Rae’s Confession: The Book Almost Didn’t Happen?

“For many years, these worries ran the show. My team of inner critics ruled my life and kept me from writing this book for you.”

– Amber Rae “Choose Wonder Over Worry”

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.

“The reason why rejection hurts..”

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.

If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, I highly encourage you to check it out.

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.

– Amber Rae “Choose Wonder Over Worry”

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.

Next chapter is “The Choice: Moving From Worry to Wonder.” Get the book and lets keep analyzing. 😁

Choosing Wonder

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.

If you haven’t read the book, click here to buy it. Truly the author, Amber Rae, speaks from experience.

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.

The First Journal Entry

Again, grab the book here if you want to join in this fun series!

“The answers are already within you. You’ll find journal prompts throughout the book to connect you with your inner knowing and voice of truth. Begin with this inquiry:”

What is your relationship like with Worry? With Wonder?

– Amber Rae “Wonder Over Worry”

My Relationship with Worry

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.

“Choose Wonder Over Worry” by Amber Rae

Panic Disorder: The Beginning & Now

Have you lived with panic disorder? Have you been told it has no cure? Well I am here to squash that belief by telling my own story and why I believe panic disorder is not a life sentence.

I think research is flawed on the topic of panic disorder. I have been diagnosed with Panic Disorder, which according to the symptoms, I definitely agree that I have (had) panic disorder for a period of time. Let me give you a some information.

I developed panic attacks after my son was born 11 years ago. Prior to his birth, I was a soldier. I never feared things out loud. I was scared all the time but never let the fear stop me from living my life.

In my life, I had experienced many of the phobias or fears people live with everyday. For example, I have been stuck on the road in the middle of nowhere when a tornado came out of the sky and right for the road I was on. I have been stuck in an elevator on a cruise ship with my aunt and 2 other people when the elevator lost power, dropped between floors, and stopped functioning. I had viral pneumonia after my trip to Bali, and I stopped breathing in front of my two children. I was in a relationship with a man who threw my head into a window sill and I was trauma hawked to a trauma hospital with bleeding in my brain. I was in a hit and run car accident when a man decided he would kidnap my two friends and I. I had my heart broken when my first love hung himself from a swing set. I watched a dear friend die right in front of me from a drug overdose and I called for help that didn’t make it in time. I attempted suicide nearly 3 times and one of those times, I barely survived. I have been in numerous fist fights, including with girls 3 times my size, for bullying my handicap brother or anyone who couldn’t defend themselves, and I didn’t get killed. I got jumped at a skating rink for no reason in which I was attacked by a man and 3 women when I was 14. I suffered severe injuries and I vowed to never let myself be caught like that again. I traveled to a country that I knew nothing about and had no friends or familiar people to meet there for 5 weeks by myself. I have had to endure over 10 surgeries. I gave birth by emergency c-section when my child was born and endured 2 years of him screaming till he lost his voice or passed out because he is autistic. I sat through over 50 funerals before I turned 20. And the list goes on and on.

When I think about all the times in my life where fear should have captured my attention, but didn’t, I cannot imagine panic. Logically, I question why? Why is it so? Why should I live with panic now after all I survived already?

There are too many things we are conditioned to believe as society. This is something I call a mass belief. The definition of belief is
an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists. So therefore, mass belief is an acceptance by a large group that something is true and exists.

I can’t remember where I read this, but an author wrote about mass beliefs. When people all believe something exists, or something is a certain way, the spiritual, physical and mental belief becomes the reality. Interesting how the truth can change when everyone believes the same story.

When I apply that reasoning to panic disorder, I learn that because it has been written that panic disorder has no cure we must believe it is with us forever and we are are doomed to live our lives in fear.

…. well I am here to tell you that it isn’t true.

I have never ever followed the mass beliefs nor do I care if that makes me an outlier of scientific numerations. The reason is due in large part to my belief in evolutionary theories. For example, what we believed, and what I was taught in school, about our solar system is that we have 9 planets. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune & Pluto. Now they have determined that Pluto is a dwarf planet and therefore doesn’t constitute a planet in the solar system anymore, so we now have 8 planets. Furthermore, there were 5 oceans, now there are only 4 oceans. If you ask a school aged child how many oceans there are, they will tell you there are 4; Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic. I remember the Antarctic Ocean, and I additionally remember being taught in school that the Gulf of Mexico was an ocean too.

