adds journal posts to the end of almost every chapter called, “Journal Into Wonder.” I am going to write posts journaling my entries so I can find my awesome fellow “wonder writers” who want to share in this healing journey together.
I connected with Worry when I was in my early 20’s right after my son was born. I had always had a little cautious voice inside telling me to be careful, make smart choices, and I was not great at listening to it. The worrying really began when I was responsible for another human life with the birth of my first child.
Suddenly the world was more dangerous, the emotional roller coasters were more harmful, and I was all around terrified about how all this would affect the wellbeing of this tiny human that was entrusted to me. I started having anxiety attacks when he was about 6 months old, and soon after, I developed panic attacks and phobias of driving and being alone. My relationship with Worry became a 10+ year quest to balancing my internal fear with the reality and faith of being alive.
My Relationship with Wonder
Wonder was never easy for me to comprehend, even though I have a naturally curious personality. I considered myself to be a logistical person, everything had to make sense in a realistic way.
The concept of wonder is fairly new to me still. Prior to reading this book, I would allow myself to get anxious when I was feeling anxious. Now, I think about the meaning behind the anxiety and try to be patient with myself throughout the observation and consideration of what is going on to cause the anxiety.
I would say wonder has opened my mind to exploring what hides beneath the anxiety, the fear, the phobias to discover how to heal myself.
I encourage you again to grab this book and get involved in this impromptu conversation digging into Wonder and Worry. If you are suffering from Panic attacks or anxiety attacks, I know you will appreciate the work of Amber Rae.
I suspect you’re reading this because there are aspects of yourself that you want to discover and express. I wrote this book to coax that out of you. To show what’s possible when wonder leads the way.