When you think of how evolutionary theories have changed due to access of new information or simplifying, we find that nothing in the world is set in stone. The main reason I shared these two examples are because no one thought it was weird that educators proved a theory, that trickled down to the public and became a mass belief. Yes, they reevaluated the true facts and realized it wasn’t accurately describing what was real, but an entire ocean and planet of the solar system that existed in science books when I was a child, is no longer true.

Much like a google search on panic disorder will yield results that you are doomed for a life of panic attacks, I disagree. Panic attacks are just a phase in life, a way to remind us to pay attention to ourselves. Science has no evidence to prove that this is forever, other than the words or experiences of a panicker who feels the disorder is forever. Let that sink in for a moment, do you want to be panicking forever? My answer is HELL NO!

Science of Panic Disorder

Researchers have said that panic disorder is a chemical imbalance. That panic comes from an imbalance in neurotransmitters.

Naturally occurring chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters, send information throughout the brain. The human brain is thought to have hundreds of these different types of neurotransmitters, and biological theories suggest that a person can become more susceptible to developing panic disorder symptoms if one or more of these neurotransmitters do not remain balanced.

https://www.verywellmind.com/is-panic-disorder-caused-by-a-chemical-imbalance-2583984

Hold on for one moment, let’s look at this more prominently. A chemical imbalance is also where Bipolar Disorder comes from, which science has proven involves the neurotransmitters being damaged in production causing severe symptoms of high-highs and low-lows, but now it is said that panic disorder is doing the same?

Let me level with you, if you want to have panic attacks forever, by all means, have it your way, science will support you. However, if you are like me and believe that you have the power to heal this, then start to believe it now.

I didn’t drive for 6 years, then I decided I was done being a victim to panic attacks and panic disorder. I didn’t need medication or therapy to change my outcome, I simply needed a belief in myself, to let go of the fear of a panic attack, and push myself past the discomfort. Anxiety is natural and everyone has it, but I will not be stopped by sudden moments of intense fear anymore because they are not true and they manifest through me. My chemicals will heal with my belief in being stronger than the panic and by my ability to take charge and live, instead of letting life happen to me.

You are strong for having fought a panic attack and won, therefore you are strong enough to believe this is not forever. The science of the brain will never be solved. Brain mapping is never going to be possible in my opinion, because the brain is the epicenter of evolution and change.

The brain is too strong and resilient for any scientists to make sense of it. That my friends is why I choose to believe that EVERYTHING is curable if we choose to believe it is. Just like many cancer patients are cured out of the blue, Panic disorder is curable and I am proving that.

You want to know the secret to ending panic disorder? Do you want to know how you stop yourself from panicking? It’s incredibly simple, and took me far too long to realize, you must stand up to it! Believe in something other than the doom and gloom, believe that there is something bigger than you out there and that what is meant to be will be with or without your acceptance.

I will not allow myself to dwell in the darkest parts of my mind, I will believe in something bigger and better because I know that my brain is a gift from my higher power and no human will ever tell me that it is not working.

Be free! Give yourself permission.

I’m Thankful for…

Today is a holiday I used to believe to be a waste of time. I used to say selfish things like:

What do I have to be thankful for living with bipolar disorder?

Or

Should I be thankful I didn’t commit suicide this year?

It used to be an unhealthy day for me, one where I couldn’t see the people, places or things in my life that were worth being thankful for. Rather, I saw only the bleak light of surviving another year.

Truth bomb right here!

This year, I felt as though the holidays were going to destroy me. With the break up of my 5 year relationship, the 2 suicide attempts, the messy career moves I made that nearly put me over the edge, and the horrible people I allowed into my life under false pretenses, I was uncertain that I would be thankful for anything again this year.

Fortunately, I am.

I am thankful for bipolar disorder and my ability to be more open about my life with bipolar.

There are moments when being myself feels impossible but impossible means I’m possible!

I am thankful for my children and my family who have had my back through the darkest of times.

My reason for being alive comes from the children I created. Born out of love and loved through and through.

I am thankful for my beauty, and my heart that is always full because of family and friends.

When I asked myself, “when did I feel most alive?” My answer was, “when I smiled casually for myself and no one else.”

I am thankful for my will power to survive the darkness even when I thought it would eat me alive or I wouldn’t survive the emotional pain.

I named this graphic “The pieces of my broken heart 💔 “

I am thankful for Bali and all the amazing people that brought healing, love and kindness into my life without expecting anything more than honesty from me.

My adventurous Brother from another mother Jim!

And my brother from another mother Dan, the bloody Englishman who loves to complain in a funny way, but he is an awesome friend!

Finding a family on the other side of the world was a blessing I could never thank the Lord enough for. Thank you to my friends and chosen family in Bali.

My home is on a stage with the ones I love surrounding me. My heart is where I feel alive and loved and blessed.

I am thankful for my breakup from a toxic relationship that brought the worst out of two good people. The change was hard to accept but I am beginning to realize that he was a part of my journey to healing myself and he will always be in my life because of our child.

He had my heart, but then my heart decided that love wasn’t enough. He gave me my sweet little boy, but he also gave me a lot of pain. Thankful for him but definitely thankful for the lessons he taught me. He will find his happiness and I will find mine. ♥️

I am thankful for the difficult lessons I learned in life and in my career, the exciting opportunities I have barely tapped into, and even the frustration with websites that have had issues or were more work than I realized.

My time in Los Vegas at the Reign Beauty Conference for MaskCara Beauty. Check out my website nikimaria.maskcarabeauty.com

I am thankful that the truth always wins and that eventually the harsh truth, whether we like it or not, can save us from making mistakes or not learning from our mistakes.

The truth will always win my friends. Trust until you have a reason not to!

I am thankful for the home I live in and the amazing neighbors and friends I have been blessed with.

Remember to always take the positive with the negative and make something great. #sortasweetsortasavage

I am thankful for the food I am able to buy and the bills I am able to pay.

I am thankful for my Lord for protecting me through the dark times, even when I didn’t think He was there.

I am thankful for myself. For the strength I earned through picking myself up from every disaster and finding new reasons to be balanced.

Rocking the sick look to remind myself that I am still beautiful and worthy of love!

Lastly, I am thankful for my three close friends that all make me feel loved and cared for regardless of my choices or mistakes.

The loving motherly friend who always checks in on me. My Heather! ♥️

The super sweet, super loving Mallori who has my back ride or die style! ♥️

My Andrea who turns the negatives into positives and always shows me how much she cares! ♥️

Lastly, I am thankful for my parents who always worked hard to care for me and give me every opportunity, and every experience I needed, to be the best version of myself. They also combined all their best qualities in creating me.

Mom and dad

There are always things to be thankful for, and I guess this year, rather than believing that my “issues” are not worthy of being thankful for, I choose to be grateful and thankful for them. After all, I wouldn’t be me without them.

This Instagram profile is awesome! Follow @2minds_allign

While this has been a tough year to go through, I struggled a lot and I felt a lot of loss, I realized that today I have more reasons to be thankful than ungrateful. I always have in fact, and it took some reminding to myself that I am stronger and braver than I ever believed.

Being brave was the hardest thing I ever had to do!

I can and did overcome the hard times and learned from those hard times, that I can walk away even if it hurts, I can say goodbye without coming undone completely, and I can live with bipolar disorder without medication because I will not let my brains chemical imbalance live my life for me. I feel blessed to have found my balance during the hardest of hard times, that I have found strength when I wanted to be weak, that I found hope when a situations seemed hopeless, and that I found joy when I felt joyless.

Embrace your beauty and know you are loved by someone or many!

I can only hope that at this time of year, when giving thanks is the theme of the season, that you all will find your reasons why being alive, and being grateful as well as thankful are the true healing sources of living a life with a brain disorder or mental illness. The goal is to create the life worth living by pushing yourself past what you may think is holding you back, and finding joy on the other side of the heartache and suffering.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May you find one or many reasons to be thankful for the little or big blessings in your life. I encourage you to embrace your journey today and to find new meanings for the dark or less favorable realities of your life.

This picture I took when I was sinking inside myself, lost in a loveless relationship, feeling manic and not sleeping or eating well. I was sick, scared, taking substances to cope and not facing my demons. I was lost and not trying to be found. Circa 2016

Even if you feel that getting out of bed seems impossible, you will get through the storm with determination and patience if you believe, have faith, be kind, and let go of the things that are done.

Xoxo 💋 Niki

Been A Little While…

Hey everyone.  I have been so stressed out with life lately that posting on Instagram has been about the only thing I do to keep up with my mental health network online and I know that isn’t enough.  Just a crazy couple of months with the holidays and then school starting back up and football for my oldest son… I am starting to spin a little lol!! Plus I am back to work after taking some time off to get my mental and physical health in order.  I was diagnosed with a condition called Dysautonomia (also called POTS) and that explains why I have been so off this last year.

Also, I have finally decided to get medicated for my bipolar disorder.  Normally I enjoy the ups and downs, because they never get so bad and I get surges of creativity and enlightenment, but lately they have been super shitty.  I get really down and it is physically draining, plus I have developed awful anxiety over absolutely nothing and the panic attacks are true hell.  Before, I used to think it would pass and somehow it was what I was eating or not eating that was causing the panic attacks to come on stronger.  I also thought maybe it was the benzos that the doctor put me on to manage the panic attacks that was making it worse.  Needless to say, I quit the benzos, Valium to be exact, and started eating healthier and working out which seems to be helping quite a bit.  The healthier lifestyle unfortunately isn’t helping the terrible bipolar episodes but I am going to see my new psychiatrist this Friday to try medications that will help manage the bipolar.

In addition, I started seeing a new therapist.  She is my mom’s pick for me.  Apparently she is well versed in dealing with substance abuse, bipolar, anxiety, depression, panic and PTSD.  I am not convinced that therapy helps at this point because it hasn’t worked yet and I cannot remember a time I was not in therapy over the passed 10 or so years (that may be a slight exaggeration but I truly cannot remember how long it has been).

My boyfriend, as of lately, has me wondering if I am marriage material for him since we have been together for 4 years and he has yet to ask me to marry him.  I am thinking it is because of my crazy manic or depressed episodes, but I have had boyfriends who were around a lot less time and asked for my hand in marriage so it blows my mind that I have been in this committed relationship for 4 going on 5 years and no ring or even talking about a ring.  Is it wrong that I am questioning this?  If we were younger, I could understand the need to wait, but I am 30 almost 31 with 2 kids. I live with this man and share everything with him, I feel like marriage conversations should have happened a million times already.  This isn’t meant to throw him under the bus, I just feel like my 30’s are pushing me to want a more grown up relationship and I don’t feel bad about that.  I am not in my teens or twenties and I feel weird calling a man my boyfriend like a bunch of youngens.

Lastly, I have been super stressed out about my health. I have been getting super shaky during the day around breakfast, lunch and dinner time because I am starving.  I have never felt like that before and it is really messing me up.  I used to be a soda drinker and now, I down water all day and night so this isn’t making much sense to me.  Maybe I need to have some blood work done to check my hemoglobin or my thyroid checked. I don’t know much about this, I just know its affecting my ability to control my panic attacks.  I usually can control them if it is only a panic attack but if it is more than anxiety, and my brain is thinking “you are hungry”, “you are shaking”, “your stomach is hurting”, “your muscles are hurting”, “your head is hurting”, or “you need a cigarette (which I haven’t smoked since November)”, then the panic attacks go from 0 to 60.  I don’t like those panic attacks.  They scare me because I can’t use my tools to calm them down, I have to do something like eat or go to the bathroom or stretch.

I always say to myself, “one day this will hopefully pass and you will be able to live without constant fear.” I have been saying that for 6 or more years.  I am convinced that I will not get through this and that is bothersome to me.  I have never been a “normal person” but at least before panic attacks, I could drive a car, be alone, go shopping alone, or just generally be okay in my own skin. I only vaguely remember what that was like.  I do try my ass off to keep reminding myself that there is a way that this will get better and I have to have both faith and patience that whatever is meant to be, will be.  Patience is harder than faith though.  I can give this over to my higher power (Jesus for me) but I cannot seem to be patient.  That is the part I need to release control of.  I know that being on the proper medications will help a lot of anxiety for me, and the tools I learned will sort out the rest (hopefully).

Anyhow, I just wanted to post an update after being incognito for a little while.  I will try to be more invested in blogging and keeping you all up to date on whats going on with me.

XO,

Niki